Tim Burton is one of the biggest names to mention when it comes to movies. Owner of an unmistakable look in the films he directs, the filmmaker has been directing for over 30 years, his most recent work being Dumbo, released in 2019. However, his work has won the hearts of fans of all generations, including the most recent ones.
Here, in this list, we'll bring you the 11 best Tim Burton films according to the IMDb website. We'll present them from the least successful to the best rated of all time, so stick with us to find out if your favorite work by the director is among the first!
Big Eyes (2014)
Like Ed Wood, Big Eyes is also based on a true story. It has a much more serious theme and discusses socially problematic issues such as the lack of a female voice and abuse by men who take advantage of women. All of this is in keeping with the director's dark style.
Here we meet the painter Margaret Keane whose works achieved fame in the 1950s, but were all credited to her husband. The man believed that paintings, no matter how good they were, wouldn't sell well unless they were by a man. The film is rated 7 on IMDb and critics consider it to be one of Tim Burton's best films of his entire career.
Batman Returns (1992)
When Tim Burton directed the Batman movie in 1989, it was such a success that the director was asked to take part in a sequel. Here he demanded more creative freedom and Warner gave him carte blanche. As a result, we have what is one of Tim Burton's best films, even if it wasn't very profitable because of its scenes unsuitable for children and the difficulty companies had in creating promotional products for the title.
In the story, Penguin is introduced as a villain running for mayor, serving as a mouthpiece for a millionaire who wants control of Gotham. Meanwhile, Catwoman also appears as a new threat, possessing a dual personality due to past traumas. Despite everything, Batman Returns has a 7.1 rating on IMDb and is considered by many to be a cult movie and interesting to watch.
The Legend of the Headless Horseman (1999)
With an IMDb score of 7.3, The Legend of the Headless Horseman is also considered one of Tim Burton's best films. It has all the elements that made the director famous: gothic aesthetics, a pale color palette and a touch of melancholy horror.
Here we are introduced to a town that suffers from mysterious deaths and bodies that are found decapitated. These murders are credited to a mystical and folkloric local figure, but a skeptical detective is willing to uncover the truth behind this case without involving any mysticism.
Planet of the Apes (2001)
Planet of the Apes is a movie that was originally released in 1968 and has become a movie classic. Reimagining the story was not a task to be delegated to just anyone, so Burton was responsible for directing this remake, which scored 7.3 on IMDb and is considered by many to be one of Tim Burton's best films.
This particular film doesn't have much of the director's visual identity, which can make the viewer not even realize that it's his work. That's because the make-up artist at the time didn't want to transform the characters into the usually caricatured figures of Tim Burton's works, as he later revealed.
In the plot, a pilot suffers an accident in a spaceship and ends up on a planet unlike anything he has ever seen. There, human beings are hunted and enslaved by primates. A revolution is about to begin with the arrival of the protagonist.
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)
If there's one movie that can be considered the embodiment of all the elements that make a work characteristic of Burton, it's Sweeney Todd. The musical based on Hugh Weeler's creation has gothic aspects, visual effects and cartoonish characters and is also remembered as one of Tim Burton's best films.
It competed for Oscars in three different categories, but only won the statuette for best art direction. Here a man is wronged by English society and ends up returning many years later in search of sinister revenge, using another identity and allying himself with the owner of a pie store in a very bizarre way. This whole adventure received a 7.3 rating on IMDb and is home to some of Tim Burton's best characters.
The Corpse Bride (2005)
The Corpse Bride was the first animated film directed by Burton and one of the most well-known and praised works in his repertoire. It doesn't stray too far from the concepts brought by the director's previous titles, the gothic art, the conversation with the esoteric and the terror are all present, but in a light-hearted way that has consecrated this as one of Tim Burton's best films, achieving 7.4 on IMDb.
In The Corpse Bride, a young man is desperate to escape an arranged marriage in the Victorian era and flees into the forest. While pondering his situation, he ends up putting the ring on a branch and, in the end, becomes engaged to a girl who is already dead. The plot moves between the world of the living and the dead quite frequently and it's easy to see how the use of color suggests that the world of the dead is much more "alive" than the place where living people are.
Ghosts Have Fun (1988)
It's almost impossible to talk about Burton and not mention Ghosts Have Fun. This film was the first to incorporate all the aspects that have become the director's trademark, mixing comedy and horror as only he can do. Its IMDb rating is 7.5, which shows that most people consider it to be one of Tim Burton's best films, even after all this time.
Originally known as Beetlejuice, the movie follows a couple who end up dying in an accident and returning as ghosts to the house they lived in. However, a very inconvenient family moves in and they need a lot of help to evict them.
Although Superman - The Movie (1978) was a success on its release, many believe that it was this version of Batman that consolidated the superhero genre as something profitable for the cinema. Even though it wasn't the first attempt to bring the Batman to the live action scene, it was the first time that it was shown that heroes didn't have to be the stuff of children.
With a gothic feel that fits so well with the concept of Batman, the story doesn't deviate much from what everyone already knows about the character. Millionaire Bruce Wayne is traumatized by the death of his parents as a child and then, as an adult, dresses up as a bat to fight crime on the streets of Gotham. The movie got a 7.5 rating on IMDb and to this day is known as one of Tim Burton's best films.
Ed Wood (1994)
Showing that he also has a flair for biographical titles, Burton really struck a chord with audiences with his touches of Ed Wood. The film has a 7.8 rating on IMDb and was one of the first more "serious" works in the director's career, which was previously only associated with fantasy in general.
The story has become one of Tim Burton's best films and follows the life of director Edward D. Wood Jr, a figure who is now considered a cult, but who was once regarded as the worst director of all time. His productions were all low-budget and his career demonstrated his passion for horror. The homage directed by Burton even competed for an Oscar and won two categories.
Edward Scissorhands (1990)
Another movie that is immediately synonymous with Tim Burton's name in the minds of movie fans is Edward Scissorhands. The story borrows heavily from the classic Frankenstein, showing the audience a boy created by a scientist who ended up dying before completing it. When the boy is found, he is taken to civilization and faces the greatest challenge of all as he tries to adapt to the monstrosities of human beings.
Edward Scissorhands is one of Tim Burton's best films according to people from different generations. Adults, children and even the elderly are very fond of it. On IMDb it scores 7.9, making it one of the director's three best works.
Big Fish and Their Marvelous Stories (2003)
This is the movie with the highest rating among Tim Burton's best films. With an 8 on IMDb, it ranks very highly in the opinion of both critics and the general public. The story is an adaptation of the book written by Daniel Wallace and can be considered one of the "serious films" produced by the director.
The highlight here is the relationship between a father and son. The son, called William, has a very complicated relationship with his father, as he always told him very fanciful stories throughout his life, even when he was on his deathbed. William is a journalist and decides to investigate the stories his father told after his departure, and only then does he begin to understand him better.
Despite always being marked by his contribution to Jack's Strange World (1993), Burton didn't direct the feature, which is why we've left him off this list. He was one of the producers along with Michael McDowell and Henry Selick was in charge of directing.
But in general, this could also easily be on the list of Tim Burton's best films due to the quality of the narrative and its popularity with the public. Its IMDb rating is 7.9, which would put it neck and neck with Edward Scissorhands for second place among the highest rated.
But what about you? Do you agree with this list of Tim Burton's best films? Would you add any more? Share your opinion with us in the comments! And take the opportunity to check out the 7 best zombie movies to marathon!