Leonardo Dicaprio movies have influenced a generation, and the diversity of his roles is a tribute to his incredible acting ability. Leonardo Dicaprio is considered to be one of the best actors of all time, and this movie list is dedicated to finding and ranking the best Leonardo Dicaprio ever made.
The movies on this list are included based on the movie rating, critical reviews, and commercial success of the movie. This movie list is the definitive list of the best Leonardo Dicaprio movies.
10 Best Leonardo Dicaprio Movies to Watch
Director: Christopher Nolan
Review: Inception is about perception. The audience is never sure what reality is because the protagonist isn’t sure what’s real. There are clues providing evidence for what may be read, but the best thriller movies of this type don’t come down on one side or another.
Inception is also a thought experiment. The central idea of Inception is that once you put a thought in someone’s head it’s like a virus, incapable of being removed. Attempting to not think about the idea causes the mind to just focus on it more. This concept, a key tenet of neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), is part of how our brains are wired. Director Chris Nolan knows exactly what he’s doing when the characters explain the premise.
Like so many mysteries, once the truth was revealed it wasn’t quite as exciting as we all hoped. Inception wisely avoids providing the answers.
2. The Departed
Director: Martin Scorsese
Review: It’s a tricky business adapting a foreign movie for an American audience. Martin Scorsese’s The Departed captures all the best elements of the original movie Infernal Affairs and works traditional Scorsese themes and material into the movie making it very much his own and every bit equal to the Chinese movie.
The movie centers around two men – one an undercover cop who infiltrates a Boston crime lord’s gang, and the other a Massachusetts “Statey” who is secretly employed by the same Boston crime boss. Leonardo DiCaprio as the undercover, and Matt Damon as the crooked cop, are outstanding in these roles.
Both sides of the law soon discover that they have a mole in their organization, and efforts are made to learn his identity. That’s the main plotline, and Scorsese does a masterful job of building the tension to an almost unbearable level. You will find yourself almost holding your breath as DiCaprio and Damon try to function in their respective worlds without being found out for who they are.
3. The Wolf of Wall Street
Director: Martin Scorsese
Review: An eager, young executive, Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio), experiences the Wall Street disaster of 1987 which wipes out investors and costs him his job. Anxious to bounce back, he discovers the art of selling unregulated penny stocks and starts his brokerage. Soon he’s making a lot of money, often at the expense of low-income earners.
With the help of his cronies, including his new friend, Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill), begins to expand exponentially into a major force in the financial world. The emotional stress and pressure heighten his need for women, sex, drugs, and more drugs.
As his excessive lifestyle spirals out of control, the FBI and Securities and Exchange Commission begin investigating his company’s illegal activities, signaling the beginning of the end.
The Wolf of Wall Street is a supremely effective, cautionary tale of abuse of wealth at a time when such behavior was able to flourish unchecked. You might not like the passengers on this flight, but it’s a ride you will not forget.
4. Shutter Island
Director: Martin Scorsese
Review: The movie takes place in 1954 on a craggy, remote, and forbidding island off the coast of Boston. Shutter Island serves as a hospital and prison for the criminally insane operated by the government. A US Marshall, Teddy Daniels, and his ostensible partner, Chuck Aule, are ferried to Shutter Island to investigate the disappearance of a female inmate who has escaped.
The inmate is said to have drowned her three children before her incarceration. Daniels himself carries with him many emotional issues. He witnessed the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp and has had problems with alcohol and his wife died in a fire set by an arsonist.
Daniels sought an assignment to Shutter Island because the arsonist and another individual from Daniels’ past are incarcerated there, and Daniels wanted to see for himself what was going on.
Like any great psychological movie, Shutter Island is filled with hidden meanings and twists, including a big reveal at the end of the movie. Quite a different venture compared to the other Martin Scorsese movies, but a good movie to watch nonetheless. One of the best Leonardo DiCaprio movies on Netflix.
5. Catch Me If You Can
Director: Steven Spielberg
Review: Catch Me If You Can is the story of real-life con artist Frank Abagnale, Jr. who, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when he was between the ages of 16 and 21, wrote 2.5 million dollars in bad checks and became one of the most notorious con men in American history.
The movie follows Frank (Leonardo DiCaprio) from his early high school pranks to his check-printing operation and eventual capture in France five years later. FBI agent Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks) doggedly pursues Frank as he successfully impersonates an airline pilot, a doctor, and a lawyer, living the life of a playboy and cashing ingeniously forged checks all along the way.
The real Frank Abagnale, Jr. is a successful security consultant these days, protecting businesses from white-collar crime. His immense intelligence, ambition, and guts are the most striking elements of the movie. It’s rare to find all of these qualities in such abundance in one person, making him one of cinema’s most lovable antiheroes.
Catch Me If You Can is highly recommended for its great performances and the entertaining story of an ingenious con man and his noble pursuer, made all the more fascinating because it’s based on a true story.
6. What’s Eating Gilbert Grape
Director: Lasse Hallström
Review: What’s Eating Gilbert Grape is a deeply moving glimpse into the frustration, sadness, and triumph of love in what some would classify as a dysfunctional family. As the mentally retarded Arnie, Leonardo DiCaprio turns in an incredibly realistic performance; his gestures, his often repetitive speech, everything about his acting seems so perfect for the role he plays.
It is no wonder he received an Oscar nomination. The story is told mainly through the eyes of Johnny Depp’s character, Gilbert who despite his deep love for Arnie is still frustrated by the limitations that caring for Arnie places on his life.
Top that off with a morbidly obese mother whom Gilbert is (reluctantly) ashamed of and a younger sister who is an oftentimes irritating troublemaker and you can see why Gilbert sometimes yearns for life to be a little easier.
Lasse Hallstrom has a wise knack for silences, not just in the performances, where silence is golden, but also in the movie’s musical score. For the most part, except for some light piano work in the most important moments, everything is quiet and still. Which perfectly mimics the solitude of the small town, in which this heartbreaking, but the ultimately life-affirming movie, takes place.
Director: James Cameron
Review: Titanic has already been cemented in the history books as one of cinemas finest accomplishments, hailed by critic after critic as the best disaster movie ever released, and even further, one of the greatest movies ever made. Titanic, even after all the hype, truly lives up to its name and is deserving of every ounce of credit and attention it receives.
8. Gangs of New York
Director: Martin Scorsese
Review: Gangs of New York tells the epic tale of the Five-Points section of Manhattan, and the colorful gangs that ruled her mean streets.
Leonardo DiCaprio plays Amsterdam Vallon, who witnessed his father’s murder at the hands of Bill “The Butcher” as a child, and in typical movie fashion, swore revenge. Amsterdam is released from reform school sixteen years later and heads off to kill the Butcher.
This ambitious movie is a magnificent spectacle, wonderfully acted, beautifully directed, and a wonderful triumph for Martin Scorsese. The cinematography, score, production design, and performances of Brendan Gleeson, Henry Thomas, and Daniel Day-Lewis take this movie as far as it can go.
9. Blood Diamond
Director: Edward Zwick
Review: Greed is the dark heart of Blood Diamond, director Edward Zwick’s uncompromising look into the underground trafficking of illegally traded gems in sub-Saharan Africa. The greed of corrupt men for power, the greed of an amoral mercenary willing to sacrifice anything for a chance to escape Africa, the greed of Western businessmen who seek to artificially control the diamond market, and the greed of a simple man for his family’s return. This movie powerfully demonstrates the little value given to human life by those people who are obsessed with the blood diamond collection in war-ravaged Sierra Leone.
Blood Diamond is gripping, thrilling, and emotional. It’s an action movie with so much substance, it pulls you in as an audience member and may even make you shed a tear or two.
10. Django Unchained
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Review: Django Unchained has everything you’d want in a movie, action, humor, suspense, drama, and even some romance, all washed down with gallons of blood.
Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) is a well-spoken bounty hunter who acquires Django (Jamie Foxx) to find and kill some men who are wanted, “dead or alive.” Dr. Schultz isn’t too keen on the “live” part.
The movie divides itself into two parts. After the bounty hunting episodes are through, our duo conceives a plan to rescue the wife of Django (Kerry Washington) by purchasing her from Candie Land plantation. Dr. Schultz has no stomach for slavery or slave owners. Leonardo DiCaprio doesn’t enter the movie until the second part.
Like all Quentin Tarantino movies, it incorporates humor, even in places you least expect. There are flashbacks but they’re minimal and not confusing. And of course, there is the over-the-top climactic ending and plenty of blood. One of the best Leonardo DiCaprio movies on Netflix.
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