Two giants of Hollywood that between them have played enough classic gangsters to fill 1960s Havanna, both Robert De Niro and Al Pacino have some truly iconic films under their belts – often acting together. So, ahead of their collaborative work in the upcoming The Irishman, who will win this month’s Face-Off? Oscars be damned, this is where the real competition is.
There aren’t enough pages in this mag to go through half of De Niro’s filmography. Whether it’s his classically creepy turn as Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver or in objectively the best boxing film ever made, Raging Bull (fight me, Rocky) his early career was a tour de force. Lately… well, the less said about Dirty Grandpa the better. His best role though? Rupert Pupkin in The King of Comedy. The Joker wouldn’t exist without it.
What angsty teen or cartel drug lord doesn’t have a Scarface poster on their wall somewhere? Tony Montana is one of the greatest anti-heroes put to film. At the other end of the scale is Pacino’s subdued role in Scent of a Woman and his oddly convincing Satan in Devil’s Advocate. He’s been in fewer recent films then De Niro but maybe that’s a good thing. Who however can forget his turn as Michael Corleone in one of the best trilogies in film history?
Nominated for far fewer awards than Pacino, De Niro nonetheless has one more Oscar. Obviously one was for Raging Bull but the other wasn’t for Taxi Driver, a sheer travesty. Funnily enough though, his second was for his supporting role in The Godfather Part II. All that said, it doesn’t seem like he’s on the path to another Oscar any time soon – pending The Irishman.
He’s had plenty of nominations in his time, with as many for supporting actor as leading man. He has however won fewer times than you might expect. A Golden Globe for Serpico and a further two more recent for Angels in America and You Don’t Know Jack, but his only Oscar was for his phenomenal performance in Scent of a Woman in 1993. Still, he definitely earned that one.
Him and Rolex go hand in hand and from as early as 1978’s Deerhunter he’s been rocking Submariners, Daytonas and even a vintage Oyster. More recently however it looks like he’s been expanding his collection with the collector’s darling that is FP Journe. The exact watch in question is the Chronometre Bleu he wore to promote the under-the-radar Wizard of Lies. Pure class.
He’s a self-confessed watch lover from the first he ever bought: a gold Rolex Datejust he bought himself for winning a Tony Award. He’s been a Rolex fan ever since but still mixed it up occasionally. As Tony Montana he wore an Omega La Magique (perhaps not the best endorsement) and has been spotted with a Jaeger-LeCoultre Compressor, too.
Slightly less practical, a good deal faster, De Niro’s car of choice is the Maserati Grand Turismo… though you might have seen him driving something less impressive recently when Kia launched its… ahem, e-Niro range. I just… can’t.
Forget flashy hypercars, Pacino prefers comfort to speed with his main ride being a bulky Lexus GX 470. In fact, he’s a fan of SUVs in general, with a Range Rover Vogue as well. Even his non-offroad cars have comfort in mind, like his Rolls-Royce Phantom and Mercedes SLS. Well, he deserves it.
Apparently all his recent dubious decisions have paid off in one respect: the legendary actor has somewhere in the region of $300 million. Who cares where payday comes from?
A none-too-shabby $165 million matches Pacino’s filmic prestige nicely though perhaps he could afford the occasional cash grab here and there. Nobody would begrudge him.
Personally, more of my favourite films are on the De Niro side and his FP Journe is a horological class act. It’s just a shame Dirty Grandpa is not. Pacino on the other hand has made hardly a misstep, has a nicely varied watch collection and played Tony freakin’ Montana. So… ScarFace-Off winner then?