Best Johnny Depp Movies and Where to Stream Them

Johnny Depp is an actor whose career knows no bounds. Since he first hit the airwaves with his starring role on 21 Jump Street, Depp instantly proved himself as a very distinct sort of actor: someone with enough talent and charisma to easily hold an audience’s attention, whether on TV or on film.

In the decades that followed, Depp would continue to prove just how skilled an actor he was, growing from a supporting actor on acclaimed films like Platoon and A Nightmare on Elm Street to starring in numerous collaborations with Tim Burton. Thanks to his layered performances on a slew of drastically different projects, Johnny Depp quickly became a household name by the early 1990s.

His career has taken him from little-known indie films to big-budget action blockbusters, with Depp consistently managing to hand in a unique and memorable performance each time he appears on-screen. As Depp prepares to refocus on his film career in the coming months, we decided to look back at some of his most famous films, many of which are streaming right now.

15. Sleepy Hollow

Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Johnny Depp’s third collaboration with Tim Burton saw him starring in Burton’s 1999 adaptation of the classic ghost story, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” Set in the late 18th century, after a series of grisly murders in the isolated farming community of Sleepy Hollow, an unorthodox police constable Ichabod Crane (Depp) is called in to investigate.

Sleepy Hollow

Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

As had been the case with Depp and Burton’s previous collaborations on Edward Scissorhands and Ed Wood, Sleepy Hollow was a critical and commercial success. The film was praised for its Hammer Horror-esque atmosphere, tone, and staging, with many critics positively receiving Depp’s performance as the awkward, bookish Crane.

Streaming on fuboTV & philo.

14. Finding Neverland

Image Credit: Walt Disney Productions.

In 2004, Depp showed off his more dramatic acting chops by starring in the biographical film, Finding Neverland. Focusing on the life and career of Scottish playwright JM Barrie, the film details how a family that Barrie became acquainted with came to shape his most famous play: Peter Pan.

Finding Neverland

Image Credit: Walt Disney Productions.

Based on Allan Knee’s 1998 play, The Man Who Was Peter Pan, Finding Neverland was a rare non-comedic performance for Depp just as he was beginning to receive continued mainstream attention with other notable films like Pirates of the Caribbean. His performance as Barrie would win acclaim from critics and awards ceremonies, leading to Depp receiving Oscar, Golden Globe, and BAFTA nominations for Best Actor.

Streaming on Paramount+ and Showtime.

13. Cry-Baby

Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

One of Depp’s first major successes came in 1990, when Depp partnered with the self-styled “King of Trash,” John Waters. A musical comedy, Cry-Baby follows the tumultuous love affair between a greaser (Depp) and a homely teenage girl (Amy Locane) in 1950s Baltimore.


Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Cry-Baby is a predictably off-beat film from Waters (a director known for his penchant for camp), but it was the first film that showed Depp can stand strong on his own as a leading actor. Like most of Waters’ films today, it’s now considered a cult classic — a brilliant parody of Elvis musicals and 1950s conformity in general.

Not currently streaming, but available to rent online.

12. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

One of Depp’s most recognizable roles came with 1997’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Based on Hunter S. Thompson’s largely autobiographical book of the same name, Depp stars as Thompson stand-in Raoul Duke, an eccentric reporter for Rolling Stone magazine sent to Las Vegas to cover an assignment.

Accompanied by his equally bizarre lawyer, Dr. Gonzo (Benicio del Toro), the two spend most of their time getting into drug-induced hijinks than actually working, leading to a variety of strange, surreal situations.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

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Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Directed by Terry Gilliam, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was a bomb office box, raking in mostly mixed reviews upon its initial theatrical release. Over time, however, many have named it a highlight of Gilliam and Depp’s filmography, leading to its current cult status today.

Currently streaming on STARZ.

11. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

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JOHNNY DEPP stars as Willy Wonka in Warner Bros. Pictures' Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Ranking among Depp’s most popular films is his 2005 partnership with Tim Burton on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Based on Roald Dahl’s beloved children’s book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory tells the story of five children and their parents who are invited on a tour through the magical candy factory of the brilliant, mysterious candy manufacturer, Willy Wonka (Depp).

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

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JOHNNY DEPP as Willy Wonka; FREDDIE HIGHMORE as Charlie Bucket & DAVID KELLY as Grandpa Joe in Warner Bros. Pictures' Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

The balance between Dahl’s source material, Burton’s darker tone, and Depp’s delightfully off-the-walls performance was a match made in heaven, leading to it being named one of Depp and Burton’s best films to date.

Streaming on HBO Max.

10. Rango

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Image Credit: © 2011 – Paramount Pictures

In 2011, Depp reunited with Gore Verbinski (the director behind the first three Pirates of the Caribbean films) for the animated children’s film, Rango. A spoof of traditional Westerns, Rango (Depp) is a kindhearted lizard who accidentally finds himself the sheriff of a lawless frontier town in desperate need of water.


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Image Credit: © 2011 – Paramount Pictures

As with Verbinski and Depp’s earlier Pirates of the Caribbean, Rango was a massive success, many critics favorably pointing out how audience members all of ages were sure to enjoy it.

Streaming on HBO Max.

9. Corpse Bride

Victor Van Dort, voiced by JOHNNY DEPP, and the Corpse Bride, voiced by HELENA BONHAM CARTER, in Warner Bros. Pictures' Tim Burton's Corpse Bride.

Depp’s fifth collaboration with Burton spelled out a completely different kind of film than either had worked on previously. A stop-motion animated film, Corpse Bride tells the story of a timid young man in a Victorian town who accidentally proposes to a deceased, fun-loving bride who believes him to be her betrothed.

Corpse Bride

Victor Van Dort, voiced by JOHNNY DEPP, is surrounded by residents of the Land of the Dead in Warner Bros. Pictures' Tim Burton's Corpse Bride.

Along with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Corpse Bride is possibly the closest thing Burton and Depp made that’s approachable for all audiences members, regardless of age. Nominated for the Best Animated Feature at the 2005 Academy Awards, it’s a ceaselessly fun, imaginative film that boasts a strong vocal performance from Depp and his costar, Helena Bonham Carter (another frequent Burton collaborator).

Streaming on HBO Max.

8. What's Eating Gilbert Grape

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Image Credit: © 1993 – Paramount Pictures

Another early success for Depp — and likely one of the roles that led to his established status as a teenage heartthrob in the 1990s — What’s Eating Gilbert Grape follows a lonely grocery clerk (Depp) as he struggles to care for his obese single mother (Darlene Cates) and his mentally impaired younger brother (Leonardo DiCaprio).

What's Eating Gilbert Grape

Image Credit: © 1993 – Paramount Pictures

A touchingly poignant film that explores personal happiness and family, both Depp and DiCaprio received significant praise for their work on the film, cementing Depp’s popularity and propelling him to newfound heights in the entertainment industry.

Streaming on HBO Max.

7. Dead Man

Image Credit: Miramax.

A psychedelic Western from famed indie filmmaker, Jim Jarmusch, Dead Man follows a hapless accountant from the East Coast (Depp) who becomes a notorious outlaw on the Frontier after going on the lam for murder.

Dead Man

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Image Credit: Miramax.

One of the most unique films Depp has ever worked on, Dead Man was neither a financial nor critical success at the time of its release in 1995. Subsequent reevaluations of the film, however, tend to remain positive, with many seeing it as one of Jarmusch and Depp’s most underrated films.

Streaming on HBO Max

6. Donnie Brasco

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Image Credit: © 1997 – Columbia/TriStar

Another more dramatic acting turn for Depp came with 1997’s Donnie Brasco. Based on the almost unbelievable 1988 nonfiction book, Donnie Brasco: My Undercover Life in the Mafia, the film focuses on an undercover FBI agent (Depp) who infiltrates a local Mafia crime family in 1970s New York City.

Donnie Brasco

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Image Credit: © 1997 – Columbia/TriStar

An engaging, suspenseful, exciting look at one of the most well-known sting operations in FBI history, Donnie Brasco was one of Depp’s most positively received films of the ‘90s. It also showed the actor’s ability to take on more dramatic roles, in addition to the more comedic or eccentric characters he’d played previously.

Streaming on Netflix.

5. Public Enemies

Image Credit: © 2009 Universal Studios.

A harrowing biopic from award-winning crime director, Michael Mann, Public Enemies traces the life and career of infamous 1930s bank robber John Dillinger (Depp) and the efforts of the newly-formed FBI to find him.

Public Enemies

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Image Credit: © 2009 Universal Studios.

One of the better-made biopics of the 2000s, Public Enemies received predominantly positive marks from critics, with main citing Mann’s direction and the performances of the cast involved (including Depp and Christian Bale’s) as particularly strong elements.

Streaming on STARZ.

4. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

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Image Credit: Dreamworks & Warner Bros.

Two short years after their work together on the (more or less) family-friendly film, Corpse Bride, Burton and Depp reunited to take on the classic Broadway musical, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Remaining largely true to the tone and presentation of the original musical, Burton’s film follows the notorious exploits of Sweeney Todd (Depp), a barber turned serial killer who bakes his victims’ corpses into meat pies.

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

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Image Credit: Dreamworks & Warner Bros.

Arguably Burton and Depp’s darkest film, Sweeney Todd was nevertheless warmly received by audiences and critics, with particular praise going for the film’s performances, musical numbers, tone, and faithfulness to its Broadway counterpart.

Streaming on HBO Max.

3. Ed Wood

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Image Credit: © 1994 – Touchstone Pictures

A strangely conventional film by Tim Burton’s standards, 1994’s Ed Wood marked the second time Depp and Burton worked together. A fairly straightforward biopic, Depp stars in the film as Ed Wood, the 1950s-era filmmaker who’s commonly seen as one of the worst directors of all time.

Ed Wood

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Image Credit: © 1994 – Touchstone Pictures

A major critical success, Ed Wood was seen as being one of the best films of the year when it hit theaters, earning several award wins and nominations (including a Golden Globe nomination for Depp in the Best Actor category).

Not currently streaming, but available to rent online.

2. Edward Scissorhands

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Image Credit: Twentieth Century Fox

Depp’s first artistic pairing with Tim Burton may remain their best. Set in a strange, idyllic suburban neighborhood, Edward Scissorhands follows an artificially-made young man with scissors for hands (Depp) struggling to adapt to his new settings and surrogate family members.

Edward Scissorhands

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Image Credit: Twentieth Century Fox

The film that made Depp a star, Edward Scissorhands is a touching, emotional, updated version of Frankenstein for the modern world, marking what would be the beginning of a lengthy relationship between Depp and Burton. If nothing else, it’s the movie that boasts one of Depp’s most instantly recognizable and iconic characters in his career (aside from a certain buccaneer captain, that is.)

Streaming on Disney+.

1. The Pirates of the Caribbean Series

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Image Credit: © 2003 – Buena Vista Pictures

A role Depp has pretty much become synonymous with, few characters are as popular or well-known today as Captain Jack Sparrow, the bizarre yet endlessly entertaining main character of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.

Spanning five films, the Pirates of the Caribbean series mainly revolves around the adventures of the quirky pirate captain Jack Sparrow as he battles zombies, undead skeletal pirates, the British Navy, and Davy Jones himself.

The Pirates of the Caribbean

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Image Credit: © 2003 – Buena Vista Pictures

What Indiana Jones is to Harrison Ford or Iron Man is to Robert Downey Jr., Jack Sparrow is to Johnny Depp. Universally praised for his performances in the series, Depp’s role as Sparrow defined an entire generation of moviegoers’ view of 18th century pirates. Whether we see him return to the series or not, it remains without a doubt his most famous role, as well as his definitively best.

Streaming on Disney+.

This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

Richard Chachowski is a freelance writer based in New Jersey. He loves reading, his dog Tootsie, and pretty much every movie to ever exist (especially Star Wars).