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Best and worst Leonardo DiCaprio movies

  • Best and worst Leonardo DiCaprio movies

    Since A-lister Leonardo DiCaprio’s career began with a Matchbox car commercial in 1989, critics and the public alike have agreed he’s worth watching. The 1990s heartthrob rode on the helm of the Titanic with Kate Winslet, with Celine Dion playing in the backdrop, and fell in love at first sight with Claire Danes through aquarium glass in “Romeo + Juliet,” among other unforgettable love scenes among his dozens of movies.

    Some of DiCaprio’s greatest cinematic moments in his nearly 30-year film career have him portraying real-life characters, from millionaire eccentric Howard Hughes in “The Aviator” to grifter/forger Frank Abagnale in “Catch Me If You Can.” It was one of those biographical portrayals that landed him his lone Academy Award for Best Actor in 2015’s “The Revenant.” When not starring in blockbuster films, DiCaprio is an activist fighting the climate crisis with the Leonard DiCaprio Foundation, which he started in 1998. “Clean air, water, and a livable climate are inalienable human rights. And solving this crisis is not a question of politics, it is a question of our own survival,” says DiCaprio.

    To determine which of DiCaprio’s movies are the best (and worst), Stacker consulted IMDb’s user ratings as of August 2019, with ties broken by total votes. All feature-length DiCaprio films were considered; cameo appearances were excluded. Not all movies show DiCaprio at his finest; “Don’s Plum” in August 2019 made headlines in the New York Post as the 2001 film DiCaprio doesn’t want his fans to see. Anomalies aside, DiCaprio has worked with some of the best directors in the business, from Steven Spielberg to Martin Scorsese (DiCaprio played a big role in earning Scorsese his lone Academy Award for Best Director for “The Departed.”)

    Read on to see Stacker’s list of the best and worst Leonardo DiCaprio movies.

    You may also like: Best and worst Al Pacino movies

  • #29. Critters 3 (1991)

    - Directed by Kristine Peterson
    - IMDb user rating: 4.4
    - Votes: 10,156
    - Metascore: data not available
    - Runtime: 86 min

    After starring in commercials, a soap opera, and a couple of television series, Leonardo DiCaprio began his film career debuting in this low-budget, science-fiction horror film about furry aliens who eat everything in sight at a shoddy L.A. tower apartment. The third film in a series of four, which began with the same critters eating a farm and then a town, “Critters 3” features DiCaprio as Josh, the slumlord’s stepson, who fights against the aliens with a new family of tenants.

  • #28. Poison Ivy (1992)

    - Directed by Katt Shea
    - IMDb user rating: 5.4
    - Votes: 16,114
    - Metascore: data not available
    - Runtime: 90 min

    Leonardo DiCaprio’s second major motion picture was “Poison Ivy,” a movie about a poor street-smart girl played by Drew Barrymore who infiltrates herself into a wealthy family. Rolling Stone rated the 1992 film #22 out of #27 of Leo’s worst to best movies. Even IMDb reports that the film, which featured Barrymore’s first lead role, was the only non-speaking role in DiCaprio’s career.

  • #27. Don's Plum (2001)

    - Directed by R.D. Robb
    - IMDb user rating: 5.8
    - Votes: 3,782
    - Metascore: data not available
    - Runtime: 89 min

    The black-and-white indie film "Don’s Plum" features Leonardo DiCaprio as a young adult in L.A. who shares his life stories weekly with friends at a local diner. Then-aspiring actors Tobey Maguire and DiCaprio banned the movie from being showed in the U.S. or Canada for a few reasons, including DiCaprio’s unflattering portrayal as the character Derek. He and Maguire reportedly ad-libbed derogatory remarks in this student project, which the actors say was never supposed to be a feature film.

  • #26. Celebrity (1998)

    - Directed by Woody Allen
    - IMDb user rating: 6.3
    - Votes: 22,911
    - Metascore: 41
    - Runtime: 113 min

    DiCaprio took a self-mocking role in famed director Woody Allen’s “Celebrity” alongside other A-listers, including Charlize Theron, Winona Ryder, and Melanie Griffith, as a Hollywood pretty boy. Like the notorious “Don’s Plum,” “Celebrity” was also shot in black-and-white; this one earned a 41% rating from Rotten Tomatoes.

  • #25. The Quick and the Dead (1995)

    - Directed by Sam Raimi
    - IMDb user rating: 6.4
    - Votes: 79,263
    - Metascore: 49
    - Runtime: 107 min

    Opposite Sharon Stone as an arrogant young gun-slinger in “The Quick and the Dead,” then-21-year-old DiCaprio owes his part in the film to the leading lady, who reportedly paid his salary since Sony didn’t want to foot the bill. When Stone enters the town of Redemption circa 1881 to avenge her father’s death in a gunfighting tournament, she meets DiCaprio’s character, called “The Kid,” who wants to prove his skills to his father, played by Gene Hackman, the town’s power-hungry dictator.

  • #24. J. Edgar (2011)

    - Directed by Clint Eastwood
    - IMDb user rating: 6.5
    - Votes: 116,573
    - Metascore: 59
    - Runtime: 137 min

    Though nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance as Federal Bureau of Investigation founder and 37-year director J. Edgar Hoover (who served below eight presidents), DiCaprio was denied the accolade, which went to George Clooney for his performance in “The Descendents.” Portraying the iconic figure under Clint Eastwood's direction willingly cost DiCaprio $18 million when he slashed his $20 million per-movie fee to $2 million to work with one of Hollywood's most revered directors. "He could have made a lot of money just doing spectacle movies with all kinds of CGI," Eastwood told the Hollywood Reporter.

     

  • #23. The Man in the Iron Mask (1998)

    - Directed by Randall Wallace
    - IMDb user rating: 6.5
    - Votes: 147,345
    - Metascore: 48
    - Runtime: 132 min

    His first post-"Titanic" film, as the King of France Louis XIV, Leonardo DiCaprio portrays a power-hungry ruler only interested in women and wealth while his country starves to death. But DiCaprio does not just play the quintessential villain; he also acts as the king’s twin, Phillippe, who was hidden at birth but still lives and breathes behind an iron mask. The contrived plot point that paired DiCaprio with himself won the 1999 Razzie Worst Screen Couple Award.

  • #22. Total Eclipse (1995)

    - Directed by Agnieszka Holland
    - IMDb user rating: 6.6
    - Votes: 12,407
    - Metascore: 42
    - Runtime: 111 min

    As the eccentric true-to-life English poet Arthur Rimbaud, who has an affair with his mentor Paul Verlaine in this black-and-white period piece, DiCaprio powerfully portrays the short but intense life of the writer who died of cancer. Rimbaud’s passionate and violent relationship with Verlaine, played by co-star David Thewlis, leads to violence, which sends Rimbaud traveling the world seeking serenity from his past. Though Rotten Tomatoes’ Tomatometer gave "Total Eclipse" a 25% rating, it received a higher audience score of 61%.

  • #21. The Beach (2000)

    - Directed by Danny Boyle
    - IMDb user rating: 6.6
    - Votes: 209,943
    - Metascore: 43
    - Runtime: 119 min

    Unlike DiCaprio’s more historical portrayals, this turn-of-the-century film––based on Alex Garland’s novel of the same name––has DiCaprio playing Richard, a young American seeking adventure on a sacred island in the Gulf of Thailand. Though the A-lister got nominated for the 2001 Razzie Worst Actor Award and the 2000 Teen Choice Actor, he lost both, proving he was, in fact, neither the worst nor the best actor that year.

  • #20. Marvin's Room (1996)

    - Directed by Jerry Zaks
    - IMDb user rating: 6.7
    - Votes: 23,719
    - Metascore: 68
    - Runtime: 98 min

    Opposite Hollywood’s major actresses Meryl Streep and Diane Keaton in the story of an estranged family’s reunion, Leonardo DiCaprio received rave reviews from revered film critic Roger Ebert, who would later critique the actor’s entire career. The film received 84% from Rotten Tomatoes, and DiCaprio won the 1997 Chlotrudis Award for Best Supporting Actor, giving the A-lister another accolade for his work.

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