Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 20 September 2020

Happy Birthday Bobby: 8 films to watch to celebrate Robert De Niro's career

The two-time Oscar winner has been in some classics in his career

With a career spanning almost five decades, it's fair to say Robert De Niro is one of Hollywood's most accomplished actors.

The Taxi Driver star, born on August 17, 1943, got his acting break after teaming up with fellow New York native and filmmaker Martin Scorsese for 1973's Mean Streets, the movie that introduced audiences to De Niro's talent.

To mark his 77th birthday on Monday, we look at eight of his lesser known films, and why you should watch them.

'The King of Comedy' (1982)

Of the many collaborations De Niro has had with Scorsese, including Goodfellas and Raging Bull, perhaps the most poignant one for today's media-obsessed environment is The King of Comedy. The main character, played by De Niro, is a delusional comedian who thinks the world owes him. This basic premise would ultimately be copied and satirised many times, most recently in Joker, starring Joaquin Pheonix. The King of Comedy remains timeless and has a strong satirical bite.

'The Untouchables' (1987)

The Untouchables boasts a great cast that includes Kevin Costner and Sean Connery. The film tells the story of notorious Chicago kingpin Al Capone as he faces off against the members of law enforcement who will stop at nothing to bring him down. De Niro portrays a ruthless version of Capone that has rarely been outdone in other films and television shows. Many forget that De Niro was even in this film due to the fantastic performances from Costner and Connery, but there are some De Niro scenes (such as the bat scene) that you will never forget.

'Midnight Run' (1988)

The comedic strength of De Niro is well appreciated these days, with films like Analyze This and the Meet the Parents trilogy. But back in 1988, many critics were pleasantly surprised by his performance alongside Charles Grodin in Midnight Run. De Niro plays the straight guy to Grodin's ridiculous. The adventure they go on, and the challenges they have to overcome, make for a fun film to watch on a weekend.

'Awakenings' (1990)

In 1990's Awakenings, De Niro portrays an encephalitis patient who is treated by Robin Williams. The performance was grounded and sympathetic. De Niro earned a well-deserved Oscar nomination, and the film received a nomination for best picture. He would lose the Oscar, however, to Anthony Hopkins' Dr Hannibal Lecter.

'A Bronx Tale' (1993)

De Niro directs, as well as acts, in this gangster film about a young man who is seduced by the mafia. A Bronx Tale stands out because De Niro, in fact, plays the character who hates the mobsters, and tries to stop his son from joining them. Many would agree that this film would make for a great double bill alongside Goodfellas.

'The Fan' (1996)

The Fan takes the premise of the The King of Comedy and turns it into an action thriller. Trading Jerry Lewis for Wesley Snipes and comedy for baseball, De Niro plays an obsessed psychotic fan whose life unravels in front of him, despite his best efforts. The themes of unhealthy obsession and fatherhood are appreciated among the scenes of energetic baseball games.

'Ronin' 1998

Ronin is a subdued action film by veteran filmmaker John Frankenheimer. Set in France, the story follows a group of mercenaries who are hired for a job they know very little about. Highlights include a strong cast that made up of Jean Reno and Sean Bean, and some of the best car chase scenes you'll ever see.

'The Intern' (2015)

De Niro has been in many comedies, and more recently, he's been in more bad than good. His efforts range from surly to actively uninterested. Thankfully that's not the case for the aggressively underwatched The Intern. Playing a retiree who needs to keep himself busy, the actor delivers a heartwarming and often funny turn alongside Anne Hathaway and Rene Russo.

Updated: August 17, 2020 08:18 PM

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