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The best of Johnny Depp

Last updated on: August 06, 2009 

The Johnny Depp Top Ten

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He's 46, and widely considered one of the best leading men in world cinema. He balances the quirky with the commercial, and can play anything from a mad confectionary maker to a pirate with equal ease.

With Public Enemies releasing in India this Friday, here's a quick look at the very best of Johnny Depp:

10. Chocolat

Sure, it's much more a Juliette Binoche film than a Depp project, but the actor is at his charming best playing the Irish wanderer Roux, one the women clearly consider as irresistible as, well, chocolate.


Image: A scene from Chocolat

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9. Finding Neverland

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Here Depp plays Peter Pan creator JM Barrie, an imaginative but failed playwright who only finds inspiration in a pretty widow and her four young boys, leading to the creation of Peter Pan. Depp's childlike enthusiasm is enough to get this film onto the list.


Image: A scene from Finding Neverland

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8. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street

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Only Tim Burton could make this movie -- one about a barber who slices his customer's necks and a woman who puts their corpses into meat pies -- into an effective musical, and Depp brings a rockstar sensibility to his singing and an unforgettable sneer to his face. Helena Bonham Carter is the film's true star, though.


Image: A scene from Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street

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7. Blow

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This Ted Demme film features Depp as George Jung, the infamous cocaine smuggler. Depp masterfully traverses a complete -- and rather packed -- character arc to go from young marijuna-seller to hardcore drugman to reformation to finally being an olf man in prison. Quite a performance.


Image: A scene from Blow

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6. Sleepy Hollow

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Depp's career is what it is because of Tim Burton, and vice versa, the duo's collaborations taking each other higher.

In this quaint little period nightmare Depp plays Ichabod Crane with a constantly repulsed disbelief, mirroring the way the audience should feel.


Image: A scene from Sleepy Hollow

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5. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl

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The first Pirates film is designed to be a blockbuster for the 12-year-old, and while it works perfectly in that way, it is Depp's marvellous portrayal of the entirely original Jack Sparrow that makes this film special. A foppish, drunken version of Keith Richards, Sparrow is a character for the ages.


Image: A scene from Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl

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4. Donnie Brasco

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Mike Newell's fine drama is set in the late 1970s with Depp playing Joe Pistone, an FBI agent going undercover to infiltrate a New York crime family.

Al Pacino plays Lefty Ruggiero, a low-rent mob hitman Depp befriends. As Depp goes under Pacino's wing, we realise that not just is the actor matching Al, but often beating the legendary actor at his own game.


Image: A scene from Donnie Brasco

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3. Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas

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Terry Gilliam's appropriately trippy adaptation of Hunter S Thompson's novel starred Depp as Raoul Duke and Benicio Del Toro as Dr Gonzo.

Duke, constantly tripping on mescaline and various other psychoactive drugs -- and the odd line of cocaine -- is a tremendous character to play, but Depp snorts it like the very best.


Image: A scene from Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas

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2. Edward Scissorhands

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In a modern day fairytale Depp plays the titular character, an artificial man with scissors for fingers.

Burton writes and directs, and Depp brings disarming poignance to this freakish character, making us -- like Winona Ryder in the film -- feel sorry for him, feel enchanted by him and finally fall in love with the character.


Image: A scene from Edward Scissorhands

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1. Ed Wood

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Both Depp and Burton surpassed themselves with this affectionately made biopic about Ed Wood, the cult filmmaker known as the worst director of all time.

Depp plays the low-talent helmer, of course, and while Martin Landau steals the show as Bela Lugosi, it is Depp's gleefully impassioned portrayal of a man so madly in love with the cinematic form that makes this film work, that makes us fleetingly feel what makes Ed Wood tick. A masterclass, this.


Image: A scene from Ed Wood

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