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Top 10 Robert De Niro Movies, ranked

Posted 2019/08/1112600

When you sit down and count the famous movies that Robert De Niro has added to his name, they’re running out of fingers. Few actors are so fortunate to have had the career they have had in Hollywood, and even less have so many iconic roles under their belts that it is a challenge to reduce the ten best films of their career.

That said, we believe we have a fairly solid understanding of the best of Robert De Niro, and we have seen the best films he has been a part of and we have considered how he raised them in considering the ranking. Not everyone will agree with the results, but as we learned through them, it is difficult to argue against any of the 10 included below.

10. Cape Fear (1991)

Anyone who has seen a Robert De Niro mafia movie knows that the actor can play a bad man, although it is rare that we have seen him play a man as upset as Max Cady of Cape Fear. Cady is a violent rapist seeking revenge against his lawyer, who hid evidence in Cady’s previous conviction that would have reduced his sentence. Armed with the knowledge of the law and a thirst for insatiable blood, Cady makes moves to destroy his lawyer’s life.

Cape Fear is a new version, but Martin Scorsese elevates it in part by injecting his own style into the film and the chilling transformation of Robert De Niro. In addition to the horrible performance as Cady, De Niro paid a doctor to clench his teeth and worked until he supposedly lowered to 4% body fat. The acting was great, but the transformation of the body really sold De Niro as a deranged psychopath committed to revenge.


9. Heat (1995)

Robert De Niro plays real-life criminal Neil McCauley in Heat, who is involved in a kind of cat and mouse fame with Vincent Hanna of Al Pacino. It was not the first time that the two appeared in the same movie, but due to the nature of their scenes in The Godfather: Part II, It would be the first time they would perform together in the same scenes.

Heat is a solid film, but the highlight of this film is the dynamics of Robert De Niro and Al Pacino. Hollywood has tried to recover that magic a couple of times since then, with both actors appearing in the movie Righteous Kill and the upcoming Netflix original The Irishman. Heat may not be the best Robert De Niro movie that also features Pacino on our list, but it absolutely deserves the status of the top 10.

8. The Untouchables (1987)

In The Untouchables, Robert De Niro plays one of the greatest real-life gangsters of all time in an adventure full of stars. Kevin Costner leads (but somehow goes after De Niro) as Eliot Ness in his effort to bring down the great Al Capone during the Ban.

Robert De Niro still managed to excel in a matter so full of stars, although he did not get an Oscar for his performance as Sean Connery did. It’s a bit surprising considering how much De Niro’s performance influences this movie, especially when Bob Hoskins is considered the second choice to play Al Capone. Imagine this movie with Hoskins, and how tremendously different it would be with him instead of De Niro!

7. The King Of Comedy (1982)

A super fan of a TV host gets too comfortable in this Robert De Niro movie, while playing the aspiring celebrity turned into a stalker Rupert Pupkin. That is all one really needs to know in the face of this movie, as it is one of the best experiences for those who have not yet seen it. In addition, Joker (who reportedly loved the script) will come out this year, and it seems that parts of that movie are inspired by The King of Comedy.

Robert De Niro’s commitment to the precision of the role really served him well, even if he risked doing so. De Niro actually followed some of his super fans, and even had a conversation with one of his long-time stalkers to get adequate space for the role. Could I have done it without reaching such extremes? I would like to think so, but knowing that he did it only elevates this performance much more.

6. Casino (1995)

A sports handicap arrives at the “jackpot” at the Casino and is sent to Las Vegas to run, he guessed, a casino owned by the Mafia. The task gives and takes a lot of Sam “Ace” Rothstein from Robert De Niro, and we see him go through many important things in this short three-hour movie of the Martin Scorsese mafia.

Although some critics would compare it to the minor mafia movie compared to stylistically similar Goodfellas, even a minor collaboration of the Scorsese / De Niro mafia is a pretty fantastic movie. Whether you’re interacting with your co-star Sharon Stone or Joe Pesci, Rober De Niro is electric in every scene. A spectator may even want to be him really … that is, until he sees how terrible things are for him in the second and third act.

5. The Deer Hunter (1978)

There are many excellent films that narrate the intensity and aftermath of the Vietnam War, and The Deer Hunter is among the best. We see Mike and his friends from Robert De Niro in the United States before the war and their normal lives, and then we take them on a wild journey that is scary and tragic.

What makes this Robert De Niro movie so powerful in my opinion is how much it feels like we are seeing a real person. It creates a sensation that stays with a viewer much later, which is undoubtedly the reason why he won the Academy Award for Best Film. Even if some scenes were considered inaccurate by war experts, this emotional description of Vietnam shows the true terrors of the war and its impact on those who served our country.

4. The Godfather: Part II (1974)

Definitely, The Godfather: Part II is going to create this list. It is probably one of the first titles in which one thinks when one thinks of Robert De Niro’s films, and is recognized as one of the best and influential of the American Film Institute in several categories. De Niro plays in his part of the story a young Vito Corleone, who shows his rise to power in the mafia.

The reception of the film was initially mixed, but over time many have accepted that The Godfather: Part II is one of the best films of all time. That is largely thanks to the performance of Robert De Niro, although critics at that time thought that his story slowed the pace of a phenomenal Al Pacino performance. The critics finally arrived, as evidenced by everyone’s excitement at seeing Pacino and De Niro perform in Heat years later.

3. Taxi Driver (1976)

Attention, we have officially reached that point where each entry from now on is a masterpiece by Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro. Taxi Driver is undoubtedly one of the best of the duo, as Travis Bickle goes from being a dangerous working-class man and a bit deranged to a good faith hero. The public has referred to Bickle as an antihero, but is it more accurate to say that he is a bad guy who had incredible luck? Does it matter?

Taxi Driver is an incredibly iconic movie and features one of the most iconic lines delivered in a Robert De Niro movie. Even children (who don’t have to watch this movie) know something about “Are you talking to me?” little because it has been imitated in many different movies and television shows over the years. A must see for De Niro fans, unless, of course, you’re not a fan of violence.

2. Goodfellas (1990)

Goodfellas is possibly the best mafia movie of all time (we haven’t seen The Irishman yet) and one of Robert De Niro’s best performances. It’s a bit funny considering that Henry de Ray Liotta is the real protagonist, but as this list shows, De Niro tends to be fantastic regardless of whether he is the star or the supporting actor. Here, he plays the mobster Jimmy, who essentially shows Henry the ropes of the mafia’s life.

Robert De Niro raised this film only with his presence, since his star power apparently was all that Martin Scorsese needed to secure Goodfellas’ budget. It is not surprising considering that De Niro is a name synonymous with Mafia movies, and it really appeared to offer one of his best performances in any of them. It’s bad, great and scary at the same time, which is something that is good at.

1. Raging Bull (1980)

Of all Robert De Niro’s films, Raging Bull is one of his most powerful performances of all time. His interpretation of former comedian turned boxer Jake LaMotta is a dazzling portrait of a guy who loves to hate. You sympathize, sympathize and hate it at the same time.

It is the perfect mesh of Robert De Niro’s evil papers and his psychopaths. To be fair, he is more or less playing the real Jake LaMotta, but he does it in such a crude way that it is phenomenal. Not surprisingly, he won an Oscar for this role, and that Raging Bull remains one of De Niro’s best works to date.

Was any of Robert De Niro’s films rejected? Is there anything on this list that shouldn’t be there? Address all complaints or praise the comments below, and continue to follow CinemaBlend for the latest and greatest news on movies and television.