List compiled by Eddie on 21/11/2014
It would be an almighty shame that come the end of his career child actor turned out and out A list superstar Leonardo DiCaprio ended his career without an Oscar statue in his closet. A worthy nominee many time throughout his career and a candidate for worthy winner each time if the case called for it, DiCaprio has not only crafted out an impressively positive critically received career in front of camera but a career that frequently garners great box office returns in tandem.
Making his mark with a string of impressive child performances from the likes of The Basketball Diaries and his amazing turn in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, DiCaprio has frequently shunned the pitfalls of child actors that surrounded him and gone onto collaborate with famed directors, James Cameron, Steven Spielberg and more recently a partnership with the one and only Martin Scorsese that has seen him produce some of the most loved and well known films of the last few decades, including obviously the box office behemoth that was Titanic.
DiCaprio has seemingly long strived to not only make commercially viable products but hard hitting and powerful projects that oft deal with worthy subjects. A master at being charismatic, threatening and downright devious, DiCaprio has proven to be the master of many genres and his filmography of many a varied success makes it a hard task to whittle down a list of a mere ten films but for better or worse this is my personnel list and on careful consideration, thought must be paid to the tradition of most DiCaprio characters meeting a rather grim or depressing fate, must be in his contract?
As always these films are not based on performance alone but the film as a whole and as an added warning all write ups contain massive SPOILERS so please if you have yet to see one of the titles below do not read the write up. SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS – BEWARE.
Happy reading and happy watching.
10. Titanic (1997)
DiCaprio plays – Jack Dawson
Now before you bemoan the inclusion of this weepie favourite, one must think hard upon not only the technical mastery on show by the blockbuster king James Cameron but the ability to fashion out a touching and affecting tale no matter how schmaltzy things get. An epic in all the meanings of the word, you must remember its ok to like Titanic.
Characters fate – drowns in icy waters, dies.
9. Catch Me If You Can (2002)
DiCaprio plays – Frank Abagnale Jr.
An extremely fun and well-made piece of entertainment, Catch Me If You Can saw the teaming of fun wizard Spielberg and on the top of his game DiCaprio into a true life tale that brings the goods. Topping things off with a fine supporting turn from Tom Hanks, the team working behind this one is hard to fault. Perfect for those lazy Saturday nights in with a movie.
Characters fate – gets caught by the FBI.
8. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
DiCaprio plays – Jordan Belfort
Controversial, true, offensive, laugh out loud funny and unlike anything seen before or since, Scorsese and DiCaprio here combine to create an examination of excess and luxury that will long be regarded as a classic of modern movie making. Not for everyone Wolf of Wall Street is also a must see thanks to some stunning acting turns, masterful direction and a true life tale that has to be seen to be believed.
Characters fate – gets caught by the FBI.
7. The Beach (2000)
DiCaprio plays – Richard
Misunderstood upon release The Beach is a thrilling expose on paradise lost and features one of DiCaprio’s most committed and unpredictable turns. Based on Alex Garlands ripping novel, The Beach is a fantastic collaboration between author, director Danny Boyle and an acting team well and truly on top of their game. This one will make you think twice about a tropical retreat.
Characters fate – goes crazy, thinks his in a video game, but escapes.
6. What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)
DiCaprio plays – Arnie
Back when both Johnny Depp and director Lasse Halstrom use to make meaningful and worthwhile movies, DiCaprio joined in with the prestigious team to steal the show as the young mentally challenged Archie. A touching, funny and extremely unique look at small town life, family and love, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape is a movie that stands the test of time and acts as a true showpiece for DiCaprio’s talent even at his young age, in what was a duly Oscar nominated role.
Characters fate – Mentally handicapped, lives with brother.
5. The Departed (2006)
DiCaprio plays – Billy
A rip roaring cops and crims tale, The Departed was both a critical, audience and box office darling that finally saw director Martin Scorsese awarded with a Best Director Oscar. Filled with memorable acting turns, brutally surprising story turns and cracking dialogue, The Departed is a classic of its genre and a highly entertaining flick.
Characters fate – gets brutally murdered, therefore dies.
4. Inception (2010)
DiCaprio plays – Cobb
A much loved Sci-Fi experience, Inception is high thinking conceptual story telling at its finest and while slightly overrated by many, is a film worthy of many of its successes. DiCaprio himself is on great form in a film filled to the brim with striking visuals, interesting ideas and a great cast led by the always impressive direction Christopher Nolan.
Characters fate – who knows really!
3. Shutter Island (2010)
DiCaprio plays – Teddy Daniels
A uniquely atmospheric and mysterious journey to the darkest depths of the human condition, Shutter Island is a psychological thriller to match all others. With a fantastic twist, an intriguing central concept and fine direction by Scorsese once more, DiCaprio was a part of an overall fantastic experience that perhaps doesn’t garner the attention it deserves.
Characters fate – gets lobotomized.
2. Blood Diamond (2006)
DiCaprio plays – Danny Archer
Blockbuster movie making at its most moving and thrilling, Blood Diamond is a stunningly well-made film by Edward Zwick that was championed by two fantastic lead turns from DiCaprio and Djimon Hounsou. Dealing with a topical and serious issue facing many African people this day, Blood Diamond is a film worthy of all its audience and critical love.
Characters fate – gets carried to the top of a mountain, then dies.
1. Django Unchained (2012)
DiCaprio plays – Calvin Candie
A western unlike any other, a comedy despite all that goes on around it and a stunning expose of the American slave system, this is Quentin Tarantino at his finest. Whip smart scripting (and actual whips) abound in this often brutally violent and frequently lough out loud funny tale of revenge, love and dentistry. DiCaprio has a blast as Calvin Candie and in the process created one of cinemas most memorable villains, not least for his efforts of bleeding for his art.
Characters fate – gets shot in his own library, dies.
Honourable Mentions – The Basketball Diaries, Revolutionary Road, Gangs of New York, The Aviator
How does this list compare to your Top 10 DiCaprio films? Where’s Romeo + Juliet you say? Are there fans perhaps of The Great Gatsby? Let us know in the comments below, we’d love to hear your thoughts!
For our other actor Top 10’s check out these below –