Is Johnny Depp in A Nightmare on Elm Street? Who does he play in 1984 movie and what happens to his character

The movie franchise has inspired Stranger Things season 4 with the series villain played by Krueger actor, Robert Englund

A Nightmare on Elm Street is one of the most iconic horror movie franchises ever made.

The first instalment was released in 1984 and was the acting debut of a fresh-faced Johnny Depp.

The 21-year-old musician turned actor played his first onscreen role, launching his career overnight.

The plot of the movie focuses on villain Freddy Krueger, who is terrorising a group of teenagers in their dreams.

The movie has influenced Netflix’s Stranger Things season 4, with the new series baddie played by none other than Krueger actor, Robert Englund.

Here’s everything you need to know about A Nightmare on Elm Street and Johnny Depp’s character.


What is A Nightmare on Elm Street?

Directed by Wes Craven (The Hills Have Eyes, Scream), A Nightmare on Elm Street follows the story of four teenagers in Springwood, Ohio.

There are nine movies in the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise (Pic: Getty Images)

They are being terrorised in their dreams by the spirit of former child murderer, Krueger.

There’s only one catch though, if you die in your dream, you die in real life.

The lead character Nancy Thompson, played by Heather Langenkamp, is determined to get to the bottom of what is happening in their town.


With the help of her boyfriend, Glen Lantz, played by Depp, they try to solve the mystery and stop the killings once and for all.

Who did Johnny Depp play in A Nightmare on Elm Street?

In his acting debut, Depp played the role of Glen Lantz, the boyfriend of Thompson, who is determined to find out who is behind the killings in their town.

Johnny Depp’s acting debut was in A Nightmare on Elm Street in 1984 (Pic: Getty Images for ZFF)

Lantz is the voice of reason throughout the movie, trying to rationalise the killings and reassure his girlfriend that Krueger doesn’t exist.

Depp’s role was originally meant to be played by Charlie Sheen (Platoon, Wall Street), but Craven’s daughter convinced her father to cast Depp instead.


After the death of Craven in 2015, Depp reflected on how the director had given him his first big break at the Toronto Film Festival.

The actor said: “I read scenes with his daughter when I auditioned for the part. At the time, I was a musician. I wasn’t really acting. It was not anything very near to my brain or my heart.”

He continued: “Wes Craven was brave enough to give me the gig based on his daughter’s opinion.

“I guess she had read with a bunch of actors, and after the casting sessions, she said, ‘No, that’s the guy.’ I always think of her for putting me in this mess, and certainly Wes Craven for being very brave to give me this gig. But he was a good man—so rest in peace, old Wes.”

What happened to his character?

Beware Spoilers ahead


Depp’s character Lantz does not believe that Krueger is real.

However, he soon regrets that after falling asleep, even though Thompson warned him not to.

Lantz is famously killed by Krueger by being dragged down and eaten by the bed he is sleeping in.

The scene is especially gory, with a fountain of blood covering the room.

Has A Nightmare on Elm Street influenced Stranger Things season 4?


The new season of Stranger Things has taken a lot of influence from A Nightmare on Elm Street.

Not only is the new series villain played by Krueger actor Englund, but it also draws on imagery from the movie.

TV critics on Twitter have talked about the similarities, with one tweeting: “it is easily the darkest season so far. The way it references A Nightmare On Elm Street is so smart and satisfying.”

Where can you watch A Nightmare on Elm Street?

A Nightmare on Elm Street is not available to watch on any streaming platforms at the moment.


It is available to buy for £7.99 or rent for £3.49 from Sky Store, Apple TV or Amazon Prime.