Best Leonardo Dicaprio Performances

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Best Leonardo Dicaprio Performances


Zack Mandell

Remember when Joaquin Phoenix retired from acting? The acclaimed actor set off a media firestorm upon that announcement, especially given his rationale. Upon his “retirement,” Phoenix declared he was giving up acting to pursue music. That in and of itself isn’t so bizarre, until you consider that the music he wanted to pursue was hip hop. He played a few disastrous shows, and was an interview guest on David Letterman in a television moment classic only for its awkwardness. Ultimately, Phoenix’s retirement was little more than a ruse; a social experiment. Unfortunately, Leonardo Dicaprio’s plans to retire from acting are probably not. The wildly gifted megastar is giving up acting for the next few years, citing exhaustion. In a statement, he stated that he would like to do what he can to make the world a better place. Whether or not he can accomplish such an ambitious task we don’t currently know the answer. But since his rise to stardom in the blockbuster “Titanic,” the movie theater has been a better place for sure. Here are the five best performances given by Leonardo Dicaprio.

Catch Me If You Can

Dicaprio has long been associated with the best dramatic actors of his era, but he lightens up on occasion. In this fluffy but witty tale about a teenager who accidentally becomes an impostor mastermind, Dicaprio brings the perfect combo of movie star mugging and character actor intricacies to the main character. He may have the easy to look at Tom Cruise smile, but behind it is a lost and confused child.

The Departed

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When Dicaprio received his third Oscar nomination for his turn in the Edward Zwick drama “Blood Diamond,” a far more deserving turn missed out on a nod. Funnily enough, that turn was courtesy of Dicaprio himself, in Martin Scorsese’s crime saga “The Departed.” As an undercover cop embedded in the most sinister moors of the Boston crime scene, Dicaprio displays the action chops of a young Clint Eastwood, but coupled with gripping emotional vulnerability.

Revolutionary Road

This adaptation of the landmark Richard Yates novel was extraordinarily hyped. Dicaprio was reteaming with “Titanic” love interest Kate Winslet, and the film, about an unhappy married couple in the suburbs, was directed by Sam Mendes, the director of “American Beauty,” a classic about an unhappy married couple in the suburbs. Ultimately, “Road” failed to meet expectations, but Dicaprio exceeded his. Before the premiere, many contemplated whether or not Dicaprio had been miscast. After watching his heart wrenching, explosive and tragic performance, Dicaprio silenced those critics.

William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet


transformed the young Dicaprio into the biggest movie star in the world. It was his turn as the titular character in Baz Luhrmann’s modern update of a Shakespeare classic that helped him land that role. Many film audiences didn’t know Dicaprio at the time, but they couldn’t forget his vivid and heartbreaking turn as the young tortured Montague.

Shutter Island

Critics were not so kind to the Dicaprio-Scorsese collaboration that followed their Oscar winning “The Departed.” Most of the fault was leveled at a convoluted script and a predictable and sluggish ending. Just about no one faulted Dicaprio. How could they have? As a federal agent searching for a missing woman at a remote mental institution, Dicaprio burns with angst, and makes the puzzle he’s solving far more involving than what was on the page.

Zack Mandell is a freelance writer for


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Best Leonardo Dicaprio Performances