Top 10 Tim Burton Characters

Script written by Nick Spake. It takes a one of a kind imagination to bring a reanimated mutt, a corpse bride, and a hyperactive ghost to life. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the top 10 Tim Burton characters. For this list, we’re taking a look at the most compelling and iconic characters either created by Tim Burton or featured in his movies. Special thanks to our users Jloves-pp, Andrew A. Dennison, Blake William and Robert Bruno Reyes for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script written by Nick Spake.

Top 10 Tim Burton Characters


It takes a one of a kind imagination to bring a reanimated mutt, a corpse bride, and a hyperactive ghost to life. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 Tim Burton characters.

For this list, we’re taking a look at the most compelling and iconic characters either created by Tim Burton or featured in his movies.

#10: Sparky
“Frankenweenie” (2012)

Tim Burton tends to work deceased canines into every one of his stop-motion features. Sparky the dog takes center stage in “Frankenweenie,” a remake of Burton’s 1984 short film of the same name. After getting hit by a car, Sparky is brought back to life by his loving owner Victor Frankenstein. Although he’s covered in stiches and occasionally loses his tail, Frankenstein’s mongrel is as lovable as ever. Like many of Burton’s characters, Sparky demonstrates that companionship and warmth can be found in even the most unusual places.

#9: Edward Bloom
“Big Fish” (2003)

Edward Bloom is either the most fascinating man who ever lived or the world’s greatest storyteller. In either case, his tale is an epic for the ages that takes him on adventures involving a giant, a werewolf, and conjoined twins. Even with such an outlandish supporting cast, Edward Bloom still stands out as the film’s most engaging character. Clever and resilient while also being wide-eyed and humble; Bloom’s a truly extraordinary person who never shows off. No matter where he goes, he’ll always be the biggest fish in the pond.

#8: The Penguin
“Batman Returns” (1992)

It’s hard to say whether we should feel sorry for the Penguin or despise him. Sure, he was born with horrible physical disfigurements and abandoned by his parents. But does his tragic backstory excuse his plot to take over Gotham and kidnap the first-born children of the city’s wealthiest families? There’s being misunderstood and then there’s being clouded by crazed vengeance. Nevertheless, Burton and Danny DeVito really put their own unique signatures on the Penguin, altering him from a wannabe gentleman to a grotesque beast that’s more animal than man.

#7: Emily
“Corpse Bride” (2005)

Emily encompasses Burton’s gift for unearthing beauty from the grim and bizarre. Voiced by Helena Bonham Carter, Emily spends her afterlife under a tree waiting for someone to ask for her hand. When the bumbling Victor unknowingly places a ring on Emily’s twig-like finger, a grave misunderstanding arises. Despite her departure, Emily is full of more life than most people on Earth. While she doesn’t get a conventional happy ending, the corpse bride is left with a heartfelt reminder of what true love means and starts a new life after death.

#6: Batman
“Batman” franchise (1989-92)

After years of being primarily associated with the campy ‘60s series, Batman returned to his darker roots through Burton’s 1989 blockbuster. Michael Keaton shocked everyone not only with his portrayal of Batman, but also with his portrayal of Bruce Wayne. Keaton conveys so many deep emotions without ever speaking. He gets everything across through restrained facial expressions and the occasional subtle line of dialogue explaining why he needs to fight crime as a bat. Plus, you’ll be hard-pressed to find an actor who can say, “I’m Batman,” cooler than him.

#5: Ed Wood
“Ed Wood” (1994)

Burton’s interpretation of Ed Wood remains true to the real life director’s eccentric spirit while also creating an unforgettable original character. Ed Wood wants nothing more than to make movies and share them with the world. The problem is that he settles for the shoddiest sets, casts the most amateur actors, and never does more than one take. While it’d be easy to turn him into a cheap cartoon, Ed Wood is actually a surprisingly inspirational individual who motivates every artist to follow their passions even if they probably shouldn’t.

#4: The Joker
“Batman” (1989)

Heath Ledger has pretty much cemented himself as the definitive Joker, but let’s not forget how spectacular Jack Nicholson was in the role almost two decades earlier. Just as the Joker inadvertently created Batman, Batman accidentally creates the Joker after dropping mobster Jack Napier into a chemical vat. Deformed with white skin and an eternal smile, the clown prince of crime unleashes his playful madness on Gotham through electrifying hand buzzers and toxic party balloons. Funny, creepy, and stylish, he’s still Batman’s greatest enemy ever and one of our top bad guys here.

#3: Jack Skellington
“The Nightmare Before Christmas” (1993)

Although he’s a skeleton, you’re unlikely to encounter a friendlier or more exuberant resident of Halloween Town than Jack Skellington. Only able to confide in his dog Zero, Jack is tired of going through the same routine every year. The Pumpkin King is immediately enchanted by the magic of Christmas Town and takes over the role of Sandy Claws with his own gothic twist. Things might not go as he hoped, but Jack is still able to look back on the experience with the optimistic notion that he did his best.

#2: Beetlejuice
“Beetlejuice” (1988)

It’s fitting that Tim Burton started his career as an animator since even most of his live-action films have the essence of living cartoons. Beetlejuice feels as if he jumped straight out of Burton’s sketchbook into reality. Michael Keaton never hits a wrong note as the fast-talking, supernatural being who continues to crack people up even as a ghost. Granted, Beetlejuice is mischievous, a pervert, and always puts himself before others. In a long lineup of creative characters from Burton, though, he’s definitely the life of the party.

Before we get to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- Sweeney Todd
“Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” (2007)
- Catwoman
“Batman Returns” (1992)
- The Martians
“Mars Attacks!” (1996)
- Ichabod Crane
“Sleepy Hollow” (1999)
- Pee-wee Herman
“Pee-wee’s Big Adventure” (1985)

#1: Edward Scissorhands
“Edward Scissorhands” (1990)

If “Beetlejuice” proved that Burton was the master of mixing darkness and comedy, “Edward Scissorhands” proved he was also a master of mixing darkness and drama. That’s not to say Edward’s unfinished hands don’t lead to some humorous bits. The quiet, sincere Edward is truly a tragic figure, though, who must live with the fact that he’ll never be able to hold the woman he loves. The first of many collaborations between Johnny Depp and Burton, Edward Scissorhands is a modern fairytale character who will live in our hearts forever.

Do you agree with our list? Who’s your favorite Tim Burton character? For more entertaining Top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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