Celebrating the Oscar-winning actor on his 78th birthday
It might be nearly impossible to catalog all of Robert De Niro’s finest roles across decades of being one of America’s greatest actors. He has given audiences many of the most iconic movie lines of all time. Here are just a few of those greatest bits of dialogue.
“You talkin’ to me?”
“Taxi Driver” (1976)
Fittingly, De Niro is behind one of the most famous movie quotes of all time — a perfect assessment of toxic masculinity.
“Someday a real rain will come and wash all this scum off the streets.”
“Taxi Driver” (1976)
Another great line from “Taxi Driver,” this early voice-over monologue showcases Travis Bickle’s scary sense of morality.
“You didn’t get me down, Ray.” – “Raging Bull” (1980) – Jake La Motta has just taken an absolute beating from Sugar Ray Leonard, but he stands upright as he takes his punishment. This line echoes the movie’s theme of a guy who hurts himself so much so he can feel anything.
“Better to be king for a night than schmuck for a lifetime.” – “The King of Comedy” (1982) – This single De Niro quote embodies the sad, strange tragedy of Rupert Pupkin, one of De Niro’s most out-of-character roles in this Martin Scorsese cult favorite.
“I grew up in a tough neighborhood, and we used to say, you can get further with a kind word and a gun than you can with just a kind word.”
“The Untouchables” (1987)
De Niro makes a terrifying Al Capone in Brian De Palma’s film, most notably in this harrowing scene where he calls, “Batter up!”
“Never rat on your friends and always keep your mouth shut.”
De Niro offers some great words of wisdom in this classic scene from “Goodfellas.”
“I’m bound for the promised land!”
“Cape Fear” (1991)
This is De Niro at his most unhinged, quoting scripture in a Southern drawl and terrorizing the “counselor,” played by Nick Nolte, with his psychotic philosophies and prison wisdom.
“Listen to me very carefully. There are three ways of doing things around here: the right way, the wrong way, and the way that *I* do it.”
Though not as famous as his other Scorsese work, “Casino” is one of De Niro’s more underrated best roles.
“Don’t let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner.”
De Niro delivers this line in a powerful, emotional scene across from Al Pacino in Michael Mann’s action classic.
“War is show business – that’s why we’re here.”
“Wag the Dog” (1997)
A rare political turn for De Niro, “Wag the Dog” is still a remarkably timely and cynical story about media spin and public opinion.
“I have nipples, Greg, could you milk me?”
“Meet the Parents” (2000)
De Niro has been in some of the best movies of all time, but an entire younger generation knows him for this comdey movie line.
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