Robert De Niro is undoubtedly one of the greatest actors of all time. So, there’s no wonder he’s given us some iconic characters, such as a young Don Corleone and Travis Bickle. So, to commend this great actor, let’s look at the best Robert De Niro movies of all time.
15. Meet the Parents (2000)
Meet The Parents is one of the most celebrated comedy films of all time. Now, Robert De Niro is not the kind of actor you’d know for comedy, but his chemistry with Ben Stiller in this film made this a must-watch for many De Niro fans.
The plot sees him play the father of Greg Focker’s (Ben Stiller) girlfriend. When Greg decides to spend a weekend with his girlfriend’s parents, her father (De Niro) instantly dislikes him. Thus ensues a series of hilarious events that’ll leave you reeling.
14. Jacknife (1989)
Jacknife is one of the renowned films about Vietnam vets and the struggles they go through. De Niro plays a stressed vet Jacknife who teams up with David ‘High School’ Flannigan (Ed Harris) as they both brace to face their past experiences.
However, things begin to turn awry when Jacknife falls for David’s sister. It’s a good drama, and the signature De Niro skills are displayed throughout the 1 hour and 42 minutes.
13. The Irishman (2019)
The Irishman takes us back to the glory days of a 1950s hitman. However, besides the plot, the film was also a throwback to the late 80s and early 90s outstanding gangster flicks. Martin Scorsese directing, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci starring—how could you not see it?
The film surrounds Frank Sheeran’s (De Niro) story, as he gets involved with Russel Bufalino (Joe Pesci). After becoming the Bufalino family’s hitman, he climbs the ranks to the top of the crime organization.
12. Mean Streets (1973)
Mean Streets is one of the most renowned films of all time and for good reasons. Besides De Niro’s astounding presence, the film tells a great story of life in Little Italy—a neighborhood in New York.
It all begins when Johnny Boy (De Niro) gets stuck in a quarrel with a local loan shark. Things get awry even more when his friend Charlie (Harvey Keitel) gets involved. From that point, it’s clear to see why this film is so revered almost 50 years after its release.
11. A Bronx Tale (1993)
A Bronx Tale sees Robert De Niro in a father’s role for the first time. Until then, he’d played mostly unhinged characters, so playing a reasonable bus-driving father was surely testing his range. Guess what? He delivers yet another astounding performance in a career filled with them.
The film surrounds Lorenzo’s (De Niro) son Calogero who’s fascinated by the gangster’s way of life. Soon, it’s a battle of wits and principles as the hard-working father struggles to pull his son out of the gangster life.
10. The King of Comedy (1973)
The King of Comedy is one of the best works of De Niro and also a film that portrays his amazing range. The plot surrounds a desperate comedian, Rupert Pupkin (De Niro), who’ll do anything to become famous.
However, things go sideways when he shows up on a talk show and fails. How does he recuperate? By kidnapping the TV show host Jerry (Jerry Lewis).
9. The Untouchables (1987)
The Untouchables is a remarkable gangster movie, portraying one of the most fearsome and infamous gangsters in American history – Al Capone. Played by Robert De Niro to perfection, this film conveys the influence of the Mafioso boss.
However, the film features a star cast with Kevin Costner, Andy Garcia, and Sean Connery. With all-around great performances, De Niro holds on his own, playing one of these most iconic characters to date.
8. Casino (1995)
Casino is a testament to the fact that an actor is great when a film of this caliber ends up at #8. The film surrounds the story of Ace (De Niro). He takes over a casino in Las Vegas and rises to immaculate power.
However, things become a little difficult for Ace, as his altercations with his love interest and best friend become difficult. Bottom line: the film is a masterpiece, yet another to De Niro’s collection.
7. Cape Fear (1991)
Cape Fear isn’t the first time De Niro plays a villain, but perhaps the only time he’ll leave a terrifying impression. The film surrounds the story of Max Cady (De Niro) as he stalks the family of a lawyer named Sam Bowden (Nick Nolte).
The overall creepy antics and tricks played by Max on the Bowden family are surely not for the light-hearted. However, what’ll leave you in awe is how convincing De Niro is as a bad guy.
6. The Deer Hunter (1978)
The Deer Hunter is one of the greatest Vietnam War movies ever. The story isn’t out of the ordinary; it’s the direction and acting of the star cast that makes this one of the best films of all time.
However, De Niro plays Michael, one of the three main friends who enlist in the army to fight in the Nam. However, they’re soon imprisoned but manage to escape. Only to find themselves separated and incarcerated again.
5. The Godfather Part II (1974)
The Godfather II is in the upper echelon of the best films of all time. While this may not be the film that put Robert De Niro on the radar, it’s surely one of the leading ones. Who could have thought anyone would even come close to Marlon Brando’s performance as Don Corleone?
Well, De Niro did, as he played the younger version of Don Corleone and his rise to power in the early 1900s in New York. Played to perfection, this character also earned De Niro an Oscar trophy. Making Don Corleone the only character to be portrayed twice by different actors and win them an Oscar (De Niro & Brando).
4. Raging Bull (1980)
Raging Bull is one of De Niro’s finest performances and something that the actor himself hails as the most difficult thing he’s ever done. Playing a middleweight boxer as he ascends through the ranks to earn a title shot, De Niro plays the life of an unhinged boxer to perfection.
The movie itself became one of the greatest boxing films of all time. Thanks largely to De Niro’s performance.
3. Goodfellas (1990)
Goodfellas is an outstanding film and one of the greatest films of all time. Telling the true story of Henry Hill, the film takes us to the gangster-enthused streets of New York in the 1970s and 1980s.
Robert De Niro plays Jimmy Conway, one of the leading men of the crime family, who employed Henry Hill. His performance as a menacing and unforgiving gangster is surely one of the best on his stellar resume.
2. Heat (1995)
Heat is one of the greatest cop movies of all time. No wonder this film is used as a study in many academies because of how well-made it is. However, the face-off between Al Pacino and Robert De Niro makes it worth your while.
The film surrounds Detective Hanna’s (Pacino) pursuit of an intelligent criminal, McCauley (De Niro). However, before McCauley retires for good, he wants one large score. However, the only problem is the heat surrounding him and his group.
1. Taxi Driver (1995)
Taxi Driver’s Travis Bickle (De Niro) is one of the most famous characters in cinema history. Thanks largely because of De Niro’s acting, the character’s iconic importance stands 46 years after the release of this film.
Playing a deranged Vietnam veteran, De Niro performs his life in Taxi Driver. That’s saying something since this is the same man who’s played so many iconic roles. So, if you haven’t seen this film yet, then you’re missing out.
- Stardust (2007)
- Jackie Brown (1997)
- Once Upon a Time in America (1984)
Did you like our list of the best Robert De Niro movies of all time? Share your feedback in the comments!