Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is a 2007 horror musical film directed by Tim Burton. It is an adaptation of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler's Tony Award-winning 1979 musical. It re-tells the Victorian melodramatic tale of Sweeney Todd, an English barber and serial killer who murders his customers with a straight razor and, with the help of his accomplice, Mrs. Lovett, processes their corpses into meat pies.Having been struck by the cinematic qualities of Sondheim's musical while still a student, Burton had entertained the notion of a film version since the early 1980s. However, it was not until 2006 that he had the opportunity to realize this ambition, when DreamWorks announced his appointment as replacement for director Sam Mendes, who had been working on such an adaptation. Sondheim, although not directly involved, was extensively consulted during the film's production.
It stars Johnny Depp as Sweeney Todd and Helena Bonham Carter as Mrs. Lovett. Depp, not known for his singing, took lessons in preparation for his role, which producer Richard D. Zanuck acknowledged was something of a gamble. However, Depp's vocal performance, despite being criticized as lacking certain musical qualities, was generally thought by critics to suit the part.
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street was released in the United States on December 21, 2007, and in the United Kingdom on January 25, 2008, to largely enthusiastic reviews. The film won a number of awards, including the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy and the Academy Award for Best Art Direction. Helena Bonham Carter was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy, and Johnny Depp was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor. Although not an outstanding financial success in the U.S., it performed well worldwide, and has spawned a soundtrack album and various DVD releases.
In the 19th century, Benjamin Barker (Johnny Depp), a skilled barber, returns to London assuming the alias "Sweeney Todd", accompanied by sailor Anthony Hope (Jamie Campbell Bower). Fifteen years earlier, Barker had been falsely charged and banished by the corrupt Judge Turpin (Alan Rickman), who had lusted after his wife, Lucy (Laura Michelle Kelly). At Mrs. Nellie Lovett's (Helena Bonham Carter) meat pie shop on Fleet Street, he learns that Lucy poisoned herself with arsenic after Turpin raped her. Todd's teenage daughter, Johanna (Jayne Wisener) is now Turpin's ward and, like her mother before her, is the object of Turpin's unwanted affections. Todd vows revenge, reopening his barber shop in the upstairs flat after Mrs. Lovett returns his old straight razors to him.
While roaming London, Anthony spots Johanna in an upstairs room of a large house singing to her birds, and a beggar woman tells him her name. Anthony is instantly smitten with her, and Turpin invites him in, only for Turpin's associate Beadle Bamford (Timothy Spall) to throw him out. Though Bamford warns Anthony that he will be punished if he is seen there again, the sailor becomes convinced that he and Johanna are meant to be together.
During a visit to the marketplace, Todd denounces a fraudulent hair tonic by faux-Italian barber Adolfo Pirelli (Sacha Baron Cohen), and humiliates him in a public shaving contest, winning £5 and gaining the attention of Beadle Bamford. Todd becomes impatient while waiting for Beadle Bamford to arrive at his shop; Mrs. Lovett consoles him when Pirelli and his boy assistant Tobias Ragg (Ed Sanders) arrive. Mrs. Lovett keeps Toby occupied downstairs, while in the parlor Pirelli reveals himself to be Todd's former assistant, Davy Collins, and threatens to reveal Todd's secret to Beadle Bamford unless Todd gives him half his earnings. Instead of giving Pirelli a payoff, Todd beats him with a boiling kettle. He then stuffs Pirelli in a trunk to hide him from Toby, later slitting his throat upon realizing that he is still alive.
After receiving some advice from Beadle, Turpin, intending to propose to Johanna, pays a visit to Todd's parlor to groom himself. Todd shaves Turpin while preparing to slit his throat; before he can do so, however, they are interrupted by Anthony, who bursts in and reveals his plan to elope with Johanna before he realizes Turpin is there. Turpin leaves enraged, vowing never to return. His chance at revenge missed, Todd swears revenge on the entire world and vents his murderous rage upon his customers while waiting for another chance to kill Turpin. He is indiscriminate about his killings, believing that he is punishing the corrupt aristocracy for their exploitation of those below them, while saving the lower classes from their misery. Mrs. Lovett becomes his willing accomplice, suggesting they dispose of the bodies by baking them into pies to improve her business. Todd rigs his barber's chair with a pedal-operated mechanism, which deposits his victims through a trap door into Lovett's bakehouse. Meanwhile, Anthony begins to search for Johanna, who was sent by Turpin to Fogg's insane asylum upon discovering her plans to elope with Anthony.
The barbering and pie-making business prospers, and Lovett takes in Toby. With both of the shops being such a success, Mrs. Lovett informs Todd of her plans to move to the seaside. Anthony finally discovers Johanna's whereabouts, and under advice from Todd, he poses as a wig-maker's apprentice, who are allowed into asylums to collect hair for wigs, thus providing him the access he needs to rescue Johanna. Todd comes up with a new plan to lure Turpin back, and has Toby deliver a letter to him telling him where Johanna will be brought when Anthony frees her. Toby has become wary of Todd and tells Mrs. Lovett, unaware of her role in the crimes: he promises to protect her, loving her as a surrogate mother. Beadle Bamford arrives at the barber shop, informing them that neighbors complain of the stink coming out of the chimney. He is murdered by Todd, and Mrs. Lovett informs him of Toby's suspicions. The pair search for Toby, whom Mrs. Lovett has locked in the basement bakehouse to keep him out of the way. Toby is nowhere to be found, having hidden in the sewers after seeing the Beadle's body drop into the room from the trap door above, as well as finding a toe in a pie. Meanwhile, Anthony frees Johanna and brings her to the shop in disguise, while locking an asylum staff-member in a cell, where it is implied the inmates kill him. In Todd's shop Johanna hides herself in a trunk in a corner of the room while Anthony finds a coach.
The insane beggar woman who has been pestering Todd, Lovett and Anthony throughout the film makes her way into the shop seemingly searching for the Beadle. As Todd enters, she claims that she recognizes him. Just then, Turpin's voice is heard. Todd quickly slits the beggar woman's throat and deposits her body through the trap door. As Turpin enters, Todd explains to him that Johanna had repented, and offers a free shave. Todd reveals his true identity to Turpin and stabs him in the neck numerous times before finally slitting his throat and dropping him through the trap door. As Johanna peeks out of the trunk, Todd spots her and prepares to slit her throat as well, not recognizing her as his daughter. Upon hearing a scream from Lovett, he is distracted. He tells Johanna to "forget my face", and leaves her alive in his shop. Todd runs to the basement, where he discovers that the beggar woman was his wife Lucy, whom he had believed to be dead, based on Lovett's account of the poisoning. Todd realizes that Lovett knew Lucy was alive, and she attempts to convince him that she misled him for his own good, confessing she loves him. Todd pretends to forgive her, waltzing maniacally with her around the bakehouse before hurling her into the open furnace and locking her in. He returns to Lucy and cradles her dead body in his arms. Having witnessed the death of the only mother he has ever had, a vengeful Toby emerges from the sewer, picks up the discarded razor and slits Todd's throat. The film ends with Toby walking away as Todd bleeds to death over his dead wife.
Johnny Depp as Benjamin Barker/Sweeney Todd
Helena Bonham Carter as Mrs. Lovett
Alan Rickman as Judge Turpin
Jamie Campbell Bower as Anthony Hope J
ayne Wisener as Johanna Barker
Ed Sanders as Toby Ragg
Laura Michelle Kelly as Lucy Barker
Timothy Spall as Beadle Bamford
Adwards and nominationsEdit
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street received four Golden Globe nominations for the January 2008 65th Golden Globe Awards, winning two. The film received the award for Best Motion Picture in the Musical or Comedy genre, and Johnny Depp for his performance as Sweeney Todd. Tim Burton was nominated for Best Director, and Helena Bonham Carter was nominated for her performance as Mrs. Lovett. The film was included in the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures's top ten films of 2007, and Burton was presented with their award for Best Director. The film was also nominated for two BAFTA awards, in the categories of Costume Design and Make Up and Hair. Sweeney Todd further received three Oscar nominations at the 80th Academy Awards: Best Actor in a Leading Role for Depp; Best Achievement in Costume Design; and Best Achievement in Art Direction, which it won. Depp won the award for Best Villain at the 2008 MTV Movie Awards. He thanked his fans for "sticking with me on this very obtuse and strange road." He also won the Choice Movie Villain award at the Teen Choice Awards;[dead link] and at Spike TV's 2008 Scream Awards (filmed on October 18, 2008, and aired three days later), the film won two awards: Best Horror Movie, and Best Actor in a Horror Movie or TV