The Telegraph has posted a gallery of Robert De Niro’s greatest roles. The list includes Raging Bull, Cape Fear, Taxi Driver, and The Godfather Part II, but also We’re No Angels, Midnight Run, and The Untouchables. Captions below are from the Telegraph gallery.
“Often cited as one of America’s finest films, Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull charts the rise and fall of real life boxer Jake Lamotta. Difficult to watch, De Niro’s Lamotta is violent and cruel on a path to self destruction as he deals with his inner demons. De Niro ‘ain’t going down for nobody’ and this emotionally charged role is one of his best.”
As Max Cady in CAPE FEAR.
“De Niro’s performance as Max Cady in Martin Scorsese’s remake of the 1962 classic makes Travis Bickle look like a Sunday School teacher. Cady, having just been released from prison for rape, is intent on destroying the urbane lawyer (Nick Nolte) who testified against him. De Niro, covered in nasty tattoos, slowly seeps into your skin, becoming the person you’d least like to live next door to.”
“Martin Scorsese’s film takes you by the scruff of the neck and takes you into the dangerous, decaying New York of the Seventies. De Niro’s Travis Bickle, the taxi driver of the title is a porn-obsessed loner who ends up as a would be assassin. The scene in which Bickle talks to himself in the mirror – ‘You talkin’ to me?’ is De Niro’s most famous, and one of the most imitated (badly) in cinema history. ”
“As Vito Corleone, a young De Niro transforms from man to Don in this fantastic revenge story. Corleone travels to Siciliy, whereupon he delivers the fateful line to his father’s murderer, Don Ciccio (Guiseppe Sillato): ‘My father’s name was Antonio Andolini…and this is for you!’ What a way to take the final step into becoming The Godfather. ”
This film “shows Bobby D’s propensity to ‘goof’ and show he’s got a fun side. Actually, he’s good fun in this as Ned (although it looks as if someone’s stuffed his mouth with cotton wool), an escaped convict in Depression-era America who, together with Sean Penn’s Jim is mistaken for a priest. Mistaken identity high-jinks abound, with De Niro gamely tucking into” the David Mamet script for director Neil Jordan.
“We know Robert De Niro’s class as a dramatic actor but Midnight Run, in which he stars as bounty hunter Jack Walsh, showed he could be very funny in a comedy role. His interplay with Charles Grodin (Jonathan Mardukas) and the FBI agent played by Yaphet Kotto are a delight and the whole film crackles with energy. You can tell De Niro enjoyed making this one.”
“Perhaps the star’s broadest, baddest, most cartoonish villain, a hatefully degenerate Al Capone in Brian De Palma’s vision of crime-ridden Chicago. Thinning hair scraped back and mouth never far from a malevolent smirk, he circles underlings at a black-tie dinner before bringing a baseball bat down on the unlucky head of a greedy cheat.”
Actually, De Niro’s most cartoonish villain was a role not included in the Telegraph gallery: Fearless Leader in THE ADVENTURES OF ROCKY AND BULLWINKLE.
The rest of the Telegraph list: King of Comedy; Mean Streets; New York, New York; What Just Happened; Jackie Brown; Meet the Parents; Sleepers; Casino; Falling in Love; Heat; Goodfellas; The Deer Hunter; and Brazil.