Box art for The Nightmare Before Christmas

The Nightmare Before Christmas

  • Rated PG
  • HD and SD formats available

children & family


Enter an extraordinary world filled with magic and wonder -- where every holiday has its own special land ... and imaginative, one-of-a-kind characters!

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
    94%
  • Audience Score
    92%

common sense

ON for kids age 7
Consumerism
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
0 out of 5
Language
0 out of 5
Positive messages
3 out of 5
Positive role models
4 out of 5
Sexy Stuff
0 out of 5
Violence & scariness
3 out of 5

Tim Burton magic with just a touch of scariness.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that this offbeat, stop motion-animated movie is one of the great family films for all ages. That said, it does have scary Halloween creatures in it -- characters take off their own heads and limbs, and there are skeletons, nasty toys, and a creepy villain named Oogie Boogie. A Christmas tree even burns up. Some little kids who aren't old enough to distinguish this fantasy from the goings on at Halloween (or those prone to nightmares) might steer clear, although you can always pause the TV and talk about what's scaring them. The special 3D version is identical in content and storyline to the original, but the enhanced visuals may add marginal spookiness and could further blur the line between fantasy and reality for some younger kids.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about why we celebrate the holidays we do. What does your favorite holiday mean to you? Has anyone ever tried to ruin one of your holiday experiences, and how did you overcome that? When you get tired of something, what are some creative ways to bring excitement back into it?
  • Why did Jack's experiment fail? Is it fair to expect people who have done something the same way for a long time to change quickly? Could Jack have tried his ideas a different way?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: inspiring, wacky, and infused with Burton's unique romanticism suffused with, but not subsumed by, a gothic sensibility

- Andrea Chase, Killer Movie Reviews, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fresh: This full-length animated movie was shot in stop motion, with all the febrile, twittery fascination that the medium exerts; it has a magic-toy shop feeling, with unexpected objects stuttering into life.

- Anthony Lane, New Yorker, Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Fresh: The script's non-stop momentum suits the roller-coaster photography -- and the punchy running time brings things to a close before eye-strain sets in.

- Ben Walters, Time Out, Thursday, January 26, 2006

Audience Reviews

4 stars

With an impeccable production design, a deliciously ghoulish, German Expressionist feel to the story and an excellent soundtrack replete with well-inspired songs, this very amusing movie is even more surprising for the perfect way it combines animation and stop motion.

- blacksheepboy, Wednesday, December 25, 2013

4 stars

It's been twenty years since The Nightmare Before Christmas was released and ten years since I first saw it. I remember seeing the trailers in front of some of the Disney VHS tapes I owned as a kid and that is how I became interested in it. I remember my mom taking my sister and I to the video store to rent it. I remember liking the movie the first time I saw it but I will admit, it did creep me out a bit. As the years went by and the more times I saw this movie, the more I grew to enjoy it. Now, The Nightmare Before Christmas is not only one of my favorite films to watch on the holidays, it's one of my favorite movies ever. The film is the brainchild of Tim Burton and is directed by Henry Selick. The film starts off in Halloween Town, a home to many ghouls and monsters. Jack Skellington, the king of the pumpkin patch, grows tired of the Halloween festivities and longs for something new. Jack soon discovers a portal to Christmas Town, a bright and cheerful place where Santa and his elves live in. Jack is amazed by the concept of Christmas and attempts to get the citizens of Halloween Town to celebrate it. Jack also plans to take the role of Santa Claus and deliver toys to children. However, these plans backfire on Jack and the results are unforgettable. There are many things I enjoy about this movie. First of all, I love the premise. Christmas and Halloween are two of my favorite holidays. Seeing a movie that combines the two is such a treat. There is enough spooky content to make this film appropriate for Halloween and enough bright colors and merriment to make it a Christmas movie. As for the story, it's very original. It's simple, straightforward, and imaginative. Tim Burton creates a cast of memorable characters here. It never gets boring. Every second of the film gives you something wonderful to look at. As for the story, it's very original. I just love the idea of a creepy guy like Jack Skellington discovering such a happy holiday and putting his own spin on it. As for the writing, it's pretty good. There's some good humor in this film. The characters are one of the most memorable aspects of the film. Jack Skellington, is one of my favorite movie characters ever. I'm not ashamed to admit that I own a few pieces of memorabilia with his face on it. I just love his optimistic and curious attitude. Even when he gets emotional, you kind of feel bad for him. We've all been there before. We want to try something new and sometimes the outcome isn't pretty. You can pretty much relate to Jack. Sally is also a good character as well. She's a ragdoll with a crush on Jack who feels for him. She's another character you can relate to. I'm pretty sure we've all longed to be with someone and hope that our feelings for them are reciprocated. Oogie Boogie, the antagonist of the film, is a great villain. He's creepy, bloodthirsty, and I love the design of the character. Lock, Shock, and Barrel are some of the most sinister children ever created. They may be mischievous but I think they are pretty cool. And who forget Jack's beloved dog, Zero? Gosh, I love that adorable ghost dog. All the characters in the film are cool and the designs for them are awesome. Chris Sarandon voices Jack Skellington and he brings a lot of energy to the role. He is able to show many of Jack's great traits through his performance. He is perfect for the role. Catherine O'Hara also does a good job as Sally. She is sincere and sweet. William Hickey does a good job as Dr. Ficklestein. His voice fits the grotesque look of the character. I can tell that Ken Page was having a blast playing Oogie Boogie. Like Chris Sarandon, he is full of energy. The voice acting in the film is solid. All the actors do well with their roles. Like nearly every animated Disney film, The Nightmare Before Christmas is a musical. I personally love the music in this movie. All the songs are memorable. The opening number, "This is Halloween", is a perfect introduction to the Halloween world of the film. I love how each character is introduced. It's a great way to start the film. Another song I like is "What's This?", which is sung by Jack when discovers Christmas Town. I love the lyrics in this song and how Jack compares Halloween to Christmas. I also like seeing Halloween and Christmas come together in the song, "Making Christmas". I also like the song, "Kidnap the Santa Claus", because we get to see how devious Lock, Shock, and Barrel can be. "Oogie Boogie's Song" is also great as well. I love the music in this movie. Danny Elfman wrote some great lyrics and catchy music for this film. Elfman also provides the singing voice for Jack and he does a great job. Danny Elfman's songs and score for the film is just plain awesome. After twenty years, the animation in the film holds up very well. The Nightmare Before Christmas was the feature length film done in stop motion. Stop motion is one of my favorite forms of animation. It always impresses me. The animation in the film is simply marvelous. The backgrounds are detailed, the sets are wonderfully crafted, and the characters move so smoothly. I just love the look of the movie. It's pure eye candy. The Nightmare Beofore Christmas is such great film. It has an original, imaginative story, great characters, unforgettable music, and spectacular animation. I love how this is a film you can watch on both Halloween and Christmas. Heck, I even watch it when it's not the holiday season! The Nightmare Beofore Christmas is truly wonderful film. It's a classic film that I will enjoy watching for years to come. ♫There's children throwing snowballs instead of throwing heads.♫

- coollala0910, Friday, December 13, 2013

4 stars

A cult film that deserves its status.

- fb1686480544, Saturday, October 27, 2012