Johnny Depp has a varied resume of movie roles he’s taken on, to say the least! Beginning his Hollywood career in late 80s as Officer Tom Hanson on the incredibly popular Fox crime drama television series 21 Jump Street, Depp would eventually break onto the big screen and it hasn’t been the same since! With a barrage of unforgettable characters that he’s brought to life, Depp’s range has gone from the comedic to the overtly serious and it seems he’s only just begun. His latest movie, The Lone Ranger, based on the radio series of the same name, has opened to rave reviews and he’s now put his signature stamp and yet another character moviegoers won’t soon forget. So, here’s my Top 10 Johnny Depp movies.
10. Cry-Baby: One of Depp’s first films, in this 1990 musical comedy, Depp played juvenile delinquent “Cry-Baby” Walker. Set in 1950s Baltimore, Cry-Baby is a delinquent with a heart of gold, who wins the heart of good girl, Alison Vernon-Williams, played by Amy Locane. Written and directed by John Walters of future Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off fame, Depp brought to life this teenager with music in his soul. Though a flop at the box office when it was released, it accomplished Depp’s aim of breaking of his teen bop image and unwittingly introduced moviegoers to a future staple on the Hollywood scene!
9. The Astronaut’s Wife: This 1999 sci-fi thriller is one of Depp’s lesser known movies but in my opinion, one of his most accomplished performances. Depp played Commander Spencer Armacost, an astronaut who returns from a space mission not quite the same as when he left. Armacost’s wife, Jillian, played by Charlize Theron, notices his odd behavior and begins to suspect her husband isn’t her husband anymore and that his body has been taken over by an alien. Depp’s eerie portrayal of the possessed astronaut gave me chills and showcased his range as an actor. Though it has a less than stellar time at the box office, The Astronaut’s Wife showed moviegoers that Depp can do creepy with the best of ‘em!
8. Edward Scissorhands: Many say, and I agree, the movie that made Hollywood take notice of Depp on the silver screen. This 1990 romantic drama had Depp playing the title character, a man with scissors for hands, who hid from society until an Avon saleswoman finds him and introduces him to the world where he falls in love with her teenage daughter, played by Winona Ryder. Depp’s sweet, yet naïve portrayal of Edward won the hearts of moviegoers all over the world and Depp succeeded in creating an unforgettable character.
7. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street: Based on the hit Broadway musical, this 2007 horror musical had Depp playing the title character, who sets up his barber shop in London, where customers come in for a little off the top and end up losing their lives. Depp played this character with unnerving precision and though not known for his singing, took lessons in preparation for the role and turned out a stellar performance! Depp’s portrayal earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor, which was deserved, in my opinion. Working off his co-stars Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman and Sasha Baron Cohen, Depp brought to life a maniacal character who committed dastardly acts for revenge and a broken heart and though he was a murderer, Depp succeeded in showing Todd’s humanity in the end, not an easy feat!
6. Once Upon A Time in Mexico: This 2003 action thriller, written and directed by Robert Rodriguez was a sequel to 1995’s smash action flick Desperado. Depp played Sands, a CIA agent, who recruits El Mariachi, played again by Antonio Bandares, to kill a corrupt general, who has been hired to assassinate the president of Mexico. Depp inserts humor with a completely straight face throughout the movie, which is a bloody amalgamation of explosions and flashbacks updating viewers on what has happened to El Mariachi since Desperado. Depp keeps viewers guessing as to his real allegiance throughout the movie and playing a man whose eyes were gouged out but who was still able to kill those who were trying to kill him made this role stand-out from any role Depp had played before. Depp and Bandares made a volatile team as they pretty much killed every one in their path. In this role, Depp showed viewers that he could play a cutthroat CIA agent with the best of them!
5. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End: This 2007 action adventure film was the third installment in the Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise. Depp returned as the quirky Captain Jack Sparrow, who’s been banished to “Davy Jones’ Locker” and Will Turner, Elizabeth Swann, and Captain Hector Barbossa, must go to the ends of the Earth to retrieve him. Depp infused Sparrow with even more peculiar attributes than in the first two films, which only made moviegoers love the character more. Although it was director Gore Verbinski’s final Pirates film, he succeeded in teaming with Depp into making a swashbuckling, adventurous undertaking that kept viewers in the edge of their seats from beginning to end!
4. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest: In this 2006 sequel to the mega 2003 original, Depp brought back Captain Jack Sparrow to purloin the heart of Davy Jones, which would give him control of the sea. Depp comingled comedic treachery with good old-fashioned rumbustiousness to bring moviegoers yet another chapter in the life of the infamous Captain Jack Sparrow. Plus, the end held a well-kept surprise as Rush’s Captain Barbossa, who was killed in the original was revealed to have been brought back to life by voodoo priestess Tia Dalma. No one, myself included, saw that one coming, LOL!
3. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl: The 2003 action adventure fantasy that introduced the world to Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow! Based on the “Pirates of the Caribbean” ride at Disney theme parks, we were introduced to blacksmith Will Turner, played by Orlando Bloom, Elizabeth Swann, played by Keira Knightly and Captain Hector Barbossa, played by Geoffrey Rush. In the first installment in the monstrously successful movie franchise, Sparrow sets to take back his precious ship, The Black Pearl, which he lost thanks to a mutiny perpetrated by Barbossa. But, the mutinous crew paid the price for their treachery as they were cursed and have been living as the undead until they can find a way to lift the curse. Depp imbued Sparrow with witty repartee and such eccentricity that moviegoers couldn’t help but fall in love with the seemingly clumsy yet cunning pirate. It’s my favorite in the whole franchise.
2. Chocolat: This 2000 romantic drama found Depp playing a gypsy named Roux. He forms an attraction, with Vianne, played by Juliette Binoche, a drifter who is also a master chocolatier, who opens a Chocolaterie in the French village she has come upon with her young daughter, Anouk, just as the villagers begin observing the forty days of Lent. Because of this, Vianne becomes the enemy of Comte Paul de Reynaud, the town’s mayo, played by Alfred Molina. Depp portrays the cool Roux with simplicity and a touch of rebellion. In this role, Depp exhibited his soft side and viewers couldn’t help but to be drawn into his spell!
1. Don Juan DeMarco: This 1994 romantic dramedy, I believe is Depp’s best film! It had Depp portraying a young man, who seemingly believes that he’s the greatest lover of all time, Don Juan. After a outlandish suicide attempt, Depp’s Don Juan is evaluated by psychiatrist Dr. Jack Mickler, played by the incomparable Marlon Brando. Depp’s Don Juan tells Brando’s character of his adventures in order to prove he really is Don Juan or else he’ll be committed to a mental hospital. Don Juan’s tale in the film was based on two different sources: the modern-day story was based on director/screenwriter Jeremy Leven’s short storyDon Juan DeMarco and the Centerfold, while the flashbacks depicting Don Juan’s backstory were based on the legend of Don Juan, told by Lord Byron in his version. Depp’s portrayal of the infamous lover made my knees weak as he describes in depth how a woman should be loved. I have no doubt that every woman, around the world, fell in love with Depp’s portrayal of Don Juan, myself included!