Legendary actor Robert De Niro’s film catalog is like a master class in cinema’s best bad guys in history. Sure, some of his lighter fare has definitely fallen flat, but if anyone can play the guy you love to hate expertly, he is your guy. De Niro’s best bad guys run the gamut from your run-of-the-mill sociopaths to mafia kingpins, a tortured veteran, a casino boss and so many more. His Francis Ford Coppola canon alone is eight films deep (10 if you include the two movies they acted in together but Coppola did not direct).
The ultimate method actor, De Niro is known to lose himself in his roles. For Vito Corleone, he lived in Sicily for several months and learned the local dialects. For his iconic role in Taxi Driver, he got a cabbie’s license and drove a taxi 15 hours a day for a month while studying mental illnesses. Rumor has it he insisted on a live round in his gun during the infamous Russian roulette scene in The Deer Hunter and even wore the same style of silk underwear as Al Capone, made by Capone’s original tailors, in The Untouchables.
After such a long and storied career, what are his best bad guys? Check out this slideshow to see our votes.