Inspired by Robert De Niro

Robert De Niro is the likely star player in the world’s selection of films that we’ll watch as a collective, till the day we die.

Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver
Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver...You Talkin' to Me?

There are many actors and directors whose back catalogue I would like to purchase someday, perhaps when I decide to stop devoting my entire pay cheque to my wardrobe. If any of my friends are reading, Tom Cruise and Martin Scorsese are way up there at the top. But, naturally, at the very tip of the top sits Robert De Niro. Anyone who truly knows me will know that I have a special affection for Robert De Niro… then again, who doesn’t? He is sheer brilliance. The best actor of his time.

Robert De Niro is the star player of my collection of films that I’ll watch till the day I die. You know those films that you’ll watch every three months, and even though you have the film on DVD, you’ll still watch it every time it’s aired on TV and it never ever gets tired. In fact, the familiarity of the film is exciting and learning all of the lines is an achievement.

 Of course there are other actors and films that feature in this list that have nothing to do with De Niro, but De Niro dominates. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve watched Analyze This and Analyze That, starring De Niro alongside Billy Crystal. Of course, I’ll always enjoy watching the Meet the Fockers’ trilogy. Yes, including the third one, that didn’t particularly receive rave reviews. Naturally, The Godfather’s One and Two, Goodfellas and Casino – are films the world will watch as a collective forever. It’s needless to say that A Bronx Tale is placed firmly on this list. My partner and I have joked that this particular film will play on a loop, projected on a screen at our wedding – corny I know, but that tale is ours. (Possibly before I had watched Leon: The Professional, A Bronx Tale may have been my favourite film of all time).

There are a few actors that I can say I have watched most of their films, or that I would even want to. I have found myself enjoying most of the films that Tom Cruise stars in, barring Knight and Day, from Risky Business and Top Gun to Tropic Thunder and the Mission Impossibles. (Mission Impossible 4 rapidly approaching!) It could be possible that the only Tom Cruise film I haven’t seen is Valkyerie, which I have little interest in seeing anyhow.  Eventually, I would like to say that I have watched every single Robert De Niro film…and so far I’m not doing too badly.

Until last week, the most recent films I had watched De Niro perform in were; Limitless, alongside Bradley Cooper. Everyone’s Fine, in which he plays a touching role – a father worried about his adult children, whose hectic lives have left him shut out of their worlds. And of course, the infamous Jack Burns in Meet the Little Fockers!

Last week I watched Cape Fear, starring De Niro alongside Nick Nolte, for the first time. ‘What’s it about?’ I asked my partner. He explained De Niro as a disturbed ex-con and I was immediately excited. There’s something great about films that question people’s sanity or simply displays their insanity – Tom Hardy in Bronson, Brad Pitt in Twelve Monkeys and Fight Club, Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The Shining and As Good as it Gets and finally, Javier Camara in Almodovar’s Hable Con Ella.

I have always taken a particular pleasure in watching De Niro play those marginal psychotic characters he played in the earlier stages of his career; Rupert Pupkin in Martin Scorsese’s The King of Comedy 1983, alongside Jerry Lewis and Diane Abbott. And Tavis Bickle in another Scorsesee film, Taxi Driver 1976, alongside Jodie Foster and Cybill Shepherd.  In Cape Fear De Niro plays Max Cadey, a convicted rapist seeking revenge on the lawyer, Nick Nolte, who defended him. Indeed, De Niro plays another slightly deranged character.  However, unlike many of the films that De Niro stars in, this is not one of them that I can add to my list of films that I’ll continue to watch intermittently till the day I die.

Nevertheless, like Tom Cruise in Knight and Day, I am more than happy to add Cape Fear to my list of De Niro films.


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