As Leonardo DiCaprio turns 47 today, it seemed fitting to have a look at some of his best and most underrated performances. See below for a list of 10 great films starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
- Shutter Island
Possibly my favourite performance of DiCaprio’s in this psychological thriller directed by Martin Scorsese. Set in 1954, a U.S Marshal and his partner (Mark Ruffalo) investigate the disappearance of a murderer from a hospital for the criminally insane. An absolute atmospheric and genius masterpiece, an essential film for anyone.
- Gangs of New York
Amsterdam Vallon (DiCaprio) sets out to get revenge for the death of his father (Liam Neeson), who was killed during a gang fight by Bill ‘The Butcher’ (Daniel Day-Lewis). On his journey to avenge his father, Amsterdam Vallon gets caught up in the Civil War. Boasting an excellent cast, Gangs of New York showcases just why Daniel Day-Lewis and Leonardo DiCaprio are some of the world’s greatest actors.
- The Departed
Based on Andrew Lau and Alan Mak’s Infernal Affairs (starring Tony Leung), Scorsese manages to turn this idea into another amazing work of art crime thriller. With another epic cast boasting the likes of Jack Nicholson, Matt Damon, Mark Whalberg, Martin Sheen, and of course, Leonardo DiCaprio, The Departed is a story of an undercover cop and a mole in the police, who are trying to identify each other whilst infiltrating an Irish gang in Boston.
- Revolutionary Road
Set in the mid 1950’s, Revolutionary Road is about a young couple living in Connecticut struggling to maintain a happy and positive relationship with each other and their children alongside their own personal issues. Starring the famous couple from Titanic, Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet show off their incredible acting skills through an indepth look at a failing relationship.
Inception probably needs no introduction, winning Oscars for Best Achievement in Cinematography, Best Achievement in Sound Mixing, Best Achievement in Sound Editing, and Best Achievement in Visual Effects. Inception is truly a modern day masterpiece. Christopher Nolan’s Inception is about a thief who steals corporate secrets through dream technology, allowing him to enter the dreams of his targets. He is then tasked with the mission to plant an idea into the mind of a C.E.O but his past creeps up on him, foreshadowing a great disaster.
- Django Unchained
One of Quentin Tarantino’s best films to date, Django Unchained is about a slave named Django who is freed and joins forces with a bounty-hunter in order to save his wife from Calvin (Leonardo DiCaprio) , a plantation owner. Tarantino won an Oscar for Best Writing & Original Screenplay with this incredible work of art and modern day classic.
Fun fact about Django Unchained:
In the scene where DiCaprio smashes the glass and cuts his hand, it turns out he really did accidentally cut his arm during the performance, but kept on acting. He needed stitches after.
- The Wolf of Wall Street
Another film on this list directed by the great Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street and DiCaprio’s performance are known by film lovers and opposites alike all over the world. Starring probably the most impressive cast on this list with Leonardo Dicaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Matthew McConaughey, Jon Bernthal, and many more, The Wolf of Wall Street tells the drug fueled rich life of Jordan Belfort, a Wall Street stock broker.
- This Boy’s Life
It’s crazy to see that This Boy’s Life had both Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio starring in it and that they still have barely filmed anything together since. As such I am very excited for Scorsese’s upcoming movie Killers of the Flower Moon starring both Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio. Anyway, back to This Boy’s Life, which is one of Dicaprio’s earliest films showcasing his immense talent and versatility, is a story between a teenager and his abusive step-father.
- What’s Eating Gilbert Grape
Also starring Johnny Depp, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape was the beginning of DiCaprio’s incredible career. The film is about a young man (Johnny Depp) who is struggling to care for his mentally disabled brother (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his extremely overweight mother in the midst of trying to find happiness and contentment in his life.
Leonardo was so good within What’s Eating Gilbert Grape that he was nominated for an Oscar as Best Actor in Supporting Role. Nevertheless, Leonardo Dicaprio managed to win the CFCA (Chicago Film Critics Association Award) for Most Promising Actor. Well, didn’t that turn out to be true…
- The Basketball Diaries
Another underrated movie from DiCaprio’s early days, The Basketball Diaries, also featuring a young Mark Whalberg, is a rather dark and disturbing movie about drug addiction and its effects on a group of teenagers who want to become basketball stars. A gritty and harrowing film for anyone looking for a Dicaprio film they haven’t seen yet, displaying his talent as an actor at such a young age.