The Once Upon a Time in America actor will play Vito Genovese and Frank Costello, Italian-American crime bosses in the mid-1950s.
Robert De Niro returns in a gangster movie after his friend Martin Scorsese's The Irishman (on Netflix). This is Wise Guys which will be directed by another longtime director friend, Barry Levinson, Oscar winner for Rain Man starring Dustin Hoffman. The curious note is that De Niro will play two characters of the mala who in 1957 tried to kill themselves.
Who knows if Levinson, author of masterpieces such as Sleepers (always played by the Taxi Driver actor among others), Pyramid of Fear, Good Morning Vietnam (with Robin Williams) and Rain Man himself, will manage to live up to those titles . The requirements seem to be there. Let's see them in detail.
Wise Guys: the plot
De Niro plays the role of Vito Genovese and Frank Costello, the Italian-American crime boss at the head of their respective families. Genovese tried to assassinate Costello in 1957, but the plan failed. At that point Costello decided to get out of the underworld business, a move that is easier said than done.
The script is signed by Nicholas Pileggi, author of the 1986 book Wiseguy, from which Scorsese's famous film Goodfellas was based, starring De Niro himself and the recently deceased Ray Liotta. There is no point of contact between the two films if not the assonance of the titles. Among the producers stands out the name of Irwin Winkler, former producer of Goodfellas and the Rocky films. In short, the premises for a good gangster movie that looks at the classics of the past are all there.
De Niro and gangster films: from The Godfather – part II to Once upon a time in America
The link between gangster movies and Robert De Niro is not new. Think of The Godfather – Part II, where he played Francis Ford Coppola's famous Don Vito Corleone and other Scorsese-signed titles such as Mean Streets, Casino, Goodfellas and more recently The Irishman.
And the list doesn't end there. There is also Once Upon a Time in America, Sergio Leone's masterpiece where De Niro plays the unforgettable Noodles, The Untouchables by Brian De Palma, in which we see him as Al Capone and his nineties film Bronx.
The friendship with Barry Levinson and the masterpiece Sleepers
Not just Martin Scorsese. De Niro has also forged a deep bond with director Barry Levinson. With him he worked in the cult Sleepers (if you want to recover it you can find it on Netflix), in which our Vittorio Gassman also participated, then in Sex & Power and in the comedy Disaster in Hollywood of 2008 with Kristen Stewart. Fifteen years later, the two return to work together.
Written by Michael Zippo
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