The De Niro WayAugust 7th, 2013 by Asaf
Imagine a man going up the stairs. He’s climbing up, stops for a break now and then, and keeps going till he gets to the top. Then he falls down. that’s a summary of Robert De Niros’ career so far. The man who brought us so many memorable characters and so many memorable quotes kind of lost direction in recent years. Saturday was his 70th birthday (congratulations!) and for that occasion we selected 7 of his critically-acclaimed films, 3 lame ones (to remind you to be careful of De Niros’ recent choices) and one “Bonus” title. Before we begin, selecting only 7 titles from De Niro’s unbelievable filmography is not an easy task. His filmography is mostly made up of suspenseful and rough titles, filled with crimes and typical for boys’ night. Unfortunately in the last 15 years his work is characterized with humorous titles suitable for date nights. You can find more titles and characteristics of his work in our Robert De Niro Page.
Now for the magnificent seven:
# 7 The Deer Hunter (1978)
We’ll start the countdown with this ensemble cast classic. With 5 Academy awards in it’s pocket (including for best picture) the film dealt with the way the Vietnam war effected the American people. Those behind enemy lines and those who stayed behind. Although Slow paced, it’s worth viewing if only for the final scene that will haunt you for life.
# 6 Cape Fear (1991)
“I am like God and God like me. I am as Large as God, He is as small as I.He cannot above me, nor I beneath him be”. You Haven’t sensed suspense in cinema as long as you haven’t seen the fighting scene in “Cape Fear”. In this remake De Niro plays an ex con who’s out to get back at his lawyer whom, he believes, didn’t defend him as he should have. Along with intimidating southern accent and pure rage De Niro portrays a terrifying psychopath. And speaking of rage…
# 5 Raging Bull (1980)
The ultimate rise and fall story. In this modern classic De Niro portrays Jake La Motta, the boxer who climbed to the top but couldn’t handle the success and lost it all on the way down. In their fourth collaboration (out of 8 in total) Martin Scorsese and De Niro delivered a boxing film that hits his viewers on every level.
# 4 Taxi Driver (1976)
Another collaboration between the two icons delivered another masterpiece and one of the most quoted scenes ever. Till these days it’s uncertain who talked to Travis Bickle as he stood alone in his apartment but thank god he did. “Taxi Driver” gave another example of the Vietnam war effects on the American public. In this case, on one lonely wolf, mentally unstable, who couldn’t bear seeing the social decay around him and decided to do something about it.Taxi driver gave De Niro another Academy award nomination and gave all the viewers a minor taxiphobia.
# 3 Midnight Run (1988)
Sure, it’s not De Niros’ best performance, the film isn’t essential as the other films on this list but it’s his most enjoyable one for sure. As a bounty hunter, De Niro chases A clever accountant (Charles Grodin) who’s on the run from the law and the mafia all together. Packed with Chases and races, twists and turns and fair amounts of witty humor, Midnight Run is a cat and mouse game you wouldn’t want to miss.
# 2 Goodfellas (1990)
Mafia never seemed so much fun as in Goodfellas. Heck, prison never seemed so much fun as in this award winner Crime Epic. Like Ray Liottas’ character says in the beginning of the film “I always wanted to be a gangster”. After seeing this movie, who wouldn’t? Goodfellas shows organized crime through the eyes of three criminal buddies as they make their way to the top. As for De Niro, he does what he does best – plays a gangster. Well, he had some experience from…
# 1 The Godfather: Part 2 (1974)
De Niro was perfect as the young Vito Corleone. 39 years later, The Godfather 2 is still considered as the best sequel and one of the best pictures of all times. Many could swear it’s even better than the first. Mafia, betrayal, corruption, pride and honor and one Fredo that broke our hearts. De Niro portrays the young Vito Corleone. An immigrant who built an empire from scratch. In the most captivating way, we see how Vito becomes a mob boss. T-H-E mob boss.
The mob boss that might put a hit on De Niro if he saw his recent films and especially these ones:
# 3 Godsend (2004)
It Seem that since The Sixth Sense every other movie in Hollywood is a supernatural horror starring a young kid. The rest of the plot is insignificant. And Godsend is no different. De Niro plays a professor that wants to help a couple who lost their child in an accident. So he offers to Clone their son. Really? since when does the godfather clone people??? A box office flop, Godsend is mediocre horror film at best.
# 2 Killing Season (2013)
De Niros’ most recent work is also one of his worst unfortunately. John Travolta (with ridiculous accent) is his rival as they play two veterans chasing each other in the woods in a story of vengeance and uninhibited rivalry. Too bad as these are really two great actors that go to waste here.
# 1 The Big Wedding (2013)
Talk about great actors go to waste… in this all star cast comedy from earlier this year we see so much talent (in addition to De Niro there’s Diane Keaton, Robin Williams, Susan Sarandon and many more) but unfortunately the movie is anything but funny. The Plot tells about Don (De Niro) and Ellie (Keaton), a divorced couple who fakes being married for the sake of their children. De Niros’ comic attempts are pretty lame in most cases and in The big wedding he’s even lamer then ever. Another box office flop and critically slaughtered, the big wedding was even a bigger failure.
But let’s finish with an optimistic note:
American Hustle (2013)
Ironically, De Niros’ only silver lining in recent years is The Silver Linings Playbook. Being one of the most successful films last year, the crew behind it couldn’t get enough of each other and so David O. Russell leads them all on another adventure. Based on a true story, The movie will follow two con artists who were forced to co-operate with the FBI in what became to be one of the most well known sting operations of all times. De Niros’ part is still a mystery but If he’ll deliver the same performance we saw in The Silver Linings Playbook (which got him an academy nomination after 21 years!) we can all be optimistic that his future would remind us of his glorious past. In the meantime let’s wish him a happy present.
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