An icon of the industry, Robert De Niro is one of the greatest actors ever to walk the Hollywood red carpet. Known for his maverick method acting antics and wild on-screen performances in the films of Martin Scorsese, including Taxi Driver, The King of Comedy and Goodfellas, the actor will soon have collaborated with the filmmaker in a total of ten films upon the release of Killers of the Flower Moon.
Despite having enjoyed success with such filmmakers like Francis Ford Coppola and Quentin Tarantino, among many others, for De Niro, there’s no one quite like Scorsese. Calling the actor “the greatest actor of his generation,” when he presented the actor with the Variety Creative Impact in Acting Award, the director further added that De Niro’s “creative impact in acting will always be felt so long as there are actors to express their art”.
On the other hand, De Niro has also suggested some of his favourite actors of all time, revealing his favourite screen actors in an interview with Kenneth Branagh. Speaking in the interview, he reveals: “In America, the actors I thought were the most interesting were James Dean, Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift, Kim Stanley and Greta Garbo,” showing that he is a purveyor of classic cinema more than any other era.
In addition to such aforementioned actors, it’s clear De Niro had a significant amount of appreciation for many of his co-stars too, often singing the praises of Joe Pesci, the late Ray Liotta and his Heat co-star Al Pacino.
Speaking to GQ in a recent interview, De Niro revealed his favourite of Pacino’s performances, telling the publication that no film is better than Francis Ford Coppola’s original Godfather. “He was unique and special,” the actor commented in an interview together with the Scarface actor, adding, “I, of course, understood why Francis [Ford Coppola] wanted Al”.
Revealing that he was also up for the same part, De Niro mused, “You know, as an actor, what would upset you, was if someone does a part that you were up for, and they use them for the wrong reasons, and the person isn’t really as good. You want them to be good”. Explaining how he and several other actors were also up for the role, De Niro was constantly worried the wrong actor would get the part, revealing that several unsuitable names were juggled by the filmmaker and casting team before they thankfully settled with Al Pacino.
Sitting opposite the actor, Pacino also returns the compliment for his compadres at one point in the interview when he is asked for his favourite De Niro performance. “I mean, there’s just so much,” Pacino stated, struggling to pick just one film of his incredible career. Attempting to decide, the actor states, “I just saw Casino the other night, and it’s staggering and beautiful. But I guess the greatest, probably one of the greatest performances in film history, is his Raging Bull. Beyond belief.”
Take a look at the trailer for The Godfather below, a film that holds Robert De Niro’s favourite Al Pacino performance.