Johnny Depp’s Best Movie Deserves To Be A Halloween Standard

Johnny Depp starred in Sleepy Hollow, a movie that is only now beginning to be embraced and should be celebrated every Halloween.

By Drew Dietsch | Published

Johnny Depp has starred in numerous classic films, but Sleepy Hollow is one that does not seem to get the same amount of love as some of his other major studio projects. The movie was another pairing with Depp’s long-time friend and director, Tim Burton. Releasing in 1999, it did well enough at the box office and even managed to snag an Academy Award for Best Art Direction.

However, Johnny Depp is not often remembered for Sleepy Hollow when compared to other beloved roles such as Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, or even other Tim Burton collaborations like Edward Scissorhands, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, and the odious reimaginings of Alice in Wonderland and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Even those disliked performances seem to get more discussion than Depp’s portrayal of Constable Ichabod Crane and his investigation into a string of murders that the locals are chalking up to a fabled ghost called the Headless Horseman.

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Johnny Depp is enjoyably wacky in Sleepy Hollow and is able to balance his character actor leanings with his leading man status in a way he hadn’t really nailed since Edward Scissorhands. He’s also joined by an absolutely star-studded cast that includes Christina Ricci, Miranda Richardson, Michael Gambon (best known as Dumbledore from the Harry Potter movies), Ian McDiarmid (Star Wars‘ very own Emperor Palpatine), and Christopher Walken as a terrifying yet utterly badass interpretation of Washington Irving’s time-honored specter, the Headless Horseman.

But Johnny Depp and the Sleepy Hollow cast aren’t the only things that make this movie such a delightful watch. The production spared no expense when it came to creating the world of the movie and it is one of the absolute greatest-looking movies to come out of the studio system in the ’90s. Every set, prop, and costume is immaculately designed and helps craft the uniquely spooky and magical world that Tim Burton wanted to bring to the screen with this radically expanded take on the story.

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What is really surprising about Johnny Depp and Sleepy Hollow not getting the universal love they should is that the film is practically tailormade to be a Halloween watch. Not only does the ghostly subject material feel right at home during the spookiest of seasons, but the movie goes out of its way to feature frightening jack-o’-lanterns in two major scenes: the opening murder in which we see Martin Landau lose his head in front of a scarecrow with a malicious pumpkin head, and the iconic flaming jack-o’-lantern that is used as a prank against the easily frightened Ichabod Crane.

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Johnny Depp should be proud of Sleepy Hollow and celebrate it the same way he does other roles in his lengthy career. Though his life might be at a low point recently, his work in this film is always worth highlighting, especially when Halloween is approaching. This is secretly the best movie he has ever starred in and hopefully, more people will come around to that kind of thinking once they give Sleepy Hollow the chance it deserves.