Joe Pesci was born in New Jersey in 1943 and became interested in the arts at an early age. He became a child actor at the age of four, performing on a local radio show. By the age of ten, he had earned a regular spot on a TV variety show called Star hour for kids. Pesci also briefly pursued a music career in the mid-1960s, releasing the LP Little Joe can sing! Gaining little traction in his career aside from a minor role in the 1975 film The Collector of Death, however, Pesci decided to redirect his aspirations towards running a restaurant. It was of course the role of Pesci in the low budget film The Collector of Death which would ultimately lead to his breakthrough role in Martin Scorsese’s 1980 biopic angry bull. Robert DeNiro, having been impressed with Pesci’s performance in the film, recommended him to Scorsese for his next project.
Indeed, Pesci’s role as Joey LaMotta in angry bull earned him Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations for Best Supporting Actor for his performance, and soon he was offered roles in a string of ’80s films such as easy money, Once upon a time in America, man on fireand Lethal weapon 2. The 90s marked a high point in the actor’s career with roles in films such as Goodfellas,Alone at homeand My cousin Viny. In 2019, Pesci reunited with De Niro and Scorsese for Netflix’s epic mob film The Irishman. Here are the best Joe Pesci movies, ranked.
8 Alone at home
Alone at home stars Macaulay Culkin as eight-year-old Kevin McAllister, who is mistakenly left home alone for the holiday season. When petty thieves Harry (Pesci) and Marv (Daniel Stern) find out, they plot to break into the family home, but Kevin has other plans. The movie has earned its reputation as one of the best Christmas movies of all time.
seven With honors
Pesci stars alongside Brendan Fraser as homeless man Simon Wilder in With honours, in which he stumbles upon a young academic’s thesis and offers to turn it in one page at a time in exchange for both food and shelter. Throughout the film, the pair form an unbreakable bond, as Simon teaches Monty (Fraser) valuable life lessons along the way.
The critically acclaimed drama jfk is arguably one of the best Oliver Stone films of all time. It follows the investigation and conspiracy surrounding the assassination of US President John F. Kennedy, told from the perspective of former New Orleans prosecutor Jim Garrison (Kevin Costner). In the film, Pesci plays American pilot David Ferrie, who was allegedly involved in the plot to kill the 35th POTUS. The film received critical acclaim and controversy for its take on events and was nominated for eight Oscars.
5 angry bull
by Martin Scorsese angry bull is based on the memoir of former middleweight boxer Jake LaMotta. It follows JakeLaMotta (Robert De Niro) as he works towards his first middleweight crown. LaMotta’s own personal demons would ultimately derail his career and destroy his family life. Pesci plays Joey LaMotta, Jake’s supportive brother who tries to help him get his life back on track. Pesci’s performance in the film earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
4 The Collector of Death
Pesci stars in the low-budget crime thriller The Collector of Death, about a young man who rises through the ranks of a mafia organization by playing the errand boy for a major New Jersey gangster. Her role in the film foreshadowed her eventual roles in popular mob films Freedmen, Casino, and The Irishman. Despite a small role in the film, Pesci impressed future co-star Robert De Niro and De Niro recommended Pesci for angry bull based on his performance in the lesser known film.
Casino follows the ups and downs of Sam Rothstein (De Niro), a gambling expert who is recruited by the mob to oversee the day-to-day operations of a Vegas casino. Casino marks Pesci’s third collaboration with director Martin Scorsese in which he plays loose cannon Nicky Santoro, a grown man who is friends with Sam. Casino is generally regarded as one of Scorsese’s most underrated works.
2 My cousin Viny
In one of the best lawyer films of all time, Pesci stars as New York lawyer Vinny Gambini in the thunderous forensic comedy My cousin Viny. Bill Gambini (Ralph Macchio) hires his cousin Vinny to defend him when he stands trial for a murder he didn’t commit. Pesci stars alongside Marisa Tomei, who won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, and the pair have undeniable chemistry throughout the film, leading to comedy gold.
Freedmen is an adaptation of the 1985 non-fiction book wise written by Nicholas Pileggi, which chronicles the life of mob associate turned informant Henry Hill. The film is widely regarded as one of Scorsese’s best mob films and hails an all-star cast including the late Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, Paul Sorvino and Lorraine Bracco. Pesci’s performance in the film as Tommy DeVito, one of the most feared members of the Lucchese crime family, earned him his first Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. As indicated by rolling stonethe iconic film turned 30 in 2020.