Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Critics Consensus

Full of pith and Grand Guignol grossness, this macabre musical is perfectly helmed and highly entertaining. Tim Burton masterfully stages the musical in a way that will make you think he has done this many times before.

85%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 226

81%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,695,849
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Movie Info

Unjustly sent to prison, a man vows revenge, not only for that cruel punishment, but for the devastating consequences of what happened to his wife and daughter. When he returns to reopen his barber shop, he becomes Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, who "shaved the faces of gentlemen who never thereafter were heard of again." Sweeney's amorous accomplice, Mrs. Lovett, creates diabolical meat pies.

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Critic Reviews for Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

All Critics (226) | Top Critics (49) | Fresh (193) | Rotten (33)

  • This is grand-scale studio-work at its most beguiling.

    Nov 17, 2011 | Rating: 3/5
  • A considerable achievement even if, on balance, it's more of a Tim Burton phantasmagoria than a Sondheim fantasia.

    Oct 18, 2008 | Rating: B | Full Review…
  • As unsettling as it is riveting. Even Sondheim aficionados will see the story with fresh eyes, unless those eyes are covered.

    Oct 18, 2008 | Rating: A- | Full Review…
  • The movie may substitute Grand Guignol for laughs at times, but it's spectacularly stylized -- each throat-slashing exceptional -- persuasively sung, and imaginatively adapted for the screen.

    Oct 18, 2008 | Full Review…

    Bob Mondello

    NPR.org
    Top Critic
  • Burton was born to film this strange and spooky chamber piece.

    Oct 18, 2008 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • It's as if Burton was born to direct it.

    May 22, 2008 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

  • Sep 30, 2016
    Do serial kills start singing after they murder their victims? Most likely not, but Sweeney Todd tackles that very premise as Tim Burton directs his bloodiest film to date. When musicals are done right, I'll be one of the first in line to see them. Much like Westerns, they are rare to come by these days so I'm always down to go back and check out one that I hadn't previously seen. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street was one of those musicals, but sadly I don't think it lived up to the hype for me. To have a cohesive character arc, you need obstacles or just something significant a character goes through so that the ending feels justified and earned. In my opinion, there is no real character arc for Todd. Sure, he begins as a normal man starting a life with his wife and daughter, but this is done in a brief flashback. I never once felt attached to this character or really cared at all. The wrongs that were done to him and his family are bad, but again, it wasn't like we see a lot of this on screen, we are told about it. For as much bad as we see Todd do, it just would have been nice to have some material balance it out the other way. As for the musical aspects go, it's pretty paint by numbers. Perhaps, if I were into the story a little bit more and cared about what the characters were doing, I would have gotten into the songs they were singing. I really tried, but I just couldn't. It's also worth noting that because this film does have a fair amount of dialogue as well, the transitions to song weren't as smooth as they could have been. I love me some Alan Rickman, but when he breaks out into song at the barbershop, it feels pretty dang awkward. I'm in the minority here though, this musical is beloved by many people, and at first glance it seems like Burton did a nice job of adapting the musical to screen. So perhaps it's just me. I just feel that in order to make a good film about someone who says "we'll not discriminate who we kill", I have to believe that what he or she is doing is warranted, and I didn't. Of course, these aren't just regular murders. These are bloody and premeditated murders in which the victims get baked into pies and fed to the town. Brutal. Just brutal. +Burton was the right man for the job -Never felt connected to the story or characters -Pretty gratuitous if you ask me -Song transitions are rough 4.5/10
    Thomas D Super Reviewer
  • Jun 03, 2016
    Manages to blend the dark with the campy and is elevated for it.
    Gimly M Super Reviewer
  • Jul 27, 2013
    Very interesting and severely messed up at the same time. I love a lot of the visuals, especially the ones of the beach/sea later on in the movie. Even the dark ones of London are really something to see. The whole idea of what's basically a serial killer musical is pretty insane, but it somehow works. It gets the story across, and actually creates a few memorable songs as well.
    Stephen S Super Reviewer
  • Jul 23, 2013
    Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is a mixture of dark comedy, horror, and drama, done in the unique stylings of Tim Burton. The story is one of vengeance, after serving 15 years in prison Sweeney Todd returns to London to seek revenge on Judge Turpin, the man who wrongfully set him up in order to steal his wife. To tell this story Burton relies on his faithful regulars Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, along with Alan Rickman and Sacha Baron Cohen. And while all of the performances are quite excellent, it's Depp's brilliant performance that carries the film and makes Sweeney Todd both sympathetic and villainous. Musically, the film ranks as one of the best Broadway musicals to have been brought to screen; it has the depth and dimension of a big operatic score, yet it's also light and comedic at times. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street seems a rather unlikely musical to translate to the screen...but translate it does, in a beautiful and stylish way unlike any other musical has.
    Dann M Super Reviewer

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