John Dillinger was as resourceful a Depression-era criminal as the world ever saw. Johnny Depp is as versatile a movie star as Hollywood’s ever produced. In order to play the famously infamous Indiana-native, who took from Midwestern banks when there was hardly anything left to take, he will fittingly let his Tommy gun do the talking. That, and a killer slew of era-influenced attire. Depp is perfect for the role. He’s as enigmatic a movie star as Dillinger was a bank robber. His leading-man looks are so often compromised for an uglification process that almost always masks the high-cheek-boned heartthrob beyond recognition. In an industry where looks are meant to kill, Depp has been able to wield an arsenal of murderous ‘looks’ that have wowed viewers nearly as much as his off-the-cuff brilliance has as an actor.
With Public Enemies in theaters, it seems a good a time as any to reflect on the variety of oft-flashy costumes Depp has donned while stealing scenes in some of his most classic films.
7. Wade "Cry-Baby" Walker in Cry-Baby 
As resident bad-arse Wade “Cry Baby” Walker, Johnny Depp stole the hearts of American’s pubescent young women. He didn’t just look the part of rebel-rock star, he was the poster child for uncompromising rebellion. It’s impossible to dispute Depp’s natural beauty enhanced the ‘look,’ but the Elvis-meets-The Sopranos aesthetic he wears like a billboard for restless youth throughout Cry-Baby made about as impactful an impression on the youth of America a Indie flick ever has.
6. Hunter S. Thompson in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas 
Johnny Depp and Hunter S. Thompson became fast friends in preparing the much younger Depp for the role. They turned out becoming kindred spirits, and this film is a stoic testament to that. No one could have gotten closer to the man behind this movie without spooking America’s most legendary “gonzo journalist” away. Depp obviously got down to the brass taxes of what it took to spew a seamless stream-of-consciousness slew of literary intrigue in the hazily strewn-together 70s. He shaved his full head of hair back to Thompson’s signature point of recession, awkwardly danced around in short khakis shorts, and a mess of Hawaiian shirts that only further enhanced the experience one Hunter S. Thompson actually was in those days.
5. Sands in Once Upon a Time in Mexico 
Think of the coolest gunslinger in the world. Got it? Okay, now make him unthinkably cooler, with an uncanny ability to blow an enemy away without even the aid of eyesight. Only Johnny Depp could believably portray a greasy-haired CIA-agent whose dressed-in-all-black complexion adds a much-needed edge to the good-guy image the plot line insinuates. Though CGI was utilized to rear Depp eye-less, it’s the actor himself whose cold-blooded intent to make things right makes this character a visual stunner from his first scene to his unforgettable last.
4. Sweeney Tood in Sweeney Todd 
In a film that often lost its way as a finished product, Depp looks like a beatific mad scientist, complete with a lightning bolt of locks streaking up his otherwise jet-black feathery mane. As a barber with a deviant desire to take lives, it’s up to Johnny to lead an ensemble cast through a musical of revenge, with mixed results. However, it’s his look that captivates more effectively than the story, and the Jack White-meets-Tim Burton’s-wet-dream aesthetic nails that down hard.
3. Ed Wood in Ed Wood 
As a young filmmaker whose fetish for woman’s clothing often trumped his vision, Depp delivers a chameleon-like performance as a Bela Legosi-obsessed dreamer. His era-accurate daily assortment of 50’s gear was often compromised for his girlfriend’s [Sarah Jessica Parker] Angora sweater, or full-blown gown. It was a sight to see Depp actually pull off these outfits. Many actually suspected the then thirty-one-year old looked better than the future Ms. Carrie Bradshaw while parading around in drag. Many were correct.
2. Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean [2003, ’06, ‘07]
Rarely has the silver screen been offered up such a fey-minded buccaneer. Who would have thought that a bandit of the sea would take the time each morning to line his eyes like a member of Fall Out Boy before wreaking havoc on innocent sea dwellers? Captain Jack Sparrow was a revelation for Disney. Never before had such a notoriously defiant actor stepped so defiantly into the spotlight for them, and delivered so incredibly. Depp made the whole film worth withstanding with his Keith Richards-meets-your-gay-uncle-from-South-Beach with such resounding results.
1. Edward Scissorhands in Edward Scissorhands 
A simply unforgettable anti-hero, Edward Scissorhands instantly became the outcast with a heart of gold. Depp donned a uniform so utterly out-of-this-world it represented the sharp contrast between the timid, awkward Scissorhands, and the community that embraces, and ultimately dismisses him as an outcast. As a man who could never truly shake another man’s hand, Depp slowly meanders through a colorful world geared up in a leathery body suit symbolizing his unfinished form in the way a scarlet letter labeled Hester Prynne an unwelcome addition to a harmonious community of conforming purists.