It’s expected to be one of Netflix’s biggest hits of 2019 and film fanatics will be eagerly awaiting the release of “The Irishman,” which pits iconic film duo Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro together for a ninth collaboration.
The biographical crime drama recounts the life of mob hitman Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran (De Niro), and is also set to feature Joe Pesci, Al Pacino and Harvey Keitel. The cast alone has got us tingling with excitement, but Scorsese’s and De Niro’s reunion has got us thinking about some of their previous hits which started way back in 1973.
Ahead of “The Irishman’s” release later on this year, let’s take a look back at Scorsese’s and De Niro’s previous work.
The first film that Scorsese and De Niro worked together on was Mean Streets, which is centred on a small-time gangster living in Little Italy. The film was well-received by critics and De Niro went on to win the National Society of Film Critics award for his role, whereas Scorsese was praised for directing the film but didn’t receive any nominations. In 1997, the United States National Film Registry selected the film for preservation, explaining the film as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
Even to this day, Taxi Driver is regarded as one of Scorsese’s and De Niro’s finest films and it’s hard to disagree. The 1976 neo-noir thriller won countless awards and features some of Hollywood’s most iconic lines, and it’s fair to say Scorsese and De Niro’s blossoming relationship really took off after Taxi Driver’s success. Like Mean Streets, Taxi Driver was preserved in the National Film Registry in 1994.
New York, New York
The last film that Scorsese and De Niro worked on together in the 1970s was largely disappointing, as New York, New York only generated $13 million at the box-office. The musical drama saw Scorsese fall for Liza Minnelli, who was starring in the film, which ultimately saw the famed director encounter many personal problems off the back of their tryst. However, the reputations of De Niro and Scorsese weren’t to be tarnished and they continued to look towards new projects.
And that led Scorsese to use De Niro for his next hit, Raging Bull. The film portrays De Niro as a self-destructive boxer and it saw him pick up an Oscar for his performance. Scorsese was also nominated for Best Director and although he didn’t win, the duo were carving out a fine reputation in Hollywood and many consider their crime films as the best to ever be portrayed on the big screen. With that said, the American Film Institute chose Raging Bull as one of the best sports films ever made.
The King of Comedy
Funnily enough, The King of Comedy was Scorsese and De Niro’s first film to feature humour alongside the usual gangster and crime elements. The film focuses on topics such as media culture and celebrity adulation, and even picked up a BAFTA for Best Original Screenplay as well as four other nominations. In spite of this, the film was a huge failure at the box-office but was well received by fans and critics alike.
This is arguably Scorsese and De Niro’s finest work, and is often regarded as one of the greatest films ever-made. Goodfellas – winner of five BAFTAs – is perhaps the pinnacle of all crime films and De Niro’s performance as Jimmy Conway will always live long in the memory. The film follows Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) as he makes his way up through the mob before he becomes an informant, including ratting on his best friend and partner, Conway. Scorsese’s stock sky-rocketed after the success of Goodfellas and the performances of De Niro, Liotta and Joe Pesci were highly praised.
Cape Fear was a remake of the 1962 film of the same name and the film was fairly well received. De Niro was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actor for his role in Cape Fear. The film tells the story of a convicted rapist (De Niro) who has just served 14-years in prison, hell-bent on taking revenge on the public defender who wrongly withheld evidence that would have provided a not guilty verdict. The film also featured Steven Spielberg as an Executive Producer.
Another huge favourite amongst Scorsese and De Niro fans, Casino perfectly depicts the gritty world of deception, power, greed, treachery, money and power. Oh, and murder. De Niro was simply brilliant in his role as Sam “Ace” Rothstein but many of the plaudits were reserved for Scorsese, who received endless praise at the time. Casino is often regarded as one of the best gambling-based films ever made, and was nominated for several awards which saw Sharon Stone pick up a Golden Globe for Best Actress in Motion Picture – Drama.
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