Corpse Bride

Corpse Bride
Corpse Bride

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Tim Burton
Mike Johnson
Produced by Tim Burton
Allison Abbate
Joe Ranft
Derek Frey
Screenplay by John August
Caroline Thompson
Pamela Pettler
Starring Johnny Depp
Helena Bonham Carter
Emily Watson
Tracey Ullman
Paul Whitehouse
Joanna Lumley
Albert Finney
Music by Danny Elfman
Cinematography Pete Kozachik
Editing by Chris Lebenzon
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date(s) September 7, 2005 (2005-09-07) (VIFF)
September 23, 2005 (2005-09-23) (United States)
October 13, 2005 (2005-10-13) (United Kingdom)
Running time 77 minutes
Country United Kingdom
United States
Language English
Budget $40 million[1]
Box office $117,195,061[2]

Corpse Bride, often promoted as Tim Burton's Corpse Bride, is a 2005 stop-motion-animated fantasy musical film directed by Mike Johnson and Tim Burton. It is set in a fictional Victorian era village in Europe. Johnny Depp led an all-star cast as the voice of Victor, while Helena Bonham Carter (for whom the project was specially created) voiced Emily, the title character. Corpse Bride is the third stop-motion feature-film produced by Tim Burton (not including his short film Vincent), the first two being The Nightmare Before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach.

The film was nominated in the 78th Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature, but was bested by Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. It was shot with a battery of Canon EOS-1D Mark II digital SLRs, rather than the 35mm film cameras used for Burton's previous stop-motion film The Nightmare Before Christmas.[3]



In an unnamed fictional late Victorian Era European village, possibly in England, Victor Van Dort (Johnny Depp), the son of nouveau riche fish merchants, and Victoria Everglot (Emily Watson), the neglected daughter of hateful aristocrats who have lost their money, are preparing for their arranged marriage, which will raise the social class of Victor's parents and restore the wealth of Victoria's. Both have concerns about marrying someone they do not know, but they fall in love when they first meet. After the shy, clumsy Victor ruins the wedding rehearsal and is scolded at by pastor Galswells, he flees and practices his wedding vows in the nearby forest, placing the wedding ring on a nearby upturned tree root.

The root turns out to be the finger of a dead young woman clad in a tattered bridal gown, who rises from the grave claiming that she is now Victor's wife. Spirited away to the surprisingly festive Land of the Dead, the bewildered Victor learns the story of Emily (Helena Bonham Carter), his new "bride," murdered years ago on the night of her secret elopement. Meanwhile, Victoria's parents hear that Victor has been seen in another woman's arms, and become suspicious.

Wanting to reunite with Victoria, Victor tricks Emily into taking him back to the Land of the Living by pretending he wants her to meet his parents. She agrees to this and takes him to see Elder Gutknecht (Michael Gough), the kindly ruler of the underworld, to send him and Emily temporarily to the Land of the Living. Once back home, Victor asks Emily to wait in the forest while he rushes off to see Victoria and confess his wish to marry her as soon as possible, to which she gladly returns his feelings. Emily soon arrives and sees the two of them together and, feeling betrayed and hurt, drags Victor back to the Land of the Dead. Victoria tells her parents that Victor has been forcibly wed to a dead woman, but they believe she has lost her mind and lock her up in her bedroom. With Victor gone, Victoria's parents decide to marry her off to a presumably wealthy newcomer in town named Lord Barkis Bittern (Richard E. Grant), who appeared at the wedding rehearsal, against her will.

Emily is heartbroken by Victor's deception, thinking he loves Victoria simply because she is alive. Victor, however, apologizes for lying to her, and the two reconcile while playing a piano together. Shortly after, Victor's family coachman appears in the afterlife (having recently died) and informs Victor of Victoria's impending marriage to Lord Barkis. At the same time, Emily learns from Elder Gutknecht that because marriage vows are only binding until "death do you part" and death already parts them, her supposed marriage to Victor was never valid. In order for their marriage to become valid, Victor must repeat his vows in the Land Of The Living and drink poison- thus joining her in death. Overhearing this, and fretting about having lost his chance with Victoria, Victor agrees to die for Emily. All of the dead go "upstairs" to the Land of the Living to perform the wedding ceremony for Victor and Emily. Upon their arrival, the town erupts into a temporary panic until every living recognizes each other's loved ones from the dead and they have a joyous reunion under the bizarre circumstances.

After a quarrel with Lord Barkis -and realizing he was only after her supposed money- Victoria follows the procession of dead to the church. As Victor prepares to drink the cup of poison to kill himself, Emily notices Victoria and has second thoughts, realizing that she is denying Victoria her chance at happiness the same way it was stolen from her. Lord Barkis interrupts them, and Emily recognizes him as her former fiance - who is revealed to be the one who murdered her for her dowry. Lord Barkis tries to kidnap Victoria at sword point, but Victor stops him and the two men duel. Emily intercedes to save Victor, and Lord Barkis mockingly proposes a toast to Emily claiming she's "always the bridesmaid, never the bride!", accidentally drinking the cup of poison. The dead (now able to intercede as he's dead) drag the "new arrival" away to the Land of the Dead.

Emily sets Victor free of his vow to marry her, giving the wedding ring back to Victor and her wedding bouquet to Victoria before exiting the church. As she steps into the moonlight, she transforms into hundreds of butterflies, presumably finding her eternal rest, as Victor and Victoria look on.


  • Johnny Depp as Victor Van Dort, a shy and socially awkward young man.
  • Helena Bonham Carter as Emily, the Corpse Bride, a beautiful and charismatic young woman with a passion for music and dance.
  • Emily Watson as Victoria Everglot, Victor van Dort's sweet-natured, determined fiance.
  • Tracey Ullman as Nell Van Dort, Victor's socially ambitious mother who holds contempt for her son. Ullman also plays Hildegarde, the elderly, hunch-backed maid of the Everglot household who acts as a mother figure for Victoria.
  • Paul Whitehouse as William Van Dort, Victor's father; Mayhew, the Van Dorts' coachman. Whitehouse also voices Paul the Head Waiter.
  • Joanna Lumley as Lady Maudeline Everglot, Victoria's cold, unloving mother.
  • Albert Finney as The Lord Finis Everglot, Victoria's grim and indifferent father, and Grandfather Everglot, Finis' deceased grandfather.
  • Richard E. Grant as Lord Barkis Bittern, a charming but cowardly and psychopathic con-artist.
  • Christopher Lee as Pastor Gallswells, a haughty and attention-seeking priest who is hired to conduct Victor and Victoria's marriage.
  • Michael Gough as Elder Gutknecht, an ancient and rickety skeleton.
  • Jane Horrocks as The Black Widow, an affable black widow spider seamstress, and Mrs. Plum, the deceased, proprietress of the Ball and Socket Pub.
  • Enn Reitel as Maggot, a sarcastic, green maggot who lives inside Emily's head and acts as her conscience, and The Town Crier. A parody of Peter Lorre.
  • Deep Roy as General Bonesapart, a dwarfish skeleton in a military uniform with a sword stuck in his chest. He is a parody of Napoleon Bonaparte.
  • Danny Elfman as Bonejangles, a vivacious, one-eyed, singing skeleton.
  • Stephen Ballantyne as Emil, the Everglots' long-suffering butler.

Musical numbers

  1. According to Plan -- Nell, Wlliam, Maudeline, and Finnis
  2. Remains of the Day -- Bonejangles and the The Dead
  3. Tears to Shed -- Maggot, The Black Widow, and Emily
  4. The Wedding Song -- Mrs. Plum, The Black Widow, Maggot, Victor, and The Dead


The film is based upon Jewish folklore with a similar plot.[4]

One version of the legend is included in the Shivkhey HoAri, the biographical collection of mystical stories about a renowned kabbalist, Rabbi Yitzchak Luria Ashkenazi. There, someone jokingly put a ring on a finger sticking from the ground and pronounced the formal betrothal phrase, thus unwillingly becoming married to a woman from an underworld who subsequently came to claim him as a husband. The case was brought in front of the Arizal, who ruled that since the man did not willingly perform the betrothal he was not bound by the marriage, but to be sure that the woman should remain free to marry one of her kind, the man had to give her a formal divorce according to the Jewish law.[5][6]


The film was a financial success, grossing $53,359,111 domestically and $117,195,061 worldwide. It was also met with a positive reaction from critics. Rotten Tomatoes reported 84% of their critics gave the film a positive review. The film also maintains a nearly identical 83/100 rating from Metacritic. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times awarded the film three stars out of four, praising the voice acting and animation, stating that it is not a "macabre horror story as the title suggests", and calling the film a "sweet and visually lovely tale of love lost".[7]

The film was nominated for AFI's 10 Top 10 in the "Animation" genre.[8]

See also


External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Corpse Bride — …   Википедия

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