Universal acclaim - based on 39 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 39
  2. Negative: 0 out of 39

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Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    Depp is such a soulful presence he gives you a glimpse of this maniac's pain and pathos. Bonham Carter is extraordinary. She reinvents Mrs. Lovett from the inside out.
  2. 100
    Something close to a masterpiece, a work of extreme -- I am tempted to say evil -- genius.
  3. 100
    Burton brings his signature visual style, and a pair of stock players for his stars, into this film adaptation, but he wisely follows Sondheim's lead, letting the music and spirit of the original piece show the way.
  4. 100
    Admirers of Stephen Sondheim who have wondered whether a riveting movie would ever be made from one of his stage musicals can put aside their doubts and worries: Tim Burton has finally accomplished it in his ravishing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
  5. 100
    Helena Bonham Carter may be Burton's inamorata, but apart from that, she is perfectly cast, not as a vulgar fishwife type but as a petite beauty with dark, sad eyes and a pouting mouth and a persistent fantasy that she and the barber will someday settle by the seaside. Not bloody likely.
  6. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    The result is one of the odder and, certainly the most compelling of the short stream of Broadway-to-Hollywood transplants of recent years. The interweaving of the music and the visuals casts an unusual, restive spell of delight and unease.
  7. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    A final word for those of you who just don't care for musicals: The movie's true lyricism is less in its score than in its visual and emotional palette, and in watching Depp rise to the majesty of madness. So give Sweeney Todd a try. Even Victor, when he finally saw it, agreed: it's bloody great.
  8. Teaming with Depp, his long-time alter ego, Burton makes Sweeney a smoldering dark pit of fury and hate that consumes itself. With his sturdy acting and surprisingly good voice, Depp is a Sweeney Todd for the ages.
  9. 90
    Tim Burton has taken a hallowed classic of the modern musical theater, hemmed in the narrative from well over two hours to well under, cast confessed nonsingers in the principal roles, and somehow managed to make something magical out of it
  10. Wall Street Journal
    Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    An elegant horror film, starring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, that takes pleasure in its own theatricality, gives pleasure with caustic wit, trusts the power of Stephen Sondheim's score and exults in flights of fancy that only a movie can provide.
  11. 90
    I know a lot of people with no knowledge of Sondheim’s musical (much less Bond’s play) are going to buy tickets for a cute holiday movie starring that handsome Johnny Depp and end up experiencing something else entirely. Bon appétit.
  12. Burton, bless him, constricts the space and concentrates the melodrama; he finds the perfect balance between the funereal and the ferocious. Above all, he treasures these ghouls: He digs both their bloodlust and their melancholy.
  13. 88
    This Sweeney is a bloody wonder, intimate and epic, horrific and heart-rending as it flies on the wings of Sondheim's most thunderously exciting score.
  14. 88
    Mighty entertainment that makes you feel sorry for the saps next door in the multiplex.
  15. Sweeney Todd may haunt you in ways you’re not used to with a movie musical. At least not since “Mame.”
  16. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Mesmerizing and highly entertaining.
  17. Though Burton's version is faithful, the filter of his sensibility has turned it into another of his necrophilic creepshows.
  18. 88
    Burton has found a vehicle sturdy enough to indulge every facet of his imagination: His great visual flair, his sense of whimsy and humor, his fondness for horror and his love of music.
  19. Tim Burton's grand guignol fantasy transforms Stephen Sondheim's 1979 musical-theater piece into a cheerfully gothic morality tale.
  20. The movie is so finely minced a mixture of Sondheim's original melodrama and Burton's signature spicing that it's difficult to think of any other filmmaker so naturally suited for the job.
  21. A considerable achievement even if, on balance, it's more of a Tim Burton phantasmagoria than a Sondheim fantasia.
  22. Sometimes jaunty, often dark, and very stylized. In other words, it's a perfect fit for director Tim Burton.
  23. 83
    They've made a movie-movie of Sweeney Todd, and if you've got the stomach and ear for it, you'll be grateful.
  24. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Both sharp and fleet, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street proves a satisfying screen version of Stephen Sondheim’s landmark 1979 theatrical musical.
  25. 80
    No Greek tragedy, this Hollywood Sweeney is a FUN creepy-crawly. If nothing else, Burton has learned that the successfully gruesome is its own reward.
  26. Well-crafted if relatively impersonal adaptation.
  27. It's not entirely surprising that Burton's Sweeney Todd feels heavier on style than on substance -- so much that the style almost subverts the story. Still, it's a gorgeous artifact and pretty enjoyable in all.
  28. Reviewed by: June Thomas
    Burton's overall restraint is a welcome surprise. Shorn of his usual camp trappings, the director evokes a sadness beneath every uneasy smile he draws from the audience.
  29. Reviewed by: Kim Newman
    Whether horror fans are ready for high-notes or musical buffs will appreciate Dario Argento levels of gore is an open question, but this is a rich, demented experience.
  30. Depp may not be a trained singer, but his voice is more than passable, and his presence - his Sweeney is Edward Scissorhands gone bad - is perfect. Bonham Carter sings well, too, and young Ed Sanders, as the pie shop's Dickensian apprentice, is a delight.
  31. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Sweeney Todd comes as close to raging at normalcy as Burton has dared. It's no coincidence that the rage is borrowed from a greater artist.
  32. 70
    The whole work drips with a camp savagery (hence the presence of Sacha Baron Cohen as Pirelli, a rival barber and faux-Italianate fop), which in turn relies on the conviction that death itself, like sexual desire, exists to be sniffed at and chuckled over.
  33. 63
    In the end, the real problem with the Demon Barber of Fleet Street is that he's not as bloody fun as he should be.
  34. With Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Tim Burton gives new meaning to the term "director's cut."
  35. What looks good on paper contracts doesn't guarantee results. Stylized but spasmodic, this "Sweeney" seems more interested in distancing than captivating an audience.
  36. What does it say about a picture when the highest praise must go to impressive scenery?
  37. 50
    The picture throws off no feeling, not even the misanthropic kind; at best, it manages a dull, throbbing energy, as if Burton were dutifully pushing his way through the material instead of shaping it.
  38. Burton's gorgeously grim film (his sixth with Depp) is loyal to Sondheim's original, both in spirit and structure; it's dark and gothic and drenched in blood, and it forgoes excessive dialogue in the name of getting quickly to the next murky, malevolent, yet strangely forgettable tune.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 532 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 32 out of 204
  1. ErinB.
    Jun 4, 2008
    It's official! There is absolutely nothing Johnny Depp can't do! Twisted in a beautiful way!
  2. Dec 19, 2011
    Scary, crazy, well acted, beautifully filmed and with some great music. Tim Burton's Adaptation is actually my favorite yet and I enjoyed itScary, crazy, well acted, beautifully filmed and with some great music. Tim Burton's Adaptation is actually my favorite yet and I enjoyed it better than the Broadway version with Patti Lupone and Angela Lansberry. I give this movie 88%. Full Review »
  3. Sep 24, 2011
    "Sweeney Todd", the remake version directed by Burton, sticks its bloody blade right to the problems of society and mock them with Johnny Depp"Sweeney Todd", the remake version directed by Burton, sticks its bloody blade right to the problems of society and mock them with Johnny Depp as the violent Barber. However beware the music; it sucks. Full Review »