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An ambitious but troubled movie director tries his best to fulfill his dream, despite his lack of support.



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Won 2 Oscars. Another 23 wins & 25 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Brent Hinkley ...
George 'The Animal' Steele ...
Clive Rosengren ...


Because of his eccentric habits and bafflingly strange films, director Edward D. Wood Jr. is a Hollywood outcast. Nevertheless, with the help of the formerly famous Bela Lugosi and a devoted cast and crew of show-business misfits who believe in Ed's off-kilter vision, the filmmaker is able to bring his oversize dreams to cinematic life. Despite a lack of critical or commercial success, Ed and his friends manage to create an oddly endearing series of extremely low-budget films. Written by Jwelch5742

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Movies were his passion. Women were his inspiration. Angora sweaters were his weakness. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

7 October 1994 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ed Vud  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$18,000,000 (estimated)


$5,887,457 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


During the bar scene with Wood, Orson Welles (Vincent D'Onofrio) complains of how the finances keeps falling through for his Don Quixote picture. In August 2000, Johnny Depp took part in the filming of "The Man Who Killed Don Quixote" with Terry Gilliam directing. Unfortunately, the movie was never completed due to budget cuts, among other problems. See more »


"Que, Sera, Sera" is played at the wrap party; that song did not come out until 1956. See more »


[Impersonating Bela Lugosi]
Dr. Tom Mason: I want to suck your blood. I want to suck your blood!
Bunny Breckinridge: Let's hear you call Boris Karloff a cocksucker.
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the opening credits, Johnny Depp's name appears in capital letters, followed by the title - both of them alternating in black and white, as though being illuminated by lightning - and the rest of the main cast are credited on tombstones. Supporting cast and crew names appear in white against dark, rainy sets featuring meant-to-look-low-budget effects such as a giant tentacle and flying saucers in outer space. See more »


Referenced in Monster Man: Seeing Double/Pilot (2012) See more »


Written by Alan Braden
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

The one he'll be remembered for
6 December 2004 | by (Cleveland) – See all my reviews

It's sort of embarrassing to admit it took me ten years to see this film. I'm not really a big fan of Tim Burton, and while I never had anything against him, I've only recently started to enjoy Johnny Depp's work. Given the subject matter, this just wasn't a movie I was interested in for a long time. But sometimes good things really are worth the wait.

Ed Wood, of course, chronicles the Hollywood career of its eponymous subject, truly one screwed up individual; a cross-dresser with a fetish for angora, Wood churned out one horrifically bad film after another, culminating with Plan Nine From Outer Space, before descending into crappy porn films toward the end of his life. It isn't necessarily a happy story, and Burton wisely only tells a small sliver of it, from Ed's first movie, Glen or Glenda, through the premiere of Plan Nine.

But the love that Burton has for Wood and his movies shines through in every frame. Though I find Burton needlessly artsy as a director, here that tendency serves him frightfully well, as he manages to do the near-impossible; make a film about someone that plays like one of their films (the abysmal Dragon is a shining example of how NOT to do this). Shot entirely in black and white, we see all of Wood's weirdos not as they were, but rather as Ed probably saw them, through the bizarre filter he must have viewed life with.

Depp is simply brilliant here, probably even better than he was in Pirates of the Caribbean. He captures Wood's enthusiasm and slanted viewpoint, but he does so in a loving, positive way. Wood accepts, as we must, that he was a screwed-up hack, but it never drags him down; in fact, Depp has him reveling in it, and it is that very passion that buoys up the movie. It doesn't hurt that nearly everyone else is very strong too, from Jeffrey Jones' crank 'psychic' Criswell to Bill Murray's Bunny Breckenridge, who often talks about having a sex change but never goes through with it. George 'The Animal' Steele captures Tor Johnson perfectly, and even Lisa Marie is excellent as Vampira. But the true great performance of the film, outshining even Depp, is Martin Landau as Bela Lugosi. He won the Oscar for this, and deservedly so; he presents Lugosi at the end of his life, a washed-up has been, a shell of a man who was once a great star but is now no more than an addict. Landau virtually disappears in the role, and all you get is Lugosi, every tragic inch of him. Again, we see him not only as he was, but how Wood and even Burton see him, and the effect is masterful. One speech in particular, where Lugosi repeats a speech that Wood wrote for him about once being the master of the world but now on the verge of coming back is particularly haunting, and Landau is simply riveting.

Ed Wood is a rare beast – it's a Tim Burton film that doesn't go overboard, it's a movie about Hollywood (sort of) that isn't self-indulgent, it's a nostalgia trip that manages not to be sappy but is still very warm and caring, and overall it's just a strikingly well-done film. I was impressed on many levels, most particularly with Depp and Landau, but really with the whole movie, that such a truly screwed-up human being could be shown in such a positive, indeed, loving way. Ed Wood is nothing less than a tribute to its subject, and in that, as in many other ways, it succeeds marvelously. If somehow you've missed this film, as I had until recently, you owe it to yourself to see it. It's simply a wonderful piece of film-making that should not be missed.

218 of 267 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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