Johnny Depp's Best Movies

Summary

He once seemed destined for nothing better or worse than simple teen idolhood, but since escaping from 21 Jump Street in 1990, Johnny Depp has proven himself to be a brave (and mostly pretty astute) chooser of scripts, building an impressive filmography that encompasses everything from black-and-white arthouse fare (Dead Man) to blockbuster Disney trilogies (Pirates of the Caribbean). This weekend, he returns to theaters in Transcendence as a scientist who has his consciousness uploaded to the cloud, so we thought now would be a fine time to devote a fresh installment of Total Recall to counting down the 10 best-reviewed releases of Depp's 30-year (and counting) film career. Back to Article

Comments

Ray Geiser

Ray Geiser

O.K., I forgot to mention that IMHO Ed Wood is also really great, but that's generally acknowledged by everyone.

Rainman

Jul 4 - 04:27 PM

Bernadine Schockmel

Bernadine Schockmel

check the list again, Taylor.

Jul 4 - 04:50 PM

Teddy K.

Ryan Gavetti

Honestly, my favorite film with Johnny Depp has always been Benny & Joon. I believe Depp shows a mastery of "Film Presence" in that movie that has been exploited ineffectively by recent directors in Pirates of the Caribbean and other films of the like.

Jul 4 - 04:53 PM

Bernadine Schockmel

Bernadine Schockmel

I agree,Ryan. It is a great movie and Johnny was excellent.

Jul 4 - 04:56 PM

Luck  Dragon

Luck Dragon

Plus, saying "Joon" is fun. Especially if you add extra O's.

Jul 5 - 06:15 AM

Jeremy Scott

Jeremy Scott

I always wondered where the hub cap he threw up in the air went.

Jul 11 - 12:05 AM

Bernadine Schockmel

Bernadine Schockmel

I agree,Ryan. It is a great movie and Johnny was excellent.

Jul 4 - 04:56 PM

Claire McDaniel

Claire McDaniel

I think Finding Neverland is Johnny's best. He isn't depending on some kind of kooky outfit or exaggerated behavior. It's just subtle and nuanced acting with Depp's character using imagination as a way to open up a child's world. It's a beautiful and touching film.

Jul 4 - 05:39 PM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

I would leave off the "Classic" part and just say it lacks appeal. Loved the other Depp/Highmore collaboration Finding Neverland and am a little surprised it only scored an 83%. If ever a biopic shouldn't have been criticized for embellishment or stretching of the truth it has to be J.M. Barrie's.

Jul 4 - 05:53 PM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

Little surprised Sleepy Hollow isn't on either list. It was the film that turned me around on Johnny Depp and is pretty much Sweeney Todd only better done IMO.

Jul 4 - 06:16 PM

Brendan Heaney

Brendan Heaney

I think he really needs to start working more with Helena Bonham Carter. Those two just really aren't in enough movies together.

Jul 4 - 06:31 PM

Johnny Wallesch

Johnny Wallesch

I can't believe Fear and Loathing has such a bad RT score. Probably one of my favorite Depp roles

Jul 4 - 07:44 PM

CyborgUnicorn

Cyborg Unicorn

that's a good one too

Jul 5 - 12:58 AM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

Dismiss it as worthless because it was total shit.

Jul 4 - 09:19 PM

Willem DaPerson

Willem DaPerson

That's, like, you're opinion, man...

Jul 5 - 05:31 AM

Dave J

Dave J

RT critics don't seem to think so because they gave it 82%!

Jul 5 - 01:39 PM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

One of the most astoundingly miss-rated films in RT history. I'm inclined to believe if these critics watched that movie again, this time with their eyes open and no fingers in their ears, it would be far lower.

Jul 5 - 03:45 PM

Dave J

Dave J

It's miss rated because you said so, right! And that super hero films such as "Woverine" and "Ghost Rider" are better films than "Charlie And... "! I mean, can you even give me a legitimate reason why that film even sucked since underage kids tell me movies suck all the time without giving me a proper reason!

Jul 5 - 04:24 PM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

Reason 1. Depp's performance was creepy in an almost pedophiliac way, not what you're aiming for in what is obstensibly a kids movie. 2. Even though it was more loyal to it's source material, the loyalty came at the cost of much needed improvements when taking a film from a literary to a visual medium 3. The Oompa Loompa dance numbers were totally out of place 4. It didn't significantly change enough or improve on its predecessor think The Amazing Spiderman without the upgrades in casting.

Jul 5 - 06:31 PM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

Brother pretty much nailed it, Depp's Wonka couldn't even hold a candle to Gene Wilders, the Oompas were absolutely awful backed by Danny Elfman's worst score he ever made. In fact, considering the talent involved I would have to say it was the worst effort ever by anyone involved.

Jul 5 - 07:44 PM

Frisby2007

Frisby 2007

@Val

You constantly just use someone else's 'points' to cover up the fact that you can never give your own reasons as to why the new one sucks (which it doesn't). Your only excuse seems to always be "Gene Wilder is the better actor" like all of the moron fanbase of Gene Wilder's cult. (Take in mind that I have NOTHING against Wilder, but his fanbase are one of the biggest morons I've had the biggest displeasure of encountering). And worst effort ever in a film? Are you really that stupid? Then again, you did somehow find Speed Racer, Ghost Rider, & Wolverine entertaining. Those films had a lot of well done effort over a film with an 82%, right? And you want to hear Elfman's worst score then listen to Flubber's score. Charlie's score is one of his finest.

@BigBrother

1. How was it pedophilic? Depp's Wonka performance was realistic; he paid little to no attention to the kids; so where the hell you pulled out pedophilic from I have no idea. In fact he was RUDE to them. How else would a man who has isolated himself from humanity for so long be acting? Wilder's Wonka was far too kind & sweet for a man that has isolated himself for a long, long time.

2. Your point?

3. No, they weren't. Your just saying thy because you're too stuck on the repetitive, outdated & monotone Oompa Loompa musical numbers from the 70s one.

3. It changed a lot from its predecessor. From giving fine performances (the actors in the old one were horrible, even Wilder who was the only one in there giving it his best), making Wonka's character more realistic, to even changing the ending to flesh out Wonka's character (whereas I always found the ending in both the book & old Wonka movie completely cheesy & sugar coated).

Jul 8 - 02:57 AM

Dave J

Dave J

@Bigbrother... I'm going to have to disagree and will counteract everything you had said:

1) No, Depps performance was "not" creepy in an almost pedophiliac way which if that is what you as well as others got from watching this film then I have to say that you as well as other people have issues since his creepy persona is similar to other Burtons films such as "Sweeney Toddd", "Ed Wood" and "Edward Scissorhands"

2) And you say 'visual medium'- I think it's intended to look like a visual medium since the previous "Charlie And The Chocolate..." starring Gene Wilder was a visual medium as well! And I'm sure if you had read the book, a visual medium may be required!

And finally 3) the only thing I got from reading your third point was that you don't pay attention to lyrics in films much since if you paid any attention to the lyrics at all or know what the Oompa Loopas are singing about they're always singing about the misfortunes regarding each of the kids, as Charlie explained earlier whatever the kids don't "listen" the Oompa Lumpas always break into a song number and singing about it! I mean, if viewers are able to pay attention to what the characters are singing about in cartoons such as "Beauty And The Beast" and "Aladdin" I don't see how this is anymore different on other movie formats whether it's real life or otherwise! Did you see "500 Days Of Summer" where the Joseph Levitt Johnson breaks into a song and dance!

And to address your fourth point, I personally liked both films for different reasons and that Tim Burton has sort of an edge because CGI was more advanced now compared to what it was like 20 years ago for I thought they did a great job in showing that you can't have 'selfish' personalities to own his chocolate empire! Saying that if you didn't get that message then it's you who must be seeing a different movie!

Jul 8 - 12:29 PM

King  S.

King Simba

I have to agree with Big Brother here, particularly on the second point. Charlie and the Chocolate factory was more faithful to the book, but not in a positive way. I mean take the Indian Prince story. What purpose did it serve the story other than to make it feel outdated (it might have been funny when the book was published, but by 2005 a pampered Indian Prince was nothing more than cliché). Willy Wonka and the Chocolate factory knew when to stick to the source material and when to deviate from it.

An example would be the search for the golden tickets. The old film took its time with the search, adding more scenes than those from the book and allowing us to really feel how much finding a ticket meant to Charlie. And the moment where he finally found it was handled beautifully. You felt the tension as he slowly peeled the wrapper rather than him simply opening a bar by accident.

Even Grandpa Joe getting out of bed was handled much better. Rather than having him jumping out of bed, they made it slow so that when he finally managed to walk you felt like cheering and the song that followed was in my opinion one of the most uplifting songs in history.

Also, not having the lifetime supply of chocolate guaranteed for the kids was another great deviation. Not only did it add tension to the climax, but the test Wonka gave Charlie at the end made perfect sense. The reason why he had shut the factory for so long was because of people stealing his ideas, so naturally he would want to test Charlie's loyalty. And the ending was perfect. Sure it may have been sugarcoated, but it was still better than adding another unnecessary ten minutes.

Meanwhile, the one area where Charlie and the Chocolate factory tried to deviate from the source material was giving Wonka an origin and that did not work in my opinion. What made Wonka so appealing was the mystery behind the character. Who is he? Is he a man or is he a wizard? Giving him a backstory is about as pointless as giving a backstory to Gandalf or Yoda. And while I've enjoyed many of Depp's performances, his Willy Wonka portrayal wasn't one of them. He wasn't eccentric, he was just an unlikable prick. I simply did not sympathize with him like I did with his portrayal of Ed Wood or Edward Scissorhands.

As for the songs, I wouldn't call them bad, just forgettable. The original is now more than 40 years old and yet I still see movies and shows referencing the songs. That says something about how iconic and memorable they are. I remember when Simpsons did a parody of "The Candy Man" called "The Garbage Man". They hadn't played more than a couple notes of the song before I recognized which song they were parodying, despite the fact that it had been years since I had seen Willy Wonka. By comparison they could have played an entire version of one of the new film's songs and I wouldn't catch the reference.

That's not to say the new one didn't have its advantages. Willy Wonka suffered from a low budget which hurt a lot of the scenes inside the factory. Thanks to having 50 times the budget and Burton's creativity, Charlie was able to do a better job at capturing the world of Willy Wonka. It also had better performances from the cast, with the unfortunate exception of Depp as Willy Wonka of course.

Jul 9 - 07:24 AM

Dave J

Dave J

As I've said, I liked both of those versions for different reasons! And if you don't find Depps character as Willy just as compelling as Wilders then that's your priorogitive but I will say that the original feels slightly outdated sometimes looking like a stage play! Also, as I recall, the tune Wilder's was singing occurred on more than one scene whereas the only people who were doing all the singing in the Burtons version were the Oompa Lumpas and that was basically it which is more likely to happen than Willy Wonka saying if it really happen!

Jul 9 - 12:04 PM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

He was a pale creepy loner who lured children to factory with the promise of candy to do horrible things to most of them with little remorse...no way to draw comparisons to pedophilia there. I seriously hope you don't have children. Did you also not notice that the 3 movies you mentioned are horror movies or movies about eccentric horror directors? Can you not see how a character in a horror movie doesn't justify a similar portrayal in a kids movie? Robert Englund was great as Freddy Kruger, I wouldn't want him attempting a similar performance in a live action Winnie the Pooh film.

2. You completely misunderstood what I was saying with my second point. Namely that deviations from the literary work helped the original Wonka flick. They made changes to accomodate a visual medium which were completely justified. Whereas the Depp one more slavishly adhered to the book to little benefit.

3. Did you seriously compare the musical numbers by the new Oompa Loompa's to Beauty and the Beast? I can't help you. Like Simba said I can still sing the songs from the original in my head while I have trouble recalling anything besides God awful hip hop dancing from the new.

4. Did you not get that same message from the earlier version? I did, and thought it was much more memorably done IMO.

Apr 19 - 01:16 AM

CyborgUnicorn

Cyborg Unicorn

Wow, sad that From Hell and the Ninth Gate aren't on this list

Jul 5 - 12:24 AM

Luck  Dragon

Luck Dragon

Don't fret, you can find them on "Johnny Depp's Worst Movies" list.

Jul 5 - 06:16 AM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

From Hell is one of his best.

Jul 5 - 03:39 PM

Dave J

Dave J

57% on the RT's list and 70% from the audience is nothing to brag about!

Jul 8 - 01:40 PM

Jaime Lannister

Jaime Lannister

those don't even make the lest for best from the audience

Jul 5 - 03:47 PM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

Nith Gate was fairly bad, but From Hell was underrated.

Jul 5 - 07:53 PM

Stephen Dias

Stephen Dias

This list reflects the reality of the situation, Johnny Depp gets worse the older he gets.

Jul 5 - 12:55 AM

Jess Reno

Jess Reno

Fear and Loathing has my vote

Jul 5 - 12:56 AM

CyborgUnicorn

Cyborg Unicorn

that's a good one too

Jul 5 - 12:58 AM

Willem DaPerson

Willem DaPerson

That's, like, you're opinion, man...

Jul 5 - 05:31 AM

Luck  Dragon

Luck Dragon

Sometimes it takes more talent to do a supporting role and make it the thing people remember most.

Jul 5 - 06:04 AM

Luck  Dragon

Luck Dragon

You're really annoying, do you often find other people's fists in your mouth?

Jul 5 - 06:06 AM

Luck  Dragon

Luck Dragon

Plus, saying "Joon" is fun. Especially if you add extra O's.

Jul 5 - 06:15 AM

Luck  Dragon

Luck Dragon

Don't fret, you can find them on "Johnny Depp's Worst Movies" list.

Jul 5 - 06:16 AM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

From Hell is one of his best.

Jul 5 - 03:39 PM

Dave J

Dave J

57% on the RT's list and 70% from the audience is nothing to brag about!

Jul 8 - 01:40 PM

Eleni Christinaki

Eleni Christinaki

I agree ... but I saw the lone ranger and it was a really good movie !!!

Jul 5 - 06:45 AM

Dr. Zack

zack walsh

it wasn't.

Jul 7 - 06:19 PM

OLUCKYMAN19731

Mick Travis

They should have named it THE LONG RANGER, or simply JOHNNY DEPP: THE MOVIE. It wasn't bad, just really mediocre.

Apr 16 - 08:29 PM

Kirito Hitsuzen

Kirito Hitsuzen

u are not serious right??

Apr 17 - 02:42 PM

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