The Truth About Al Pacino And Robert De Niro's Friendship

Al Pacino and Robert De Niro have enjoyed seemingly linear lives and careers. They grew up not too far away from each other: De Niro in Little Italy, Manhattan and Pacino in the Bronx, as noted by The Guardian. Pacino landed his breakthrough role in 1972's The Godfather, while De Niro got his break a year later in Mean Streets. Their first film together, as detailed by The Guardian, was in the sequel to The Godfather; however, they did not act in the same scenes. It took the actors more than 20 years into their careers to appear in a movie together at the same time. The movie that provided the honor was 1995's Heat.

Pacino and De Niro rose to acting prominence in the "New Hollywood" era in cinema, which refers to the time between the 1960s and 1970s when many new filmmakers rose to power in Hollywood, per Studio Binder. Since then, the actors have become some of the most revered and awarded in Hollywood and continue to be to this day. 

Experiencing success in Hollywood as two young men in the same period of time would undoubtedly bond two people together, and it did for Pacino and De Niro. Their relationship, though, is deeper than two guys who went through the same thing. Keep scrolling to learn the truth about Al Pacino and Robert De Niro's friendship.

Al Pacino and Robert De Niro have known each other for 50 years

Al Pacino told The Guardian in a joint interview in 2019 with Robert De Niro that the two met in 1968. "Early on in our careers, we connected from time to time and we found we had similar things happening to us," Pacino recalled. "Our lives took on a whole different kind of thing."

In May 2019, De Niro presented Pacino with an American Icon Award and gave more insight into how the two became pals. During his speech, the Meet the Fockers star said he met Pacino in their early 20s through his The Wedding Party co-star Jill Clayburgh, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter. Clayburgh was dating Pacino at the time. "Al and I got to be friends over the years, hanging out from time to time, talking about work, life, whatever, competing viciously with each other for parts," De Niro remembered. "Al's career exploded with The Godfather and two years later in Godfather 2 Al reprised his role of Michael Corleone; I played the young old Vito Corleone in the flashbacks. In other words, I played Al's father. And that's when I think I became a father figure to Al, and he's looked up to me in that way ever since." De Niro is three years younger than Pacino.

Al Pacino and Robert De Niro's friendship is still going strong

Al Pacino and Robert De Niro's friendship has lasted through decades of work and dozens of movies, and it's here to stay. In the same 2019 interview with The Guardian, Pacino shared how tight the two really are. "We're really close. We don't see each other very much, but when we do, we found we shared certain things. In a way, I think we've helped each other throughout life," he said.

The long-lasting friendship has certainly captured the attention of fans and peers of the dynamic duo. Director Martin Scorsese, who directed their 2019 collaboration The Irishman, commented on the bond between Pacino and De Niro seen in the critically acclaimed film. "What we see in the film is their relationship as actors, as friends over the past 40, 45 years," he said at a November 2019 American Film Institute tribute event, per Yahoo! Life. "There's something magical that happens there."

The pair clearly care about each other, and they showed it when they ended a November 2019 GQ interview by embracing, with Pacino reminding De Niro that he loves him.