Actor Ranked: Johnny Depp

From Pirates of The Caribbean to a host of Tim Burton films, Johnny Depp goes all out when it comes to acting, and it’s very rare that he doesn’t give a performance that you’ll be talking about for the rest of the year.

Released in cinemas today, Black Mass tells the true story of the infamous Irish-American mobster Whitey Bulger, played by Depp, and is based on the 2001 book, Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob, by Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill.

To celebrate the film’s release, here are five of my favourite Johnny Depp performances.

5. Ed Wood (1994)

A “mostly true story” about the legendary “worst director of all time”, Ed Wood is a surprisingly respectful biopic. It’s a film by Tim Burton that feels possibly the least Burton-esque of his filmography, aside from the brilliant use of black and white and having Depp in the lead, that is. This is certainly one of Depp’s most underrated performances, and Burton is missing out on something by not making more films like this, too.

4. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

This is a real horror classic, one that scared me a lot more than I thought it would with its slightly dated appearance, but the gore was effective and the effects were pretty decent. Some of the performances may have been poor but that’s typical for most horrors, and with Johnny Depp supporting it really couldn’t be faulted.

3. Sweeney Todd (2007)

One of my favourite Burton films and Depp roles, Sweeny Todd is a brilliant musical take on the original film, with horror, drama, romance, comedy, a lot of gore, and some excellent songs. Depp and Helena Bonham Carter are perfect in the leads, and their chemistry is amazing; I could watch many more films with these two in the leads, but the supporting cast is just as impressive, with Alan Rickman, Timothy Spall, and Sacha Baron Cohen.

2. Pirates of The Caribbean (2013 – 2016)

When this film was first released, all I could think was that it was great to have a successful pirate franchise finally in the works. Depp totally inhabits his character, and it is because of him that this franchise has been successful. With a talented supporting cast, too, this fantasy adventure is highly enjoyable – funny, engaging and brilliantly written. Everything about it just works so well.

1. Edward Scissorhands (1990)

I’ve mentioned Tim Burton a few times already, but this is his best film by far and it is, therefore, Depp’s best performance. He is fantastic as the almost monster that is Edward Scissorhands, and it’s amazing how Depp’s performance, alongside the brilliant Winona Ryder, made us love his character so much. Again full of fantasy with just enough horror to keep you on edge, this time with the addition of romance, the pairing of Burton and Depp is at its pinnacle here.

More about Black Mass:

In 1970s South Boston, FBI Agent John Connolly persuades Irish mobster James “Whitey” Bulger to collaborate with the FBI and eliminate a common enemy: the Italian mob. The drama tells the story of this unholy alliance, which spiralled out of control, allowing Whitey to evade law enforcement, consolidate power, and become one of the most ruthless and powerful gangsters in Boston history.


About Charlie Morris

Proofreader and film blogger living in Cornwall.

5 Responses

  1. Noooooo! You missed out Dead Man, possibly his greatest film and one of my all time favourites.
    Although at least you also ignored the appalling Tourist (What was he thinking?)


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