Throughout his career, Johnny Depp has shown viewers one crucial thing: he has undeniable range as an actor. Depp has played virtually every character imaginable, from cartoony villains to heartwarming heroes. He is known for playing bizarre or complex characters and fully immerses himself in his roles. There are rumors that Depp has signed onto an overseas film project, but U.S. moviegoers may be waiting a while longer before he makes an official return to Hollywood. Though he hasn’t starred in a new movie for several years now, his most iconic roles are still well-loved by fans. All of the top Johnny Depp movies are great on a first watch and only get better over time.
10. The Lone Ranger Is A Fresh Take On An Old Story
Johnny Depp has starred in several Disney movies, including this 2013 take on The Lone Ranger. Although the film didn’t perform as well as expected at the box office, Depp’s incredible transformation into an aged Tonto is compelling. Depp steals the show from beginning to end and is nearly unrecognizable in full costume and makeup. He even altered his voice to make his portrayal of the Native American warrior sound more authentic.
9. Dark Shadows Combines Comedy And Horror
Tim Burton and Johnny Depp worked on many projects together, and Dark Shadows was one of their most campy collaborations. Depp plays Barnabas Collins, a centuries-old vampire who returns to his ancestral home in 1972. The fish-out-of-water elements of the premise keep audiences laughing throughout, especially when Barnabas meets his dysfunctional modern family. The supporting cast is just as stellar as Depp himself, and Burton’s expert use of makeup and prosthetics brings the film’s theatrical horror elements to life.
8. Public Enemies Is A Gritty Slice Of Dramatized History
Johnny Depp stars opposite Christian Bale as John Dillinger, one of the most notorious bank robbers in history. The film is based on the true story of the infamous criminal life, and Depp perfectly embodies the charismatic conman. Public Enemies is a nonstop thriller but also shows audiences the soft side of Dillinger through his relationship with Billie Frenchette. Though Christian Bale also shone in this movie, Johnny Depp’s multifaceted performance gave Bale’s Melvin Purvis a run for his money – literally.
Captain Jack Sparrow has become one of Depp’s most recognizable roles, and it’s easy to see why. This first film in the franchise is Johnny Depp at his best: witty, sarcastic, and fully committed to his character. Keith Richards was part of the inspiration for the pirate’s iconic look, and Depp pulls it off well. However, Captain Jack Sparrow is more than just the protagonist of a film; he’s the face of an ever-growing brand. Despite some of the sequels receiving mixed reviews from fans, the original is a modern Disney classic in its own right.
6. Blow Is Based On An Outrageous True Story
Depp plays cocaine smuggler Boston George, often considered the grandfather of the U.S. cocaine pandemic of the 1970s. However, there is more to Boston George than just cocaine: Depp shows him to be a quick-witted forward thinker with excellent fashion sense. Although successfully portraying a villain protagonist isn’t easy for any actor, Johnny Depp manages to make Boston George likable to audiences. The film humanizes George with a fair balance between good traits and misdeeds, and Depp plays both sides admirably.
5. Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street Is A Horror Musical
Sweeny Todd is equal parts slasher and musical and is yet another example of Tim Burton and Johnny Depp collaborating. The demon barber won Depp his only Golden Globe to date, and the film itself was critically acclaimed across the board. The movie was an instant hit due to the over-the-top musical numbers, classic slasher film-style violence, and the on-screen chemistry of Depp and Helena Bonham Carter. This film is arguably the most successful Burton/Depp film yet.
4. Sleepy Hollow Retells A Literary Classic
On the whole, Sleepy Hollow was a loose retelling of the classic Washington Irving story about Ichabod Crane. The film added some very convincing horror elements to the plot, as well as plenty of suspense to keep audiences guessing along the way. In classic Tim Burton style, the visuals of the movie create a solid backdrop for the spooky, mysterious tone of the story. It may be one of the tamer Tim Burton films that Depp has starred in, but his ability to fully delve into the psyche of the eccentric Crane made this yet another winning performance for the actor.
3. Edward Scissorhands Is A Modern Frankenstein
In terms of the Tim Burton and Johnny Depp power duo, this film is the one that started it all. Johnny Depp’s first partnership with Burton featured a Frankenstein-like creation left unfinished. As the title suggests, Edward has literal scissors for hands, a fact that makes him intimidating to others. However, he meets a woman that finally shows him how warm and accepting people can be. The role of Edward Scissorhands still stands as one of Depp’s signature performances, even three decades after the film was released.
2. Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas Is A Surreal Comedy
In perhaps his weirdest role, Johnny Depp starred as Hunter S. Thompson’s drug-addled alter ego in this oddly satisfying book adaptation. The movie is equal parts comedy, equal parts acid trip, and the author himself has said that no one could have portrayed Raoul Duke as well as Depp. His rendition of the notorious reporter is unbelievably convincing. He embodies the mannerisms of the character perfectly. Furthermore, the tone and inflection of his put-on voice make audiences forget that he is still Johnny Depp. He might as well be the real Raoul Duke.
1. What’s Eating Gilbert Grape Is A Touching Family Tale
Among the top Johnny Depp movies, this one is truly a tear-jerker. Depp plays the eponymous character, who has to face the impossible task of caring for his mentally ill brother and obese mother. Throughout the film, Gilbert grapples with his unrealized goals for his life. The family lives in a tiny Midwestern town, a place where Gilbert feels stifled. Despite his reluctance, Gilbert is a doting brother and son. The movie gives readers a multitude of heartwarming moments between the family members and demonstrates the true value of the love they have for each other.