The idea for the movie was inspired by a drawing Tim Burton had done when he was a teenager.
Winona Ryder dropped out of The Godfather: Part III (1990) to appear in this film. Reportedly, it was Johnny Depp who actually convinced her to do so.
The entire story is meant to be seen through Edward's eyes, which is why the neighborhood looks so "fantastical."
Although Tim Burton said this isn't his greatest film, he said it is his favorite of all his films, and the score is Danny Elfman's favorite of all his soundtrack compositions.
Vincent Price's role was intended to be larger, but the veteran actor was very ill with emphysema and Parkinson's disease, so his scenes were cut to a minimum.
The little blonde boy on the Slip 'N Slide, at the beginning of the film, is Nick Carter of The Backstreet Boys. Though uncredited in the film, Carter himself has confirmed this in several interviews.
Tim Burton has never intended to make a sequel as he said it would rob the film of its "Purity".
The houses used in the film were a real community in Florida, completely unchanged, except for their garish exterior paint.
O-Lan Jones arranged and actually played the organ music her character Esmeralda performs on-screen.
The restaurant, at which the family eats, was, at one time, a real restaurant; a national chain diner called "Sambo's". It was located directly across the street from Southgate Shopping Center, as it appears in the movie. Due to the controversial nature of the name and interior design, the diner (and entire chain) closed sometime in the late 70s or early 80s, except for the original location in Santa Barbara, California, which, to this day, remains open in its original location. It remained an abandoned building for many years, until Tim Burton came to town to film this movie. Burton's crew unboarded the doors and windows and redressed the interior to look like a working restaurant again.
The first draft of the film was written as a musical, a concept Tim Burton would revisit for The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) and Corpse Bride (2005).
The waterbed scene was one of the only scenes that wasn't originally in the script.
The character Peg is based on Caroline Thompson's mom, who used to bring home strangers. The neighbors are based on people she grew up with as a kid.
Some of the topiary that Edward makes in the movie, can be seen permanently at the New York City restaurant Tavern On the Green.
Tim Burton had asked Robert Smith of The Cure to do the soundtrack, and had even sent the script. Robert was busy recording "Disintegration" at the time, and didn't know who Burton was, so passed up the opportunity, handing Danny Elfman the job.
Johnny Depp was determined to nail the character, and refused any cooling agent, even in his all-leather costume.
When Edward goes to have his hands sharpened, the storefront was that of an actual hardware store called Crowder Brothers in the Southgate Shopping Center. At the time of the filming, they did offer a sharpening service, and they did have a giant motorized Wenger in the window.
The crew took façades of the houses and reduced the size of the windows, to make them slightly more paranoid-looking.
This film marks the first time that Tim Burton and Johnny Depp worked together. They ended up becoming good friends since this film.
The entire movie is based on a seventy-page treatment that Caroline Thompson wrote in just three weeks.
The character Edward is based on a drawing Tim Burton did in high school. The name Edward Scissorhands was taken directly from that drawing.
The Southgate Shopping Center is located in Lakeland, Florida, while the neighborhood was filmed at the Carpenter's Run subdivision in Lutz, Florida.
Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder dated throughout filming of this movie, and became engaged during the same year (1990).
Tom Cruise, Jim Carrey, and Robert Downey, Jr. were all considered for the role of Edward Scissorhands.
Contrary to popular belief, Winona Ryder was actually cast in the film before Johnny Depp got the part of the title character.
When Caroline Thompson first heard about Edward, a character with scissors for hands, she thought it was "the silliest thing she'd ever heard."
Edward's amazing topiaries aren't real. They're all welded steel armature, wrapped with chicken wire, and artificial greens were punched in.
The film cast includes two Oscar winners: Dianne Wiest and Alan Arkin; and two Oscar nominees: Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder.
During the scene where Edward is cutting the neighborhood ladies hair, the song playing is from Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Johnny Depp would later go on to play Sweeney Todd in another collaboration with Tim Burton.
When Peg looks in her rear view mirror at Edward's castle for the first time, the castle she sees is a small study model from the art department, held up on a C-stand.
One of two films released in 1990 in which Johnny Depp plays the title role, for the first time. The other is Cry-Baby (1990).
Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
The old man at the barbecue, is the doctor who delivers the Penguin in Batman Returns (1992).
Crispin Glover auditioned for the role of Jim. He later played an antagonist to Johnny Depp in Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland (2010).
The faded-pastel palette they came up with was intended to look a bit like a "faded circus."
Winona Ryder starred in three films in 1990. "Edward Scissorhands" and "Mermaids", which were released on the same day, December 14, 1990. Ryder was also the star of "Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael" which was released two months earlier.
Johnny Depp's first movie role was in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), in which the killer Freddy Krueger wore gloves fitted with blades.
When Peg Boggs comes into the Mansion for the first time, she backs up to the staircase and she looks around for a few moments. If you look carefully at the wall at the top of the stairs in the right top corner you'll see an odd spiky shaped shadow, which moves and has the faint sound of scissors snipping. It is Edward looking down to see who the stranger to his house is.
Rick Baker was first approached to do the make-up effects for this film. But Baker was busy doing Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990). Rob Bottin had also been approached, but was working on Total Recall (1990). Burton finally approached Stan Winston, having been impressed with his work on films like The Terminator (1984) and Aliens (1986). Winston agreed to work on the film.
At one point, Stan Winston had to leave production for one day to direct the teaser trailer for Terminator 2 (1991).
Tim Burton casted Dianne Wiest as Peg after seeing her in films like Parenthood (1989) and The Lost Boys (1987).
To prepare for his role, Johnny Depp watched the films of silent movie actor Charles Chaplin to get an idea of how to emote without dialogue.
Tim Burton and Caroline Thompson cite monster stories (specifically The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923), The Phantom of the Opera (1925), Frankenstein (1931), King Kong (1933) and Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)) and fairy tales as an influence on the film.
Viewers are divided on whether they think Kim is telling a fairy tale to her granddaughter or relating a story about something that really happened to her. since it's debatable viewers are left to decide.
Tim Burton and Johnny Depp would make another movie about a character with blades on/in hands titled Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007).
Joyce's husband plays one of the security guards scared by Michelle Pfeiffer in Batman Returns (1992).
In the scene, where The Inventor is reading to Edward an excerpt from the poetry book, the page he reads off of clearly had no text written or printed on it.
The scene where Peg Boggs comes into the mansion she backs up to the base of the staircase, right behind her you'll see a statue which looks like the Oogie Boogie man in The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) which Tim Burton came up with the story and produced also.
The hill on which Edward's Gothic mansion sits is based on California Institute of The Arts, Tim Burton's alma matter. The campus for the Institute is on a hill in Valencia, looking down on a clean-cut suburban town.
When Peg is answering the phone call on her bed, she has Avon products on her bedside table, implying that she uses them herself, as well as selling them.
Dianne Wiest was the first to sign on. "Dianne, in particular, was wonderful", Burton said. "She was the first actress to read the script, supported it completely and, because she is so respected, once she had given it her stamp of approval, others soon got interested".
Kathy Baker saw her part of Joyce, the neighbor who tries to seduce Edward, as a perfect chance to break into comedy.
Alan Arkin (Bill) says when he first read the script, he was "a bit baffled. Nothing really made sense to me until I saw the sets. Burton's visual imagination is extraordinary".
Tim Burton acknowledged that the main themes of Edward Scissorhands deal with self-discovery and isolation. Edward is found living alone in the attic of a Gothic castle, a setting that is also used for main characters in Burton's Batman and The Nightmare Before Christmas. Edward Scissorhands climaxes much like James Whale's Frankenstein and Burton's own Frankenweenie. A mob confronts the "evil creature", in this case, Edward, at his castle. With Edward unable to consummate his love for Kim because of his appearance, the film can also be seen as being influenced by Beauty and the Beast. Edward Scissorhands is a fairy tale book-ended by a prologue and an epilogue featuring Kim Boggs as an old woman telling her granddaughter the story, augmenting the German Expressionism and Gothic fiction archetypes.
Burton explained that his depiction of suburbia is "not a bad place. It's a weird place. I tried to walk the fine line of making it funny and strange without it being judgmental. It's a place where there's a lot of integrity." Kim leaves her jock boyfriend (Jim) to be with Edward, an event that many have postulated as Burton's revenge against jocks he encountered as a teenager in suburban Burbank, CA. Jim is subsequently killed, a scene that shocked a number of observers who felt the whole tone of the film had been radically altered. Burton referred to this scene as a "high school fantasy".