Robert De Niro has been a Hollywood star for almost half a century, so it’s not surprising that his career has spanned several years with several great films. On the brink of fame, De Niro made two great films in 1973, starring in director Martin Scorsese’s crime drama Mean Streets and the baseball tearjerker Bang the Drum Slowly. Both films received critical acclaim.
Mean Streets was the first of many collaborations between Scorsese and De Niro, with two of those films being released in multiple hit years for De Niro. First he played the smooth-talking Jimmy Conway in the Scorsese gangster classic Goodfellas in 1990, the same year he portrayed Leonard Lowe in Awakenings. De Niro earned an Oscar nomination for his performance in Awakenings and received praise from Entertainment Weekly for his “emotionally eloquent” and “daring” performance. Then, in 1995, Scorsese and De Niro teamed up again on glitzy mafia epic Casino, the same year De Niro was collaborating with another well-known auteur filmmaker, Michael Mann, on the critically acclaimed crime drama Heat.
De Niro had another year of several great film releases in 1997 with a trio of acclaimed films. He starred as detective Moe Tilden in the star-studded drama Cop Land, director James Mangold’s meditation on police corruption. De Niro also played criminal Louis Gara in director Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown, the witty adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s crime novel Rum Punch. He rounded out 1997 by co-starring with Dustin Hoffman in the political satire Wag The Dog as top spin doctor Conrad Brean, hired by the White House to avert a sex scandal by creating a fictional war.