->''When I'm writing music, so much of the time I feel like I'm being pulled around by a big dog. I've got the dog on a leash and sometimes I'm leading this dog along just where I want it to go. And then sometimes the dog gets real big and starts yanking me. I think when I'm reacting the way I should be, I let the thing yank me around. Because it yanks me into places where I wouldn't go. And I look at it and go, "Oh! Thanks, boy! It's a strange place, but there had to be a reason why I went here, so I'm just going to leave it."''

Former leader of Music/OingoBoingo, Danny Elfman first broke into film scoring with ''Pee Wee's Big Adventure''. Since then, he has worked steadily in Hollywood (most notably for Creator/TimBurton), composing scores and themes for movies, TV, and even video games and a Creator/CirqueDuSoleil show (''IRIS'', a 2011 show inspired by the history of cinema).

An excerpt from his main title for ''Sommersby'' was later adopted by Regency Enterprises (the company that produced the film) for its logo; on the other hand, Elfman wrote the logo music for Creator/HollywoodPictures several years before he did his only feature score for the company (1995's ''Dead Presidents'').

Like JohnWilliams, Elfman tends to compose classical, Romantically-themed music reminiscent of Bernard Hermann, although Elfman makes more limited use of {{Leitmotif}} and his music tends to have darker overtones -- which seem to mesh well with Tim Burton's films, although he also has a penchant for Duke Ellington-style Jazz. Again like John Williams, Elfman is one of the few major Hollywood film composers who has never had a score thrown-out (although that doesn't mean they've been untampered with - see ''Spider-Man 2'').

His scores are [[RecycledTrailerMusic frequently used in trailers]].

He's married to Bridget Fonda, and they have a son together named Oliver, [[RuleOfCool which in old English means "Elf Army"]]. He also has two daughters, Lola and Mali, from previous relationships.

Films scored by Elfman include (but are certainly not limited to):
* ''Film/ForbiddenZone'' (1980)
* Pretty much all of Tim Burton's films (exceptions are ''Film/EdWood'' and ''Film/SweeneyToddTheDemonBarberOfFleetStreet''):
** ''Film/PeeWeesBigAdventure''
** ''Film/{{Beetlejuice}}''
** ''Film/{{Batman}}'' (1989) and ''Film/BatmanReturns''
** ''Film/EdwardScissorhands''
** ''WesternAnimation/TheNightmareBeforeChristmas''
*** Also provides the singing voice for Jack Skellington and both speaking and singing voices of Barrel.
** ''Film/MarsAttacks!''
** ''Film/SleepyHollow''
** ''Film/PlanetOfTheApes2001''
** ''Film/BigFish''
** ''Film/CharlieAndTheChocolateFactory''
*** Also provides the singing voices for the Oompa Loompas.
** ''WesternAnimation/CorpseBride''
*** Also provides the speaking and singing voice for Bonejangles.
** ''[[WesternAnimation/{{Nine}} 9]]'' - Burton produced but did not direct; Elfman did the themes for this one, but not the score itself.
** ''[[Film/AliceInWonderland Alice in Wonderland]]''
** ''Film/DarkShadows''
** ''WesternAnimation/{{Frankenweenie}}'' (2012 remake)
* ''WeirdScience'' (1985) (theme song only; but Elfman ''did'' score a film for Creator/JohnHughes, ''Flubber'')
* ''Big Top Pee-wee'' (1988 - without Burton, and with different themes)
* ''Film/{{Nightbreed}}'' (1990)
* ''Little Demons'' (a project that, for whatever reason, was never completed; however [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uiN8ZkE54h0 the soundtrack, or at least parts of it, are available on YouTube.]])
* ''Film/{{Darkman}}'' (1990)
* ''Literature/BlackBeauty'' (the 1994 movie adaptation)
* ''Film/MissionImpossible'' (1996)
* ''Film/ASimplePlan''
* ''Film/SpiderMan1'' and ''Film/SpiderMan2'' (Christopher Young scored [[Film/SpiderMan3 the third film]] using Elfman's themes -- along with [[RecycledSoundtrack Elfman cues from the first two]] and assistance from Music/JohnDebney and Deborah Lurie)
* And before that, he contributed a track to ''Film/ArmyOfDarkness'', the "March of the Dead".
* ''Film/SpyKids'' (with John Debney, Robert Rodriguez and loads of others)
* ''Film/{{Hulk}}'' (2003)
* The ''Film/MenInBlack'' films
* ''Film/{{Chicago}}''
* ''VideoGame/{{Fable}}'' (a video game)
* ''Disney/MeetTheRobinsons''
* ''Literature/CharlottesWeb'' (2006)
* ''Film/{{Wanted}}'' ([[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=leJAPiaCx2c where he even sings rock again]])
* ''Film/TerminatorSalvation''
* ''Film/KickAss'' (one track!)
* ''Film/TheWolfman2010''
* ''Film/RealSteel''
* ''Film/OzTheGreatAndPowerful'' (reuniting with Creator/SamRaimi after a brief falling out over ''Spider-Man 2'')
* ''[[Ride/DisneyThemeParks Mystic Manor]]'' (A Hong Kong Disneyland variation of Ride/TheHauntedMansion)
* ''Film/{{Epic}}'' (formerly ''Leafmen'')
* ''Film/SilverLiningsPlaybook''
* ''Film/AmericanHustle'' (a very, very brief score)
* ''WesternAnimation/MrPeabodyAndSherman''
* ''Film/FiftyShadesOfGrey''
* ''Film/AvengersAgeOfUltron'' (with Creator/BrianTyler)

''NOTE'': Although Elfman was originally signed to score ''Film/TheHungerGames'', a scheduling conflict led to him being replaced by James Newton Howard; Elfman never wrote any music for the project.

Elfman also composed the theme music for:
* ''Series/DesperateHousewives'' (Emmy winner)
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'' (adapted from his music for the 1989 film)
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Beetlejuice}}'' (animated version; also adapting his own work)
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' (Emmy nominee - but amazingly not a winner)
* ''Series/SledgeHammer''
* ''Series/TalesFromTheCrypt''
* ''Series/{{The Flash|1990}}'' (1990). Faster tempo, but otherwise a near carbon-copy of "Batman" (the same could be said of the series)
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Dilbert}}'' (adapted from his music for ''Film/ForbiddenZone'')
** According to a radio interview, this was done without his knowledge or input (though he didn't seem to mind).
* ''Series/PointPleasant''

Elfman also has [[TheCameo a cameo]] in a film he didn't score, Creator/SamRaimi's ''Film/TheGift2000'' (done by Christopher Young).