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10 Best Johnny Depp Movies: 'Pirates of the Caribbean,' 'A Nightmare on Elm Street' and More

May 14 2024, Published 8:25 a.m. ET

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A Nightmare on Elm Street

Johnny Depp instantly impressed cinephiles when he appeared in his film debut, A Nightmare on Elm Street. The first film, released in 1984, began the hit franchise.

Wes Craven’s classic film tells the story of Freddy Krueger, a killer who haunts the children of his murderers and takes their lives through their dreams.

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Alice in Wonderland

Depp portrays Tarrant Hightopp, the Mad Hatter’s character in the 2010 film Alice in Wonderland, which also features Mia Wasikowska, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, Crispin Glover and Matt Lucas.

In the Tim Burton-directed film, a young woman finds herself in the Underland after falling down a hole when she chases down an unusual rabbit. She discovers a world full of talking animals, queens and knights and how he should end the Red Queen’s reign to give the throne to the right person.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Based on the novel of the same name by Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory offers a different viewpoint of Willy Wonka’s story as its plot follows Charlie Bucket’s journey to the chocolatier’s factory after winning a contest along with four other children.

Freddie Highmore, David Kelly, Helena Bonham Carter, Noah Taylor, Christopher Lee, Deep Roy, James Fox and Missi Pyle also star in the adaptation.

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Corpse Bride

Depp voices Victor Van Dort’s character in the animated fantasy film of Tim Burton and Mike Johnson, Corpse Bride. His and Victoria Everglot’s families arrange their marriage, but a tree drags him to the land of the dead while practicing his lines for the wedding.

He meets Emily, a murdered bride who wants to marry him after seeing him. However, Victor also starts his quest to return to the real world before his muse marries someone else.

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Edward Scissorhands

Edward Scissorhands features Depp as the titular character, who is known for his hands made of scissor blades. Abandoned by a late scientist, Edward Scissorhands finds his home when a salesperson decides to care for him after learning he is harmless.

Edward soon falls in love with the saleswoman’s daughter, but his hands make him unique and an outcast.

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Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, based on the story written by J.K. Rowling, is set in 1927. Depp’s Gellert Grindelwald gets transferred to Europe to stand trial following the events in the film’s predecessor, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. However, he manages to escape and restarts his attempt to dominate the world.

To stop him and his plans, Albus Dumbledore enlists his student, Newt Scamander, who faces danger amid his mission.

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‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ Franchises

Captain Jack Sparrow leads the Pirates of the Caribbean film franchises, based on Walt Disney’s theme park attraction of the same name. The installments explore the adventures of Jack Sparrow, one of the nine pirate lords in the Brethren Court.

The Pirates of the Caribbean remains one of the highest-grossing franchises in history, with all its five films garnering a total of $4.5 billion at the box office.

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Sleepy Hollow

Sleepy Hollow adapts the events in Washington Irving’s short story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and shares the life of Ichabod Crane as he investigates the legendary apparition, The Headless Horseman, and the killing of three people.

Burton’s film scored 28 wins, including a 2020 Oscar for Best Art Direction – Set Decoration.

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Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Barber and serial killer Sweeney Todd works with Mrs. Lovett in killing his customers and processing their corpses afterward while seeking revenge on a judge who wrongfully exiled him to steal his wife.

Burton’s musical slasher film has Depp, Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman, Timothy Spall, Sacha Baron Cohen and Laura Michelle Kelly — among others — as the cast members.

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Finding Neverland

Depp immortalizes James Matthew Barrie in Marc Forster’s biographical fantasy film Finding Neverland. Barrie, a playwright, creates his most iconic work Peter Pan after getting inspired to write about children who do not want to grow up.

The 2004 flick won several accolades upon release, including the Best Film and Top Ten Films at the 2004 National Board of Review Awards and the Best Original Score at the 77th Academy Awards.

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