After nearly a decade, one of cinema’s most iconic filmmaking duos is back together again. “Killers of the Flower Moon” sees Martin Scorsese return to cinemas for his first film since 2019’s “The Irishman,” along with the two actors whose screen presence has helped define his filmography. The first is Robert De Niro, his longtime muse since his breakout film “Mean Streets” in 1973. The second is the much younger Leonardo DiCaprio, who reunites with the older statesman 10 years after “The Wolf of Wall Street.”
Scorsese is no stranger to building up a production posse of frequent collaborators (see his consistent editor Thelma Schoonmaker, who he’s worked with on over 20 of his films). And there are many actors who made frequent appearances in his work, including Joe Pesci and Harvey Keitel. But De Niro and DiCaprio are his two clear muses, serving as the leads in 15 of his 26 narrative feature films between the two of them. Technically speaking, the three first worked together in 2015 on te short film”The Audition,” which was made to advertise a casino resort. But “Killers of the Flower Moon” will mark the first time the trio has produced a proper feature.
It’s not the first time DiCaprio worked with De Niro. In fact, a big reason why Scorsese ended up casting DiCaprio in 2002’s “Gangs of New York,” their first film together, is that the star came with the ringing endorsement of Scorsese’s trusted friend. In 1993 and 1996, De Niro and DiCaprio starred together in the dramas “This Boy’s Life” and “Marvin’s Room.” As Scorsese recalled in a recent interview with GQ: “[De Niro] then called me and said, at one point, he just made a film called ‘This Boy’s Life,’ and he was working with this kid that he cast named Leo DiCaprio. He said, ‘He’s very good, you gotta do work with him someday.’ And Bob never really used to tell me that, work with somebody, you know, just we’d go from picture to picture if we worked together.”
DiCaprio and Scorsese’s work together has frequently been compared to the director’s long-running work with De Niro, as almost a 21st century version of that original partnership. But across six films with Scorsese, DiCaprio has definitively established himself as a collaborator in his own right — putting on many of his greatest performances in Scorsese joints. Read on for a brief history of the dynamic duo’s film collaborations, from “Gangs of New York” to what’s set to come after “Killers of the Flower Moon.”