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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


When it came to making bad movies, Ed Wood was the best. 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?


The character of Bela Lugosi continually puts down Boris Karloff and the Frankenstein monster, then later laments that he turned down the role of the monster himself. In reality, Lugosi did play the monster (years after Karloff), in Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943). Incidentally, he also played the role of Ygor in Son of Frankenstein (1939) against Karloff's final portrayal as the monster. See more »


Ed and Bela are watching a 1958-1960 Philco Predicta television, but when we see the movie they're watching on the TV screen, it's a mid-50s Packard-Bell television. See more »


[making up the bald Dr. Tom to look like Bela Lugosi]
Makeup Man Harry: Ed, what am I gonna do here.
Edward D. Wood, Jr.: What do you mean?
Makeup Man Harry: He has no hair.
Edward D. Wood, Jr.: Gee, I never noticed that. Put a wig on him!
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 »


Featured in The 75th Annual Academy Awards (2003) See more »


Written by Ray Anthony and Leonard Auletti
Performed by John Keating
Courtesy of Gateway Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Kinship with a Fringie
27 June 1999 | by (Greenville SC) – See all my reviews

The theatre wasn't exactly filling up fast: so far my husband, a friend and myself were the only ones seated. Just before the movie began, a young couple walked in. And shortly after the movie began, they walked out. I wonder if they asked for their money back. I hope they didn't get it.

The movie was ED WOOD, Tim Burton's homage to trash-film director Edward D. Wood Jr., which only played in Greenville for two weeks and did not show up at the second-run movie houses. Apparently no one wanted to see it. Their loss.

But perhaps I'm being too hard on those who don't appreciate the subtle nuances of Eddie Wood's movies. To me, Eddie was a glittering bead hanging on Hollywood's lunatic fringe. However, Eddie, a transvestite who often directed his masterpieces wearing high heels and an angora sweater, was not exactly your mama's director. He was no Frank Tashlin, who tried to make Jayne Mansfield respectable in THE GIRL CAN'T HELP IT. He was no Norman Taurog, who made Elvis look like a dork in countless girls-cars-and-guitars flicks. He wasn't even Russ Meyer, whose exploitation films are legendary in their trashiness. No, Eddie just never seemed to get a break. He wanted to be Orson Welles. He didn't even find the measure of fame accorded to Orson Bean! He remained a pathetic outcast, forever a fringie.

Perhaps it is appropriate that Johnny Depp was chosen to portray Eddie Wood. Depp has a long history of playing outcasts and fringies -- Edward Scissorhands, Gilbert Grape, Hunter Thompson. Depp makes it clear that Eddie's angora-covered heart was in the right place. He worked hard on his scripts, he gave important roles to spectacularly talentless actors like Vampira, wrestler Tor Johnson and Eddie's own main squeeze, Dolores Fuller. And he was very kind to the drug-addled has-been Bela Lugosi, even dissuading the drunken Drac from committing suicide (which wasn't entirely altruistic, perhaps, as Lugosi had threatened to take Eddie with him). Depp makes Eddie appear almost human.

Depp's portrayal is just one of several that are outstanding: George "The Animal" Steele as Tor Johnson, Jeffrey Jones as Criswell, Vincent D'Onofrio in his cameo of Orson Welles and Bill Murray as Bunny Breckinridge -- one of the rare times Murray has immersed himself in his character and not been merely Bill Murray with someone else's name. Also delightful is a brief appearance by organist Korla Pandit, 1950's television personality once billed "The Prince of the Wurlitzer."

However, all the performances in ED WOOD are overshadowed by Academy-award winner Martin Landau as Bela Lugosi. For those enough old enough to remember Landau in TV's "Mission: Impossible," it perhaps isn't surprising that Landau was able to hide so completely behind a spookily accurate makeup job; seeing Landau's Lugosi watch himself on television was eerie because Landau looked enough like Lugosi to make it seem real.

The film ends on a high note, which Eddie's life didn't -- he died in his sleep, watching a ball game, just a few days after he'd been evicted from his apartment.

ED WOOD is not a family film. Some of the language is strong, drugs and drink are abundant, and many of the characters are a shade on the bizarre side. It might be hard to explain to one's children why this apparently virile man loves to raid his girlfriend's closets.

Unfortunately, ED WOOD hasn't exactly burned up the box office. Perhaps it is because so few people can relate to someone as weird as Eddie, with his terrible stories about men in angora sweaters, killer octopi, blank-eyed wrestler slaves and, the piece de resistance, aliens with eight failed plans to take over the universe. I believe Eddie himself felt like those aliens, which is why, viewing PLAN NINE FROM OUTER SPACE, he said, "This is the one I'll be remembered by." And perhaps that very weirdness made the story appealing to me. Having lived as a misfit and outcast, working hard all my life to reach a goal that has remained elusive, I can, to quote someone I don't care for, feel Eddie's pain. It's too late for him, but perhaps there's hope for me yet ...

116 of 148 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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