American actor, director, and producer, Robert De Niro is known to be one of the greatest actors in cinematic history. He’s been a part of some of the highest-rated and favorite films of our generation and is known for his impeccable skill and the films that he creates.
It’s a challenge to pick only 35 of the best Robert De Niro movies, but here are our picks! If you love cinema and incredible movies, these Robert De Niro movies are the ones for you.
1. Taxi Driver (1976)
One of the most popular Robert De Niro movies of all time is Taxi Driver. Through the film, we follow Travis Bickle, who suffers from insomnia and decides to find a job as a late-night taxi driver.
He initially spends his nights roaming the streets and gradually growing more alienated from reality. He then meets Betsy, a beautiful campaigner, and he is introduced to the idea of changing the world, starting by cleaning the dirty streets of New York.
We follow Travis’s relationships with different people around him, as well as messages of racial discrimination, prostitution, and more. The message, dialogue, and color scheme make this movie incredible and is a must-watch if you love De Niro.
2. Goodfellas (1990)
Another one of the best Robert De Niro movies is based on Nicholas Pileggi's novel "Wiseguy". Goodfellas is about a young man growing in the mob, as he works to rise through the ranks, completely unaware of the tragedy he's creating along the way.
His rise to the top was thwarted by drug addiction and a few blunders. It’s an incredible film about respect and reputation and a great Robert De Niro movie.
3. The Irishman (2019)
Frank Sheeran, a truck driver, becomes connected with Russell Bufalino and his Pennsylvania crime syndicate in the 50s. He works for Jimmy Hoffa, a prominent Teamster with ties to organized crime, as he rises through the ranks, growing into the top hitman in the community.
The Irishman is one of the top Robert De Niro movies, and one of the most recent on this list.
4. Raging Bull (1980)
Raging Bull follows a heavyweight fighter's journey up the leagues to win his first opportunity at the middleweight title. He is enchanted with a beautiful girl, however, his incapacity to express himself enters the ring and starts taking control of his life.
He is pushed into a downward cycle that causes him to lose everything. Raging Bull is one of the most successful and best Robert De Niro movies, which won De Niro 11 awards in total.
5. The Godfather Part II (1974)
In the second film in The Godfather sequel, we follow the story of a Mafia family's father and son. Robert De Niro plays Vito Corleone, a young immigrant as he is introduced to the life of crime in the 1910s, alongside the story of his son in the 1950s.
This Robert De Niro movie won him an Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actor and is considered one of the greatest movies of all time.
6. The King of Comedy (1983)
In this Robert De Niro movie, he plays Rupert Pupkin, a wanna-be comedian hosting a make-believe talk show in the basement of his mother's home. Despite his failures, he believes in his ability to find success.
He believes that meeting real-life talk show host Jerry Langford will be his "big break", but Langford is uninterested. However, Pupkin remains determined to get a spot on his show, stopping at nothing to do so, including stalking and kidnapping Langford.
7. Mean Streets (1973)
This Robert De Niro movie offers a look into the lives of lower-level Mafiosos, unstable hoodlums, and small crooks in Little Italy. When a small-time crook finds himself trapped with a ruthless loan shark, he calls on his friend, another criminal, to escape the perils of his debt.
It’s considered one of the best Robert De Niro movies and is a must-watch for any fan.
8. Heat (1995)
We follow investigator Lieutenant Hanna as he tries to apprehend a seasonal thief who has vowed to commit one more theft without being caught.
Alongside Al Pacino, Robert De Niro plays criminal mastermind Neil McCauley, as we watch the two fight and come together, as we see both the fight between the two as well as their individual lives and problems.
9. The Deer Hunter (1978)
Set in the US-Vietnam war, we follow childhood friends Michael, Steven, and Nick following their enrolment in the army as they prepare to ship out to Vietnam.
Surrounded by the horror of the war, their hopes of military success are shattered when they are captured by enemy forces, living through experiences that traumatize them through the war.
10. Once Upon a Time in America (1984)
David "Noodles'' Aaronson, an elderly man, returns to NYC after a career in the criminal underworld he had there in the 1920-30s. Despite the loss of most of his friends and his partner, he still believes his history is unsolved.
We follow Noodles through his past, watching flashbacks of his experience as a tough youngster in a Jewish ghetto to his rise to Mafia leader. It’s considered one of the best Robert De Niro movies, so check it out when you can!
11. Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
Pat Solatano ends up living with his parents after losing his career and wife following his time spent in a mental facility. He plans to get his life back on track, reviving his job and reconciling with his wife, despite his parent's uninterest in the same.
When he meets Tiffany, she promises to help him reunite with his wife in exchange for him doing something for her.
12. Joker (2019)
We follow Arthur Fleck, a failing comic living in Gotham City. Surrounded by people but constantly alone, Arthur masks who he is, covering it up with his fruitless attempts to blend in with the rest of the world.
Facing isolation, hatred, and apathy, he begins a gradual fall into lunacy as he turns into the Joker, a criminal mastermind. This movie gives a background and origin story to Batman’s antagonist, where Robert De Niro plays a talk show host, one of those who pushes Fleck into his downward spiral.
13. Awakenings (1990)
'Awakenings' is a Robert De Niro movie that follows a doctor after he stumbles upon a handful of catatonic patients he discovers languishing, inspiring him to make a change in their lives.
He asks his superiors for permission to treat them with L-dopa, a medication that was previously used to treat Parkinson's disease. Despite skepticism, Dr. Malcolm Sayer is successful, but his happiness doesn't last for long.
14. A Bronx Tale (1993)
Calogero is taken under the wing of local gangster Sonny as he grows up on the Bronx streets in the socially tumultuous 1960s. Despite opposition from his father, Sonny introduces the teen into the ways of gang life.
Their problems escalate when Calogero falls for one of his classmates, threatening their community and causing a ripple effect that impacts all of those around them.
15. Brazil (1985)
Sam Lowry, a low-level official, escapes the boredom of his daily existence by daydreaming about himself as a moral hero rescuing a helpless woman. He encounters the lady from his fantasy while investigating a case that resulted in the erroneous arrest and subsequent murder of an innocent man instead of the notorious criminal Harry Tuttle.
In attempting to retrieve her, he gets entangled in a web of mistaken identities, deception, and bureaucracy.
16. Cape Fear (1991)
Max Cady is sentenced to 14 years in prison after attorney Sam Bowden intentionally withholds information that would exonerate the dangerous sex offender of his rape charges.
However, after learning of Sam's deception, Max dedicates his life to pursuing and ruining his family. Sam recognizes that if he needs to protect his wife and children, he'll have to go beyond the laws. It’s a must-watch Robert De Niro movie!
17. Casino (1995)
Inspired by a novel by Nicholas Pileggi, Casino follows low-level gangster Sam "Ace" Rothstein, who is selected by his bosses to run the Tangiers Casino in early 1970s Las Vegas.
At first, he's a big hit on the job, but after clashes with several people from his past and present, he’s put into jeopardy. De Niro plays Sam in one of the best Robert De Niro movies on our list!
18. Jackie Brown (1997)
Jackie Brown, a flight attendant, is accused of smuggling money for her weapons dealing boss, Ordell Robbie. Brown chooses to double both sides and escape with the stolen money rather than risk her life either way. Do check this one out if you like Robert De Niro movies.
19. The Untouchables (1987)
Al Capone, the notorious criminal leader, commands Chicago with an iron grip after creating an empire with bootleg whiskey. Although Prohibition agent Eliot Ness makes every effort to apprehend Capone, his efforts are thwarted by rampant corruption within the Chicago police department.
Recruiting a select cadre of law enforcement officers, notably Irish-American policeman Jimmy Malone, who will not be influenced by bribery or fear.
20. Meet the Parents (2000)
When Greg Focker goes along with his girlfriend to meet her parents for the first time, things don't quite go as planned. Despite planning to propose during their time at her parent's home, he instead succeeds in provoking the anger of his future father-in-law and nearly destroying their home.
It’s a hilarious Robert De Niro movie that you must check out.
21. New York, New York (1977)
During V-J Day festivities after the conclusion of WWII, young saxophonist Jimmy Doyle meets seasoned USO band vocalist Francine Evans. They form a musical duo and they fall in love, but their tumultuous relationship deteriorates with time.
Years later, when they both have great professions, Jimmy and Franci cross paths again. We love this Robert De Niro movie, and hope that you will too!
22. Bang the Drum Slowly (1973)
Henry Wiggen's assured demeanor immediately wins over his teammates after he joins the New York Mammoths. However, he clashes with the team's catcher, Bruce Pearson, who seems to be his polar opposite.
However, the two become close after Henry learns that Bruce has been covering up the fact that he recently discovered he has a deadly form of cancer. It's an inspirational Robert De Niro movie about the importance of life and spending it to the best you can.
23. Midnight Run (1988)
Eddie Moscone assures bounty hunter Jack Walsh that the task to find a mafia accountant dubbed "The Duke" will be straightforward and that he simply has to track and bring him to LA.
When Jack discovers The Duke, however, the FBI and the mob are eager to apprehend him. Jack must elude the authorities, hide from the crowd, and prevent The Duke's unpredictable behavior in a cross-country chase.
24. Analyze This (1999)
Anxiety attacks compel a Mafia boss to seek treatment from a doctor. The gangster, who is known for his ruthlessness, is concerned about his image when he catches himself crying for no explicable reason.
The powerful and ambitious man provides a challenge to the psychiatrist, who is dealing with his own set of difficulties. It’s a Robert De Niro movie that you cannot miss!
25. Wag the Dog (1997)
The U.S. president finds himself in the center of a sexual harassment scandal two weeks before his reelection campaign.
In need of assistance, president adviser Winifred Ames enlists the services of spin doctor Conrad Brean, who determines that a diversion is the best approach. Brean enlists the aid of Film director Stanley Moss to stage a crisis in Albania, and once the conflict has begun, the pair has the press focused entirely on the war.
26. Angel Heart (1987)
The next Robert De Niro movie on our list is Angel Heart. In this film, Louis Cyphre hires private investigator Harry Angel to seek down the legendary vocalist Johnny Favorite.
Everyone who Angel queries about Favorite, though, appears to die tragically. Angel eventually follows the trail to New Orleans, where he discovers that Favorite is engaged in the black arts. Angel discovers that getting recruited by Cyphre was not a chance when Favorite's whereabouts and actual identity become known.
27. Cop Land (1997)
After finding himself in the middle of an unpleasant racially charged altercation, Superboy calls on his uncle Ray Donlan, a crooked New York City detective. They try to cover it up and Donlan assists in the fake murder of his nephew.
However, it doesn't go as a planner and prompts inquiries by ambitious Internal Affairs officer Moe Tilden and sheriff Freddy Heflin.
28. Stardust (2007)
Tristan goes into the world of fairies to collect a fallen star to win the affection of a girl. He, on the other hand, discovers a woman called Yvaine. She is in severe danger since the king's sons rely on her to safeguard the country, and an evil witch wants to use her to achieve eternal youth and beauty.
This takes him on a life-altering journey that changes him forever.
29. The Mission (1986)
Father Gabriel, a Jesuit priest, travels to the Guarani territories in South America to introduce the locals to Christianity. He quickly establishes a mission and is quickly joined by Rodrigo Mendoza, a repentant slave trader looking for atonement.
The Portuguese government intends to capture the indigenous as slaves after a treaty passes territory between Spain to Portugal. It’s another must-watch Robert De Niro movie!
30. Sleepers (1996)
After nearly murdering a person, four young mates from Hell's Kitchen are sent to prep school where they are brutalized. John and Tommy grow up to be hitmen who, years later, recognize and murder their abusers.
Another member of their group, who has become the assistant district attorney, in prosecuting their case. We love this Robert De Niro movie and are sure that you will too.
31. Ronin (1998)
Deirdre assembles a team of specialists and assigns them the mission of obtaining an expensive suitcase whose insides are unknown. Sam, a former officer, is part of the multinational team, which also comprises Vincent and Gregor.
As their operation begins, many members of the team are discovered to be unreliable, and all must accomplish the job while keeping an eye on each other.
32. Novecento (1976)
Despite their social classes, Alfredo Berlinghieri and Olmo Dalc grow up to be close friends. As adults, though, Alfredo embraces his landowning ancestry while Olmo champions workers' rights.
This epic historical drama is one of the best Robert De Niro movies we've seen, and you will love it too!
33. The Score (2001)
Nick Wells, a seasoned burglar, maybe about to pull off a near-impossible heist that will need him to team up with a cunning teenage partner. Nick's intention to withdraw from crime and settle with his fiancée, Diane, is disrupted by an unusual partnership established by Nick's old buddy and fence, Max.
Unfortunately, it forces Nick to break his most essential rule: Always work alone.
34. Limitless (2011)
Another great Robert De Niro movie is 'Limitless', which follows Eddie Morra, who is unemployed and has been rejected by his girlfriend, believing he has no future. After an old acquaintance offers him medication that improves mental sharpness, everything changes.
Eddie advances to the pinnacle of the finance industry thanks to the unproven chemical, drawing the attention of a businessman who plans to use him to earn a large profit.
35. This Boy's Life (1993)
Last but not least, the next Robert De Niro movie on this list is 'This Boy’s Life'. Set in the 50s, we follow Toby and his mother, Caroline's move to Washington. After arriving, they meet Dwight, who initially seems kind and mannered.
Caroline and Dwight fall in love and get married, which is when Toby realized the presence of violence in Dwight's method of discipline. Caroline, on the other hand, is adamant about preserving her marriage.
And there you have it! Our pick for the best Robert De Niro movies that you need to check out right now. Whether it's from the start of his career or now, we can guarantee that they will be incredible!
Do let us know in the comments which one of these movies was your favorite!
Also, like and share this list of Robert De Niro movies with your movie pals, and plan a day off to check on all the movies on the list.