Johnny Depp Movies: Ranking His Best And Worst

By Rick Gonzales | Updated

Johnny Depp has been entertaining movie audiences for nearly 40 years, much of it with great success. Although the past few years of his career have been fairly non-existent because of his ongoing legal battles with Amber Heard, it hasn’t changed the fact that Depp has played some of the most highly recognized movie characters of all time.

Depp has a string of fantastic films, led by his comedic portrayal of everyone’s favorite pirate, Captain Jack Sparrow.

But not all of Depp’s films or crazy characters have hit their mark. With the many good, there have also been a handful (or more) of bad. Let’s take a look at the best of Johnny Depp’s feature films, then let’s take a peek at some of his unfortunate showings.

Johnny Depp’s Best Movies

8. Public Enemies (2009)

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Johnny Depp is “Public Enemy #1” in this biographical crime drama movie based on the short life and death of notorious Depression-era bank robber, John Dillinger.

The Johnny Depp movie follows Dillinger as he is relentlessly pursued by FBI agent, Melvin Purvis (Christian Bale). The film also tells the story of Dillinger’s relationship with Billie Frechette (Marion Cotillard), a singer and waitress who was Dillinger’s love interest.

The film features the “Woman in Red,” the madame who set up Dillinger to be taken down. Billy Crudup, Stephen Dorff, Stephen Lang, and Jason Clarke also star.

7. Sleepy Hollow (1999)

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Johnny Depp and Tim Burton team up once again in this movie loosely based on the Legend of Sleep Hollow, written by Washington Irving in 1820.

The film tells the story of Ichabod Crane, a New York City police constable who is sent to the small town of Sleepy Hollow to investigate a series of horrific murders.

The locals claim it is the work of the Headless Horseman, which Crane does not believe. That is, until he has his run-in with the Headless Horseman.

Christina Ricci stars as Katrina Van Tassel, Crane’s love interest.

6. Black Mass (2015)

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In this Johnny Depp movie, he is back at it as a crime figure. This time Depp is playing mobster Whitey Bulger, the brutal and murderous crime boss of the Winter Hill Gang near Boston, Massachusetts.

The film not only shows the exploits of the violent Bulger but also how he became an informant for the FBI.

Joel Edgerton portrays John Connolly, the FBI agent who Bulger becomes an informant for. Depp has always been able to slip into the skin of his characters and as Bulger, this is no different. He shines as a bad guy.

5. Finding Neverland (2004)

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There is something about Johnny Depp and real-life characters. In Finding Neverland, Depp takes on the life of J. M. Barrie, the man who would eventually write the story of Peter Pan and Neverland.

The Johnny Depp movie tells the story of Barrie, an author who befriends a widow and her four young boys. Barrie is able to develop a real close relationship with the boys and their antics were the impetus of Barrie creating a play about boys who do not wish to grow up.

Kate Winslet stars as the boys’ mother, Sylvia with Dustin Hoffman as Charles Frohman, the producer of Barrie’s Peter Pan play. Freddie Highmore is Peter Davies, the young boy who inspired the character of Peter Pan.

4. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl


What can you say about Johnny Depp’s performance as Captain Jack Sparrow that hasn’t already been said? The man created a legend when he first put on Captain Jack’s clothing, and it is one that we will never forget.

Disney was unsure of what they had with Depp and Pirates, but it became quickly apparent that they were onto something. The Johnny Depp movie is fantastical, adventurous, funny, and even a bit romantic.

It follows Captain Jack as he tries to get his ship, the Black Pearl, back from a bunch of cursed pirate ghosts.

3. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)


One more Johnny Depp movie, one more directed by Tim Burton. Sweeney Todd: The Demon of Fleet Street is a musical cut-up (by that we mean slasher film) that is based on the Stephen Sondheim/Hugh Wheeler stage musical of the same name.

The story follows English barber Sweeney Todd, who is also a slashing serial killer. While Todd is out seeking revenge on the judge who banished him so he could steal Todd’s wife, he also has developed a taste for killing.

Not only does he kill, but with the help of Mrs. Lovett (Helena Bonham Carter), his accomplice, he turns these dead people into meat pies.

2. Donnie Brasco (1997)

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Once again, a Johnny Depp movie where he takes on a real-life character. Here, Depp plays Joseph Pistone, also known in mob circles as Donnie Brasco.

Pistone was an undercover FBI agent who got in good with hitman Lefty Ruggiero and the Bonanno crime family. Lines become blurred for Brasco between being a federal agent and becoming a criminal, especially when he has to decide if he is turning in his new friend, Lefty.

Al Pacino stars as Lefty with Michael Madsen, Bruno Kirby, Anne Heche, and James Russo also starring in the crime drama.

1. Edward Scissorhands (1990)


Fans and critics alike seem to love this Johnny Depp movie the most and they can’t be blamed. Edward Scissorhands is one of eight films that he and director Tim Burton have collaborated on, this one being their very best.

This fantasy romance has Depp playing the title character, an artificial humanoid with scissor blades for fingers. Things get complicated when a family takes him in, and he falls in love with their daughter.

Winona Ryder, Dianne Wiest, Anthony Michael Hall, and Alan Arkin costar.

Johnny Depp’s Worst Movies

The Lone Ranger (2013)

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Is it really that bad? The Lone Ranger is a Disney and Johnny Depp movie that is based on the long-running radio serial of the same name. It stars Armie Hammer as the title character with Johnny Depp doing his best impression of an Indian as The Lone Ranger’s sidekick, Tonto.

The action-adventure was criticized for numerous things including the violence, the off-beat pacing, the attempted humor that apparently fell flat with audiences, and the overall length of the “family film.”

Dark Shadows (2012)

A rare movie misfire from the duo of Tim Burton and Johnny Depp. This one is based on the Dan Curtis 1960s soap opera of the same name and has Depp playing anti-hero and vampire, Barnabas Collins.

This horror-comedy, while trying to stick as close as possible to the soap opera from which it was born, had critics and audiences divided by its inconsistent tone. Michelle Pfeifer, Helena Bonham Carter, Eva Green, and Chloë Grace Moretz were game in this one.

Transcendence (2014)

Screenwriter Jack Paglen’s Transcendence script was high on the 2012 Black List of popular unproduced films, so when the film finally got made and became a Johnny Depp movie, it was a shock that it tanked so badly.

The sci-fi thriller was dinged for many things, complex plot and pacing being two of the issues seen. The story, for what it’s worth, follows a group of scientists, led by Depp’s Will Caster, who are in a race to finish an artificial intelligence project.

This project, and the scientists, are being targeted by an organization of radical anti-technology folks. Morgan Freeman, Rebecca Hall, Cole Hauser, and Paul Bettany also star in this bomb of a Johnny Depp movie.

The Tourist (2010)

It isn’t often in a Johnny Depp movie where Depp can’t find chemistry with his co-lead, but that was the case here with Angelina Jolie in The Tourist.

This romantic thriller has Depp playing a broken-hearted Frank Tupelo, who is in Italy trying to mend it. Enter Jolie’s Elise Clifton-Ward, who may or may not be able to help him with his situation.

Police and the mob may have something to say about this. Unfortunately, the plot didn’t do much for audiences.

Mortdecai (2015)

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Not going to lie, but this could be the worst movie in Johnny Depp’s career, and it isn’t because he can’t be funny. The film simply falls flat.

Depp plays Lord Charlie Mortdecai, a man who has many balls in the air. Presently he is juggling Russian mobsters, an international terrorist, and the British Mi5 while trying to maintain his status as a complete rouge. T

The Johnny Depp movie is unfunny as can be, a complete misfire that also stars Gwyneth Paltrow, Ewan McGregor, Olivia Munn, and Paul Bettany.