Leonardo DiCaprio has been one of Hollywood's biggest stars for many years now and he only continues to grow. From a young age he has been required to dig into the darkest depths of his soul to pull out some of the most intense performances of any actor. In honor of the upcoming release of The Revenant (which is sure to be one of the best films of his career), let's take a look back at DiCaprio's 10 best film roles.
10. Romeo- Romeo + Juliet (1996)
In a modern retelling of the timeless classic Romeo & Juliet, DiCaprio played literature's favorite star-crossed lover Romeo. This role showed just how deep of an actor he can be. The range of emotion that he was required to show at such a young age was out of this world. It was also impressive to see him play a 16-year-old character so convincingly at the age of 22. This role made it easy to see why he was the choice to play Jack Dawson in Titanic (they are very similar roles).
9. Teddy Daniels- Shutter Island (2010)
The film was based on a 2003 by the same name. Martin Scorsese is known for suspenseful, multi-dimensional films and Shutter Island was one of his most twisted films. DiCaprio's character goes to an institution for the criminally insane only to find out that he is actually their most violent patient. The role of Edward "Teddy" Daniels required him to basically play two different characters. His commitment to the role was outstanding. The levels of emotion he had to pull out would have most actors running for the hills.
8. Amsterdam Vallon- Gangs of New York (2002)
Gangs of New York is a phenomenal film based in 1863 during the time of Irish immigration to the city and the ongoing Civil War (based on a 1927 non-fiction book). With Scorsese at the helm, DiCaprio is again required to play a very dimensional character. He plays Amsterdam Vallon- a young man that seeks revenge on his father's murderer. This role made him search the darkest depths of his being and had him playing both a heroic character as well as a villain.
7. Jay Gatsby- The Great Gatsby (2013)
The role of Jay Gatsby would be tough for anyone to master, but DiCaprio made it look easy. Gatsby started as a dirt poor German-American, went to war and became a self-made millionaire through taking advantage of prohibition, but he was missing one thing- the love of Daisy. DiCaprio is the king of swing emotions and dramatic roles and he certainly proved that here. He truly brought Fitzgerald's character to life with devotion and the ability to make you feel the emotions being portrayed on the screen.
6. Howard Hughes- The Aviator (2004)
Howard Hughes was a very deep, complex character. There wasn't a job he didn't take a crack at- his biggest dream was taking over Hollywood. DiCaprio had his hands full with this role, but he went in fully committed. Hughes suffered from obsessive-compulsive disorder- which created another hurdle for DiCaprio. He played the role flawlessly, all the way down to his unconventional accent.
5. Jack Dawson- Titanic (1997)
Who doesn't remember this film and this iconic character? Every girl fell in love with Leonardo DiCaprio after his portrayal of Jack- the poor boy that fell in love with the rich girl. At just 23 years-old, he captured the hearts of America. The emotions he portrayed in Titanic completely enthralled anyone that saw the film- viewers felt what was happening on screen. What he did with the role of Jack was beyond his years and more than deserves a spot on this list.
4. Cobb- Inception (2010)
Inception is one of the most mind boggling films to ever be made and the role of Cobb may be one of DiCaprio's most dimensional roles. Stealing corporate secrets through the art of dream-sharing while being haunted by his dead wife and visions of his children makes for a very big challenge, but he pulled it off perfectly. This was such an incredible performance that I had a hard time not putting it any higher than it already is.
3. Jordan Belfort- The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
DiCaprio has made a career of playing characters based on real-life people and so far, the role of Jordan Belfort may be the best one yet. The charming, charismatic Belfort was no match for DiCaprio. He made the character and the film fun and a complete joy to watch. He played every element of the role with 100% conviction- even his acting drunk was more convincing than many people I have seen that are actually intoxicated. He got to show more than just his romantic side in The Wolf of Wall Street making it one of his best roles to date.
2. Calvin Candie- Django Unchained (2012)
DiCaprio was brilliant as the villainous Candie. This was unlike any other role he has taken on; it was refreshing to see him take on such a raunchy bad guy role. His commitment to the role was so high that during the dinner scene, he smashed his hand down on the table and a glass smashes, a piece of the glass cut his hand, but he kept going. The blood on his hand was not stage blood, that's why Kerry Washington looked so disgusted when he smeared it on her face. Since this performance, I have become a huge fan of him and his work.
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1. Arnie Grape- What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)
What's Eating Gilbert Grape is a true classic, and DiCaprio's role as Gilbert's mentally-handicapped little brother (Arnie) is still one of the best performances of any Hollywood production. He was just 19 years-old, he had to take on a role that even some of the best actors would stumble with; the only other actor to perfect a role even close to this was Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man. No matter how many films he is in, I don't believe this performance can be topped.
As DiCaprio's career progresses, I'm sure this list will change, but for now these are his most showstopping performances to date. I would love to see him take on more villainous roles like Calvin Candie. He has a talent that is undeniable and virtually untouchable by any other modern day actor.
The Revenant opens in theaters on December 25th.