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10 Best Johnny Depp Movies

Updated on October 30, 2012
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Johnny Depp is considered one of the most unique and versatile actors in Hollywood. Over the years he has demonstrated an interest in tackling some of the toughest and most controversial characters in cinema. He has also demonstrated an ability to do this successfully, displaying different sides of himself and attracting the attention of a wide fan base. You probably know his most famous movies but have you seen all of the best ones?

Here is a closer look at ten of the best Johnny Depp movies which you might want to put on your Netflix list if you haven’t seem them already:

1. What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? Many people think of this as a Leonardo DiCaprio movie since it’s the first time that he really made his mark as a young actor. However, Johnny Depp plays the other main character in this film and he does it well. The story is about a troubled boy growing up in a complex family that can’t handle his mental development issues. Depp plays the boy’s older brother who looks out for him and takes care of the house because his mother won’t. We really see a caring and compassionate side of the actor in this movie but underneath it is also clearly an inner struggle with his situation.

2. Edward Scissorhands. Everyone that I know has this movie on their list of favorite movies because it’s such a unique and interesting twist on the traditional love story. Johnny Depp plays the monstrous character in love and what we see throughout the movie is his struggle to fit into society despite his differences from the people there. This seems to sum up a major theme in Depp’s work and his success in displaying it in this movie foreshadowed the success he came to have in the years that followed its release.

3. From Hell. This is a stunning movie that tells the story of Jack the Ripper. It has excellent cinematography and a really great storyline. What really stands out, however, are the characters in the film. One of those characters is the lead investigator played by Depp. He brings to life an intense character who has psychic abilities that aren’t quite able to save him from the problems that come along with this serial killer case.

4. Donnie Brasco. Depp plays a lead investigator in this movie as well and this one is also based on a true crime story. In this case, it’s a mafia story in which Depp has to go undercover within the mafia to close the case. He struggles with personal issues and the usual drama within these types of crime movies but somehow he pulls it off without making it seem cliché.

5. Sleepy Hollow. This wasn’t one of the more popular movies that Depp made but it’s one of the most interesting ones. (And it did win an Oscar so it definitely got some attention at the time that it was releaed.) Depp is really great at paying unusual characters who have something of a dark side to them which makes him a really great Ichabod Crane in this classic story. Interestingly, this is another Depp film in which he plays a crime investigator.

6. Blow. This is one of the greatest movies that Depp was ever a part of and this time he plays a role on the other side of crime. He’s almost single-handedly responsible for enlarging the cocaine market in the United States. What’s interesting is that we get to see the entire background of what made him who he is and how he struggles with that in spite of his motivation to continue on in this line of business. Depp portrays this well and the movie succeeds as a result.

7. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It is really difficult to conceive of a remake of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory that could do the original movie justice. The characters in that film were just too unique. However, if anyone could pull off playing a new Willy Wonka it was Johnny Depp. He is the kind of strong actor who is able to really bring his own voice and persona to any part even one that is so well-known as being played by another character. The film didn’t quite stand up to the quality of the original but Depp did a good job with his role in it.

8. Cry Baby. This is a classic movie by John Waters from the early 1990’s and Depp is the main star. It’s a spoof and it’s silly and the characters aren’t designed to really wrench at your heart but Depp managed to really infuse his part with emotion. At the same time, his character is slightly unique which is definitely a trend throughout all of his movies.

9. The Libertine. A lesser-known movie of Depp’s, this is one in which he plays a drunk and debaucherous character who is thrillingly interesting to watch. We see that story again of the inner struggle working itself out in the character’s actions. It all works out really well for the viewer.

10. The Pirates of the Caribbean Movies. Johnny Depp plays Jack Sparrow in these films and there is no doubt that these popular movies would not have been the same if someone else had played this role. This is the peak of his career in the sense that he’s able to bring all of the experience he gained in the past to the character and to create someone who is entertaining and interesting and unique for viewers to watch across an entire series of movies.

Depp is great at playing these really wild characters in different films. That’s what his forte is. For that reason I’m really looking forward to the 2010 release of Tim Burton’s take on Alice in Wonderland in which Depp plays The Mad Hatter. That is certainly going to be an interesting one to watch!



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