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Film

Johnny Depp names his five favourite movies of all time

He may have gone through a tricky time of late, but there was a good period of time in the late 1990s and early years of the new millennium where there were fewer names in Hollywood more significant than Johnny Depp.

With gruff good looks and an undeniable charm, Depp took to the industry with natural talent, bringing consistently frenetic performances to each and every part, from the small independent dramas to the big-budget blockbusters. Despite entering the industry in the 1980s, it wasn’t until 2003, however, that Depp’s fame would truly blow up, appearing as Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean. 

Though he had been a character actor before, the nautical Disney adventure would turn Depp into a renowned star of the silver screen, donning makeup and elaborate costumes for future roles as Sweeney Todd, Willy Wonka and The Mad Hatter. Whilst he has shown off far better performances in films from such directors as Oliver Stone, Wes Craven, Terry Gilliam, Jim Jarmusch and John Waters, it is these aforementioned roles that have made Depp such a beloved pop-culture figure. 

It was during the height of the actor’s popularity in 2009 that Depp spoke to Entertainment Weekly, revealing his five favourite films of all time to the sheer delight of his worldwide fans.

“The greatest actor of all time,” according to Johnny Depp

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The first film on his list is the Jarmusch movie Down by Law, featuring Roberto Benigni and Tom Waits, following a disc jockey, a pimp and an Italian immigrant who find themselves locked in the same jail cell. Calling the movie a “sweet, funny, existentialist crime caper,” Depp would collaborate with the director following the release of the 1986 movie, starring in Dead Man in 1995. 

Taking the second spot on Depp’s list is a movie that he himself takes the starring role in, namely Tim Burton’s 1994 film Ed Wood. “Despite my involvement, this movie is a tender, comic gem,” the actor remarks, listing the fabulous ensemble cast that includes Bill Murray, Vincent D’Onofrio, Patricia Arquette and Martin Landau as one of the movie’s greatest strengths. 

Taking his appreciation for cinema back a few decades, Depp names the 1944 Howard Hawks romance To Have And Have Not as his third choice. Naming it one of his favourites due to a “marriage of three of my favorite things: Bogart, ’40s film noir, and Hemingway,” the actor is a considerable fan of the film’s classic style and mid-WWII plot that sees an American expatriate transport a French Resistance leader across the country. 

The 1988 movie Time of the Gypsies by Emir Kusturica takes the fourth spot on Depp’s list of favourites, calling the director a “genius” for his comedy crime drama. “This is visual poetry, with a healthy portion of both magic and the absurd,” the actor states, further adding that he believes the filmmaker is “one of the last true auteurs, alongside Tim Burton and Jim Jarmusch, keeping the art alive in cinema”. 

Capping off his list is the iconic British comedy classic Withnail and I, directed by Bruce Robinson. Gushing over the movie, Depp states “No other film in history is as quoted or has inspired such cultlike loyalty. Probably the funniest f—ing film I have ever seen! Bruce Robinson. There’s another genius right there,” with critics and audiences across the world agreeing with his opinion for the film starring Richard E. Grant and Paul McGann.

Johnny Depp’s five favourite films of all time:

  • Down by Law (Jim Jarmusch, 1986)
  • Ed Wood (Tim Burton, 1994)
  • To Have and Have Not (Howard Hawks, 1944)
  • Time of the Gypsies (Emir Kusturica, 1988)
  • Withnail and I (Bruce Robinson, 1987)