In his 56-year long career, Robert De Niro has acted in over 120 movies, out of which many are critically acclaimed. This 77-year-old shows no signs of stopping his streak. Here are our picks for the best De Niro movies of the 1980s.
4. Once Upon a Time in America (1984)
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 87%
Sergio Leone managed to create a universe of four gangsters spanning over thirty years. He did this by making De Niro the anchor of the story. Once Upon A Time In America has only been named as a classic recently. This movie faced immense censorship issues when released.
Based on a novel by Harry Grey, this movie revolves around David “Noodles” Aaronson and Maximilian “Max” Bercovicz leading Jewish delinquents to become the next gangsters of New York City.
The themes of friendship, love, lust, betrayal, and loss will keep you on the edge of your seat.
3. The King of Comedy (1983)
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 89%
Rupert Pupkin is a schizophrenic comedian who wants to gain fame in New York. He is also fascinated by Jerry Lewis and is desperately vying for his attention. This movie also helped in the opening of Cannes in 1983.
2. Raging Bull (1980)
In this movie that derives inspiration from the 1975 movie Network, De Niro proves himself to be the perfect carrier of another satire. It is a version of movies like Neon Demon (2016) that make social statements about the obsession with ideas of celebrity.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 93%
When you think of action movies from the 80s, you think of Rocky. However, Scorsese’s movie Raging Bull is a sports drama that is adapted from Raging Bull: My Story, Jake LaMotta’s memoir.
With Robert De Niro in the lead, this movie revolves around LaMotta’s life as an angry and self-destructive man. His rage, jealousy, and violent attitude destroyed his relationships despite gaining him accolades in the ring.
The role of Joey, Jake’s manager and brother, helped Joe Pesci get into the spotlight. It has since become a crowd favorite and is one of De Niro’s few works that earned him an Oscar.
Raging Bull received mixed criticism. The only uniform opinion was De Niro’s excellent performance. On December 19, 1980, the movie was released and quickly became Scorsese’s best works.
1. Brazil (1985)
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 98%
Brazil is dark humor dystopian science fiction set in a world of over-dependency on poorly maintained machines and pointless bureaucracy. The concepts in this satire are comparable to George Orwell’s 1984.
De Niro played the part of suspected terrorist Archibald Tuttle, a sidekick of the main lead, Sam Bowry, played by Jonathan Pryce.
While this movie isn’t often known for Robert’s presence, his performance is a bonus to keeping the audience captive. The themes of technical bureaucracy, surveillance, corporate statism are yet to be explored like this today.
De Niro has consistently proven his versatile talent in telling powerful stories and shows no signs of slowing down, and that can only be a good thing.