The Top Ten Leonardo DiCaprio Movies

BT-Top-10-May-2012Here we go, folks, back with another Top Ten for you! This time up, in light of this weekend’s “The Great Gatsby”, we’re taking a look at the filmography of Mr Leonardo DiCaprio!

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 Collageare: 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)

whats_eating_gilbert_grape_ver1DiCaprio 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)

titanic_ver2A 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)

aviatorIn 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)

blood_diamond_ver3Set 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)

catch_me_if_you_canOne 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)

departedScorsese’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)

django_unchained_ver9In 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)

gangs_of_new_york_ver4Martin 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)

inceptionChristopher 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!


Daniel Fogarty


123 thoughts on “The Top Ten Leonardo DiCaprio Movies

  1. An impeccable list and I tip my hat to you Fogs as the only change I would make would be put number 3 as number 2 and it would be a near thing for number 1!

    Very nice! The only thing not mentioned that I pause at is “Basketball Diaries!”

    • You know? That tenth spot is always the bitch of the bunch. I had to go tie breaker here. I literally checked the IMDb score and the Rotten Tomatoes score to compare that and “Grape”. “Grape” was higher on both counts. 😦 I understand being pained about it being left off, I have a high opinion of that pic too. Still, between the scores and the fact DiCaprio got an Oscar nom for “Grape”, “Grape” won out.

      • Thats okay my friend! I like to use this great list as exclamation point on Leonardo’s career as one greatest actors of his generation!

        As you found, the higher the greatness the tougher the choice for best work! Once again nicely done in any case! 😀

  2. Nice list! GONY would be way higher on my list; not Martin nor Leo’s best. Definitely agree with the other selections though, especially Inception. 🙂

  3. Great list. The top 6 are all great movies. I agree with Inception being number 1 but the other 5 may have shuffled around differently. I love Catch Me If You Can its one of my personal favorite but I think Blood Diamond deserves to be in the top 5 over Catch Me If You Can. It was a much more emotional story and great acting all around.

    • Its such a tough call. It definitely is. Especially because they’re such different films! Blood Diamond is a drama and a touch of a thriller and a bit depressing, while Catch Me is much more lighthearted and comedic frequently. I think they’re both great, and even though I’d keep them as is, I hear what youre saying…

  4. Fine list, Fogs. Even though I’m not a big fan of ‘The Departed’, as you know, Leonardo’s performance in that is not faulted by me. He’s great in the film. I also value for his work with Sir Ridley, ‘Body of Lies’, and Sam Raimi, ‘The Quick and The Dead’. He really is an under-appreciated actor, especially by the vaunted Academy. Fun post.

    p.s., I like his work in ‘Titanic’, too.

    • LOL “Titanic” gets a PS, as if such a secret needed to be whispered! 😀 LOL 😉 Good times.

      He’s great in everything he’s been in pretty much. I couldnt think of a “stinker” performance he’s done… he’s never mailed it in or sold out.

      Thanks for counter balancing the earlier comment that wanted “The Departed” at #1 😉

    • He was, it’s true. But it’s based on the movie, and not necessarily the performance. Otherwise, “Grape” would be way higher too. And “Shutter Island” – that’s one of his more underrated turns, but he was incredible there. 😀

    • Thank YOU Kim, nice to hear some support for Shutter Island, I expected that inclusion to get a bit of flack…

      I fully expect opinions on “The Departed” to be all over the place, that’s the kind of movie it is. 😉

  5. Nice list. I’m in agreement with most of these and I’m glad to see movies like Inception and Django Unchained here plus his work with Martin Scorsese. I’m really looking forward to The Wolf on Wall Street later this year.

  6. in terms of overall enjoyment and quality of film Inception yes, in terms of HIS performance I have would have to say The Aviator followed close by Catch me if you can and Shutter Island. All really good performances. The Departed a bit meh…for me, not a huge fan of that movie and the more authentic performances were from Boston ‘natives’ Wahlberg and Damon for me. Nice timely post 😉

    • Well, its in terms of the movie in general, so thats why they go the way they do, but in terms of his performances? Shutter Island is one I think is one of his best, but then The Departed and Gilbert Grape are too.

      Sorry you’re not a fan of Departed, but I understand, thats a pretty divisive film..

  7. Titanic is a gigantic turdfest, a steaming pile of smelly putrescence not fit for polishing the bottom of the vomitorium’s gutters.

    Maybe rank that as number 9 or so. 😉

  8. Interesting list here Fogs. I’d probably go with Inception at #1 and i’d also include This Boy’s Life. I loved that little film. I’d maybe swap Gangs and The Departed over as well.

    p.s. I f@#king loathe Titanic. 😉

    • I haven’t seen all of these movies I was also disappointed to see that This Boy’s Life didn’t make the cut. It’s always been my favorite.

      And I could not agree more. F@#$ Titanic! I loath that movie…..

    • Yeah, I know you do. Surprised you’re not giving me more Hell for including it! LOL

      “This Boy’s Life” has some great turns by DeNiro and DiCaprio, but I couldn’t include it. It’s just basically De Niro being abusive to him the whole movie, it’s kind of the Male “Mommy Dearest” lol. I almost put Marvin’s Room in, though… I think that’s an underrated “little film” of his 😉

      • I considered digging you for saying Titanic is one of his best but knew that you were aware of my hatred for it anyway. 😉

        Yeah, Marvin’s Room is a great little film. It’s been ages since I seen that. I’d love to see it again. Romeo + Juliet was pretty damn good as well. Can’t really go wrong with DiCaprio to be honest.

  9. Really can’t disagree with this list. DiCaprio’s had a hell of a career thus far, with some truly amazing movies under his belt. Good stuff, Fogs.

    • I swear, I thought I could get away with it. LOL I havent seen Revolutionary Road. 😦 And I did scratch a small number of movies off of my “to see list” regarding his filmography in order to ensure I wasn’t missing anything here, but I couldnt get to that one, so… forgive me if its a bad oversight, but I had a feeling it wouldnt be. We’ll see if it gets other complaints. Sorry Sati! 😦

  10. Nice list. I’d definitely have placed Gangs of New York lower. An enjoyable movie, but all over the place, and too long. Far inferior to The Departed, in my eyes. I’d also place Gilbert Grape much higher. Top five for sure. A small, intimate movie, but a fantastic one. And along those lines, I’d have included Marvin’s Room, a really nice, character-driven piece with great performances by DiCaprio, Meryl Streep and an Oscar-nominated Diane Keaton.

    • Almost did include Marvin’s Room, DB, that IS a very good film. It’s a crowded list though, hard to bump any of these that are ON here in order to make room for that one. Hurt enough as it was having to exclude “The Basketball Diaries”!

      I’m a big fan of “Gangs” though, that’s one of my favorite Scorsese’s and an all around epic flick… excellent, excellent movie. Very bad ass!

    • LOL!! I love the space there between number three and four. 😀

      Not quite as passionate about it as Gelfman is though 😀 And I quote “Titanic is a gigantic turdfest, a steaming pile of smelly putrescence not fit for polishing the bottom of the vomitorium’s gutters.”

      LOL, so, the man’s a BIG fan!

  11. Top of the list is “The Quick and the Dead”, it’s the only Dicaprio movie featuring my favorite actor Gene Hackman.
    I’d list “The Departed” and “Catch Me if You Can” next because they are entertaining on all counts. Follow up with “Django Unchained” the smuggest most despicable character I’ve seen in a long time, and then “Titanic” when he was impossibly young and charismatic. Hey, no one mentioned “J.Edgar” I wonder why?

  12. Hi, Fogs:

    I liked DiCaprio in ‘Gilbert Grape’, ‘The Aviator’ and ‘Inception’. Showed great potential for cons and graft in the latter two.

    • Yeah, he’s a hell of an actor, Jack. I powered through a couple of his movies I hadnt seen in preparation for this, and he’s really made some great career choices and always delivers with his roles ! 😀

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