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Edward Scissorhands
Directed by Tim Burton
Produced by Tim Burton
Denise Di Novi
Written by Screenplay:
Caroline Thompson
Tim Burton
Caroline Thompson
Starring Johnny Depp
Winona Ryder
Dianne Wiest
Anthony Michael Hall
Kathy Baker
Alan Arkin
and Vincent Price
as The Inventor
Music by Danny Elfman
Cinematography Stefan Czapsky
Editing by Colleen and Richard Halsey
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date(s) United States:
December 7, 1990
March 21, 1991
United Kingdom:
July 26, 1991
Running time 105 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $20 million
Gross revenue $86.02 million

Edward Scissorhands is a 1990 comedy-drama fantasy film directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp. The film tells the story of an artificial man named Edward, an unfinished creation, who has scissors for hands. Edward is taken in by a suburban family and falls in love with their teenage daughter Kim. Supporting roles are portrayed by Winona Ryder, Dianne Wiest, Anthony Michael Hall, Kathy Baker, Alan Arkin and Vincent Price.

Burton conceived the idea for Edward Scissorhands from his childhood upbringing in suburban Burbank, California. During pre-production of Beetlejuice, Caroline Thompson was hired to adapt Burton's story into a screenplay, and the film began development at 20th Century Fox, after Warner Bros. passed on the project. Edward Scissorhands was then fast tracked after Burton's success with Batman. Before Depp's casting, the leading role of Edward had been connected to Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks, Robert Downey, Jr. and William Hurt, while the role of The Inventor was written specifically for Vincent Price.

The majority of filming took place in the Tampa Bay Area of Florida, which generated over $6 million for the local economy. Edward's scissor hands were created and designed by Stan Winston. The film is also the fourth feature collaboration between Burton and film score composer Danny Elfman. Edward Scissorhands was released with positive feedback from critics, and was a financial success. The film received numerous nominations at the Academy Awards, British Academy Film Awards, Saturn Awards, as well as winning the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation. Both Burton and Elfman consider Edward Scissorhands their most personal and favorite work.



An elderly woman tells her granddaughter where snow comes from through the ostensibly true story of a young man named Edward with scissors for hands, the creation of an inventor. The inventor was inspired to make an artificial man due to the anthropomorphic appearance of his other inventions. He slowly but surely altered a machine into a 'real boy', but had a heart attack and died while in the act of revealing a pair of real hands to Edward, leaving him doomed to be "unfinished" forever. Many years after, local Avon saleswoman Peg Boggs, after failing to make profits in her suburban neighborhood, visits a Gothic mansion on a hill. There, she finds Edward, and convinces him to let her take him in. Edward befriends Peg's young son Kevin, her husband Bill and, after an initial misstep, their teenage daughter Kim.

Peg's neighbors become impressed at Edward's masterful skills at hedge trimming and haircutting. However, two of the townspeople, a religious fanatic named Esmeralda and Kim's jock boyfriend Jim, immediately dislike him. Joyce, a promiscuous neighbor, suggests that Edward open a haircutting salon with her. While examining a proposed site, she attempts to seduce him, confusing Edward, who escapes the room in a state of panic. Edward attempts to bring up the subject of her actions while the family is having dinner, but no one reacts to the news.

Wanting money for a van, Jim takes advantage of Edward's ability to pick locks and breaks into his parents' house. The burglar alarm sounds and everyone except Edward escapes, despite Kim's angry insistence that they return for him. Edward is arrested, but released when a psychological examination reveals that his isolation allowed him to live without a traditional sense of ethics. The arresting officer, Allen, befriends the timid Edward, sensing his intrinsic goodness. Meanwhile, infuriated by Edward's rejection, Joyce gets revenge on Edward by claiming that he tried to rape her. This, added to the "break-in", causes many of the neighbors to question his personality. During Christmas, Edward is feared by almost everyone around him except the Boggs family, making him and the family outcasts.

While the family is setting up Christmas decorations, Edward creates an incredibly detailed ice sculpture from a large block of ice. The shavings from the ice create an effect of falling snow, under which Kim dances. Jim then catches Kim's attention, when Edward accidentally cuts her hand in the process as he climbs down a ladder. Jim thinks that Edward had deliberately harmed her and uses this as a pretext to attack Edward in a jealous rage. The situation deteriorates when Kevin is almost run over by Jim's drunken friend. Edward pushes Kevin out of the way, accidentally cutting his face in the process, causing witnesses to think he was attacking the boy. Edward, told by Kim, flees back to his hill-top mansion. The neighbors, riled up into an angry mob started by Jim, follow him. Officer Allen unsuccessfully attempts to turn them back by giving them the impression that Edward is dead. He fires his gun a few times and tries to tell them that it's all over. They don't believe him and want to see for themselves and so continue up to the mansion.

Kim heads to the mansion before the neighbors can get there and reunites with Edward. Jim follows them and attacks Edward, who does not retaliate until Jim hurts Kim. Edward kills him instantly, stabbing him and throwing him out a window, the first direct hostile act he is seen making. Kim professes her love for Edward, and, to save him, convinces the townspeople that Edward and Jim killed each other in the fight by telling them that the roof had caved in by showing them a disembodied scissor-hand similar to his. All the neighbors return to their homes, while Joyce is seen feeling guilty and ashamed for making up the rumor about Edward. The elderly woman from the beginning reappears, as she finishes telling her granddaughter the story. It is revealed that Edward is still alive, apparently immortal, and "creating snow" from his ice sculptures, which fall upon the valley below. The elderly woman reveals to her granddaughter that she is, in fact, Kim. She chooses not to visit Edward because she wants Edward to remember her the way she was in her youth.



The genesis of Edward Scissorhands came from a drawing by then teenaged director Tim Burton, which reflected his feelings of isolation and being unable to communicate to people around him in suburban Burbank, California. Burton stated that he was often alone, and had trouble retaining friendships. "I get the feeling people just got this urge to want to leave me alone for some reason, I don’t know exactly why".[1] During pre-production of Beetlejuice, Burton hired Caroline Thompson, then a young novelist, to write the Edward Scissorhands screenplay as a spec script. Burton was impressed with her short novel, First Born, which was "about an abortion that came back to life". Burton felt First Born had the same psychological elements he wanted to showcase in Edward Scissorhands.[1] "Every detail was so important to Tim because it was so personal", Thompson remarked.[2] She wrote Scissorhands as a "love poem" to Burton, calling him "the most articulate person I know, but couldn't put a single sentence together".[3]

Shortly after Thompson's hiring, Burton began to develop Edward Scissorhands at Warner Bros., with whom he worked with on Pee-wee's Big Adventure and Beetlejuice. However, within a couple of months, Warners sold the film rights to 20th Century Fox.[4] Fox agreed to finance Thompson's screenplay while giving Burton complete creative control. At the time, the budget was projected to be around $8–9 million.[5] When writing the storyline, Burton and Thompson were influenced by Universal Horror films, such as The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923), The Phantom of the Opera (1925), Frankenstein (1931), Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), as well as King Kong (1933) and various fairy tales. Burton originally wanted to make Scissorhands as a musical, feeling "it seemed big and operatic to me" but later dropped the idea.[6] Following the enormous success of Batman, Burton arrived to the status of being an A-list director. He had the opportunity to do any film he wanted, but rather than fast track Warner Bros.' choices for Batman Returns[1] or Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian, Burton opted to make Edward Scissorhands for Fox.[7]


Although Winona Ryder was the first cast member attached to the script,[6] Dianne Wiest was the first to sign on. "Dianne, in particular, was wonderful," Burton said. "She was the first actress to read the script, supported it completely and, because she is so respected, once she had given in her stamp of approval, others soon got interested."[8] When it came to cast the lead role of Edward, Fox was persistent to have Burton meet with Tom Cruise. "He certainly wasn't my ideal, but I talked to him," Burton remembered. "He was interesting, but I think it worked out for the best. A lot of questions came up."[8] Cruise wanted the ending to be "happier"[9] Michael Jackson was actually Burton's first choice for the role of Edward, but in some way it did not happen. Why it didn't happen remains a mystery, since Jackson himself allegedly was interested in the part. Tom Hanks turned it down in favor of The Bonfire of the Vanities. William Hurt, and Robert Downey, Jr. also all expressed interest, and were considered.[5][6]

At the time of his casting, Depp was wanting to break out of the teen idol status which his performance in 21 Jump Street had afforded him. When he was sent the script, Depp "wept like a newborn" and immediately found personal and emotional connections with the story.[10] In preparation for the role, Depp watched many Charlie Chaplin films to study the idea of creating sympathy without dialogue.[11] Fox studio executives were so worried about Edward's image, that they tried to keep pictures of Depp in full costume under wraps until release of the film.[12] Burton approached Ryder for the role of Kim Boggs based on their positive working experience in Beetlejuice.[8] Drew Barrymore previously auditioned for the role.[13] Crispin Glover auditioned for the role of Jim before Anthony Michael Hall was cast.[5]

Kathy Baker saw her part of Joyce, the neighbor who tries to seduce Edward, as a perfect chance to break into comedy.[6] Alan Arkin says when he first read the script, he was "a bit baffled. Nothing really made sense to me until I saw the sets. Burton's visual imagination is extraordinary."[6] The role of The Inventor was written specifically for Vincent Price, and would ultimately be his final feature film role. Burton commonly watched Price's films as a child, and, after completing Vincent, the two became good friends. Robert Oliveri was cast as Kevin, Kim's obnoxious younger brother.[14]


The houses were painted in faded pastel colors, to represent the generic nature of American suburbia with which Edward finds himself at odds

Burbank, California was considered as a possible location for the suburban neighborhoods, but Lutz, Florida and the Southgate Shopping Center of Lakeland were chosen[2] for a three month shooting schedule, partly because of Florida's frequent blue skies, but also because Burton believed the city had become too altered since his childhood.[8] The neighborhood scenes in the film were shot in a section of the Carpenters Run development, where the residents of Tinsmith Circle were paid to have their homes altered, and later restored to their original condition.[15] The production crew found, in the words of the production designer Bo Welch, "a kind of generic, plain-wrap suburb, which we made even more characterless by painting all the houses in faded pastels, and reducing the window sizes to make it look a little more paranoid."[16] Rick Heinrichs worked as one of the art directors. The key element to unify the look of the neighborhood was Welch's decision to repaint each of the houses in one of four colors. He described them as "sea-foam green, dirty flesh, butter and dirty blue".[17]

The facade of the Gothic mansion was built just outside of Dade City. Filming Edward Scissorhands in the Tampa Bay Area created hundreds of (temporary) jobs and injected over $4 million into the local economy.[18] Production then moved to a Fox Studios sound stage in Century City, California, where interiors of the mansion were filmed.[16]

To create Edward's scissor hands, Burton employed Stan Winston, who would later design Penguin's prosthetic makeup in Batman Returns.[19] Depp's wardrobe and prosthetic makeup took one hour and 45 minutes to apply.[20] The giant hedge sculptures that Edward creates in the film were made by wrapping metal skeletons in chicken wire, then weaving in thousands of small plastic plant springs.[21]


Edward Scissorhands is the fourth feature film collaboration between director Tim Burton and composer Danny Elfman. The orchestra consisted of 79 musicians.[22] Elfman cites Scissorhands as epitomizing his most personal and favorite work. In addition to Elfman's music, three Tom Jones songs also appear: "It's Not Unusual", "Delilah" and "With These Hands". "It's Not Unusual" would later be used in Mars Attacks! (1996), another film of Burton's with music composed by Elfman.[23]


Burton acknowledged that the main themes of Edward Scissorhands deal with self-discovery and isolation. Edward is found living alone in the attic of a Gothic castle, a setting that is also used for main characters in Burton's Batman and The Nightmare Before Christmas. Edward Scissorhands climaxes much like James Whale's Frankenstein and Burton's own Frankenweenie. A mob confronts the "evil creature", in this case, Edward, at his castle. With Edward finally unable to consummate his love for Kim because of his appearance, the film can also be seen as being influenced by Beauty and the Beast. Edward Scissorhands is a fairy tale bookended by a prologue and an epilogue featuring Kim Boggs as an old woman telling her granddaughter the story.[19] The film also evokes typical German Expressionism and Gothic fiction archetypes.[24]

Edward is an unfinished creation of his inventor/father who dies before he can complete the job. He is removed from his lonely existence in a hilltop castle by Avon lady Peg Boggs and finds himself living with her family in a pastel-colored version of suburbia. He becomes the source of fantasy, gossip, resentment, adoration and lust for the neighbors, whom he wins over with his outlandish haircuts and elaborate sculptures.[8] Burton explained that his depiction of suburbia is "not a bad place. It's a weird place. I tried to walk the fine line of making it funny and strange without it being judgmental. It's a place where there's a lot of integrity."[17] Kim leaves her jock boyfriend (Jim) to be with Edward, an event that many have postulated as Burton's revenge against jocks he encountered as a teenager. Jim is subsequently killed, a scene that shocked a number of observers who felt the whole tone of the film had been radically altered. Burton referred to this scene as a "high school fantasy".[19]


Box office

Test screenings for the film were encouraging for 20th Century Fox. Joe Roth, then president of the company, considered marketing Edward Scissorhands on the scale of "an E.T.-sized blockbuster," but Roth decided not to aggressively promote the film in that direction. "We have to let it find its place. We want to be careful not to hype the movie out of the universe," he reasoned.[25] Edward Scissorhands had its limited release in the United States on December 7, 1990. The wide release came on December 14, and the film earned $6,325,249 in its opening weekend in 1,372 theaters. Edward Scissorhands eventually grossed $56,362,352 in North America, and $29,661,653 internationally, coming to a worldwide total of $86.02 million. With a budget of $20 million, the film was declared to be a box office success.[26] The New York Times wrote "the chemistry between Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder, who are both engaged in real life, gave the film teen idol potential, drawing younger audiences."[20]

Critical analysis

Edward Scissorhands also went on to receive positive feedback from critics. Based on 52 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, 90% of the reviewers enjoyed the film, with an average score of 7.6/10.[27] By comparison, Metacritic collected an average score of 74/100, based on 19 reviews.[28] Janet Maslin of The New York Times gave a largely positive review, "Burton invests awe-inspiring ingenuity into the process of reinventing something very small," she wrote. "In the case of Edward Scissorhands is a tale of misunderstood gentleness and stifled creativity, of civilization's power to corrupt innocence, of a heedless beauty and a kindhearted beast. The film, if scratched with something much less sharp than Edward's fingers, reveals proudly adolescent lessons for us all."[29]

Desson Thomson of The Washington Post found contemporary homages to The Elephant Man, Brothers Grimm stories and The Ugly Duckling.[30] Peter Travers, writing in Rolling Stone magazine, felt that "Edward Scissorhands isn't perfect. It's something better: pure magic."[31] However, both Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel gave the film a negative review. Ebert stated that "Burton has not yet found the storytelling and character-building strength to go along with his pictorial flair. The ending is so lame it's disheartening. Surely anyone clever enough to dream up Edward Scissorhands should be swift enough to think of a payoff that involves our imagination."[32] Siskel was in agreement that the movie needed "a third act as interesting as the first two".


Stan Winston and Ve Neil were nominated the Academy Award for Best Makeup, but lost to John Caglione, Jr. for his work on Dick Tracy.[33] Production designer Bo Welch won the BAFTA Award for Best Production Design, while costume designer Colleen Atwood, and Winston and Neil also received nominations at the British Academy Film Awards. In addition, Winston was nominated for his visual effects work.[34] Depp was nominated the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy, but lost to Gérard Depardieu of Green Card.[35] Edward Scissorhands was able to win the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation[36] and the Saturn Award for Best Fantasy Film. Danny Elfman, Ryder, Dianne Wiest, Alan Arkin and Atwood received individual nominations.[37] Elfman was also given a Grammy Award nomination.[7]


Burton cites Edward Scissorhands as epitomizing his most personal work.[7] The film is also Burton's first collaboration with actor Johnny Depp and cinematographer Stefan Czapsky. In October 2008, the Hallmark Channel purchased the television rights.[38]


  1. ^ a b c Mark Salisbury; Tim Burton (2006). Burton on Burton. London: Faber and Faber. pp. 84–88. ISBN 0-571-22926-3. 
  2. ^ a b Hanke, p.97-100
  3. ^ Donna Foote; David Ansen (1991-01-21). "The Disembodied Director". Newsweek. 
  4. ^ John Evan Frook (1993-04-13). "Canton Product at Colpix starting gate". Variety. Retrieved 2008-12-04. 
  5. ^ a b c Frank Rose (January 1991). "Tim Cuts Up". Premiere: pp. 42–47. 
  6. ^ a b c d e Nina J. Easton (1990-08-12). "For Tim Burton, This One's Personal". Los Angeles Times. 
  7. ^ a b c Edwin Page (2007). "Edward Scissorhands". Gothic Fantasy: The Films of Tim Burton. London: Marion Boyars Publishers. pp. 78–94. ISBN 0-7145-3132-4. 
  8. ^ a b c d e Salisbury, Burton, p.89-94
  9. ^ Hewitt, Chris (2003-01-02). "Tom Cruise: The Alternative Universe". Empire: p. 67. 
  10. ^ Johnny Depp (2005). "Foreword". Burton on Burton. London: Faber and Faber. pp. ix-xii. ISBN 0-571-22926-3. 
  11. ^ "Johnny Depp on his inspiration for Edward Scissorhands". Entertainment Weekly. May 2007.,,20035285_20035355_20039648_1,00.html. Retrieved 2007-05-22. 
  12. ^ Giselle Benater (1990-12-14). "Cutting Edge". Entertainment Weekly.,,318853,00.html. Retrieved 2008-12-06. 
  13. ^ Bernard Weinraub (1993-03-07). "The Name Is Barrymore But the Style Is All Drew's". The New York Times. 
  14. ^ DVD production notes
  15. ^
  16. ^ a b Laurie Halpern Smith (1990-08-26). "Look, Ma, No Hands, or Tim Burton's Latest Feat". The New York Times. 
  17. ^ a b Hanke, p.101-105
  18. ^ Joe Frank (1990-04-17). "Lights Camera Action Big Bucks". St. Petersburg Times. 
  19. ^ a b c Salisbury, Burton, p.95-100
  20. ^ a b Glen Collins (1991-01-10). "Johnny Depp Contemplates Life As, and After, 'Scissorhands'". The New York Times. 
  21. ^
  22. ^ Larry Rohter (1990-12-09). "Batman? Bartman? Darkman? Elfman". The New York Times. 
  23. ^ Danny Elfman, DVD audio commentary, 1998, 20th Century Fox
  24. ^ Graham Fuller (December 1990). "Tim Burton and Vincent Price Interview". Interview: pp. 37–48. 
  25. ^ Hanke, p.107-116
  26. ^ "Edward Scissorhands". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2008-12-02. 
  27. ^ "Edward Scissorhands". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2008-12-02. 
  28. ^ "Edward Scissorhands (1990): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2008-12-02. 
  29. ^ Janet Maslin (1990-12-07). "And So Handy Around The Garden". The New York Times. 
  30. ^ Desson Thomson (1990-12-14). "Edward Scissorhands". The Washington Post. 
  31. ^ Peter Travers (2001-02-09). "Edward Scissorhands". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2008-12-04. 
  32. ^ Roger Ebert (1990-12-14). "Edward Scissorhands". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2008-12-04. 
  33. ^ Edward Scissorhands. "Edward Scissorhands". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 2008-12-06. 
  34. ^ "Edward Scissorhands". British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Retrieved 2008-12-06. 
  35. ^ "Edward Scissorhands". Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Retrieved 2008-12-06. 
  36. ^ "1991 Hugo Awards". The Hugo Awards. Retrieved 2008-12-06. 
  37. ^ "Past Saturn Awards". Saturn Retrieved 2008-05-07. 
  38. ^ Daniel Frankel; Mike Flaherty (2008-10-22). "BET, Hallmark pact for pics". Variety. 

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Edward Scissorhands is a 1990 fantasy film directed by Tim Burton. Peg Boggs meets a young, shy, quirky and bizarre-looking man named Edward, whose hands are made of scissors, and adopts him into her own "typical American" family.


Peg: What happened to you? Where are your parents? Your mother? Your father?
Edward: He didn't wake up.

Esmeralda: It's not heaven he's from! It's straight from the stinking flames of hell! The power of Satan is in him; I can feel it. Can't you? Have you poor sheep strayed so far from the path?
Edward: We're not sheep.
Esmeralda: Don't come near me!

Esmeralda: He has been sent first to tempt you. But it's not too late. You must push him from you, expel him! Trample down the perversion of nature!
Joyce: Did you hear that? [chuckles] He's a perversion of nature. Why, isn't that exciting?

Bill: So, Edward, did you have a productive day?
Edward: Mrs. Monroe showed me where the salon's going to be. You could have a cosmetics counter.
Peg: Wouldn't that be great?
Bill: Great.
Edward: And then she showed me the back room where she took all of her clothes off.

Kim: Hold me.
Edward: [tries to hold her]...I can't.

Bill: Sweetheart, you can't buy the necessities of life with cookies.

Jim: Forget about holding her hand, man. Think about the damage he could do to other places.

Kim: You see, before he came down here, it never snowed. And afterwards, it did. If he weren't up there now, I don't think it would be snowing. Sometimes you can still catch me dancing in it.


Johnny Depp - Edward Scissorhands
Winona Ryder - Kim
Dianne Wiest - Peg
Anthony Michael Hall - Jim
Kathy Baker - Joyce
Robert Oliveri - Kevin

External links

Wikipedia has an article about:

Simple English

Edward Scissorhands
Directed by Tim Burton
Produced by Tim Burton
Denise Di Novi
Starring Johnny Depp
Winona Ryder
Dianne Wiest
Anthony Michael Hall
Kathy Baker
Alan Arkin
Vincent Price
Music by Danny Elfman
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date(s) Template:Film date
Running time 105 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $20 million

Edward Scissorhands is a romantic comedy directed by Tim Burton and released in 1990. Caroline Thomson wrote the screen play for the film. Composer and musician, from the band Oingo Boingo, Danny Elfman wrote and performed the music in this movie. The Role of Edward was played by Johnny Depp with Wionna Ryder playing Kim, his love interest. After making this movie, Wionna Ryder got a high reputation. Also Johnny Depp and Tim Burton made a very good combination after this film. Many of Burton's movies after Edward Scissorhands star Johnny Depp.


It starts with an old lady telling a story about snow to her grand daughter. The story is about a sad man named Edward man who had scissors, instead of hands. A sales woman of Avon, Peg, visits the house on the top of the mountain in her town. There lived Edward. Edward was created by a lonely inventor. He was left unfinished because the inventor died before giving him human's hands. Peg felt pity for him and took him home. He was welcomed in the village. The neighbors got to like him more because of his talent in gardening and hair cutting. Jim, Peg's boyfriend, tried to use Edward's skill of unlocking doors without a scratch for stealing money from his own father. However, the security system was operating and Edward was locked in the room alone, where he was later caught. After then, Jim started to dislike Edward. Later, when Edward caught saw that Kim was enjoying the snow outside, Edward made an ice sculpture of her. Jim called out her name, causing Edward to jump, and he accidentally cut Kim's hand.. However, he claimed that it was intentional. Moreover, when Edward saved Kevin from the car accident, he was misunderstood that he was trying to hurt Kevin. As he was suspected by all the people in the village, he went back to the castle he was living in. Jim followed him and tried to hurt him, but Jim was thrown out of the window of the castle and died. Kim wanted to protect Edward, so she lies to the villager that they killed each other. The story ends with the scene in which it is revealed that the old woman telling the story was Kim.

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