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. Great list! I’m not sure if I would have gone quite as high with Gangs of New York and I definitely would have included Basketball Diaries but that’s all personal preference. He really is an outstanding actor who just gets better and better.

  2. I can’t argue with that list as they’re pretty much essential. I know the reviews for “The Great Gatsby” aren’t good but I’m still going to see it this weekend. Besides, I need to see it in order to complete my Auteurs piece on Baz Luhrmann which will come out after I release my review of “The Great Gatsby”.

      • Pretty much considering that Luhrmann has a visual style that is obviously unique and based on some of the images of his films. You know it’s from him as well as the fact that all of films carry themes of love while being very extravagant.

    • I LOVE R&J and disagree that it isn’t a standout film for him. Nice list otherwise except I didn’t find anything too particularly moving or memorable in his Django performance.

    • Yeah, I’m glad I included it. I couldnt push it up over any of the others… well, except Titanic, I suppose. LOL 😀 I know some people here that would be really happy about that. 😀

  3. Nice work, man. I wasn’t a huge fan of Inception — should probably give that another watch — so I would bump that down, but can’t argue with your picks. My favorite is probably a tossup between Gangs of New York and Django Unchained, so I’m glad you ranked those highly.

  4. I’ve seen #1, 2, 4, 6, and 10. I agree they’re all great movies. I think I agree with the placement of those five with respect to each other, with one caveat. I don’t know if Inception is a better film than Gangs of New York overall — though it’s certainly more up my alley personally. But better or not overall, I think Gangs of New York is probably the better film if we’re just focusing on DiCaprio’s performance.

  5. I’d place his work in Critters 3 and on Growing Pains way ahead of Titanic.

    You know what’s funny… he’s been in some of my favorite films of the last 10 years. But he was in some of my most hated films of the previous 10 years (with Gilbert Grape as the exception).

    Call me crazy, but I think his best work was in The Aviator (and Grape). The rest of his work usually leaves me feeling like he’s sort of the oatmeal of actors… just kind of bland, inoffensive, and “there”. But he’s smart enough to work with great directors (which, by the way, makes me a DiCaprio fan).

    • Naw, I can’t go with the “Bland” comment, he’s had a lot of crazy good performances in this past decade. I’ll agree – he was a bit “just there” in Inception, but “The Departed”, and “Shutter Island” are both fantastic. He pratically has nervous breakdowns in each!

      He does worl with great directors though… his filmography is really pretty strong.

  6. Great list Fogs! I haven’t seen all of these, most notably Titanic…. Surprisingly it doesn’t seem to come up as much as I think it will so I keep putting it off because it gets so much hate all the time.
    I feel like I should revisit Gangs of NY though, I watched awhile ago and I thought it was okay, but pretty pointless at the end of the day. The acting was good enough, but it took way too long to end up just how I guessed it would. I would have had it way lower, myself.
    I think that The Aviator had his best performance, hands down (of the ones I’ve seen). Calvin Candy would get number two, and then The Departed would be number three probably. I agree with Inception being the best overall film though.
    Leo gets an Oscar this year for Wolf of Wall Street. I’m going on record now. The internet would explode if he didn’t. I hope this doesn’t jinx it though….
    I’m worried about Gatsby, but I’m also really excited…. Going to see it tomorrow after my last final!! From what I’ve read Leo’s pretty good in it though, so that’s something!

    • We’ll have to see about Gatsby. I’m off to see it later today myself. 44% on Rotten Tomatoes is a huge concern though. 😦

      You havent seen Titanic, huh? It’s not as great as its umpteen Oscars would indicate, but not as bad as the haters say either. Seriously, some people go way overboard hating on it. 🙄 It’s a decent flick.

      It’s no gangs of New York though 😉

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  8. Kick-ass list, Fogs! Leo is one of my favorite actors and he always picks great projects. I’ve seen all of these with the exception of Gilbert Grape. My favorite DiCaprio performance is the one he gave in Revolutionary Road, though.

  9. Awesome list. I love Leonardo DiCaprio and think he is really one of the most talented actors around. He never ceases to amaze me! I really want to see The Great Gatsy, but I am disappointed to see that no one is enjoying it really. It remains on my “to see” list, however.

  10. Nice list my man! I’d probably move Gilbert Grape a good few places higher and drop Blood Diamond down a bit but other than that, It’s pretty spot on. Good to see Gangs getting some love though, big fan of that film. And I think he’s pretty decent in Titanic, no matter what you think of the film. I’m not its biggest fan (although I don’t hate it) but he’s really good in it.

    • Well, I think a sign of a well made list is that no one agrees on the changes. LOL. So many people are moving movies up and down that at the end, I think they’d come out right back where they started 😉

      I’m a big fan of Gangs, myself. I think it’s one of Scorsese’s best. And, obviously, one of DiCaprio’s too!

      Thanks Chris!

      • What I mean when I say “I’m not a fan” is, I won’t obsess over him like I would obsess over Robert De Niro. He’s a great actor, but he’s still immensely overrated at any level.

        I’ve seen everything on your list except Blood Diamond, Catch Me If You Can, Django Unchained (I know, I know), and Gangs of New York. Though I’ll probably get to Catch Me If You Can and Gangs of New York soon, because I’m a huge fan of the directors. Gangs is just so long. Not sure why I haven’t watched CMIYC yet…

        I’d have to say my favorite DiCaprio film is The Departed. He has a really strong role in that movie. I love the scene where he’s trying to get Valium from Vera Farmiga’s character: “Then why don’t you just get me a bottle of scotch and a handgun so I can blow my ____in’ head off?”

      • I understand what you’re saying, but I still can’t agree with “Overrated”, I think he’s excellent.

        The Departed WAS incredible, he was off the charts good in that movie, and his scenes with Farmiga particularly. 😀

  11. Great list here Fogs, can’t really argue with your choices, even those I haven’t seen I have heard great things about his performance. I might include Romeo & Juliet on my list, though there’s also an early film he did where he played a poet, Total Eclipse which showed his acting chops at an early age. I think Gilbert Grape is a better performance though. Glad to see Inception at #1 even if Tom Hardy outshone him a couple of times, ahah.

    • LOL. Hardy is an intimidating screen presence, that’s why! 😀

      Not only have I never seen, I’ve never heard of “Total Eclipse”! I’ll have to check into that just to familiarize myself with it in general at least! 😯

      He was GREAT in Gilbert Grape, that performance was astonishing. That had to be really difficult… but he knocked it out of the park!

      • I used to have a crush on Leo (briefly) after Titanic so I tried to find all his obscure films, ahah. Here’s the movie: He actually did a gay sex scene in it with David Thewlis, he’s one of the professors in Harry Potter. Leo was sooo skinny in this movie but it was quite a bravura performance.

      • I take it you’re not remotely inclined to check it out then? 😀 I was quite taken aback by it actually, but Rimbaud is quite a tragic character. I don’t know if I’d rank it in Leo’s top ten to be honest, it’s just something worth noting as most people might not be aware of that film.

  12. You could shuffle several of these around and still be okay.
    Personally, Blood Diamond resonates with me especially with a nice accent and the character not getting too bogged down with romance and letting the action drive the story.
    Titanic, much to my chagrin, is unforgettably attached to Leo in the lead and a huge pic.
    Aviator is a good character study but a little dry as a picture, so I might move that down on my list. All in all a solid list. 😉

    • Thanks S. Yeah, I could see a bunch of shuffling here, mainly because many of them are so excellent, so there’s not much that differentiates them aside from personal taste.

      “Diamond” IS an excellent flick. For whatever reason, I think it lacks some of the pop culture heft that some of the others do, but its no less a movie. I mean, that is a really, really excellent film.

      LOL. It’s been fun watching all the “Chagrin” here over “Titanic”, I know it bugs so many people! 😀

  13. Most of the movies that need to be here are, but I really disagree with your order. Django and Gangs of New York are both good but they’re also extremely flawed. At least in my opinion.

    If I were to rank his top ten, it be:

    2.The Departed
    3.The Aviator
    4.Catch Me If You Can
    5.Shutter Island
    6.Django Unchained
    7.Gangs of New York
    9.Blood Diamond

    And if I were judging his performances:

    1.The Aviator
    2.The Departed
    3.Shutter Island
    5.Catch Me If You Can
    6.Blood Diamond
    7.Django Unchained
    10.Gangs of New York

    • The inclusion of J Edgar is inadvisable. A misstep like that draws the rest of your list into question 😉 That movie was terrible. There’s a reason its at 44% on RT. 😮

      Django and Gangs are both Best Picture nominees and each made AFI’s top ten for their respective years. Surprising, considering how flawed they are 🙄

      • Lol. J. Edgar is really only there because it’s been so long since I’ve seen Gilbert Grape and I needed a substitute. No one gives a crap about a top nine list 😛

        Django and Gangs are both good, even great films, but they have a lot of problems and it surprises me you’d put them over films like The Aviator and the flawless The Departed.

        It’s still a good list though.

    • LOL. I think at one point or another every movie on this list has been recommended to be put higher or lower… 😀

      Hell yeah he deserves an Oscar! And they should make it happen soon so he doesnt wind up getting an apology Oscar for a weaker film down the road, like Pacino. 😦

    • LOL. I’ll have to take it advisement, Mike, seeing as I’ve only see it once. 😮

      That once happened to be earlier this week, though in order to see whether or not it belonged here. It was really good, I thought, but I couldnt see bumping any of the other films for it. 😦

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