- Leonardo DiCaprio has become one of Hollywood’s most recognisable talents since making his film debut back in 1991.
- The actor has made memorable appearances in critical hits like “Titanic,” “The Departed,” and “Inception.”
- However, not all of DiCaprio’s roles have been lauded, with some critics panning his films like “The Basketball Diaries” and “Critters 3.”
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more.
During the course of his lengthy career, Leonardo DiCaprio has starred in a broad range of films, from thrillers to romances.
With countless accolades under his belt, including his long-awaited Academy Award for best actor, the Hollywood veteran has had many iconic performances while on the job â€” and he’s also had a few cinematic missteps.
Read on for 12 of the best and 12 of the worst Leonardo DiCaprio movies, according to critics on Rotten Tomatoes.
Note: All scores were current on the date of publication and are subject to change.
DiCaprio was lauded for his strong performance as Frank W. Abagnale Jr. in “Catch Me If You Can” (2002).
Rotten Tomatoes: 96%
The Steven Spielberg film – which was based on the real-life story of the legendary con artist – also featured Tom Hanks as FBI Agent Carl Hanratty, who made it his mission to bring Abagnale Jr. to justice.
Many critics lauded DiCaprio’s performance, with critic Stanley Kauffmann of The New Republic writing that “DiCaprio has the breeze and aplomb to keep it all bouncing along.”
The actor played the lead Billy Costigan in the cult-favourite film “The Departed” (2006).
Rotten Tomatoes: 91%
In the film, DiCaprio took on the role of an undercover cop as he infiltrated a South Boston criminal organisation.
Fellow Hollywood heavyweights like Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, and Martin Sheen also starred in the Martin Scorsese flick.
DiCaprio narrated the 2019 documentary “Ice on Fire” (2019).
Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
In general, critics lauded the actor’s narration of the documentary, which is meant to put the climate-change crisis into perspective while also offering hope to viewers.
As critic Brian Lowry wrote for CNN, “A better-than-most film on the topic that gets beyond the dire warnings to contemplating what can actually be done to help turn, or at least significantly curb, the tide.”
With one of his earliest roles as Arnie Grape in “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” (1993), DiCaprio began his film career on a successful note.
Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
Starring opposite Johnny Depp in the 1993 film, DiCaprio earned rave reviews for his role in “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.”
Critics called DiCaprio’s performance “astonishing” and “enormous,” with many praising the young actor for stepping into such a big role.
“Titanic” (1997) is arguably DiCaprio’s most well-known film.
Rotten Tomatoes: 89%
Although the actor has famously said he believes he should have passed up the role of Jack Dawson in favour of appearing “Boogie Nights” (1997), the film itself won 11 Academy Awards including one for best picture.
DiCaprio would later go on to star alongside leading lady Kate Winslet once again in 2008’s “Revolutionary Road.”
Also in 2010, DiCaprio narrated “Hubble 3D,” a NASA film dedicated to looking at the universe through the lens of the Hubble Space Telescope.
Rotten Tomatoes: 88%
Many critics praised the quality and visuals of the film, with many noting that it contains a lot of impressive and beautiful footage.
DiCaprio received an Academy Award nomination for his role as Calvin Candie in “Django Unchained” (2012).
Rotten Tomatoes: 87%
Starring as the proprietor of an infamous plantation, DiCaprio appeared in the film alongside both Jamie Foxx and Samuel L. Jackson.
The Quentin Tarantino film was generally praised by critics for being an entertaining and emotional crowd-pleaser.
As ideas thief and lead Dom Cobb, DiCaprio enthralled both critics and audiences alike in “Inception” (2010).
Rotten Tomatoes: 87%
Many critics applauded director Christopher Nolan for his inventive storyline and mind-bending plot, calling his film “a spectacular fantasy thriller.”
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard, and Ken Watanabe also starred in the 2010 film.
DiCaprio teamed up with Martin Scorsese once again to play Howard Hughes in “The Aviator” (2004).
Rotten Tomatoes: 86%
Acting alongside Cate Blanchett, Kate Beckinsale, John C. Reilly, and Alec Baldwin, the actor brought an eccentric billionaire to life in this 2004 biopic.
Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” was one of the most-anticipated films of 2019.
Rotten Tomatoes: 85%
This 2019 film starred Margot Robbie, DiCaprio, and Brad Pitt and although it wasn’t panned, many critics didn’t think it quite lived up to its hype.
As critic Josephine Livingstone wrote for The New Republic, “Don’t mistake me: This movie is good. It all depends on how hard you’re willing to work to justify its pleasures.”
“Marvin’s Room” (1996) told the story of two estranged sisters and also starred Meryl Streep, Diane Keaton, and Robert De Niro.
Rotten Tomatoes: 84%
Keaton, Streep, and DiCaprio were all lauded for their powerful leading performances, with critic David Ansen of Newsweek writing, “[Director] Zaks knows enough not to get in the way of his three superb stars, who put on a display of emotional fireworks that is lovely to behold.”
DiCaprio took home a long-awaited Academy Award for his role in “The Revenant” (2015).
Rotten Tomatoes: 78%
Based on a true story, the film showed explorer Hugh Glass’ struggle to survive in the wilderness while plotting revenge on a member of his hunting team who killed his son.
Even though “Blood Diamond” (2006) scored DiCaprio an Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of Danny Archer, critics weren’t big fans of the film.
Rotten Tomatoes: 63%
Viewers gave the film a 90%, but critics didn’t like it nearly as much, with some calling it out for doing a poor job of covering a very real issue.
As critic Fernando F. Croce wrote for CinePassion, “Diamonds may be forever, but ‘Blood Diamond’ hopefully will only last through the Oscar season.”
DiCaprio played Kid in the 1995 Western “The Quick and The Dead,” which received mixed reviews.
Rotten Tomatoes: 59%
The post-modern Western also starred Sharon Stone, Gene Hackman, and Russell Crowe.
Although many critics applauded the film for being “fun,” some also felt it dragged on a bit too long, noting that it seemed dull by the end.
Reviews for the thriller “Body of Lies” (2008) were decidedly mediocre, with several critics slamming the film’s plot.
Rotten Tomatoes: 55%
The fast-paced espionage thriller starred Russell Crowe and DiCaprio, but most audience members and critics seemed to feel that it fell flat.
It was called out for not having enough of an emotional impact, with critics like Candice Frederick of Reel Talk Online writing that “it was a waste of two talented actors.“
Baz Luhrmann’s “The Great Gatsby” (2013) was applauded for its visuals, but the rest of the film appeared to fall flat with viewers.
Rotten Tomatoes: 48%
Based on the F. Scott Fitzgerald book of the same name, this film was widely praised for its stunning visuals, but it was panned overall.
“Just because a film looks like it was dipped in 18-karat gold doesn’t mean it’s rich in quality,” wrote critic Mara Reinstein for Us Weekly.
DiCaprio was the lead in “The Basketball Diaries” (1995), a film loosely inspired by a memoir from writer and artist Jim Carroll.
Rotten Tomatoes: 45%
Mark Wahlberg and Jim Carroll himself also appear in the film, which was set against the backdrop of a heroin epidemic.
Although some critics called the film “hard to watch” and “muddled,” many applauded a young DiCaprio for his “raw dynamic performance.”
The actor, who played the leading man in the Clint Eastwood-directed “J. Edgar” (2011), was lauded for his performance.
Rotten Tomatoes: 43%
Although DiCaprio got praise for his role, the J. Edgar Hoover biopic – which also starred Armie Hammer, Naomi Watts, Josh Lucas, Judi Dench, and Ed Westwick – was called “muddled” by critics who also dubbed it a “missed opportunity.”
DiCaprio had a part as Brandon in the black-and-white Woody Allen film “Celebrity” (1998).
Rotten Tomatoes: 40%
The movie, which examined the country’s cultural obsession with celebrities, also starred Kenneth Branagh, Hank Azaria, Judy David, Winona Ryder, Melanie Griffith, and Famke Janssen.
Some critics said the film was technically impressive, but was just too scattered to be enjoyable.
“Poison Ivy” (1992) was DiCaprio’s second film, and he had a small part as “first guy.”
Rotten Tomatoes: 34%
Headlined by Drew Barrymore and Sara Gilbert, the 1992 film – although not beloved by critics – was apparently successful enough to spur multiple more “Poison Ivy” installations a few years later.
DiCaprio played both King Louis XIV and his brother in the “Three Musketeers” epilogue, “The Man in the Iron Mask” (1998).
Rotten Tomatoes: 32%
In “The Man in the Iron Mask,” DiCaprio took on the role of two leads – even so, the film fell flat.
The period piece, which also starred Hollywood heavyweights like Jeremy Irons and John Malkovich, was labelled corny by many critics, with Roger Ebert calling it “just a costume swashbuckler.”
“Total Eclipse” (1995) depicted DiCaprio as the young 19th-century French poet Arthur Rimbaud.
Rotten Tomatoes: 25%
In the film, the actor starred opposite Romane Bohringer, who depicted fellow poet and Rimbaud’s mentor Paul Verlaine, as they began a forbidden love affair.
Many viewers said that the film didn’t do enough to fully illustrate Rimbaud’s persona, with critic John A. Nesbit of Old School Reviews writing, “Noble effort to capture Rimbaud’s genius, but it fails to take enough risks to get close to the enigmatic poet.”
“The Beach” (2000), DiCaprio’s first major project after “Titanic,” was lambasted by viewers.
Rotten Tomatoes: 20%
DiCaprio starred in this action-filled romance film opposite Tilda Swinton and Guillaume Canet.
The film, which is an adaptation of the Alex Garland novel “The Beach,” was called “bland” by critics who otherwise praised its cinematography.
DiCaprio’s film debut in “Critters 3” (1991) received a 0% critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Rotten Tomatoes: 0%
In his very first film, which was the third one in the “Critters” franchise, DiCaprio played Josh.
Overall, his first role was a bit of a misstep as critics generally labelled “Critters 3” as “subpar” when it was released in 1991.