From playing the role of Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to Edward Scissorhands, Johnny Depp is a name in Hollywood who’s known for his unparalleled versatility and amazing acting skills.
What’s great about Johnny Depp is how diverse his performances are. From quirky to eccentric roles, Johnny Depp is a name that doesn’t require any introduction. If you are a fan of Johnny Depp and have been planning a binge-watching session of his movies in chronological order, you have come to the right place.
With the illustrious career that Johnny Depp has had, it makes sense that you’d not want to miss out on any of the masterpieces. So, let us walk you through them in detail.
1. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
The beginning of Johnny Depp’s cinematic journey can be traced back to Wes Craven’s horror classic, “A Nightmare on Elm Street.” Portraying the role of Glen Lantz, Depp’s character was one of the victims at the hands of Freddy Krueger. It was not the massive entry of Depp into Hollywood but was enough to catapult Depp’s career right to the top. From then on, his screen presence became his trademark.
2. Platoon (1986)
While the debut movie wasn’t enough to take Depp’s career off the ground, Platoon would change those two years later. Oliver Stone’s war drama “Platoon was a complete 360 from what Depp did in the first movie. It was a nice shift from the staple horror drama genre. In this gritty film set during the Vietnam War, Depp played the role of Private Lerner, showcasing to the audience his abilities to work through different genres in the acting field.
3. Cry Baby (1990)
The success that Depp garnered from Platoon helped him land yet another quirky and eccentric role in Cry Baby. Directed by John Waters, this musical comedy showcased his flair for embracing unconventional and eccentric characters. Depp portrayed Wade “Cry-Baby” Walker, a rebellious teenager with a penchant for rock ‘n’ roll and a distinctive style and the movie has a retro-inspired element in the movie, which further solidified Depp’s presence in Hollywood.
4. Edward Scissorhands (1990)
If there’s one movie from the 90s that Johnny Depp is known for, it is Edward Scissorhands. The movie was released in the same year as Cry Baby and again, the fantasy film showcased diversity when it came with Depp’s acting talents. The portrayal of vulnerability and innocence in the movie as the character of Edward is nothing but a treat to watch.
5. What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)
While Leonardo Di Caprio did steal the show in the movie, you can’t deny the fact that Johnny Depp portrayed a significant role in the movie as well. Johnny Depp delivered a poignant and sensitive performance as Gilbert Grape, a small-town man responsible for caring for his mentally challenged brother, played by Leonardo DiCaprio. The complexity that Depp portrayed through the character was unlike anything else, further showcasing his versatility as an actor.
6. Ed Wood (1994)
Entering the Tim Burton world is a unique and one-of-a-kind experience and Ed Wood is a testament to that. Following the success of Edward Scissorhands, it made sense that the two would collaborate yet again. Depp’s portrayal of Wood earned him a Golden Globe nomination and solidified his position as a versatile and dedicated actor.
7. Don Juan DeMarco (1995)
Although the name of the movie seems heavy on the tongue, you can’t deny the fact that Don Juan DeMarco is one of those unconventional romantic dramas that you can go back and rewatch time and time again. Depp played the titular character, a young man who believes he is the legendary seducer Don Juan. This film showcased Depp’s romantic side and his ability to convey charm and charisma on screen.
8. Dead Man (1995)
Another 1995 release by Johnny Depp that deserves a shoutout is Dead Man. Directed by Jim Jarmusch, this isn’t a genre of movie that Depp appeared in the past. In this visually striking and atmospheric film, Depp played William Blake, a character on a surreal and existential journey. This was also one of the movies that depicted Depp’s willingness to work in unconventional movies rather than the common ones.
9. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)
When talking about Depp’s filmography, this is one of those movies that not many people talk about or even know of. Adapting Hunter S. Thompson’s gonzo journalism to the big screen, Johnny Depp embraced the chaotic and drug-fueled world of Raoul Duke in “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.” The movie was directed by Terry Gilliam and the bizarre and hallucinatory narrative in the movie further solidified Depp’s abilities as an actor on screen.
10. Sleepy Hollow (1999)
The third one with Tim Burton is another commercial success that deserves to be discussed in the list. Johnny Depp took on the role of Ichabod Crane in the gothic horror film “Sleepy Hollow.” The complex portrayal of the character paired with the added layer of humor and dark elements somehow managed to balance out the entire movie, making it a public favorite. The collaboration between Depp and Burton continued to captivate audiences and critics alike.
11. Chocolat (2000)
Another romantic movie that deserves praise in Depp’s filmography is Chocolat. Directed by Lasse Hallström, Depp portrayed the role of Roux, a wandering riverboat drifter. The film explored themes of love, acceptance, and the transformative power of chocolate. This might sound a bit unconventional to begin with but it is worth praise when you come to think of it. The touch of romance and mystery that unfolds as you watch the movie is quite praiseworthy too.
12. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
When talking about Johnny Depp’s acting career, it doesn’t even make sense if we don’t talk about Pirates of the Caribbean. His famous stance and sprint in the movie will go down in history and his role as Captain Jack Sparrow is irreplaceable. Depp’s eccentric and humorous portrayal of the swashbuckling pirate earned him an Academy Award nomination as well.
13. Finding Neverland (2004)
In the biographical drama “Finding Neverland,” Johnny Depp took on the role of J.M. Barrie, the creator of Peter Pan. As you would expect to witness, the movie takes the audience through the life of J.M. Barrie and all the instances in his life that inspired him to become the renowned creator that he was. Depp’s performance demonstrated his ability as a leading actor, earning him another Academy Award nomination.
14. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)
Another evergreen movie that will forever grace Depp’s career is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. This was yet another masterpiece with Tim Burton where he stepped into the shoes of Willy Wonka, the enigmatic chocolatier who added a modern twist to the character. The film’s success was next level and to this day, there are no questions about the whimsical world that the movies took the audience to.
15. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)
Another underrated Johnny Depp movie that deserves a shoutout is Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, which was released in 2007. This musical thriller is unlike anything else in Depp’s career where he portrayed the role of a vengeful barber. The film earned him another Academy Award nomination and critical acclaim for his singing abilities.
16. The Rum Diary (2011)
Based on the novel by Hunter S. Thompson, “The Rum Diary” saw Johnny Depp once again embracing the author’s unique perspective, this time in the role of journalist Paul Kemp. Directed by Bruce Robinson, the movie explored the backdrop of the 1960s where it explored the complexities of Thompson’s alter ego. The depth of the movie is unlike anything else that Depp has done.
17. Dark Shadows (2012)
If there’s an actor that Tim Burton loves, it has to be Dark Shadows. Depp took on the role of Barnabas Collins and the movie blends in elements of horror and comedy, especially with Depp’s portrayal of a vampire. You won’t regret watching this movie, especially if you want to witness an entirely different side to Depp’s acting prowess.
18. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018)
The magical world of wizardry deserves another shoutout on the list. Depp played the popular character of the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald in “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.” Besides the stunning characters and the backdrops, the overall storyline of this movie takes you back to the interactive Harry Potter world.
19. Waiting for the Barbarians (2019)
Last on the list is Waiting for the Barbarians, which is an adaptation of J.M. Coetzee’s novel of the same name. Johnny Depp played the role of Colonel Joll, a character involved in the moral complexities of imperialism. The film is directed by Ciro Guerra, explored themes of power, oppression, and humanity. It is not your conventional role that you will see Depp performing in but it is nevertheless one that deserves all the love and appreciation.
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