5 Best Johnny Depp Movies That Weren't Directed by Tim Burton

5 Best Johnny Depp Movies That Weren't Directed by Tim Burton
Image credit: Legion-Media, Paramount Pictures,

Johnny Depp has starred in countless great movies throughout his career, but these five gems from the 1990s are the best — and often overlooked by the actor’s fans!

5. Dead Man (1995)

A young accountant comes to the Wild West looking for a job but is quickly accused of murder. Deadly wounded, he’s saved by a Native American who prepares him for his last journey. The mystical experience changes him, and now, the much stronger young man leaves piles of headhunters’ bodies behind on his way to the spirits.

Mysterious and surreal, Dead Man is an often overlooked deliberately B&W classic that captivates you from the first minutes. Johnny Depp later starred in an infamous movie with a similar idea as Native American himself, but don’t waste your time on that: Dead Man is worth your time much more and feels like a more complete story.

You can stream Dead Man on Apple TV or Prime Video.

4. Benny & Joon (1993)

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Benny and Joon are siblings. A charming young man, Benny does his best to take care of his mentally unstable arsonist sister who he can’t leave alone for long. But once Joon falls in love with Sam, an eccentric fellow obsessed with Buster Keaton, the siblings’ somewhat stable life falls apart: Benny can’t stand his sister’s friend.

In this unique film about the love of two weirdos, Johnny Depp portrays Sam, which requires him to follow the steps of the biggest silent movie stars of the 20th century. The actor gives a stellar (award-winning, even!) performance and showcases his talents in a way you haven’t seen before, so Benny & Joon is a must-watch.

You can stream Benny & Joon on Prime Video.

3. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)

Two friends — a journalist and a lawyer — set off on a journey to Las Vegas but their official business gets quickly interrupted by casinos and tons of illegal substances. Both rather questionable folks in terms of their mental stability, the buddies quickly lose themself in a long acidic trip filled with dangerous and surreal endeavors.

Extravagant and drug-fueled, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is as classic and adored a movie as it is hated. Regardless of that, the film provided numerous quotes to mass culture and is considered one of the most incorrect yet fun live-action adaptations which features Johnny Depp in another surprising and unexpected role.

You can stream Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas on Prime Video.

2. What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)

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Stuck in his native Midwestern town, a young womanizer works in a shop, looks after his dysfunctional family, and dies of boredom. Everything changes when a charming woman his age arrives in the town, making him question whether he should just drop everything and lead a happy life away from his hometown — with her, of course.

For a change, Johnny Depp isn’t playing a weirdo in What's Eating Gilbert Grape; he’s surrounded by them, instead. Gilbert Grape is one of the rare down-to-earth roles in the actor’s resume, so if you’ve ever had any doubts that Depp was not capable of playing an average person, let this movie convince you otherwise.

You can stream What's Eating Gilbert Grape on Netflix and Prime Video.

1. Donnie Brasco (1997)

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A promising FBI agent infiltrates a criminal organization under a fake identity to collect information but soon realizes that he associates with the mafia rather than his home agency and job. It’s not too late to turn back yet, and he knows it — but will he be able to betray the elderly mafia boss who’s become his closest and truest friend?

One of Johnny Depp’s best criminal outings, Donnie Brasco shows a compelling and rich story of a man’s struggle between what he feels and what he was taught is right. You can’t help but ask yourself: were I in Donnie’s shoes, what choice would I make? There’s never one correct answer, as the film clearly shows.

You can stream Donnie Brasco on Netflix and Prime Video.