The 15 Greatest Leonardo DiCaprio Characters

Other | Tuesday 1st March 2016 | Sam

After his ‘Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role’ Oscar win at 2016’s Academy Awards, the world has gone absolutely mad for Leonardo DiCaprio. With this in mind, we take a look back at his greatest and most recognisable characters…

Arnie Grape - What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)

19-year-old DiCaprio put in an Oscar-nominated performance as the younger brother of Johnny’s Depp titular character, Gilbert Grape, requiring constant care from his older brother due to his unique developmental disability.

Romeo - Romeo + Juliet (1996)

The film that really put DiCaprio on the map, the youngster played the lead role of Romeo in Baz Luhrman’s modernisation of Shakespeare’s classic tragedy. His incredible performance left thousands of women worldwide wanting more of the talented actor, and that is exactly what they got one year later...

Jack Dawson - Titanic (1997)

Arguably the film which DiCaprio is most famous for, we see him take up the role of Jack Dawson, a young, poor artist who develops a love interest in a young aristocrat named Rose (Kate Winslet) aboard the ill-fated Titanic. The film raked in a huge 11 Oscars, equalling Ben Hur in a record that still stands today (joint with Lord of the Rings: Return of the King) as well as making a huge $2,516,000,000 (adjusted for inflation).

Richard - The Beach (2000)

In The Beach, we see DiCaprio become Richard, a young traveller who discovers a map leading to a hidden island paradise in Thailand. He is not exactly a likable character, coming across as rather cocky and arrogant, but that helps us remember this role even more!

Amsterdam Vallon - Gangs of New York (2002)

How Gangs of New York did not win a single of it’s ten Oscar nominations is beyond me. Among an unbelievably talented cast including the likes of Daniel Day Lewis, Liam Neeson and Brendan Gleeson, DiCaprio portrays a young man named Amsterdam who returns to the Five Points area of New York to exact revenge against the man who killed his father. In my opinion, this is one of the best movies DiCaprio has featured, not for his performance alone, but for the film as a whole.

Frank Abagnale Jr. - Catch Me If You Can (2002)

After being cast by Steven Spielberg as a young con-man on the run from Tom Hanks’ FBI agent, DiCaprio again shone as a cocky, over-confident smartarse. His character is based on the real Frank Abagnale who managed to con his way into jobs as a pilot, physician and an attorney, making millions of dollars in the meantime.

Howard Hughes - The Aviator (2004)

This time round, DiCaprio takes up the role of Howard Hughes, the legendary aviator and director in the hugely successful biopic ‘The Aviator’. The role earned him a second Oscar nomination, for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role, losing out to Jamie Foxx for his role in ‘Ray’.

Billy - The Departed (2006)

Yet another Oscar-winning film starring DiCaprio, this time directed by the legendary Martin Scorsese. Leo plays the role of a police informer who has infiltrated the Irish-American mob in Boston, the exact opposite of Matt Damon who is a mole planted by the mob in the police force. This is simply one of DiCaprio’s best films, with Scorsese at the helm, it is obvious that it is worth a watch.

Danny Archer - Blood Diamond (2006)

The third Oscar nomination for DiCaprio came courtesy of Edward Zwick’s masterpiece, Blood Diamond. The ever-maturing actor plays Danny Archer, a man tortured by his past, with a keen interest in conflict diamonds who is given a chance to make peace in the war-torn Sierra Leone. This is definitely Leo at the top of his game!

Teddy Daniels - Shutter Island (2010)

Another Scorsese/ DiCaprio collaboration sees Teddy Daniels, a U.S. Marshall investigating the disappearance of murderer who has escaped from a hospital for the criminally insane on a secluded island. The twist in this film is mind-blowing, leaving audiences confused/stunned/bewildered at the end, with thanks to the brilliant performances of DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo and the evergreen Ben Kingsley.

Dom Cobb - Inception (2010)

DiCaprio tops the bill of a film whose cast is simply one of the most talent-packed I have ever seen. Christopher Nolan’s masterstroke, Inception, won four Oscars out of the eight it was nominated for. Taking up the role of Dom Cobb, a thief who steals corporate ideas through dream-sharing technology, Leo helps to progress the incredibly complex narrative with great craft. If you haven’t seen Inception yet, where have you been?

Calvin Candie - Django Unchained (2012)

It seems that DiCaprio wants to work with every great dictator of the modern era. After joining onto Quentin Tarantino’s Oscar-winning Western, Django Unchained, as the ruthless plantation owner, Calvin Candie, audiences could finally revel in seeing DiCaprio as a disgustingly cocky villain rather than a disgustingly cocky hero. In one, scene, Candie gets so mad that he slams a glass down on the table and it smashes in his hand… this wasn’t meant to happen, yet DiCaprio carried on acting through the pain. The real blood made the scene look even better, Tarantino loved it and so did we!

Jay Gatsby - The Great Gatsby (2013)

Teaming up with Baz Luhrmann for the second time, DiCaprio this time took the role of millionaire, Jay Gatsby, helping the film on it’s way to two Oscar wins. Of course, this is an adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s famous novel, The Great Gatsby, and DiCaprio plays the lead role with such confidence and class, that is hard to see any other actor portraying the famous, elusive character.

Jordan Belfort - The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

DiCaprio’s fourth nomination for an Oscar saw him become Jordan Belfort in yet another Scorsese movie: The Wolf of Wall Street. Despite his fantastic portrayal of the man who shook up the American stock market, he lost out on the award to Matthew McConaughey for his turn in Dallas Buyers Club. The on screen chemistry between DiCaprio and Jonah Hill alone is worth the watch, and seeing Leo crawl towards and take command of his lamborghini whilst fucked up on Quaaludes is for sure one of his best moments in front of the camera.

Hugh Glass - The Revenant (2015)

So, we come to the film which finally won Leonardo DiCaprio his Oscar. After over 20 years, and 4 previous nominations, the man, who many believe should have won before, has finally reached the dizzying heights of becoming an Oscar winner. His turn as Hugh Glass in Alejandro González Iñárritu may very well be his best role yet. Putting every ounce of strength and emotion in his body into his acting allowed him to put on a performance which will go down in history. DiCaprio very much is centre stage in this gripping story about a frontiersman’s survival after being left for dead by his comrades.