Tim Burton's Corpse Bride Movie Poster Image

Tim Burton's Corpse Bride

Magical, with scares most 10-year-olds can handle.
Parents recommendPopular with kids
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2005
  • Running Time: 74 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Love and selflessness are presented neatly in this quirky fairy tale.

Positive role models

The central characters are intensely well-meaning; the evil villain never stood a chance agaisnt them. They are thoughtful, caring and, for the most part, unselfish. The main character, Emily, ascends to heaven after she has released Victor to his true love, Victoria, and protects him from a dastardly villain.


Some scariness (crows in trees, talking skeletons, and dead bodies with rotting flesh and maggots).

Not applicable

Some spicy sayings but nothing too out of line.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

The skeletons drink, but it's clearly fantasy.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie includes multiple references to dead bodies, skeletons, decay, and death, though all in good fun. The corpse bride's eye pops out occasionally, to show the talking maggot who lives inside and offers romantic advice. The story concerns a young man and woman who meet for a marriage arranged by their parents, both families in need of money. The young man's betrothal to the corpse bride leads him to contemplate his own death, in order to fit in with her friends. Song and dance numbers feature skeletons, corpses, and ghosts. Both sets of parents are using their children to achieve money and status. And when the live bride-to-be asks the local pastor for help, the film raises questions concerning the effectiveness of organized religion.

What's the story?

TIM BURTON'S CORPSE BRIDE begins as Victor Van Dort (voiced by Johnny Depp) and Victoria Everglott (Emily Watson) are to be wed in an arranged marriage. Their parents -- nouveau riche Nell and William Van Dort (Tracey Ullman and Paul Whitehouse) and recently poor gentry Maudeline and Finis Everglot (Joanna Lumley and Albert Finney) – expect the marriage to leave both families better off, either by means of money or class status. When a nervous Victor flubs the ceremony rehearsal, Pastor Galswells (Christopher Lee) sends him off to practice his vows. Stumbling around in the dark woods, Victor finally seems to get it right, slipping the ring onto what seems a twig. But no: the wood is really the skeletal finger of the Corpse Bride (Helena Bonham Carter). Victor is transported immediately to the Bride's netherworld. Though Victor wants to get back to Victoria -- currently menaced by a next suitor, the devious Barkis Bittern (Richard E. Grant) -- he is also sympathetic to the sweet Bride's lonely plight, and he waffles, lies, and generally watches his life and possible death go on around him.

Is it any good?


This movie is self-consciously clever. Victor is an exceedingly empathetic sort, but he is, after all, a bit of a wimp who spends so much time trying to please everyone else that he loses sight of what he wants for himself. Corpse Bride follows Victor's coming to terms with himself, as he figures out what he does want. Lucky for him, Victoria and the Bride are both very understanding. And lucky for us, the stop-motion animation is delightful. Though the story runs thin quickly, the visual show remains airy and charming. Especially if you don't mind the clattering of bones during dance numbers.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the dilemma facing Victor, who comes to love both the corpse bride and his arranged bride and so must choose between them.

  • How do Victor's and Victoria's parents pressure them to marry?

  • How might Victor have handled the confusion he felt differently to avoid hurting Victoria's or the Corpse Bride's feelings?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:September 23, 2005
DVD/Streaming release date:January 31, 2006
Cast:Emily Watson, Helena Bonham Carter, Johnny Depp
Director:Tim Burton
Studio:Warner Independent
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires
Run time:74 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:scary images

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Parent Written bykamikazecook October 31, 2011

Beautiful, touching & funny love story from the master of the bittersweet

If your children are fearful of death or ghoulish images, this movie is not for them. If, however, they find Hallowe'en imagery fun, then they will have no trouble with this movie's imagery. There is really not much actually scary in this movie beyond the fact that the characters are dead—the only moment with any really "scariness" (and I say this as an adult who can't handle real horror films) comes early on when the corpse bride reaches up from underground to try to drag Victor into her grave, then chases him (one skeletal arm separated from her body) through a dark forest, but this is all executed in Tim Burton's whimsical style—it's less scary than the menacing trees in Wizard of Oz. In fact, this film is reminiscent of Wizard of Oz in its color imagery, with the land of the living cold, harsh, lonely and grey and the land of the dead full of color and camaraderie. That said, what gives this movie its extraordinary power is the deep sadness at its core—the profound loneliness of being unloved, and the essential, permanent separation between the dead and the living—and the truthfulness with which Burton mines these themes will leave many adults (and more sensitive children) weeping. Even though Burton also gives all the characters the redemption and ecstasy of finding themselves loved, not everyone gets what they thought they wanted, and the movie is, overall, bittersweet. Corpse Bride is a beautiful, moving story of three people (one dead) doing their best to find and give comfort to each other, and alongside the sadness (and the considerable fun—there is a lot of humor throughout the movie) is a lovingly detailed fable of the gentle yet tremendous power of innocent kindness given to those in need of connection.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 13 years old Written byAnimeGirl-Nikki March 31, 2010

Perfect for kids and adults of all ages!

This is my favorite movie of all time, next to Disney's Tarzan. Corpse Bride is the tale of a boy named Victor and a girl named Victoria, who are in an arranged marriage organized by their respective sets of parents (both of whom are only marrying off their children in the hopes of inheriting wealth and other fortune from the other family). Victor and Victoria are at first not happy about their set marriage, but they soon start warming up to each other through little sweet moments such as exchanging flowers and playing the piano together. During the wedding rehersal, Victor screws up his vows so many times that the pastor angrily sends him out of the chapel to go practice. Victor practices his vows in the forest, and everything goes smoothly as he's practicing...up until he slips Victoria's ring on a fingerlike "branch" in the ground that happens to be the finger of dead Emily, aka the Corpse Bride! By doing this (saying vows and giving ring), Emily is now married to Victor, and she awakens (through a slow, creepy, zombielike scene where she claws her way out of the ground). She chases Victor, kisses him, and he faints. When Victor wakes up, he finds himself in the Underworld with a bunch of skeletons and corpses that live there, and the adventure just escalates from there... Now, it seems a bit outrageous, but it's really just a spooky little Halloween film; a love story with Tim Burton's signature macabre touch. The stop-motion animation is wonderful, the voice-acting is fantastic, and the songs (did I mention that it's a bit of a musical?) are awesome and catchy. Some scenes are a bit frightening, but it's all just really cartoon violence with a bit of a darker feel. Morals are okay- though the parents seem to only care about their image and themselves most of the time, little moments show that they care for their children. Or, at least Victor's parents seem to, haha. There's also a bad guy, but his motives are easy to see and it's very obvious that he's not a role model, as you'll find out in the movie. Long review, I know, but read some of the other reviews on here, preview the movie, and make your final judgement. The Corpse Bride is a wonderful film for Halloween.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 11 years old January 31, 2010

Perfect for everybody

Movie is really good!And it's not scary!Most 9 years old kids can handle!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models