Metascore
70

Generally favorable reviews - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 19
  2. Negative: 2 out of 19
  1. 78
    The strangest biographical film ever made is also one of the most charming, melancholy and quirkily humorous films of the year.
  2. 50
    Fails to go into the one realm that would make it worthwhile, which is Ed Wood's brain.
  3. If, like the filmmakers, you're willing to settle for a myth that flatters your sensibilities and shortchanges the past, you're likely to find some agreeable kicks here.
  4. 88
    What Burton has made is a film which celebrates Wood more than it mocks him, and which celebrates, too, the zany spirit of 1950s exploitation films - in which a great title, a has-been star and a lurid ad campaign were enough to get bookings for some of the oddest films ever made.
  5. 100
    One of those rare films that communicates the exquisite joy of the moviemaking process. [7 October 1994, Friday, p.B]
  6. A comedy of the ridiculous in which the ridiculous turns unexpectedly sublime.
  7. Reviewed by: John Hartl
    90
    In his finest, funniest, most poignant film to date, Tim Burton plays cinematic alchemist, turning drive-in schlock into movie gold.
  8. Reviewed by: Lucy Mohl
    70
    What we remember are the visions of genius and the total turkeys. Rarely do you get both in the same movie, but director Tim Burton pulls it off in this oddly affectionate bio-pic of Ed Wood.
  9. Turns out to be a thoroughly entertaining if eccentric piece of business, wacky and amusing in a cheerfully preposterous way. [28 September 1994, Calendar, p.F-1]
  10. 63
    The most interesting personality in Ed Wood is not the title character, but Bela Lugosi. So covered up with makeup that he's barely recognizable, Martin Landau gives a deeply-felt performance -- a eerie and stunning recreation of a man haunted by lost fame.
  11. Burton has trouble sustaining the briskness of the first half. But the brilliance of many individual scenes, and the extraordinary performance by Landau, are more than enough to justify this goofy, tender ode to eccentricity. [7 October 1994, Daily Notebook, p.C1]
  12. A cinematic homage as flawed as its subject. Flawed, yet with a peculiar fascination of its own -- what we have is a genuine artist paying sincere tribute to an unapologetic mediocrity, and stooping awkwardly to the task.
  13. If Ed Wood has a major failing, it's the lack of momentum. Wood's career had nowhere to go, and to some extent the film has the same problem. [23 September 1994, p.C34]
  14. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    20
    This Ed Wood is dead wood.
  15. Reviewed by: Frank Lovece
    70
    Delightful, off-the-wall, and ultimately moving.
  16. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    100
    Half-factual, half-fanciful and all funny, this labor of love is also unexpectedly touching. [28 September 1994, Life, p.5D]
  17. Reviewed by: Staff [not credited]
    70
    Always engaging to watch and often dazzling in its imagination and technique, picture is also a bit distended, and lacking in weight at its center.
  18. Reviewed by: Hal Hinson
    80
    Making a movie about the life of Ed Wood certainly qualifies as an impossible dream, but Burton has pulled it off with wit, imagination and something amazingly close to grace.
  19. Burton has evoked the surface of Ed Wood's life, but in a story about a man who loves angora and frilly panties, he has barely unbuttoned Wood's uniform.
User Score
8.5

Universal acclaim- based on 95 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 27
  2. Negative: 0 out of 27
  1. Oct 29, 2012
    5
    Ed Wood is a strangely uncharismatic bio-pic from Burton and Depp. It has some nice photography, some decent performances and great period design but I felt myself drift off into boredom during the final third. Full Review »
  2. Jan 22, 2011
    10
    Tim Burton's best film, without the slightest hint of doubt. Every performance, every joke, every set; just about everything in this movie was perfect. It's so good, that I consider it one of my personal favorites. Full Review »
  3. CT
    Jun 2, 2007
    10
    Wow, I just watched this again after several years (2007). The first time I just smiled or chuckled, this time I was ROTFLMAO. I rented Plan 9 as well and watched it *before* watching Ed Wood - it made all the difference in the world! The one thing I had to keep saying to myself while watching Plan 9 was, "This guy was dead serious! This isn't a movie parody!" Watching Ed Wood gave me a psuedo-peek behind the camera so to speak. I recommend it to anyone; it is a very entertaining film, but greatly enhanced if you watch Wood's film(s) beforehand. I can't wait to get my hand's on Glen or Glenda and Bride of the Monster. "Pull the string! Pull the string!" Full Review »