After multiple nominations, Leonardo DiCaprio has finally won his long-awaited Oscar. For decades, DiCaprio has been one of the biggest stars in Hollywood, and he has a catalogue of brilliant performances. Ever-present on our screens, he is certainly one of the greatest actors of all time or at least of his generation, and in light of his Oscar triumph, it feels only right to compile a countdown of his top ten best films.
- What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)
The heart-warming What’s Eating Gilbert Grape cast a then youthful Leonardo DiCaprio as the mentally disabled, Arnie Grape, alongside Johnny Depp. Not the first film that DiCaprio starred in, but it was definitely the first that displayed his undeniable talent at the age of 19, and the film marked his first Oscar nomination.
- The Departed (2006)
Directed by Martin Scorsese, a remake of the Hong Kong film Internal Affairs, sees DiCaprio portray an undercover cop tasked with the infiltration of crime boss, Francis Costello’s (Jack Nicholson) organisation. The Departed was very successful and marked a solid effort from DiCaprio.
- Titanic (1997)
Until Avatar (2009), James Cameron’s epic love story was the highest-grossing film of all time. Titanic provided the springboard for Leonardo DiCaprio’s star power, his role of Jack Dawson showing he has the depth and charisma to lead a big-budget Hollywood film. His performance was dramatic and heartfelt, and he has certainly done well to shake off the “heartthrob” image that Titanic had so deeply cemented.
- The Aviator (2004)
Continuing his streak in the early-mid 2000s of playing edgier and more complex characters, in the biographical drama, The Aviator, DiCaprio portrays legendary Hollywood director, Howard Hughes. The film spans several years of Hughes’ life and we are immersed into his luxurious world, and DiCaprio brilliantly portrays Hughes’ obsessive-compulsive disorder that few could pull off so authentically.
- Shutter Island (2010)
Based on the novel of the same name, Martin Scorsese once again calls upon DiCaprio this time to play U.S. Marshall, Edward “Teddy” Daniels. Alongside his partner, Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo), he is sent to investigate the disappearance of a patient in an insane asylum on Shutter Island. DiCaprio delves into this psychological thriller that proves to be one of his most intriguing performances.
- Catch Me If You Can (2002)
With the direction of Steven Spielberg, DiCaprio takes on the role of Frank Abagnale, a real-life con-man, who managed to pose as a Pan American World Airways pilot, a doctor and a lawyer, forging checks worth millions of US dollars. Certainly one of the most entertaining films DiCaprio has starred in, and he provides a stellar and memorable performance. Although sharing absolutely no resemblance with the real Frank Abagnale, DiCaprio does play a convincing fraud, bringing wit and humour to the role that makes this film such an enjoyable watch.
- Django Unchained (2012)
In Quentin Tarantino’s western, DiCaprio’s depiction of the villainous plantation owner, Calvin J. Candie will surely go down as one of his most powerful performances. DiCaprio has mainly played likable and heroic characters, so it was interesting to see him take on a role that viewers are forced to loathe. The film is very memorable in its own right and will be watched for years to come, but DiCaprio’s violent and psychotic portrayal sees him extend his versatility as an actor. However, he continues his proficiency in playing unstable characters.
- The Revenant (2016)
The most recent film starring DiCaprio and the one that finally won him his Oscar. Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu’s historical epic, The Revenant, is simply brilliant and once again DiCaprio plays another legendary figure, American Frontiersman, Hugh Glass. Although given little dialogue, DiCaprio provides the film with that extra bit of magic that makes it such a great film. The Revenant is definitely one of 2016’s must-watch films.
- Inception (2010)
Not quite reaching the top spot, but Christopher Nolan’s Inception is a masterfully executed film and definitely one of the best films of the last decade. Complicated and mind-boggling, DiCaprio’s Dom Cobb is a thief who uses special technology in order to invade people’s dreams to extract information. A bizarre but very original plot that DiCaprio manages to execute magnificently, with a performance that is much more subtle than the extroverted characters he usually plays.
1.The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Adapted by the memoir of the same name, the film marks the fifth DiCaprio and Scorsese collaboration and it is easily their best effort. DiCaprio completely disappears into his portrayal of Jordan Belfort, a real-life stock broker. A multifaceted character that is funny, charming, menacing, determined and slightly crazy, which arguably sums up DiCaprio’s range as an actor. The film’s comic genius is within its satirical interpretation of the Wall Street mentality, and where we are made to laugh at the ridiculous and intentionally over-the-top debauchery Jordan Belfort involves himself in. The Wolf of Wall Street is DiCaprio’s best film to date.
By Liam Springate-Jones