This week I’m sorting a set of modern-day icons, and Mr. Sally J is shaking his head. I mean, how can I not know the difference between Al Pacino and Rober DeNiro? Robert DeNiro
DeNiro was born in New York in 1943. Over his long career, he’s worked a lot with Martin Scorsese and has won two Academy Awards. Fans of the Godfather trilogy know that he plays a young Vito Corleone (the older version is played by Marlon Brando) in The Godfather: Part II. His early work also includes Taxi Driver, The Deer Hunter, and Raging Bull. He’s done a lot of movies since, including mob movies like The Untouchables and Goodfellas. He’s done a lot of crime movies, like Heat and The Score. He’s also done some more lighthearted fare, like his recurring role as the disapproving father in Meet the Parents, Meet the Fockers and Little Fockers. I’m leaving a lot out here, but you get the idea.
Pacino was born in New York in 1940. He, too, has had a long career, has won one Oscar and is known for playing serious roles. He was Michael Corleone in all three Godfather installments. He was Scarface. He was in Heat with DeNiro and played a gangster in Donnie Brosco. He won an Oscar for his lead in The Scent of a Woman. In recent history, he played a hotel owner in Oceans Thirteen.
So how do you tell these two New Yorkers apart? Mr. Sally J says, “You just know.” I say that in recent years, Pacino tends to have more hair. De Niro tends to do wider range of characters – he’ll play the good guy and the bad guy and the funny guy. Pacino tends to more often be the bad guy. Anyone else have any other ways to discern between these two successful actors?