Edward Scissorhands (1990)

edward scissorhands poster 1990 movie
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 9/10

Peak Tim Burton, great visuals, nice fairytale


Movie Info

Movie Name:  Edward Scissorhands

Studio:  20th Century Fox

Genre(s):  Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Seasonal

Release Date(s):  December 6, 1990 (Premiere)/December 14, 1990 (US)

MPAA Rating:  PG-13

edward scissorhands johnny depp costume

Beware my deadly knives!!!

When snow falls on a perfect suburban town, a story is told.  It is the story of a creation named Edward (Johnny Depp) who was built by an inventor (Vincent Price).  Unfortunately, Edward wasn’t completed and has giant scissors as fingers.  When Edward is discovered by Peg Boggs (Dianne Wiest), he is whisked away to a world of subdivisions and desperate housewives…and even as he finds himself falling in love with Kim Boggs (Winona Ryder), his love could be doomed.

Written and directed by Tim Burton (with Caroline Thompson also credited for scripting), Edward Scissorhands is a fantasy fairytale.  Following Burton’s Batman in 1989, the film was released to positive reviews and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Makeup.  It has gained a cult following over the years.

Tim Burton was soaring high when Edward Scissorhands was released.  With Batman and Beetlejuice under his belt, Edward Scissorhands was a culmination of his style and look…while telling a nice, modern fairytale.

edward scissorhands topiary dinosaur johnny depp

Look what I made!

The story is told as almost a cautionary myth.  It is about acceptance and appearances which draws heavy parallels to Frankenstein, but it is also about fear and fear mongering…this is all wrapped up in a classic fable of why it snows.  The story is rather predictable in that sense…it has a classic feel, but it is done well and “modernized” with more current societal issues instead of just being a fairytale.

Edward is a great creation, and he is perfect Johnny Depp.  Unlike a lot of his roles at the time, Edward wasn’t necessarily a pretty boy, but Depp’s character did tie in with the goth look that was popular.  Burton’s first goth girl teams with the idea goth guy, and Winona Ryder plays the pretty girl who makes bad decisions.  You have Anthony Michael Hall playing one of the bigger on-screen jerks, and Dianne Wiest is fun as the persistent Avon salesperson.  Kathy Baker, Alan Arkin, and Conchata Farrell all are good in supporting roles.  Vincent Price plays Edward’s inventor, and it was his last theatrical film released when he was alive.

edward scissorhands snow winona ryder

Let it snow!

Tim Burton already developed a style by this point and was seen as a visionary.  While Beetlejuice demonstrated a lot of his style, and Burton created a complete world with Batman.  Beetlejuice and Batman came together with Edward Scissorhands, and Burton creates another world of goth meets suburbia.  It is dark and light coming together in conflict visually…which helps propel the story.

Edward Scissorhands not only is a nice fairytale, but it is one of those faux Christmas movies.  It might not be implicitly a Christmas movie, but events take place around Christmas and the story of snow also goes back to the holiday.  This has led to a lot of replay of the film around the holidays and if you want it to be a holiday movie it can be…Tim Burton followed Edward Scissorhands with another quasi-Christmas movie in Batman Returns in 1992.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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