Sat. Sep 18th, 2021

Lavish Lizard

Once Upon A Time In Old Hollywood

Al Pacino and Robert De Niro their 80’s slide

4 min read
NEW YORK, NY – CIRCA 1981: Robert De Niro, Liza Minnelli and Al Pacino circa 1981 in New York City. (Photo by Sonia Moskowitz/IMAGES/Getty Images)

Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino are two of the finest actors of my generation. They have 3 Academy Awards, and 15 nominations between them. Robert De Niro won a best supporting Academy award in 1975 for the film The Godfather Part ll for his role as the Young Vito Corleone, and then in 1980 winning a best actor Academy award for his role in the bio pic Raging Bull portraying boxer Jake Lamotta. It took Al Pacino much longer to receive his first Oscar after many nomination in the 1970’s, I like his performance in Scent Of A Woman, a very good film, and Al finally wins the Oscar for Best Actor in 1993

Al Pacino had much better nominated roles in the 1970’s, with The Godfather, Serpico, The Godfather Part ll, Dog Day Afternoon, and closing out the decade with And Justice For All. These were far better roles he should have won for. By the 1980’s, both Robert De Niro, and Al Pacino kind of lost their way right about the same time.

Robert De Niro was born in Manhattan

While Pacino did Scarface in 1983, and De Niro was winning an Oscar for Raging Bull in 1981; These were their last really good commercial films of the decade for a bit of a stretch. I really liked Sergio Leone’s Once Upon A Time In America. I went to see it in the theater in 1984; but sadly no one else did. The editing issue destroyed the film. Which should have been a masterpiece much on the level of The Godfather. Then Pacino did a god awful film with Donald Sutherland called Revolution around mid decade, and then Al was very silent for a good while.

Robert De Niro’s first major role was Bang The Drum Slowly from 1973

Although Robert De Niro’s 1980’s world. He appeared in a small film called Brazil, and the last Scorsese film he would do until Goodfellas, call The King Of Comedy with Jerry Lewis. I again thought it was very good but in the theater their were chirping crickets. Robert DeNiro did sporadic films through out the decade. Their was Falling In Love, The Mission, and Jackknife, but all gained no traction at the box office. It was not until later in the decade came the hit with 1988’s Midnight Run with has been character actor Charles Grodin.

Then something happened for both actors that gave them a big resurgence. Robert DeNiro got into more action roles with the previously mentioned Midnight Run, and with his mainstay go to drama’s, with Stanley & Iris co starring Jane Fonda. Awakenings with Robin Williams, and then the monster that brought his career back to the pinnacle of his acting chops and the long absent return to Martin Scorsese in Goodfellas.

Remarkably and what makes Robert De Niro a spectacular actor. All those movie were released in 1990. All of those roles where night and day different characters, and personalities of each other. Al Pacino on the other hand with his big come back role in the crime drama Sea Of Love from 1989

So Pacino was back, and the roles came, like Warren Beatty’s Dick Tracy, and The Godfather Part lll also from 1990. Al Pacino appeared in only 5 films in the decade of the 1980’s. Starting with Cruising, Author, Author totally miss cast by the way. Then Scarface, with Revolution, and with the come back in Sea Of Love. I remember Pacino doing a lot of what was his first real love which was the theater during much of the decade.

Al Pacino was born in the Bronx

The good times of Al Pacino’s red hot period of the 70’s is long over, and is no way possible for him to come back to that kind of glory. That began with 1971’s The Panic in Needle Park. Most of these actors age gracefully, work into the older roles. Paul Newman, Clint Eastwood, and Robert Redford did it well, it’s hard but they all pulled it off.

As for Robert De Niro he had pretty much the same trajectory, but with a slower start. Beginning with his Academy Award winning performance in The Godfather Part ll in 1975, put a major spot light on him and the roles came quickly, and a major Scorsese relationship really taking shape.

By the 1990’s both of these actors had pretty good success, and both co staring in a film again I saw in the theater called Heat from 1995; but by then there glory days were kind of behind them. I don’t think for awhile we will see what we had with both of these actors. Maybe for many decades from now. Al Pacino, and Robert De Niro changed the way actors and actresses act forever.

NEW YORK CITY – NOVEMBER 5: Al Pacino and Robert De Niro attend First Annual Actors Studios Awards on November 5, 1980 at the Waldorf Hotel in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

Al Pacino’s break out role was The Panic In Needle Park

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