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Johnny Depp made his feature debut in 1984 with 'A Nightmare on Elm Street'. Slash open his career and check out the roles that made him a massive star.

‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’: How Johnny Depp became a star

Johnny Depp has been in our lives for what feels like forever, but the actor has only been on our radar since the early 80s. Back then, Johnny Depp was just a pretty face rookie on the Hollywood scene with nowhere to go but up. Now, Johnny Depp is a household name, and full on icon with a massive cult following. So how did Johnny Depp soar to his current heights?

Johnny Depp has had a seasoned movie career, and has performed in over sixty-five films. However, Johnny Depp got to where he is today because of specific movies which launched him into super stardom with each massive leg up they gave him. We’ve compiled a list of all the big Johnny Depp movies making the leading man rise above the rest. It all began with a visit from Freddy.

A Nightmare on Elm Street

Johnny Depp began his movie career in 1984 with a horror film which needs no introduction, Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street

Sure, Depp didn’t have a massive role in A Nightmare on Elm Street. In fact, his most memorable scene is one where he’s sucked into a bed and spat out as a massive flood of blood. However, the film introduced audiences to the kid from 21 Jump Street on the silver screen for the first time, and they were all hooked. However, A Nightmare on Elm Street was only the beginning.


In 1990, Johnny Depp worked with his first auteur in making Cry-Baby with directing legend John Waters. The film would be the second, after A Nightmare on Elm Street, of many many starring roles in cult films leaving lasting legacies.

Furthermore, Cry-Baby is an example of a movie which, without Johnny Depp, could have never existed. Not only did Cry-Baby prove Depp could hold his own in a leading role, but also the movie showed he had a hand in picking roles which would be remembered for years. In fact, in 1990, Johnny snatched a two-fer.

Edward Scissorhands

Any millennial knows the sheer gravity of the impact of Edward Scissorhands. The flick marked Depp’s first of many collabs with Tim Burton, perhaps the actor’s strongest partnership throughout his career.

Edward Scissorhands gave Johnny Depp his first major award nod, with a Golden Globe nomination coming after the film’s release. After Edward Scissorhands dropped in 1990, audiences discovered Depp could not only carry a film in a starring role, but also truly transform on screen.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

1998’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas again cemented Johnny Depp’s face onto dorm room movie posters for generations to come with another massive hit cult movie. Hunter S. Thompson’s trippy journey moved from page to screen with the flick, and was critically panned when the film dropped.

However, bad reviews didn’t slow down Depp one bit. He had simply landed himself in yet another role in a movie with a built-in following, and made even more folks know who he was. Within the next few years, not knowing Depp would be a challenge.

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

When the first Pirates movie came to theaters in 2004, Johnny Depp would never be looked at in the same way again. Depp’s Jack Sparrow was his most intensive transformation yet, and critics & fans alike took notice.

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl earned Johnny Depp his first Academy Award nomination, and blasted him off on a journey of franchise-based acting roles which couldn’t be more mainstream if they tried.

Depp would sweep up another Oscar nod the following year after Finding Neverland placed him in perhaps his most stoic traditional drama role to date. Johnny Depp had become a star, and there was no telling where his story would lead next.

What’s your favorite Johnny Depp movie? Let us know in the comments below!

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  • I love Mortdecai 😂

    August 17, 2021

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