The centuries old vampire Count Dracula (Gary Oldman) comes to England to seduce his barrister Jonathan Harker's (Keanu Reeves') fiancée Mina Murray (Winona Ryder) and inflict havoc in the foreign land.
The curse of the headless horseman is the legacy of the small town of Sleepy Hollow. Spearheaded by the eager Constable Ichabod Crane and his new world ways into the quagmire of secrets and murder, secrets once laid to rest, best forgotten and now reawakened, and he too, holding a dark secret of a past once gone.Written by
Historically, Ichabod Crane was a very unattractive man. Johnny Depp offered to add prosthetics to his face to make himself look ugly, but director Tim Burton wanted to base the character on Crane's more unattractive personality traits, his reported squeamishness and eccentricity. See more »
The characters incorrectly refer to the Headless Horseman as the "Hess-i-an". The correct pronunciation of Hessian, which was a German mercenary from the region of Hesse who aided the British in the Revolutionary War, is "Heh-shen". See more »
The opening credits - shown over Ichabod's travel to Sleepy Hollow - interact with the landscape: if Ichabod's coach is near a river, the words are reflected on the surface of the water; if he's in a forest the letters drift away like dead leaves, and so on. See more »
To get a "Not under 12" rating the German version was cut for violence. The uncut version was released on video/DVD and is rated "Not under 16". See more »
I thoroughly enjoyed this collaboration between Tim Burton, Andrew Kevin Walker and Washington Irving. Combining such incredible talents as Mr. Burton and Mr. Walker proved quite the appropriate recipe for recreating the Irving classic. I have read may other comments about this movie and I find it very disturbing that most people either compare it to Star Wars: Phantom Menace or complain that it is too far removed from the original story.
For these people I have a few comments. First, the only connections and comparisons to Star Wars are the actor Ian McDiarmid and the actor/stuntman Ray Park. Beyond that there is nothing within this movie that comes remotely close to a comparison to Star Wars. In my opinion this movie was better than that box office behemoth. If *****had spent as much time on his script for ***, perhaps it would have been as intriguing as Sleepy Hollow. Next, for those who were not satisfied with the movie's departure from the Irving classic I have but one piece of advice: read the story again. Washington Irving was masterful at creating scenes and setting atmosphere but The Legend of Sleepy Hollow was a 20 page examination of the little village and the loves of Ichabod Crane (women, food, writings et al) The Horseman, though mentioned a handful of times, did not appear until the last couple pages and then it alluded to the idea that Brom Bones was the culprit, in disguise, to frighten the poor hero Ichabod.
There have been other writings and interpretations of the Sleepy Hollow story that focus more on the spectral form of the Headless Horseman. I believe this movie was done in the spirit of those other works and is among the best. It brings to life the setting of this little valley and attempts to recreate the feeling that Washington Irving described best in his story. It was indicated that Sleepy Hollow was a magical and dream like place, thus the name "Sleepy Hollow." In this little upstate valley the strangest things occur and such ghosts and goblins roam freely if only in the mind of the inhabitants. Tim Burton manages to capture that sensation and allows the audience to feel as if they stepped not into a theater, but another world.
Andrew Kevin Walker's workup and translation of the story also makes for a compelling movie. Allowing the changes for the movie adaptation were a sign of genius. Displacing the hero and introducing him to the Sleepy Hollow atmosphere along with the audience, enhanced the experience. Giving a clear background for the Horseman, which is only briefly provided in the original story, was also an improvement to the movie's story. Let's face it, if they had made a 105 minute movie that tried to replicate the original short story there would have been whole theaters full of "sleepy" patrons.
The acting was also superb giving a hand to Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci for fabulous performances. As for the rest of the cast? Fantastic. To see all of these wonderful actors in secondary roles was a treat. Starting with Christopher Lee as the chief magistrate in New York; Jeffrey Jones, Michael Gough, Ian McDiarmid, Michael Gambon, Miranda Richardson and even Casper Van Dien all did magnificent work.
Though the story lagged at moments, they were few and far between. The editing in the beginning was a bit choppy but ran more fluently after the 20-30 minute point. An excellent adaptation of a great story. This was definitely a movie that Burton was born to make.
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