The Nightmare Before Christmas

Critics Consensus

The Nightmare Before Christmas is a stunningly original and visually delightful work of stop-motion animation.

95%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 96

91%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 968,642

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Movie Info

The film follows the misadventures of Jack Skellington, Halloweentown's beloved pumpkin king, who has become bored with the same annual routine of frightening people in the "real world." When Jack accidentally stumbles on Christmastown, all bright colors and warm spirits, he gets a new lease on life -- he plots to bring Christmas under his control by kidnapping Santa Claus and taking over the role. But Jack soon discovers even the best-laid plans of mice and skeleton men can go seriously awry.

Cast & Crew

Danny Elfman
Jack Skellington, Barrel
Voice
Catherine O'Hara
Sally, Shock
Voice
William Hickey
Evil Scientist
Voice
Glenn Shadix
Mayor
Voice
Paul Reubens
Lock
Voice
Ken Page
Oogie Boogie
Voice
Edward Ivory
Santa
Voice
Michael McDowell
Writer (Adaptation)
Danny Elfman
Associate Producer
Jill Jacobs
Associate Producer
Diane Minter Lewis
Associate Producer
Philip Lofaro
Associate Producer
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News & Interviews for The Nightmare Before Christmas

Critic Reviews for The Nightmare Before Christmas

All Critics (96) | Top Critics (25) | Fresh (91) | Rotten (5)

  • Part avant-garde art film, part amusing but morbid fairy tale, it is a delightfully ghoulish holiday musical that displays more inventiveness in its brief 75 minutes than some studios can manage in an entire year.

    December 3, 2013 | Full Review…
  • This full-length animated movie was shot in stop motion, with all the febrile, twittery fascination that the medium exerts; it has a magic-toy shop feeling, with unexpected objects stuttering into life.

    December 3, 2013 | Full Review…
  • Burton and his collaborators present a movie musical that's like nothing you've ever seen.

    December 3, 2013 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Visually a macabre knockout, this 75-minute fantasy boasts some of the wittiest, most vigorous stop-motion animation effects in the history of the process.

    December 3, 2013 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Burton, the man who gave us Batman, Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands, is incapable of a conventional idea. His take on the holiday fairy tale is delightfully off the wall.

    December 3, 2013 | Full Review…
  • Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas has a grotesque charm, a pie-eyed magic.

    December 3, 2013 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Nightmare Before Christmas

  • Dec 19, 2016
    A delightful and magical story that can be enjoyed by all ages, Tim Burton and Henry Selick's stop motion masterpiece is both a Halloween and Christmas classic, thanks to it's wonderful songs, brilliant animation and unforgettable characters.
    Matthew M Super Reviewer
  • Oct 31, 2016
    What happens when the limelight no longer satisfies the ego? How do we mitigate our inherent talents with our societal expectations? Does inspiration come from within, or are we simply regurgitating our influences? These questions and many more are constantly posited by Walt Disney's "The Nightmare Before Christmas" (inspired by actual Tim Burton/Danny Elfman cartoons/whistling). In this gorgeous live action film, an anorexic fascist opera singer slips into ennui after his annual ego-stroking festival is put on by Bauhaus cosplay enthusiasts. Meanwhile, a young woman with self-harm issues gets her Hannibal Lecter/Dr. Strangelove father drunk so she can stalk her village's narcissistic, singing leader and comment to herself about his manic and nihilistic ruminations. After hallucinating from a lack of sleep (and possibly nutrition), the thin white duke decides to co-opt the culture of a utopian winterland. His bleak, gothic perspective lends a jaded and violent hue to the simulacra he constructs. Ultimately, he orchestrates highly organized terrorist attacks on the children of American citizens during the Christmas holiday season - which provokes a military response. Failing in his quest for power, he settles for a mundane coupling with his silent female watcher and relegates himself to the amenities of mediocrity back in his small dysfunctional village. The subtleties of the human condition in this film would make Werner Herzog weep. Even the most jaded heart must realize the marketing potential of this film. It is, however, odd that it would only be released for two viewings on Halloween. It's a bold move, but I imagine that the modern viral nature of art will ensure that this will see a DVD release after its very brief and limited theatrical run. If not, I suppose I will feel smug enough in being one of the few and fortunate folks to have seen this film unfettered by mainstream success.
    K Nife C Super Reviewer
  • Oct 04, 2016
    Ghoulish & frightful scenery and presentation, The Nightmare Before Christmas is a seasonal treat that is eerily swell. From its effortless animation to its splendid musical numbers, Tim Burton's original tale is majestic and visionary. 4/5
    Eugene B Super Reviewer
  • Dec 05, 2015
    The designs are wonderful and I always appreciate a children's movie that has no problem being scary. However, despite it's short running time, it feels overlong . . . this probably the result of the uneven score which, despite a few catchy songs, is comprised of more mediocre material than a lot of people would care to admit.
    Alec B Super Reviewer

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