Leo got his start in films at a young age, and in spite of taking a brief break from acting after “Titanic”, he’s had a pretty prolific career to this point! Further, his filmography is loaded with top-notch films, as he’s worked with some of the best directors there are: Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Christopher Nolan, James Cameron, Sam Raimi, Danny Boyle, Ridley Scott and Steven Spielberg!
So let’s take a look at his filmography and pick out his ten best films!
10) “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?” (1993)
DiCaprio would earn his first Academy Award nomination here, for playing the mentally challenged Arnie. Johnny Depp stars as his older brother Gilbert, who’s forced to take care of him, due to his mother’s debilitating obesity. When Gilbert runs into a new girl in town who distracts him from his duties, a chain of events is set in motion that will change the family forever. DiCaprio gives an oustanding, believable performance, establishing the goodness of Depp’s sensitive, put-upon Gilbert. It’s a bittersweet film about putting the needs of others before your own.
9) “Shutter Island” (2010)
Scorsese’s psychological thriller may feature more of a “curve” than a “twist”, but that doesn’t make “Shutter Island” any less a great movie. As a US Marshall investigating the disappearance of a patient from an institution for the criminally insane, DiCaprio breaks down before our eyes as he slowly uncovers the shocking truth. It’s a haunting, melancholy film. With Scorsese’s exceptional direction, and one of DiCaprio’s best performances, “Shutter Island” is a creepy thriller, definitely one of his best.
8) “Titanic” (1997)
A polarizing film where neither side is totally correct. It’s certainly not the greatest movie ever, as the rabid fan base would have you believe, nor is it the scourge of the silver screen as its haters contend. Titanic won eleven Oscars, including Best Picture, and became the highest grossing movie of all time (at the time). An action packed second half, unparalleled production values, and a tragic love story played out by two incredibly talented young superstars make “Titanic” one of DiCaprio’s best films.
7) “The Aviator” (2004)
In his second collaboration with Scorsese, DiCaprio plays billionaire Howard Hughes. From his rise to the top of the world of aviation to his descent into madness with OCD, “The Aviator” paints a complex portrait of one of history’s most intriguing businessmen, and a harrowing picture of mental illness. The film won 5 Oscars (including Best Supporting Actress for Cate Blanchette) and was nominated for 6 others, including Best Picture, Best Director for Scorsese and Best Actor for DiCaprio.
6) “Blood Diamond” (2006)
Set in Sierra Leone, “Blood Diamond” revolves around the discovery of a priceless diamond in an area run by a local warlord. DiCaprio plays a smuggler intent on finding the stone. Along the way, however he learns the price that must be paid. “Blood Diamond” was nominated for 5 Academy Awards, including a nom for DiCaprio for Best Actor. Featuring excellent supporting performances from Jennifer Connelly and Djimon Hounsou (also Oscar nominated here), this is an intense, sorrowful film that showcases humanity’s soulless greed.
5) “Catch Me If You Can” (2002)
One of Spielberg’s more underrated films. DiCaprio plays con-man Frank Abagnale, Jr., who posed as an airplane pilot, doctor and lawyer while running up millions of dollars in counterfeit checks and cash. It’s an exciting, funny story of one of the greatest bs artists in history. Spielberg puts it all together with humor and charm, and DiCaprio and Hanks play off of each other wonderfully. The rest of the all-star cast (Amy Adams, Martin Sheen, Jennifer Garner, Christopher Walken) shine as well.
4) “The Departed” (2006)
Scorsese’s first (and to date, only) Oscar-winner, “The Departed” is an intense story of crime and duplicity. DiCaprio plays an undercover cop who threatens to unravel under the pressure. Shadowed by an informant within the police, “The Departed” tells the tale of two opposite sides of the coin, each frantically trying to uncover the other first. It was nominated for 5 Oscars and won 4, including Best Picture. More importantly, it gave Martin Scorsese his long overdue Oscar for Best Director.
3) “Django Unchained” (2012)
In Tarantino’s slavery revenge flick, DiCaprio plays an entitled, smug, evil plantation owner. His Calvin Candie character gives the wicked and privileged aristocracy of the pre-Civil War deep South a face. A face for the audience to despise. A movie hero is only as good as his villain, and Django gets to face off against someone truly despicable. An Academy Award winning screenplay and a great cast (including Christoph Waltz in an Academy Award winning turn) helps Django to be one of Tarantino’s best films.
2) “Gangs of New York” (2002)
Martin Scorsese’s historical picture about gangs, honor, corruption and America. DiCaprio plays Amsterdam Vallon, a young man whose father was killed in a gang rumble years earlier. Vowing revenge, he cozies up to the man who killed him, Bill “The Butcher”, played by Daniel Day-Lewis. Lewis and DiCaprio square off in an intense struggle for supremacy of New York at a formative time in the history of our country. It’s an epic gangster saga, an epic tale of revenge, and one of Scorsese’s most powerful movies.
1) “Inception” (2010)
Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi action film is a mind bending story of dreams and espionage. With state of the art special effects, imaginative action sequences, a labyrinthine plot, and an unforgettable ending, “Inception” is an incredible movie that defies comparison. DiCaprio plays Cobb, the leader of a team of dream infiltration specialists forced to create an idea in someone’s mind – a task that is considered impossible. With Nolan’s fantastic script and direction and an all-star cast surrounding DiCaprio, “Inception” is an incredible, original, incomparable film.
Well, there you have it! The ten best films from one of today’s biggest stars!
What do you think? Any that I omitted unjustly? Any too high or too low? Will there be a “Titanic” uproar, from either side?
Let’s hear it!