Since the simple question “Are you talking to me?” in a cult quote, Robert DeNiro gave us many memorable performances. He has appeared in numerous classics such as Mad bull, Good guys, Heat And The Godfather Part 2it’s easy to forget some of the others that were in between.

Before he bullied us like cunning mobster Jimmy Conway in Good guyshe got sentimental Meryl Streep V Fall in love. And only a year later Heatrelease, he took us to church like Bobby’s father sleepers. So, while some of his roles will always stand out in the actor’s filmography, it’s time to shed some light on the lesser-known ones that offer the same special De Niro moments.



Walter Kunz in ‘Flawless’ (1999)

flawless-philips-seymour-hoffman-robert de niro
Image via MGM

This Joel SchumacherThe film, directed by the director, is a little crooked when it comes to the iconic actor. When the movie just starts, you’re sure Irreproachable it’s just another De Niro tough guy role, but after about 20 minutes you realize it’s going to be something completely different. De Niro plays Walter Kunz, a homophobic former New York cop who is forced to fight his bigotry after a stroke leaves him in the care of cross-dressing gay neighbor Rusty.Philip Seymour Hoffman in a criminally underestimated own performance). Over the course of the film, the two strike up an unlikely friendship in a touching portrayal of De Niro and Hoffman that reminds us to never judge a book by its cover. Flawless is a must-see not only for De Niro’s understated performances, but also for its resonant message.

Joseph “Megs” Megessy in The Jackknife (1989)

Robert De Niro as Megs in the 1989 film The Jackknife.

Another De Niro performance that seemed to come and go without much fanfare is the emotional film from 1989. Jackknife. co-star Ed Harris received most of the attention and a Golden Globe nomination, but it’s De Niro as Joe “Megs” Megessy, a gruff and abrasive Vietnam veteran with PTSD who reunites with old alcoholic friend Dave (Harris). “Megs” is attracted to Dave’s caring sister, Martha (Kathy Baker), and, despite the protests of his veteran friend, maintains a relationship with her. Long-haired and bearded, De Niro is unlike anything we’ve seen him in, and brings a subtle combination of raw energy and common sense wisdom to the role. And these three together bring some palpable, unspoken tension to a strange triangle of relationships.

Leonard Lowe in Awakening (1990)


When an actor can outshine others without even saying a word, that’s real talent. It was De Niro’s difficult task. Awakenings. Based on a true story, a film about a young doctor played by Robin Williamswho introduces a new drug to catatonic patients with miraculous results. De Niro plays one such patient, Leonard Lowe.

From a character who relies on message boards, to a character full of unique tics, and finally to a character who finds his true voice, De Niro crafts every part of Leonard’s journey. This film shows that he’s definitely not an actor to be typical, and just because he’s good at playing a hardcore gangster doesn’t mean he won’t reach out to vulnerable characters worthy of making viewers shed a tear or two.

Frank Good in Everything is fine (2009)

Everything is fine

With a quality cast including De Niro, Drew Barrymore, Kate BeckinsaleAnd Sam Rockwell, Everything is fine probably should have been a little more successful than it was. While many critics called him too soft, De Niro puts on an impressive performance as the family’s quiet, thoughtful patriarch.

Realizing that much of the connection to his adult children came from his recently deceased wife, Frank (De Niro) is determined to change that. He embarks on a journey to visit each of them, but soon realizes that their lives are not as perfect as they have led him to believe. In this performance, De Niro perfectly conveys the grief of loss both in real life and in the imagination.

Bobby Carillo’s father sleepers (1996)

Image via Warner Bros.

Although he doesn’t have a lead role in this movie, his performance shows that even a little De Niro’s screen time is better than none. Based on the book of the same name by Lorenzo Carcaterra. sleepers is a dark and disturbing story about four boys who are abused by guards at a detention center after a prank goes wrong. What follows is a story of revenge. While Carcaterra claims this is a true story, questions have since been raised as to how real it is. True story or not, this film grabs the viewer and doesn’t let go. While the young actors certainly deserve praise, De Niro’s small but important role deserves special attention in equal measure.

He plays Father Bobby Carillo, a local priest who has a close relationship with the boys. De Niro excels at displaying the depth of emotion needed to depict a man of God wrestling between his moral values ​​and his heart when called upon to provide an alibi in court. Besides, who else could pull off an extreme close-up that seems to drag on over and over again? Without saying a word, De Niro lets the audience feel exactly what Bobby’s father is going through. Now that’s some strong acting chops.

Frank Ruftis Fall in love (1984)

Fall in love

A forbidden romance and a broken marriage may not seem like the most festive premise, but Fall in love Definitely deserves a place on the Christmas watch list. It tells the story of two married strangers who accidentally mix up their presents while on a last minute shopping trip for Christmas. And, as it says on the can, they end up “falling in love.” But when the two strangers are young Robert De Niro and Meryl Streep, it’s hard not to keep the romance going. Unlike the gun roles with which he has become most associated, this character allows De Niro to show his softer and more romantic side, and is well worth watching.

Dwight Hansen This boy’s life (1993)

This boy's life

De Niro and DiCaprio play stepfather and stepson, what could be better? Adapted from the autobiography of Tobias Wolff, this early 90s drama tells the story of a family in turmoil after a recent marriage turns violent. De Niro plays Dwight, a man who appears to be Mr. Faithful on the outside but soon shows his true colors. In one of his most prominent performances, he brilliantly portrays a character with such low self-esteem that he has to humiliate everyone around him – even his own adopted children. Scenes between Dwight and his rebellious stepson Toby (Leonardo DiCaprio) are extremely strong, and This boy’s life proved to be an important addition to the filmography of both actors. Fortunately, just a few years later, we saw this powerful couple again with the 1996 drama. Marvin’s room.