A Dash Of De Niro For The Week

Robert De Niro Films


An Italian-American star who has given brilliant performances, Robert De Niro has carved a niche of his own in Hollywood..

His collaborations with the great Martin Scorsese and Al Pacino have produced some the best films in Hollywood cinema. From Johnny Boy, the crazy kid in Mean Streets to the young Vitto Corleone in Godfather II, De Niro stamped his authority in crime dramas.

Taxi Driver was a landmark film for De Niro. His skills expanded and he won rave reviews. His displayed his strong point – getting into the character from “inside and outside”. He even changed track so that he would not be typecast as the gangster and his comic turns have also had an impact.

Here are five De Niro films you must watch:

Taxi Driver (1976)

Taxi Driver (1976)Cast: Robert De Niro, Cybill Shepherd, Harvey Keitel, Jodie Foster
Director: Martin Scorsese

Travis Bickle (De Niro) takes on a job as a taxi driver because he can’t sleep nights.  He frequently watches porn movies to while away the lonely hours.

He falls in love with a campaign volunteer Betsy (Shepherd) for a presidential candidate. But being naive, he puts off Betsy by his obsession of watching porn films.

Then one day, a child prostitute Iris (Foster) crashes into his car. This incident has a dramatic effect on Bickle as he attempts to save her. Award-winning and critically acclaimed, this film is intense and well made.

Mean Streets (1973)

Mean StreetsCast: Harvey Keitel, Robert De Niro, David Proval, Amy Robinson
Director: Martin Scorsese

Two young friends, Charlie (Keitel), and Johnny Boy (De Niro), live in a world of crime on the streets of New York City. Charlie works for his mob boss uncle while Johnny Boy keeps taking loans from sharks which he can never repay.

Charlie knows that Johnny Boy is crazy and tries to help his friend the best he can. But as the number of loan sharks pursuing Johnny Boy gets bigger, the troubles get deeper.

Finally a small-time loan shark wants Johnny to pay up and follows his car to a violent climax. A great film worth a watch again.

The King of Comedy (1982)

The King of Comedy (1983)Cast: Robert De Niro, Jerry Lewis, Tony Randall, Sandra Bernhard
Director: Martin Scorsese

A mentally deranged autograph hunter Rupert Pupkin (De Niro) aspires to be a stand-up comedian and stalks the successful Jerry Langford (Jerry Lewis) for a slot on his show.

But his hopes recede because Langford rejects him despite constant stalking. In desperation, Pupkin kidnaps Langford and tells him that he should give him a slot on the show for his release.

Langford agrees but he is in for a surprise. De Niro is excellent and is well supported by Lewis in this great Scorsese film.

The Deer Hunter (1978)

The Deer HunterCast: Robert De Niro, John Cazale, John Savage, Meryl Streep, Christopher Walken
Director: Michael Cimino

Three steel workers from a small mining town in Pennsylvania are heading to Vietnam to fight the war there. They are planning to get married first.

The three go deer hunting one last time before going to Vietnam. Mike (De Niro) feels deer hunting is a sacred experience and gets exasperated by his friends.

The focus shifts to Vietnam where three face terrible times, get injured and end up playing Russian roulette after being captured.  The film proved the last one for the terminally ill Cazale, who never saw it.

The Godfather Part II

The Godfather 2 (1974)Cast: Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Diane Keaton, John Cazale, Robert Duvall, Talia Shire
Director: Francis Ford Coppola

The film tracks the early days of Vito Corleone (De Niro) in Sicily and how a simple man goes to the US and becomes a Mafia boss. Simultaneously, the film also focuses on Michael, the new godfather after the death of his father.

Times are getting tough for the Mafia bosses and they are trying other means of survival.  The scene shifts to Cuba where Michael gets involved in a revolution.

In Washington, a Senate Committee is set up to probe the Corleone family. But Michael learns a few truths and eliminates his rivals. The second part is as good as the first and was recipient of many awards.  The two tales are merged well, cutting from present to past smoothly.

Babu Kalyanpur

Babu Kalyanpur, ( Consulting Editor) has rich experience in both sports and business journalism. Babu has led news desks in Pune and Bahrain and writes extensively on his passion, sports and business besides current affairs and matters of importance to Pune.

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