Robert Anthony De Niro Jr born August 17, 1943) is an American actor, producer, and director. He is a recipient of various accolades, including two Academy Awards, a Golden Globe Award, the Cecil B DeMille Award, AFI Life Achievement Award, Presidential Medal of Freedom, and has been nominated for six BAFTA Awards, two Primetime Emmy Awards and four Screen Actors Guild Awards.
De Niro was cast as the young Vito Corleone in the 1974 film The Godfather Part II, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. His longtime collaboration with director Martin Scorsese earned him the Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Jake LaMotta in the 1980 film Raging Bull.
De Niro’s first major film roles were in the sports drama Bang the Drum Slowly (1973) and Scorsese’s crime film Mean Streets (1973). He earned Academy Award nominations for the psychological thrillers Taxi Driver (1976) and Cape Fear (1991), both directed by Scorsese. De Niro received additional nominations for Michael Cimino’s Vietnam war drama The Deer Hunter (1978), Penny Marshall’s drama Awakenings (1990), and David O. Russell’s romantic comedy-drama Silver Linings Playbook (2012). His portrayal of gangster Jimmy Conway in Scorsese’s crime film Goodfellas (1990), and his role as Rupert Pupkin in the black comedy film The King of Comedy (1983), earned him BAFTA Award nominations.
De Niro has earned four nominations for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy, for his work in the musical drama New York, New York (1977), the action comedy Midnight Run (1988), the gangster comedy Analyze This (1999), and the comedy Meet the Parents (2000). Other notable performances include roles in 1900 (1976), Once Upon a Time in America (1984), Brazil (1985), The Mission (1986), The Untouchables (1987), Heat (1995), and Casino (1995). He has directed and starred in films such as the crime drama A Bronx Tale (1993) and the spy film The Good Shepherd (2006).
I have followed Robery De Niro for years and truly admire his work, his talent and his performances. My favourite performances are below. Which are yours?
1 – The Godfather Part II – 1974
The compelling sequel to “The Godfather,” contrasting the life of Corleone father and son. Traces the problems of Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) in 1958 and that of a young immigrant Vito Corleone (Robert De Niro) in 1917’s Hell’s Kitchen. Michael survives many misfortunes and Vito is introduced to a life of crime.
2 – Goodfellas – 1990
A young man grows up in the mob and works very hard to advance himself through the ranks. He enjoys his life of money and luxury, but is oblivious to the horror that he causes. A drug addiction and a few mistakes ultimately unravel his climb to the top. Based on the book “Wiseguy” by Nicholas Pileggi.
3 – Heat – 1995
Master criminal Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro) is trying to control the rogue actions of one of his men, while also planning one last big heist before retiring. Meanwhile, Lieutenant Hanna (Al Pacino) attempts to track down McCauley as he deals with the chaos in his own life, including the infidelity of his wife (Diane Venora) and the mental health of his stepdaughter (Natalie Portman). McCauley and Hanna discover a mutual respect, even as they try to thwart each other’s plans.
4 – Taxi Driver – 1976
Suffering from insomnia, disturbed loner Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) takes a job as a New York City cabbie, haunting the streets nightly, growing increasingly detached from reality as he dreams of cleaning up the filthy city. When Travis meets pretty campaign worker Betsy (Cybill Shepherd), he becomes obsessed with the idea of saving the world, first plotting to assassinate a presidential candidate, then directing his attentions toward rescuing 12-year-old prostitute Iris (Jodie Foster).
5 – Mean Streets – 1973
A slice of street life in Little Italy among lower echelon Mafiosos, unbalanced punks, and petty criminals. A small-time hood gets in over his head with a vicious loan shark. In an attempt to free himself from the dangers of his debt, he gets help from a friend who is also involved in criminal activities.
6 – The Untouchables – 1987
After building an empire with bootleg alcohol, legendary crime boss Al Capone (Robert De Niro) rules Chicago with an iron fist. Though Prohibition agent Eliot Ness (Kevin Costner) attempts to take Capone down, even his best efforts fail due to widespread corruption within the Windy City’s police force. Recruiting an elite group of lawmen who won’t be swayed by bribes or fear, including Irish-American cop Jimmy Malone (Sean Connery), Ness renews his determination to bring Capone to justice.
7 – Casino – 1995
In early-1970s Las Vegas, low-level mobster Sam “Ace” Rothstein (Robert De Niro) gets tapped by his bosses to head the Tangiers Casino. At first, he’s a great success in the job, but over the years, problems with his loose-cannon enforcer Nicky Santoro (Joe Pesci), his ex-hustler wife Ginger (Sharon Stone), her con-artist ex Lester Diamond (James Woods) and a handful of corrupt politicians put Sam in ever-increasing danger. Martin Scorsese directs this adaptation of Nicholas Pileggi’s book.
8 – The Deer Hunter – 1978
In 1968, Michael (Robert De Niro), Nick (Christopher Walken) and Steven (John Savage), lifelong friends from a working-class Pennsylvania steel town, prepare to ship out overseas following Steven’s elaborate wedding and one final group hunting trip. In Vietnam, their dreams of military honor are quickly shattered by the inhumanities of war; even those who survive are haunted by the experience, as is Nick’s hometown sweetheart, Linda (Meryl Streep).
9 – Midnight Run – 1988
When Eddie Moscone (Joe Pantoliano) hires tight-lipped bounty hunter Jack Walsh (Robert De Niro) to locate a mob accountant named “The Duke” (Charles Grodin) and bring him to L.A., Eddie tells Jack that the job will be simple, or a “midnight run.” But when Jack finds The Duke, the FBI and the mob are anxious to get their hands on him. In a cross-country chase, Jack must evade the authorities, hide from the mob and prevent The Duke’s erratic personality from driving him mad.
10 – Awakenings – 1990
The story of a doctor’s extraordinary work in the Sixties with a group of catatonic patients he finds languishing in a Bronx hospital. Speculating that their rigidity may be akin to an extreme form of Parkinsonism, he seeks permission from his skeptical superiors to treat them with L-dopa, a drug that was used to treat Parkinson’s disease at the time.
11 – Cape Fear – 1991
When attorney Sam Bowden (Nick Nolte) knowingly withholds evidence that would acquit violent sex offender Max Cady (Robert De Niro) of rape charges, Max spends 14 years in prison. But after Max’s release, knowing about Sam’s deceit, he devotes his life to stalking and destroying the Bowden family. When practical attempts to stop Max fail, Sam realizes that he must act outside the law to protect his wife and daughter in Martin Scorsese’s remake of the classic 1962 thriller.
12 – Sleepers – 1996
Four teenage friends from Hell’s Kitchen end up being sent to reform school after almost killing a man. There they are brutalized by the guards. John (Ron Eldard) and Tommy (Billy Crudup) grow up to be hit men who recognize their abuser years later and kill him. Their trial is prosecuted by another member of their gang, who is now the assistant DA.
13 – Men of Honour – 2000
Carl Brashear (Cuba Gooding Jr.) is an ambitious sharecropper who joins the U.S. Navy to become the world’s first black master diver. But as he works through diving training, the bitter and racist Master Chief Billy Sunday (Robert De Niro) sets out to make Carl’s journey as difficult as possible. Despite the entire Navy doubting his potential and sabotaging his training, the determined Carl proves that he can overcome the discrimination around him.
14 – Limitless – 2011
Facing unemployment and his girlfriend’s rejection, writer Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper) is sure that he has no future. That all changes when an old friend gives him a drug that produces enhanced mental acuity. Stoked on the untested chemical, Eddie rises to the top of the financial world and attracts the attention of a tycoon (Robert De Niro) who intends to use him to make a fortune. But terrible side-effects and a dwindling supply threaten to collapse Eddie’s house of cards.
15 – The Family – 2013
After ratting out his Mafia cohorts, Giovanni Manzioni (Robert De Niro) and his family enter the Witness Protection Program and relocate to a French town. Despite the best efforts of their handler (Tommy Lee Jones) to keep them in line, Giovanni (now called Fred Blake), his wife (Michelle Pfeiffer) and children (Dianna Agron, John D’Leo) can’t help but resort to doing things the “family” way. However, their dependence on such old habits places everyone in danger from vengeful mobsters.
So there we go the best performances of Robert De Niro in my eyes, what are yours?