Al Pacino and Robert De Niro Have Been Friends for 50 Years, and Here’s What Makes Their Bond So Strong

2 years ago

Al Pacino and Robert De Niro first met back in the late 1960s, when they were both actors who were just starting out. They’ve been friends ever since and their bond dispels all the stereotypes about love and friendship in Hollywood not lasting long. They have both been through a lot, but these 2 actors are still each other’s support and inspiration.

Here at Bright Side, we’ve looked through the interviews of these talented actors in search of an answer to our question: What is it that makes their friendship so strong? Here’s what we’ve learned about the 5-decade-long brotherhood of Al Pacino and Robert De Niro.

They have so much in common.

Both Pacino and De Niro grew up in New York in the 1940s. They were both children of divorced parents, and they both attended acting school, and both admired the same talented actors like Marlon Brando and James Dean. Later on, they both started their acting careers with big roles in “gangster” movies: one of Pacino’s first roles was the role of Michael Corleone in The Godfather (1972), while Robert De Niro played John “Johnny Boy” Civello in Mean Streets (1973).

When the 2 met back at the end of the 1960s in New York, they were both young rookie actors who had just started their careers. The magic between the 2 actors on screen is so intense, and their roles are so remarkable, that it may seem that we’ve seen them acting together in a multitude of films. In reality, The Irishman (2019) is only the 4th movie that starred Pacino and De Niro together, the other 3 being Heat (1995), Righteous Kill (2008) and The Godfather Part II (1974) where they didn’t even have common scenes.

They always have each other’s back.

When the 2 actors became famous after starring in big movies, they actually faced their sudden fame together, during the same period of time. Back then, their friendship helped them to stand the test of glory.

“We were in an unusual position,” said Pacino in one of their interviews. “It was a whole different idea, being well-known. Not quite the way it is now. It was not as accessible, to be famous.”

De Niro agreed: “It was a good thing that we had each other to talk about stuff.”

The 2 still help and support each other and they understand one another very well. “We get together. And there’s a trust there. There just is. We understand this thing together a little bit better. And you go there sometimes just to get some feedback. We talk about things,” says Pacino.

There’s no rivalry between them, even though they were often up for the same roles.

During the 50-year-long friendship between Pacino and De Niro, there were situations where they both were up for the same roles, like that of Michael Corleone in The Godfather. But it never turned the 2 friends into enemies.

“You’re not competitive. If a person gets a part and they’re great in it, that’s fine. It’s when an actor is not good for it and they’re chosen for the wrong reasons, then you are regretful and not even jealous. You say, well, O.K., there you go. That’s just what it is,” says De Niro.

They teach and learn from each other.

When you are close with a person and the 2 of you trust each other and respect each other’s talents, there’s no way you can escape learning things from one another. This is also true for Pacino and De Niro. For example, in one interview De Niro confessed that it was Al who taught him to have a reading of the role with the director and other actors before the actual shooting, to have a better understanding of the material.

They praise each other’s talent and are not shy to say, “I love you.”

If you read or watch interviews with Pacino and De Niro, you’ll probably pay attention to how many kind words they use when speaking about one another. They compliment each other on their talent and approach to work, they say how much their friendship means to them, they even recall their first impressions of one another, and they also turn out to be very touching and kind:

“I remember the meeting very clearly. Unbelievably, I saw this guy, I thought, ‘Wow,’ he’s got such charisma. He wasn’t doing anything. He was just walking. [...] You know, he was Bob. But you felt something from him,” says Pacino as he recollects the first time he met De Niro.

During their joint interviews, Pacino and De Niro often answer questions for each other, play jokes on each other, and are not shy about showing their true feelings — they laugh, embrace, and say, “I love you.”

The friendship between our 2 favorite actors has lasted for more than 50 years, and these handsome men can surely teach us a lot about being a faithful friend. We hope Al Pacino and Robert De Niro will sustain their bond forever and we’re keeping our fingers crossed that we’ll see them together again in many more fascinating movies.

Do you have a friend who’s been together with you for decades? What is it that made your friendship last that long? Let’s share our recipes for strong and faithful friendships in the comments!


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The secret to lasting friendship is being honest and having good sense of humor. Another is that you love that person like a relative, you can always count on them to tell you the truth. Also they genuinely listen and you know they care about your welfare. Having good friend is one of the greatest things that can happen to you.


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