5 Great Robert De Niro Movies: Celebrating the Legendary Actor

Exploring the Best Movies of Robert De Niro

A Diverse Filmography

When it comes to selecting the best movies starring Robert De Niro, opinions may widely vary. With a career spanning nearly six decades, De Niro has graced the silver screen with over 100 films, each offering unique and memorable performances. While the crime genre has undoubtedly played a significant role in establishing his fame, De Niro’s versatility shines through in his comedic roles, musical endeavors, dystopian tales, detective stories, and serious dramas. Attempting to compile a list of his best performances would be an impossible task, but we have chosen five great Robert De Niro movies that represent various genres and showcase his exceptional talent. Let’s dive into these cinematic gems alphabetically, and don’t forget to stay till the end for additional recommendations!

Casino (1995) – A Tale of Corruption and Power

Directed by Martin Scorsese, “Casino” takes place in the glitz and glamour of 1970s Las Vegas, immersing viewers in a world of casinos, poker, and illicit dealings. At the heart of the story is Sam “Ace” Rothstein, brilliantly portrayed by Robert De Niro, who becomes the unofficial manager of the Tangiers Casino. Joined by his childhood friend and mob enforcer Nicky Santoro (Joe Pesci), Sam’s reign takes an unexpected turn as his criminal activities draw unwanted attention to the casino. The intricate plot further unfolds with the introduction of hustler Ginger McKenna (Sharon Stone) and con-artist Lester Diamond (James Woods), creating a web of greed, corruption, and eventual encounters with mobsters and the FBI. Based on Nicholas Pileggi’s book of the same name, “Casino” may not have redefined the genre, but its enthralling storytelling and gripping narrative continue to captivate audiences to this day.

The King of Comedy (1982) – A Timely Satire

“The King of Comedy” stands as a testament to Robert De Niro’s ability to excel in different genres. This Martin Scorsese film takes a departure from the crime-driven narratives and delves into the world of satire with a touch of social commentary. De Niro portrays Rupert Pupkin, an aspiring comedian who is mentally unstable and struggles to understand the essence of humor. Despite his lack of comedic talent, Pupkin hosts a make-believe talent show in his mother’s basement, relentlessly chasing the elusive dream of stardom. His admiration for popular talk show host Jerry Langford (Jerry Lewis) turns into an obsession after realizing that Langford does not share the same enthusiasm to meet him. With the assistance of fellow fan (and psychopath) Masha (Sandra Bernhard), Pupkin transforms from an overzealous follower to Langford’s stalker and eventually resorts to kidnapping. “The King of Comedy” not only influenced subsequent films, including Todd Phillips’ “Joker,” but it also serves as an astonishingly relevant, disquieting, and altogether hilarious cinematic masterpiece.

The Godfather Part II (1974) – Dual Narratives Deliver Excellence

Robert De Niro’s performance in “The Godfather Part II” contributes significantly to the film’s status as an all-time classic. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, this sequel also serves as a prequel, simultaneously depicting the parallel stories of Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) and his father, Vito Corleone (Robert De Niro). While Michael faces the challenges of protecting the family business after a failed assassination attempt, Vito’s origin story unfolds, shedding light on the events that shaped his rise to power. The film’s screenplay, crafted by Coppola and Mario Puzo, expertly weaves together these two narrative threads, resulting in a thought-provoking exploration of family, corruption, power, and the legacy passed down through generations. Enhanced by a stellar cast including Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, and others, “The Godfather Part II” continues to captivate audiences with its masterful storytelling and cinematic brilliance.

Silver Linings Playbook (2012) – Unforgettable Performances

Sometimes, a supporting role can shine just as brightly as the lead, as proven by Robert De Niro in “Silver Linings Playbook.” Adapted from Matthew Quick’s novel, the film follows the journey of Pat (Bradley Cooper), a former teacher grappling with mental health issues after a painful divorce. Released from a mental institution and entrusted to the care of his parents (Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver), Pat strives to rebuild his life and win back his ex-wife (Julia Stiles). Unexpectedly, he encounters Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a neighbor who shares his unstable mental state. Although not the film’s central character, De Niro’s performance as Pat’s caring father imbues “Silver Linings Playbook” with warmth and humor. From hilarious moments revolving around a remote control to earnest interactions enhanced by superb acting, De Niro’s presence elevates this movie to a remarkable viewing experience.

Taxi Driver (1976) – A Timeless Masterpiece

No list of Robert De Niro’s greatest films would be complete without “Taxi Driver.” This Martin Scorsese-directed gem remains an unparalleled cinematic achievement hailed as one of the best movies ever made. De Niro portrays Travis Bickle, an alienated and lonely taxi driver whose days and nights are spent traversing the gritty, neon-lit streets of New York City. Driven by a well-intentioned desire to rid the city of corruption, Travis descends further into a self-created abyss of extreme loneliness and delusion. His unforgettable portrayal of this iconic antihero cements “Taxi Driver” as an influential film noir masterpiece. Scorsese’s direction, coupled with De Niro’s mesmerizing performance, creates an unforgettable experience that delves into the complexities of one man’s struggle against a corrupt society.

Additional Recommendations

While the five movies above showcase Robert De Niro’s exceptional talent, his filmography is replete with numerous other remarkable performances. Here are a few more recommendations for those eager to explore the breadth of his work:

– “A Bronx Tale” (1993) – De Niro’s directorial debut, offering a heartfelt tale set in the Bronx neighborhood.
– “Brazil” (1985) – De Niro’s cameo in Terry Gilliam’s dystopian masterpiece adds depth to an already captivating narrative.
– “The Deer Hunter” (1978) – A gripping war drama where De Niro showcases his versatility as an actor.
– “Goodfellas” (1990) – De Niro’s collaboration with Martin Scorsese reaches new heights in this iconic crime film.
– “Heat” (1995) – The on-screen reunion of De Niro and Al Pacino in a high-stakes heist thriller.
– “The Irishman” (2019) – De Niro’s latest collaboration with Martin Scorsese, portraying the life of a mob hitman.
– “Joker” (2019) – In this dark, psychological thriller, De Niro plays a late-night show host who inadvertently sparks madness in the title character.


Robert De Niro’s illustrious career has gifted audiences with an abundance of exceptional movies. From crime epics to thought-provoking dramas, he has consistently delivered captivating performances that showcase his remarkable range and skill as an actor. The selected films, “Casino,” “The King of Comedy,” “The Godfather Part II,” “Silver Linings Playbook,” and “Taxi Driver,” represent a fraction of his filmography but highlight his ability to profoundly impact each genre he explores. Whether you’re a long-time fan or new to De Niro’s work, these movies serve as an excellent starting point to immerse yourself in the remarkable world of a truly iconic actor.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What other notable collaborations between Robert De Niro and Martin Scors