The spirits of a deceased couple are harassed by an unbearable family that has moved into their home, and hire a malicious spirit to drive them out.


Tim Burton


Michael McDowell (story), Larry Wilson (story) | 2 more credits »
422 ( 410)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 6 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Alec Baldwin ... Adam
Geena Davis ... Barbara
Annie McEnroe ... Jane Butterfield
Maurice Page Maurice Page ... Ernie
Hugo Stanger Hugo Stanger ... Old Bill
Michael Keaton ... Betelgeuse
Rachel Mittelman Rachel Mittelman ... Little Jane
Catherine O'Hara ... Delia
J. Jay Saunders ... Moving Man #1
Mark Ettlinger Mark Ettlinger ... Moving Man #2
Jeffrey Jones ... Charles
Winona Ryder ... Lydia
Glenn Shadix ... Otho
Patrice Martinez ... Receptionist
Cindy Daly Cindy Daly ... 3-Fingered Typist (as Cynthia Daly)


Adam and Barbara are a normal couple...who happen to be dead. They have given their precious time to decorate their house and make it their own, but unfortunately a family is moving in, and not quietly. Adam and Barbara try to scare them out, but end up becoming the main attraction to the money making family. They call upon Beetlejuice to help, but Beetlejuice has more in mind than just helping. Written by ahmetkozan

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


spinning head See more »


Comedy | Fantasy


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Adam's bird head almost resembles the character Gogo Dodo from the Warner Bros. cartoon Tiny Toon Adventures (1990). See more »


In the attic, Adam chalks in the missing door handle, but as the door starts to open, it is missing again. See more »


Very Dumb Football Player: [the football players have re-entered Juno's office] Coach?
Juno: What?
Very Dumb Football Player: [looking disturbed] I don't think we survived that crash.
Juno: [sarcastically] How did you guess?
See more »

Crazy Credits

The Geffen Company logo is accompanied by a ghoulish version of the Banana Boat song (sung by the film's composer Danny Elfman). See more »

Alternate Versions

A workprint of the film surfaced with some added/alternate scenes. This version of the film runs around 2 minutes shorter than the theater release, has a few extra scenes and is missing some others, is in black and white, and has a time-code on the bottom. This version has 4 major differences: Alternate scene: The scene were Adam attempts to leave the house after him and his wife die is different. Instead of a desert he sees empty darkness filled with rolling cogs. Extra Scenes: There is an added scene were Lydia is developing the pictures she took of Adam and Barbra. Then after her mother yells at her and blames her for cutting holes in her sheets Lydia runs upstairs and tries to convince her dad the pictures are real. There is more to the scene where the adults search the attic for the ghosts were we see the desert monster trying to eat Adam and Barbra as they hang from the attic window. Finally there is an extra 2 minute scene at the end were we see Lydia riding her bike home from school and her parents talking to Jane on the phone telling her they do not want to sell the house. Lydia's dancing scene is shorter in this version, and there is no scene with Beetlejuice in the waiting room. The film ends with a final exterior shot of the house. See more »


Referenced in Community: Communication Studies (2010) See more »


The Light Cavalry
Written by Franz von Suppé
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User Reviews

"You're working with a professional here!"
30 June 2020 | by lost-in-limboSee all my reviews

Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse, Betelge... dare I say it? Director Tim Burton would follow-up his directorial oddball debut ("PEE WEE'S BIG ADVENTURE") with another ambitious comedy, this time something very zany, grotesque and surreal in the shape of a riotous supernatural dark spoof. As a kid I grew up watching this film, hey, I even liked the cartoon series. So re-watching it again was a sheer delight. Something I would never tire of.

Burton would bring his signature visual gothic flair and live-action cartoon mannerisms to enliven the shallow, dressed up lifestyles in "BEETLEJUICE", but what really makes the feature is the very loose performance of Michael Keaton as Betelgeuse. Keaton is outstanding in bringing this outrageously rotten character to life, from being menacing, charming the ladies, or simply exorcising a wise-crack. He's truly a head-spin. While he provides a huge impact, the Beetlejuice character doesn't really get a whole lot of screen time, despite his importance to the plot's progression. It's measured in bursts, as his character is virtually a punch-line with legs. But with that in mind, I think it works because Burton never overplays his hand, which makes Keaton's conman persona effective than say overbearing. I don't know if Burton would do the same thing these days.

Anyway the narrative was always about Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin's recently deceased young rural couple adapting to the afterlife, while at the same time doing their best to frighten the house's new city-folk occupants that have ideas of changing their new home to meet their own trendy needs. So in a last ditch effort to scare them off they seek help from a freelance bio-exorcist ghost known as Betelgeuse. The compulsive plotting won't surprise (even though Burton throws up an interesting view of the afterlife), but what stands out is the wonderful set-pieces (how can you not grove along to the dinner party sequence as The Banana Boat Song plays), eccentric practical effects (loved the clay-animation), inspired pastel set-designs and wrapping it all together is Danny Elfman's enchantingly whimsical music score. One colorful dimension after another, but even with its comic flourishes it still demonstrates a nasty wickedness.

Add to that an amusing cast, peppered with character actors and zesty interplays. Davis and Baldwin were likably good. Jeffery Jones is enjoyably clueless and Catherine O'Hara makes a great ice queen. Winona Ryder is fittingly deadpan as the very aware gothic teenage daughter and Glen Shadix entertains as the family's psychic friend. Also showing up in a memorable part is Silva Sidney as an afterlife caseworker.

"BEETLEJUICE" is a decorative haunted house fun ride and one of Burton's best.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

30 March 1988 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Maitlands See more »


Box Office


$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$8,030,897, 3 April 1988

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

Production Co:

The Geffen Company See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo | Dolby Digital (DVD version)| Dolby Atmos | Dolby Digital


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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