It seems that Johnny Depp has been around for ages, but when you look at him it’s hard to tell – the man seems ageless and quirky to a point of no return. Yet one fact we know for sure: his career is one of the most spectacular ones in Hollywood and everyone should strive to land roles that are at least half as mad and madly genius. Some might argue that lately his role choices haven’t been quite as mesmerizing as they used to be (along with his acting), that’s why we’ve decided to take a step back and appreciate Johnny Depp’s lifetime of work in all its glory. It’s been quite a journey!
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Many of you probably know Freddie Krueger, but most people, including Johnny Depp’s fans, have no idea he starred in this old atmospheric horror movie. Johnny Depp came to Hollywood as an aspiring musician, but thanks to his buddy Nick Cage landed a role as one of Freddie Krueger’s victims in the first instalment of the movie series.
Cry-Baby is one of the most badass rock-n-roll musicals ever made, with Johnny Depp playing the leading role of a bad boy with a quirky side. This John Water’s creation was an ideal playground for Depp to explore his unusualness, and so he did! The ordinary bad-boy-meets-good-girl trope plays out in an unexpected way in this movie with more than enough weird moments.
Edward Scissorhands (1990)
Tim Burton’s cult movie is not only adorably romantic, gothic, and philosophical on so many levels, but it also has started a whole era of Burton-Depp collaborations that gave us more incredible movies than we can count. It was also the movie that drastically changed the direction Johnny Depp’s career was going from a handsome teenage heartthrob to a risk-taker interested in complex roles.
What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)
This is a more down-to-earth story about love, destiny, and all the hardships in-between. Johnny Depp confessed that for some reason he was having trouble filming this movie, nevertheless, he did a great job portraying a young man who had to take care of his obese mother and young mentally-disabled brother, all the while falling in love.
Arizona Dream (1993)
The only time Emir Kusturica made a movie in America he invited an Oscar-worthy cast. Set against the desolate landscape of Arizona, this movie is as absurd and surreal as one can imagine. Johnny Depp’s magnetic performance is one of the things that make it so compelling despite being utterly weird.
Don Juan DeMarco (1994)
One of those rare roles that showcased Johnny Depp’s hot and handsome romantic side, rather than the weird and bizarre one. Don Juan DeMarco is a story about a supposedly delusional man who thinks he is the actual Don Juan DeMarco (played by Johnny Depp) and the psychiatrist (played by Marlon Brando) who is trying to fix him, yet in the process realizes that he and his relationship with his wife are the ones that need fixing. It’s a tender story about love and devotion. It had all the potential to become super cheesy, but great acting saved it!
Dead Man (1995)
This is one of the lesser known Johnny Depp’s roles, although the director is none other than Jim Jarmusch himself. This grainy, black-and-white, Western-y movie tells a story of an accountant who, through a series of unfortunate events, becomes a trigger-happy outlaw, gets wounded, and is accompanied to the ocean by a Native American man, who believes that this Blake is actually Blake-the-poet. Sounds surreal? Because it is!
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)
We weren’t really surprised to see Johnny Depp playing Hunter S. Thompson, a somewhat legendary writer and a mythical figure in certain circles. He abused all kinds of drugs, yet remained functional, and even invented his own style of ‘Gonzo journalism’, in which the journalist subjectively reports the events and meddles in them all the way he wants. The movie tells a fictional story of his two trips made to Las Vegas and LA. Apparently, Johnny Depp is a devoted fan of the man and portrays him quite brilliantly.
The Astronaut’s Wife (1999)
Johnny Depp’s performance is truly haunting as he gets to depict an astronaut who returns home from space after a gut-wrenching radio silence that got everyone thinking the worse. It appears something did happen and his wife seems to be the only one who notices it.
Sleepy Hollow (1999)
Didn’t you just love Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow and the way it mixed the story of the Headless Horseman into the spine-chilling reality of actual murders? Johnny Depp stars along Christina Ricci, portraying a young investigator who would stop at nothing to find out the truth. The story is delightfully macabre with more than enough plot-twists to keep you glued to the screen.
Johnny Depp jumps from dark and quirky repertoire back into sweet and romantic roles like it’s not a big deal. One can only admire his range as an actor, as well as his good looks. The movie explores morality, love, passion, and devotion. This movie is delicious in so many ways!
From Hell (2001)
It seems that Johnny Depp is most comfortable when there is a certain level of macabre involved in his roles. The story of Jack the Ripper is not a new one, but From Hell, directed by the Hughes Brothers, offers its own original take on the whole plot. Inspector Abberline (Johnny Depp) does not only care about victims of Jack the Reaper, but he’s also the only one who can actually foresee the murders. He senses the suspects, but the truth turns out to be far more horrifying than everyone thought.
Pirates of the Caribbean (2003 – 2017)
You can love him or hate him, but it’s hard to deny the fact that Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow is one of the most unusual, funny, and brilliant characters that have ever graced the silver screen. Some might argue that Jack Sparrow’s persona has influenced Johnny Depp’s future acting too much, and we can actually agree on that. Nevertheless, this is one of his craziest and most fun characters to watch.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)
Who doesn’t like the charmingly creepy story of bizarre Willy Wonka and his Chocolate Factory? With Oompa-loompas, weird and quirky sweet inventions far from any candy you’ve ever seen, and the magnificently misanthropic owner of the factory, this story is surreal, funny, and is a great watch for the whole family.
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)
Just as everyone thought that Tim Burton and Johnny Depp’s professional ‘marriage’ couldn’t get any better, the duo released yet another appalling, yet enchanting Victorian Era story. A drama, a horror, and a musical, Sweeney Todd tells the story about love and revenge, two tropes that often go hand by hand. After being separated from his wife and child, Benjamin Barker comes back as Sweeny Todd and becomes a barber, all the while seeking revenge for what was done to him and his family.
Alice in Wonderland (2010)
The role of Mad Hatter was practically made for Johnny Depp. This character from Alice in Wonderland was an ideal fit for Depp’s character and allowed him to experiment with his bizarre and quirky side as much as he wanted. Tim Burton never ceases to amaze us with the intricately grotesque atmosphere he creates in his movies.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)
You may or may not like Johnny Depp for the role of Grindelwald in Joan K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beast series, but he’s done a great job depicting an idealist and a fanatic that doesn’t have the usual aura of madness surrounding him, like most of Depp’s characters. Well, there is some bit of craziness, but of a different kind.