The enduring collaboration between Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese has yielded some of the most memorable films in cinema history. Their creative partnership has consistently brought out the best in both men, and as evidenced in “Killers of the Flower Moon,” De Niro’s performance stands as one of his finest in recent years, making an Oscar nomination almost a certainty.
Reflecting on how this iconic duo first came together sheds light on the pivotal role played by Brian De Palma. The legendary filmmaker of the ’70s, known for classics like “Carrie” and “Scarface,” was the linchpin that connected one of the greatest actors of the 20th century with his directorial soulmate.
During an appearance on The Dick Cavett Show in 1978, Scorsese credited De Palma for introducing him to “Bobby,” as he affectionately calls De Niro. De Palma recounted how De Niro had worked in three consecutive films for him in the late ’60s and early ’70s: “Greetings,” “The Wedding Party,” and “Hi, Mom!” This collaboration prompted De Palma to facilitate the introduction to Scorsese.
De Palma described De Niro as someone who exudes a quiet intensity, with an unpredictable approach to his craft. This quality made him an ideal creative partner for Scorsese, whose own artistic sensibilities were known for being unconventional. Their first collaboration came in 1973 with the crime drama “Mean Streets,” where De Niro portrayed a small-time crook. Less than a decade later, Scorsese guided De Niro to his second Oscar with the iconic boxing film “Raging Bull.”
Fast forward 50 years from their initial partnership, and “Killers of the Flower Moon” emerges as one of the standout films of 2023. De Niro’s portrayal of the sinister yet charismatic William King Hale showcases his enduring talent. If justice prevails, this performance may lead De Niro to claim his first Academy Award since “Raging Bull.” The collaboration between these cinematic legends continues to leave an indelible mark on the world of film.