Tim Burton's Best Female Characters



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Attention, boils and ghouls! It's time to rank some of the most beloved female characters in acclaimed gothic director Tim Burton's immaculate catalog of weirdos from worst to best! Throughout the last 30 years, characters from Tim Burton movies have become a staple in the zeitgeist of cinema and a genre unto themselves, with Burton's wacky and weird creations becoming a beacon of light for all those who consider themselves strange and unusual. Films like Beetlejuice and The Nightmare Before Christmas and television shows like Wednesday introduced not only some of the most beloved characters of all time, but characters that female audiences saw within themselves. 

The gothic characters of Tim Burton stole the hearts of audiences around the world, and more so than that, made audience members want to become these holistically unique goth characters themselves. Actors like Catherine O'Hara who plays Sally in The Nightmare Before Christmas and Winona Ryder who play both Lydia Deets and Kim Boggs from Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands respectively stand out thanks to their melancholic attitude, their unique and abstract gothic style, and most importantly, their toughness and resistance in the face of danger. Which female Tim Burton character do you think is best?

Vote up the best Tim Burton female characters, and be sure to check out our list of Tim Burton's best films!

Photo: Beetlejuice / Warner Bros.

  • Lydia Deetz
    Photo: Beetlejuice / Warner Bros.
    42 votes

    A dark and mysterious personality is merely a facade for Beetlejuice's Lydia Deetz, as behind that gruff and gothic exterior is simply a person who thrives for love and connection. Portrayed wonderfully by Winona Ryder in her breakout role, Lydia masterfully wrapped up all the 80s tropes of the gothic and emo personality and flipped them on their head. She wasn't afraid to say what she wanted and when she wanted it, even if she could be a tad bit overdramatic about things, and despite her young age, she always seemed to be the most mature and selfless in the room.

    • Appears In: Beetlejuice
    • Played By: Winona Ryder
  • Barbara Maitland
    Photo: Beetlejuice / Warner Bros.

    After a tragic accident ended her life, Barbara Maitland found herself a spirit of the afterlife alongside her husband, Adam, and now, she must learn to grow to accept this new life of ghosts and the paranormal. Barbara is arguably one of the most “normal” characters Tim Burton has ever imagined, as she is simply a good soul and a warm woman portrayed elegantly by Geena Davis. Even in the afterlife, all she aspires to do is help those in need, and make the best afterlife she can for both her and her husband.

    • Appears In: Beetlejuice
    • Played By: Geena Davis
  • Sally
    Photo: The Nightmare Before Christmas / Walt Disney Pictures
    44 votes

    Simultaneously a heartbreaking and heartwarming character all at the same time, The Nightmare Before Christmas's Sally is every stereotypical gothic cliche wrapped into one melancholic package, and when she first appeared on screen in 1993, she took over the hearts of millions. With a gorgeous singing voice offered by Catherine O'Hara, a positively negative attitude, and a soul desperate for something more, Sally masterfully embodied the love-struck soul stuck inside us all.

    • Appears In: The Nightmare Before Christmas
    • Played By: Catherine O'Hara
  • Wednesday Addams
    Photo: @wednesdaynetflix / Instagram

    Jenna Ortega shines in this modernized version of the classic Wednesday Addams character in the smash hit show Wednesday. No-nonsense, cynical, brooding, violent, and as gothic as they come, Wednesday is every parent's worst nightmare come to life, and every rebellious teenager's dream come true. With her deadpan humor and her infatuation with all things horrifying, Wednesday is the perfect character for a new era of goth kids around the globe, and her reign is just beginning. 

  • Catwoman
    Photo: Batman Returns / Warner Bros.
    42 votes

    A daring, sexy, and sensational performance by Michelle Pfeiffer gave audiences one of the most unforgettable and incredible adaptations of a comic book character in the history of cinema with Batman Returns' Catwoman. Over the top, deranged, and sensual all at the same time, Catwoman is a dark and mysterious anti-hero who fans thought they knew, but in the hands of Tim Burton, was flipped completely on her head.

    • Appears In: Batman Returns
    • Played By: Michelle Pfeiffer
  • Mrs. Lovett
    Photo: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street / Paramount Pictures
    36 votes

    The business accomplice and partner of the titular Sweeney Todd, Mrs. Lovett is a maniacal, twisted, horrifying soul that can and will do whatever she needs to in order to both survive, and get what she wants in life. Masterfully portrayed by Helena Bonham Carter in Tim Burton's adaptation of the 1973 play of the same name, Mrs. Lovett is brutal, violent, and deranged throughout the film, and if cooking people into pies wasn't horrific enough, the tragic backstory of her mind is something that will shock and awe audiences for years to come.

    • Appears In: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
    • Played By: Helena Bonham Carter