Nowadays he's known as a serious Oscar-nominated thespian who runs with folks like Marty Scorsese and invades people's brains (including yours and mine) in this week's Inception. But back in the day (i.e. the mid-'90s) Leonardo DiCaprio was a bona fide teen idol, the star of not one, but two love stories for the ages: Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet (1996) and James Cameron's Titanic (1997).

Thanks to that swoon-inducing two-fer, DiCaprio (more specifically, the version of him that Peter Martin terms "Young Romantic Lead" DiCaprio) snuck his way into our collective subconscious a long time ago and has stayed there, buried beneath those subsequent years of critical acclaim and grown-up roles (Gangs of New York, Catch Me If You Can, The Aviator, The Departed, etc.) that pulled DiCaprio out of that Tiger Beat niche he apparently loathed.

But try as he might to bury the memory of his early 20s away in the ether of movie memories past, DiCaprio could never shake the specter, in my mind, of those early, dreamy, tragic-romantic heroes. The first time he truly dug his way into my young and impressionable consciousness was when he played Romeo, the ill-fated beach brawler with the face of an angel and a thing for the wrong girl in Luhrmann's William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet.