Sleepy Hollow is a 1999 American period horror film directed by Tim Burton. Based on the Washington Irving story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, the film stars Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci, Miranda Richardson, Marc Pickering, Michael Gambon, Jeffrey Jones, Casper Van Dien, Ian McDiarmid, Michael Gough, and Christopher Walken. The plot follows police constable Ichabod Crane (Depp) sent from New York City to investigate a series of murders in the village Sleepy Hollow by a mysterious Headless Horseman.
Development for Sleepy Hollow began in 1993 at Paramount Pictures with Kevin Yagher originally set to direct Andrew Kevin Walker's script as a low-budget slasher film. Disagreements with Paramount resulted in Yagher being demoted to prosthetic makeup designer, and Burton was hired to direct in June 1998. Filming took place from November 1998 to May 1999, and Sleepy Hollow was released to generally favorable reviews from critics, and grossed approximately $207 million worldwide. Production designer Rick Heinrichs and set decorator Peter Young won the Academy Award for Best Art Direction.
In 1799, New York City police constable Ichabod Crane is dispatched by his superiors to the upstate hamlet of Sleepy Hollow, New York, to investigate a series of brutal slayings in which the victims have been found decapitated. A frequent user of new, though so far unproven investigative techniques such as finger-printing and autopsies, Crane arrives in Sleepy Hollow armed with his bag of scientific tools only to be informed by the town's elders that the murderer is not of flesh and blood, rather a headless supernatural warrior from beyond the grave who rides at night on a massive black steed.
Crane finds the Horseman's skull is missing, though the murders continue until Crane uncovers a murky plot revolving around revenge and land rights with the Horseman controlled by Katrina's stepmother, Lady Van Tassel, who sends the killer after Katrina now. Following a fight in the local windmill and a stagecoach chase through the woods, Crane eventually thwarts Lady Van Tassel by returning the skull to the Horseman, who regains his head and heads back to Hell along with his enslaver. His job in Sleepy Hollow over, Crane, with Katrina and Young Masbeth, returns to New York, in time for the new century.