Edward Scissorhands: 30 facts to celebrate its 30th anniversary

On 14th December 1990, American audiences were introduced to Edward Scissorhands for the very first time. A gentle outcast with scissors in place of his hands, this enchanting and tragic creation lay at the heart of Tim Burton's masterful fairy tale.

Coming on the heels of Batman, Edward Scissorhands was a much more personal project for Burton. He drew on his own feelings of outsiderness to craft a gentle fairy tale that is by turns amusing and gut-wrenchingly sad. 

Buoyed by Johnny Depp's performance in the title role, Edward Scissorhands has lost none of its power to captivate or move. To celebrate the film's 30th anniversary, here's our Cineworld blog list of facts about the movie.


1. Edward Scissorhands drew on Burton's memories of being an ostracised teenager in Burbank, California.

2. Burton said: "I get the feeling people just got this urge to want to leave me alone for some reason, I don't know exactly why."

3. Following the blockbuster success of 1989's Batman, Burton had licence to make any film he wanted, and he decided to pursue this intimate love story.

4. Burton hired novelist Caroline Thompson to write the screenplay and she described it as a "love poem" to Burton.

5. Thompson described Burton as "the most articulate person I know, but couldn't put a single sentence together".

6. The fact that Burton was fired from the Disney Animation Studios in the 1980s enhanced his outsider status – he was reportedly unhappy at drawing characters with "big eyes".

7. After being fired from Disney, Burton chose to fuel his love of the macabre and the surreal in movies like Edward Scissorhands.

8. 20th Century Fox financed the movie, agreeing to give Burton complete control.

9. This resulted in a striking fairy tale world that blended odd shapes and angles, with Burton drawing on classic movies such as The Phantom of the Opera.

10. A multitude of actors were considered for the role of Edward, including Tom Cruise and Gary Oldman.

11. Cruise reportedly asked for a happier ending, but Burton stuck to his guns, resulting in the heart-rending finale that had everyone sobbing.

12. Johnny Depp eagerly accepted the part when he was offered it, seeking to avoid typecasting due to his good looks.

13. In truth, Depp had always been favoured for the role, and the actor said he "wept like a newborn" on reading the script for the first time.

14. Even Michael Jackson expressed an interest in playing the role.

15. Depp had resented his manufactured image on cult TV series 21 Jump Street, and in the form of Tim Burton, found his offbeat muse.

16. Depp later referenced silent comic Charlie Chaplin as an inspiration for Edward's movements.

17. Burton cast Winona Ryder in the role of Kim after enjoying their collaboration on morbid 1988 comedy Beetlejuice.

18. Edward Scissorhands was the final screen role of Burton's idol Vincent Price, whom he cast in the role of The Inventor.

19. The movie was shot in a Florida neighborhood that was dressed and designed to give a slightly askance view of suburbia, as per Burton's memories.

20. Burton described his take on suburbia as "a weird place", adding: "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."

21. Production designer Bo Welch described the film's look as "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".

22. Edward's scissors were designed by veteran make-up and effects designer Stan Winston (Jurassic Park), who was later Oscar-nominated for his work on the film.

23. Depp's prosthetics took nearly two hours to apply, and at one point he almost fainted on set due to the combination of his costume and the Florida heat.

24. Edward Scissorhands was the fourth collaboration between Burton and composer Danny Elfman (following Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, Beetlejuice and Batman), and the latter has described this score as his personal favourite.

25. Elfman's haunting and alluring soundtrack mixes the sound of a 79-piece symphony orchestra with a boy's and women's voice choir.

26. In fact, Burton had considered The Cure frontman Robert Smith to write the score, but he declined.

27. The score is heavily inspired by ballet, including Tchaikovsky's 'Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy' from The Nutcracker.

28. Elfman was nominated for a Grammy for his soundtrack.

29. Edward Scissorhands was a box office success, ultimately grossing $86 million against a $20 million budget.

30. Such is the movie's enduring status that, in 2005, it was adapted into a musical by Matthew Bourne, which has gone on to tour worldwide.


What is your favourite scene from Edward Scissorhands? Let us know @Cineworld and join us as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of this Tim Burton classic.