The Godfather

Al Pacino and Robert De Niro: Inside the Parallel Lives of the Legendary Actors

The two Oscar-winning actors, who have starred in multiple movies together, have more in common than just their filmographies

Al Pacino and Robert De Niro go way back — to before they even knew one another.

The two movie legends are well known for working together onscreen several times, but in reality, the parallels between their lives go far beyond their filmographies.

For starters, both De Niro, 79, and Pacino, 83, are both from New York City — specifically Manhattan, with the former having grown up primarily in Greenwich Village and Little Italy. While Pacino grew up in the Bronx, he was born in Manhattan’s East Harlem neighborhood.

Both actors were also only children from parents who split when they were toddlers, and have Italian heritage on their fathers’ sides.

The two men met in their 20s, more than 50 years ago, with Pacino telling GQ of De Niro during a joint interview in 2019, “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. Remember? You know, he was Bob. But you felt something from him.”

RIGHTEOUS KILL, Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino
Robert De Niro and Al Pacino in Righteous Kill (2008).OVERTURE FILMS/COURTESY EVERETT COLLECTION

Pacino and De Niro both broke into the film industry in the late 1960s and early ’70s. The two famously costarred in 1974’s sequel The Godfather Part II though they shared no screen time, as De Niro played a young version of Vito Corleone in flashbacks while Pacino reprised his role as Michael Corleone in the movie’s present-day storyline.

The duo reunited to play a police officer (Pacino) and a professional criminal (De Niro) hunting for each other in 1995’s Heat, which marked the first time the two actors actually appeared onscreen together more than 20 years after The Godfather Part II. Since then, Pacino and De Niro have also led movies like 2008’s Righteous Kill and 2019’s The Irishman.

The screen legends reunited last summer for a 50th anniversary screening of The Godfather, hosted by the Tribeca Film Festival, which De Niro co-founded in 2002 to revive the cultural scene of lower Manhattan in the wake of 9/11.

De Niro and Pacino previously joined the movie’s director Francis Ford Coppola onstage at the 94th Academy Awards, where the latter reflected on his magnum opus’ milestone anniversary.

“I feel moments like this should be sincere and brief,” said Coppola, 84, turning to De Niro and Pacino. “And I’m so grateful for my wonderful friends to come here to help me celebrate with you.”

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 16: Robert De Niro and Al Pacino attend "The Godfather" 50th Anniversary Screening during the 2022 Tribeca Festival at United Palace Theater on June 16, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images for Tribeca Festival)
Robert De Niro and Al Pacino at a 50th anniversary screening of The Godfather in 2022. ROY ROCHLIN/GETTY FOR TRIBECA FESTIVAL

Both actors are also still experiencing newborn-baby bliss for the first time, as De Niro recently welcomed his seventh child — a baby girl named Gia — with girlfriend Tiffany Chen, on April 6. In addition, De Niro has six adult children: Drena, Raphael, Julian, Aaron, Elliot and Helen.

At the New York premiere of his most recent film About My Father earlier this month, the two-time Oscar winner told Extra, “I’m okay with it. I’m good with it,” though he added it “never gets easier.”

Meanwhile, Pacino — himself the recipient of an Academy Award — will soon be a father of four, as he and girlfriend Noor Alfallah are expecting a baby, the actor’s rep confirmed to PEOPLE on Tuesday.

Alfallah, 29, has been linked to Pacino since April 2022. The pair first sparked romance rumors when they were pictured grabbing dinner together. Multiple sources told Page Six last year that the couple had actually been quietly dating since the pandemic.

Pacino shares daughter Julie Marie, 33, with ex-girlfriend Jan Tarrant. He also shares 22-year-old twins Anton and Olivia with ex Beverly D’Angelo, whom he dated from 1997 to 2003.

Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino attend First Annual Actors Studio Awards on November 5, 1980

In May, social-media users pitted the two movie legends against each other in a new way.

Writer Ashley Reese went viral on Twitter when she asked her followers (while at a wedding) to determine who was more attractive as a young man: De Niro or Pacino.

All in all, Twitter users banded together to ensure both Pacino and De Niro received an equal amount of votes by the time the poll closed.

“This 50/50 tie is incredible,” Reese wrote after the final tallies were counted. “You’re really a yung Pacino or a yung di Nero.”

“More people voted in this poll than some local elections,” she added in another post within the thread.

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