When you hear the name Johnny Depp, what comes to mind? Maybe you think of his controversial personal life. Maybe you think of the famous pirate Jack Sparrow. Or maybe you think of Edward Scissorhands.
Johnny Depp is an award-winning actor who’s played all kinds of roles—ranging from heroes to villains to cameos—across all kinds of genres, including horror, action, comedy, and fantasy.
Many who have watched Depp’s films agree that his intense features (like his glare, his smirk, his evil laugh, and even his line deliveries) are just so unique, making him so captivating to watch on the big screen.
Here are our picks for the best Johnny Depp movies that feature his best performances in cinema.
In the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Gellert Grindelwald is one of the greatest wizards who ever lived—so much so that he’s said to be next to both Tom Riddle and Albus Dumbledore in strength.
Johnny Depp played the character of Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. The character fits his villainous smile that betrays his intentions without even saying a single word.
One of his best scenes in the film is when he cast the Protego Diabolica spell (a protective ring of blue fire), which judges anyone who passes through to see if they’re an enemy or ally.
5. Alice in Wonderland (2010)
Johnny Depp is only one of the side characters in the movie Alice in Wonderland, but he steals the show in his scenes.
He plays the role of the Mad Hatter, who has jester-inspired looks with a silly and comical personality aside from being a generous host (hosting a tea party). Though he’s not the main character, he still puts in a great performance that adds color to the magical world.
The scene where he should be beheaded was one of his best in the film. He appeared badass in front of the Red Queen and everyone ran like a coward upon the release of the Jubjub Bird.
4. Sleepy Hollow (1999)
Sleepy Hollow is a film directed by Tim Burton about the mystery of a supernatural headless horseman who beheads his victims.
Johnny Depp plays the role of Ichabod Crane, a police constable from New York who’s sent to a small settlement named Sleepy Hollow to investigate the series of murder-decapitations.
As the mystery unfolds, the story goes deeper into the exciting truth about the headless knight, as well as the mastermind behind the killings. When Crane is talking with Magistrate Philipse, Johnny Depp brings out one of the best scenes in the movie.
3. Transcendence (2014)
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Transcendence features an extraordinary approach to depicting power, technology, and love. Johnny Depp plays Dr. Will Caster—more specifically, his consciousness that’s uploaded as artificial intelligence—using his own technology to survive a dying body.
He doesn’t do too much on screen, but his words and personality prove that he’s powerful and can do things that no human can. The best scene is when he shows himself (in a body he created) to prove that he means no harm, yet is provoked into action after his wife is harmed.
2. Secret Window (2004)
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In Secret Window, Johnny Depp plays a writer who’s in the middle of a divorce and facing a stalker named John Shooter—a stalker who claims he stole his story. The movie is based on a novella by Stephen King titled Secret Window, Secret Garden.
As the story progresses, the mystery unfolds as Depp’s Mort Rainey shows his true colors and desires amidst a not-too-bloody plot. The best part of the movie is the scene where everything starts to come to light, and the real John Shooter is revealed.
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All the adventures of colorful Jack Sparrow are what make the Pirates of the Caribbean movies so badass and fun to watch. Between his captures, imprisonments, and escapes, Johnny Depp manages to portray a comedic pirate captain like no one else.
His witty character can always keep up with bigger and more badass ones using his wits, his cunning, and his trickery. The scene in Curse of the Black Pearl where Jack Sparrow outwits the army to hijack the Flying Dutchman is one of his best in the entire franchise.
Later on, during his epic adventure in At World’s End, there’s a scene where Jack Sparrow starts rocking the huge ship and getting everyone to work without giving a single order. It’s an awesome scene, and only one of many that are worth watching with him in it.