Leonardo DiCaprio Movies
Over the course of a single decade - the 1990s - Leonardo DiCaprio graduated from supporting work in television to a status as one of the most sought-after Hollywood actors under 30. After leading roles in William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet and James Cameron's Titanic, the actor became a phenomenon, spawning legions of websites and an entire industry built around his name.
DiCaprio was born November 11, 1974, in Hollywood, CA. The son of a German immigrant mother and an underground comic book artist father who separated shortly after Leonardo's birth, he was raised by both of his parents, who encouraged his early interest in acting. At the age of two and a half, the fledgling performer had his first brush with notoriety and workplace ethics when he was kicked off the set of Romper Room for what the show's network deemed "uncontrollable behavior." After this rather inauspicious start to his career, DiCaprio began to hone his skills with summer courses in performance art while he was in elementary school. He also joined The Mud People, an avant-garde theater group, with which he performed in Los Angeles. In high school, DiCaprio acted in his first real play and began doing commercials, educational films, and the occasional stint on the Saturday morning show The New Lassie. In 1990, after securing his first full-time agent at the age of 15, DiCaprio landed a role as a teenage alcoholic on the daytime drama Santa Barbara. He also continued to appear on other TV shows, such as The Outsiders and Parenthood, and made his film debut in the 1991 horror film Critters 3. The actor got the first of many big breaks with a recurring role on the weekly sitcom Growing Pains. His portrayal of a homeless boy won him sufficient notice to get him an audition for Michael Caton-Jones's harrowing screen adaptation of Tobias Wolff's This Boy's Life. DiCaprio won the film's title role after beating out 400 other young actors and it became his career breakthrough. The 1993 film, and DiCaprio's performance opposite Robert DeNiro, won raves and the actor further increased the adulation surrounding him when, later that year, he played Johnny Depp's mentally retarded younger brother in Lasse Hallström's What's Eating Gilbert Grape. DiCaprio won an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his performance, and at the tender age of 19, was hailed as an actor to watch.
Subsequent roles in three 1995 films, Sam Raimi's Western The Quick and the Dead; Total Eclipse (as the bisexual poet Rimbaud) and The Basketball Diaries (as a struggling junkie) all put the actor in the limelight, but it wasn't until the following year that he became a bona fide star, thanks to his portrayal of Romeo opposite Claire Danes in director Baz Luhrmann's William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet (1996). The success of the film brought DiCaprio international fame, many lucrative opportunities, and frequent comparisons to predecessors such as James Dean. After starring with Diane Keaton, Meryl Streep, and DeNiro in Marvin's Room (1996), DiCaprio achieved iconic status with his starring role in James Cameron's Titanic. With Kate Winslet as the female lead, the film became a box office sensation, earning garnered 14 Oscar nominations, winning 11, including Best Picture and Best Director, and earned a whopping 1.8 billion dollars at the global box office.
DiCaprio's much-discussed exclusion from the Oscar nominations did nothing to hurt his popularity, and somewhat ironically, he next chose to parody his own celebrity with an appearance in Woody Allen's Celebrity (1998) as a badly behaved movie star. After displaying his nastier side, he tackled a dual role as twins in the same year's swashbuckler The Man in the Iron Mask, opposite Jeremy Irons, Gabriel Byrne, John Malkovich, and Gérard Depardieu. Following the commercial success of the film, DiCaprio then traveled in a completely different direction, with a lead role in Danny Boyle's screen adaptation of Alex Garland's novel The Beach. The film met with eager anticipation from its first day of shooting, as Leo fans everywhere waited with baited breath to see what kind of impression their golden child would next make on the film world; unfortunately, the muddled Beach drew neither praise nor box-office success.
In 2002, DiCaprio began what became a series of collaborations with the legendary director Martin Scorsese, starting with the the epic Gangs of New York (2002) - a sprawling tale of gangland violence in early America. Reportedly delayed by a year given much-publicized disagreements between director Scorsese and producer Harvey Weinstein, the film was ultimately released in time for the 2002 holiday/Oscar season. The tireless actor re-united with director Steven Spielberg with with the release of Catch Me if You Can, the true-life tale of Frank Abagnale, Jr., a scam artist so effective that he eluded authorities while assuming a number of high-profile false identities and racking-up over $2.5 million in fraudulent checks. Two years later, DiCaprio and Scorsese embarked on a sophomore collaboration - the biopic The Aviator (2004), with DiCaprio in a critically-praised, star-making turn as eccentric billionaire genius
Howard Hughes in The Aviator. DiCaprio and Scorsese scaled even greater heights in 2006 with The Departed, a crime drama in which DiCaprio played an undercover cop trying to bring down criminal Jack Nicholson.
Doubling up during Oscar season yet again, that same year he played the lead in Edward Zwick's Blood Diamond, as an Afrikaner who must team up with a South African mercenary in order to find a rare gem of great value to both of them. Both films opened to praise and box-office success, resulting in dual Golden Globe nominations. Perhaps pushing its luck, Warner Bros. -- the studio behind both films -- campaigned DiCaprio for a lead Oscar in Diamond and a supporting one in Departed; Oscar voters only nominated him for Diamond.
In the years that followed, DiCaprio showed no signs of tapering off when it came to challenging and even iconic roles. He joined Titanic co-star Kate Winslet, megaproducer Scott Rudin and others for the blistering marriage drama Revolutionary Road (2008), teamed with Scorsese a fourth time for the thriller Shutter Island (2010), toplined Christopher Nolan's complex, elusive sci-fi drama Inception (2010), and in 2011, worked with director Clint Eastwood and screenwriter Dustin Lance Black on the biopic J. Edgar (2011), playing the famous titular FBI director. Meanwhile, DiCaprio also signed on for another collaboration with Baz Luhrmann - a new adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, co-starring Tobey Maguire and Carey Mulligan, not to mention a first-time collaboration with Quinten Tarantino for Django Unchained.
The hybrid-car driving DiCaprio has also been an outspoken proponent of environmentalism, a topic he is so passionate about he was allowed to interview then President Bill Clinton on the issue in a 2000 televised prime-time special. ~ Rebecca Flint Marx, Rovi
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Director Sam Raimi brings his trademark comic book-influenced visual panache to this post-modern Western. Sharon Stone stars as Ellen, a mysterious female gunslinger who arrives in the frontier hamlet of Redemption for a contest pitting quick-draw artists against each other. The event is the brainchild of Redemption's evil, corrupt mayor, Herod (Gene Hackman), a criminal who has taken over the town and charges a 50% tax on local businesses. The pot for Herod's deadly game has swollen, attracting numerous colorful gunfighters from around the territory. As each battle thins the ranks of players, the pasts of several participants are revealed. Ellen is seeking revenge on Herod for a heinous past injustice. The fast-talking braggart known as "The Kid" (Leonardo DiCaprio) may in fact be Herod's son. The pacifist Reverend Cort (Russell Crowe), who refuses to participate in the bloodshed, is the fastest draw in the West and a former colleague of Herod's. After several spectacular slayings, Ellen and Herod stage a final showdown, but not before he has made her an unexpected proposal. The Quick and the Dead (1995) is dedicated to veteran Western actor Woody Strode, who appears in a cameo as Redemption's coffin maker, his final performance. ~ Karl Williams, Rovi
- Sharon Stone, Gene Hackman, (more)
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Swedish director Lasse Hallstrom's follow-up to the underrated Once Around earned far more attention than its predecessor thanks to the judicious casting of perennial thinking woman's heartthrob Johnny Depp and a certain up-and-coming thespian by the name of Leonardo DiCaprio. A prisoner of his dysfunctional family's broken dreams in tiny Endora, IA, Gilbert (Depp) serves as breadwinner and caretaker for his mother and siblings following his father's suicide and his older brother's defection. Momma (Darlene Cates) is a morbidly obese shut-in who hasn't left the house in seven years; her children include retarded Arnie (DiCaprio), who's about to turn 18 despite a host of negative medical forecasts, and terminally embarrassed Ellen (Mary Kate Schellhardt), who's emerging from an awkward adolescence. When he's not taking care of the difficult but tender Arnie, Gilbert spends his time fixing up the family's tattered farmhouse, working at a failing mom-and-pop grocery store and hanging with local misfits Bobby (Crispin Glover), an overly ambitious junior undertaker, and Tucker (John C. Reilly), a handyman who hankers after a job at the new burger franchise. Into this complicated but essentially unchanging social universe steps Becky (Juliette Lewis), a thoughtful young woman who's been escorting her nomadic grandmother from state to state in a mobile-home caravan. As Becky teaches Gilbert to finally consider his own happiness for a change, she disrupts both his family obligations and his long-running affair with a lonely housewife (Mary Steenburgen). Adapted by Peter Hedges from his own novel of the same name, What's Eating Gilbert Grape was the first and only film role for non-actress Cates, whom the filmmakers discovered on an episode of the Sally Jesse Raphael Show titled "Too Heavy to Leave Their House." ~ Brian J. Dillard, Rovi
- Johnny Depp, Juliette Lewis, (more)
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A single mother and her difficult son find family life isn't necessarily all it's cracked up to be in this drama adapted from writer and professor Tobias Wolff's 1989 memoir of the same name. Nomadic, flaky Caroline (Ellen Barkin) just wants to settle down in one place, find a decent guy, and provide a better home for her handful of a son, Toby (Leonardo DiCaprio). When she moves to Seattle and meets the respectful, respectable Dwight Hansen (Robert DeNiro), she thinks she's got it made. Toby, however, feels differently after spending a few months with Dwight and his children and away from Caroline. The boy's stepfather-to-be seems to want to mold Toby into a better person, but to do so he emotionally, verbally, and physically abuses the kid. The marriage proceeds, and soon Caroline, too, recognizes Dwight's need to dominate everyone around him. She sticks with it, though, convinced it's the best thing for her son, and several years of dysfunction ensue. During this time, Tobias befriends another misfit, the possibly homosexual young Jonah (Arthur Gayle), while continuing to chafe under the yoke of his repressive stepfather. This Boy's Life provided the first lead role for future superstar DiCaprio. The film was written by Robert Getchell, who also penned such mother/son fare as Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore and The Client. ~ Brian J. Dillard, Rovi
- Robert De Niro, Ellen Barkin, (more)
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The always challenging transition from adorable child performer to sexy adult star was achieved flamboyantly by actress Drew Barrymore with this erotic drama that unfolds like a paranoia-drenched Lolita (1962). Sylvie Cooper (Sara Gilbert) is a misanthropic student at a private high school for children of the privileged. While calling in a phony bomb threat to the TV station where her father, Darryl (Tom Skerritt) is a producer, Sylvia attracts the attention of Ivy (Drew Barrymore). Ivy is an orphan from a poor family, attending the school on a scholarship. She and Sylvia quickly become best friends, and Ivy eventually moves out of her aunt's home and into the Cooper household. Ivy covets the Coopers' lavish lifestyle and luxuries, so she begins plotting to kill Sylvie's ailing mother Georgie (Cheryl Ladd), then seduce the alcoholic Darryl and frame Sylvie for the crime, thus taking over the Cooper house. Director Katt Shea Ruben and her co-writer husband Andy Ruben were veterans of the Roger Corman school of filmmaking. The success of Poison Ivy (1992) on video and cable television inspired a pair of sequels, Poison Ivy 2: Lily (1996) and Poison Ivy: The New Seduction (1997). ~ Karl Williams, Rovi
- Drew Barrymore, Sara Gilbert, (more)
A new production staff is at the helm as Growing Pains launches its seventh and final season. The most significant development this year occurs when aspiring actor Mike Seaver (Kirk Cameron) returns to his family's Long Island home accompanied by 15-year-old homeless youngster Luke Brower, played by none other than Leonardo DiCaprio). Mike had met Luke while temporarily teaching at the inner-city Community Health Center, and felt that the boy could benefit by living in a loving and supportive family situation. Luke does his best to fit in with the Seavers, but he has serious honesty and behavior issues to deal with -- not to mention the unexpected return of his irresponsible father, George (Gary Grubbs). Mike himself has managed to land a role on the daytime soap opera "Big City Secrets," somewhat justifying his decision to pursue a show-business career to his doubting parents Jason (Alan Thicke and Maggie (Joanna Kerns) -- even though his TV character, "Strong Waverly," spends most of his time in a coma with no lines to speak. As for the other Seaver youngsters, 7-year-old Chrissy (Ashley Johnson) is now regularly attending school, making an effort to follow the rather dubious social and academic advice dispensed by her 16-year-old brother Ben (Jeremy Miller). Meanwhile, oldest daughter Carol takes leave of Columbia University to study abroad in London. This plot development was necessitated by the ongoing serious health problems of actress Tracey Gold, whose battle with anorexia had forced her to drop out of the series. Both Carol and Gold's absence were touchingly acknowledged in an episode wherein Ben cheers up his absent sister by sending her a family video that he has filmed. Of the season's guest stars, special attention should be paid to the actress playing the haughty Sasha Serotsky in the episode "Menage a Luke." Yes, it is Hilary Swank, long before either one of her two Oscar-winning film performances. The series ends with the two-part "The Last Picture Show," as the Seaver family prepares to move to Washington so that Maggie can accept a job as media-relations director for a prominent senator -- and in what is almost an afterthought, Mike finally proposes to his erstwhile girlfriend Kate Malone. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
- Alan Thicke, Joanna Kerns, (more)
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The third in the tongue-in-cheek horror series liberally cribbed from Gremlins (1984) features an early performance from future heartthrob Leonardo DiCaprio and was filmed simultaneously with its follow-up. This time out, it's an urban family who picks up one of the fast-multiplying beasties while on vacation, although they are warned by Charlie (Don Opper), a veteran of the creatures' earlier attacks. Once widower Clifford (John Calvin) and his kids Annie (Annie Brooks) and Johnny (Christian and Joseph Cousins) return home to their apartment building, the critter begins to reproduce, and the tenement becomes overrun with diminutive, hungry killers. The first to go is cruel superintendent Frank (Geoffrey Blake), but others soon follow, including the unscrupulous landlord, whose son Josh (DiCaprio) finds romance with Annie. With the appearance of the resourceful Charlie and the heroics of Clifford, the critters' days are soon numbered. Critters 3 was directed by Kristine Peterson, a veteran of the Roger Corman school of no-budget genre filmmaking. ~ Karl Williams, Rovi
- Aimee Brooks, John Calvin, (more)
Roseanne leads a field trip to the supermarket with Darlene's home economics class and teaches them meal-making lessons from real life. For instance, she shows them how to stretch a medium-sized meatloaf to feed five people. Meanwhile, Dan helps D.J. deal with a school bully. Leonardo DiCaprio guest stars. ~ Andrea LeVasseur, Rovi