It’s been a while since De Niro got his chops into a heavyweight role, preferring to try his hand at comedy. But you cannot deny, he’s still the best actor in Hollywood.
He might seem the obvious choice for a list of monologues, but in truth no series of articles on actors would be complete without him. He is a colossus of the acting world, famously inspiring generations of method actors. Two Oscars seems like scant returns for his incredible work over the years Swide want him to win a third.
The ‘You talkin’ to me?’ scene usually takes the plaudits, but this monologue captures the spiralling mental state of Travis Bickle. It is all the more chilling for the deadpan and subtle delivery.
The final scene has a monologue delivered by Jake La Motta to himself just before he goes on stage. It is De Niro’s La Motta at the furthest end of his character development, talking about his peak, not from his lowest ebb, but a from a place of maturity and final resignation. ‘I could have been a contender’ sums up La Motta’s regrets, and the face staring back at him says it all so eloquently.
De Niro’s Max Cady is a prisoner so consumed by his need for revenge against the lawyer who represented him that he becomes the pure embodiment of that revenge, in thought, body and deed. This is the moment where he looks to finally have that prize in his grasp and he blurts out the lines he must have rehearsed a million times in his head. It’s one of Scorsese’s best pictures and just gets better and better every time you watch it.
If you ever needed an excuse to get out of paying a debt, here’s how to do it. Johnny Boy is backed into a corner and needs to pull a rabbit out of the hat, with a silver tongue and a quick wit, he turns it around. He fools no one, but he has breathing room. So New York, so Scorsese, so De Niro, so true to life. The whole speech is effortless.
Brian De Palma directs De Niro as a psychotic Al Capone. Gaining 30 pounds for the part, he paid a lot of attention to the ‘shape of his face’ . Not his most important work, but a solid performance in a solid movie that seemed to polarise opinion. This scene is menacing.
Now let us know, do you have a favourite scene, film or speech of Robert De Niro? Write a comment below? His he the best actor in the world or is there some one better?