Animator, film director, and King of the Perky Goths.
His full-length works, most of which are adaptations of something or other, are:
(These are the films he has directed. He has produced and acted in several more.)
- Pee-wee's Big Adventure (1985)
- Beetlejuice (1988)
- Batman (1989)
- Edward Scissorhands (1990)*
- Batman Returns (1992)
- Ed Wood (1994)*
- Mars Attacks! (1996)
- Sleepy Hollow (1999)*
- Planet of the Apes (2001)
- Big Fish (2003)
- Charlie and The Chocolate Factory (2005)*
- Corpse Bride (2005; co-director)*
- Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)*
- Alice in Wonderland (2010)*
- Dark Shadows (2012)*
- Frankenweenie (2012 -- remake of his 1984 original)
- Big Eyes (2014)
- Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (2016)
Also, he conceived and produced 1993's The Nightmare Before Christmas, which was directed by Henry Selick. (Burton intended to direct that film, but production on Batman Returns got in the way.) Burton also co-produced Selick's next film, 1996's James and the Giant Peach, and the feature-length version of Shane Acker's ~9~. Meanwhile, Beetlejuice was adapted into a cartoon series (with Burton as a producer} that ran on ABC and Fox Kids for several years, although it was radically different from the movie version.
The asterisked titles in the above list all star Johnny Depp, Burton's favored leading man.
- Associated Composer: Danny Elfman
- Auteur License: He got his after Batman hit it big.
- Black Comedy: Some of his movies in varying degrees, especially Mars Attacks!
- Chekhov's Armoury: On a regular basis.
- Creator Backlash: Not as extreme as some examples, but he once confessed that, with the exception of Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, he doesn't much enjoy watching his older films because the memories are too personal for him to view them objectively.
- Creator Thumbprint: As listed at the trope entry, there's unusual hands, German Expressionism, dogs, Goth Spirals, and stripes. To a lesser extent, snowy settings, especially if Christmas is involved. Above all these, he loves protagonists who are outcasts in some way.
- He also seems to like casting his disproportionately attractive girlfriends alongside much hotter male leads. He also seems to like killing off (Mars Attacks! (shot), Sleepy Hollow (iron maiden), Sweeney Todd (roasted alive)) or at least giving a less-than happy ending to said girlfriends (Big Fish (spinster cat lady), Alice in Wonderland (exiled) and Planet Of The Apes (then-girlfriend Lisa Marie and future-wife Helena Bonham-Carter were implied to be erased from history).
- And we all know that his biggest Author Appeal is Johnny Depp.
- Creepy Children Singing: Very common in his films, especially the ones scored by Danny Elfman.
- Darker and Edgier: Pee-wee's Big Adventure was actually quite colorful and kid-friendly, at least compared to Burton's later work. Beetlejuice began to introduce darker and more adult elements, and Burton's output only increased in edginess from that point until we got the downright nihilistic Batman Returns in 1992. Following the ugly backlash to that last film, Burton retreated from his misanthropy a bit and returned to his comedic roots with Ed Wood and Mars Attacks!
- Dark Is Not Evil: It can be benign, world-weary, friendly, helpful -- even lovable. That said, when dark is evil, or at least angry, watch out.
- Deliberately Monochrome: Ed Wood is in outright black and white, Halloween Town in The Nightmare Before Christmas only has touches of color, Sweeney Todd is shot in mostly desaturated colors, and the living world in Corpse Bride is much grayer than the world of the dead.
- Dutch Angle: Crops up in a majority of his films, ranging from blatantly obvious to the blink-and-you'll-miss-it variety. For particularly noteworthy examples, please examine Batman'' and The Nightmare Before Christmas.
- Flashbacks: These figure in Batman, Edward Scissorhands, Sleepy Hollow, Big Fish (as an alternate explanation of some of the father's stories), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Sweeney Todd, and Alice in Wonderland (whew!).
- German Expressionism: His aesthetic style is completely derived from this film movement.
- Goth Spirals: One of his signature motifs. Look closely at the page picture; he even has one in his hair.
- The Grotesque: Edward Scissorhands is an excellent modern example. The Penguin in Batman Returns is a cruel subversion -- he masquerades as this to gain sympathy and make a grab for power.
- Loners Are Freaks: It seems like he dedicated almost all of his movies to invert the trope.
- Looks Like Cesare: Edward Scissorhands is this trope.
- As is Sweeney Todd. According to Depp, it's because he has a nephew with that stripe.
- Given Tim himself has the look...
- Looks Like Orlok: The Penguin.
- Nightmare Face: Burton usually manages to sneak at least one into his movies somewhere. For example, Large Marge in Pee-wee's Big Adventure, the newscaster who takes Smilex in Batman, the witch in the forest in Sleepy Hollow, Jack scaring Lock, Shock, and Barrel in The Nightmare Before Christmas, Beetlejuice (many examples), and so on and so forth. Even in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory the young Wonka sports a rather nightmarish set of braces.
- Our Monsters Are Different: Many of Burton's protagonists consist of characters who are viewed as terrifying to other characters, but they're actually the heroes of the piece, even if what they do is not in tune with everyone else.
- Person as Verb: "Burtonesque" is often used to describe something with a gothic, quirky style.
- Playing Against Type: While Burton's choice to cast Michael Keaton as Batman was surprising at the time (see trope entry), it's his work with Johnny Depp that's most famous for invoking this trope. Depp was eager to move on from 21 Jump Street, which made him famous but threatened to typecast him, and doing Edward Scissorhands (and, for John Waters, Cry-Baby) in 1990 was incredibly effective. "Eccentric protagonist" has become Depp's "type" for Burton.
- Recycled Trailer Music: The scores for Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, Edward Scissorhands and The Nightmare Before Christmas turn up as the music to trailers for other films quite often.
- Scenery Porn: It's not for nothing Batman, Sleepy Hollow, and Sweeney Todd won art direction Oscars.
- Signature Style: Johnny Depp and/or Helena Bonham Carter, and Looks Like Cesare. Even Alice's characters all looked like they needed more sleep.
- Stan Winston: The genius who helped him give Johnny Depp his scissorhands and turned Danny DeVito into a hideous penguin-like mutant.
- Troubled Backstory Flashback: Hatter in Alice in Wonderland, Ichabod in Sleepy Hollow, Edward in Edward Scissorhands, the bride via song in Corpse Bride and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.