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Twitter Fights Over Who’s Hotter: Young Al Pacino Or Young Robert DeNiro

Young Robert DeNiro and young Al Pacino in black and white, with a Twitter poll inlaid over them.
Young Robert DeNiro and young Al Pacino in black and white, with a Twitter poll inlaid over them.

Last night’s episode of Succession featured a breakneck, stressful presidential race to 270 electoral votes that threatened to upend my delicate cocktail of Lexapro and weed—but it wasn’t that poll that had Twitter shook. No, it was an entirely different one that asked who’s hotter: young Al Pacino or young Robert DeNiro?

The question, first poised on May 13 by former Jezebel senior reporter and NYC-based writer Ashley Reese who wanted to settle an argument she was having at a wedding, is simple: Take two Italian-American Hollywood legends, at their prime hotness, in the throes of youth, and pit them against each other. A fire of discourse spread throughout Twitter from the moment she dropped the poll, with people posting pictures of the two young studs in the comments to support their arguments and others quote-tweeting her to suggest, blasphemously, that neither one was hot (a lie). Even TMZ and Vanity Fair weighed in.

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Young Pacino vs Young DeNiro: Who’s hotter?

“I honestly don’t even remember how this came up at the wedding. I was at a wedding for one of my late husband’s law school classmates and I was at the dinner table with all the law school friends, just goofing off. I don’t know WHAT prompted this debate but I’m sure I started the poll over who was hotter: Young Pacino or young DeNiro,” Reese, who is “very vocally Team Pacino” told Kotaku via Twitter DM. “The table was basically split, even after doing a lot of google image searching...so I decided to make a Twitter poll to get an idea of what The People outside of this wedding party believe.”

But as the poll creeped closer to its completion, it became clear that this would become one of those touchstone internet moments that you struggle to explain to your Boomer parents. Not only had Reese (inadvertently, she tells Kotaku) set the poll to end during the presidential election episode of Succession, but it was mirroring the events of the episode itself, which saw fictitious presidential hopefuls Jeryd Mencken (Justin Kirk) and Daniel Jiménez (Elliot Villar) locked in a tie for a portion of the night.

“I didn’t even realize it was going to cut into Succession until a friend pointed it out. Fitting that it was also an election episode. To my embarrassment, I was maybe a little more focused on the poll than the episode until the poll was over about 20 min into the episode,” Reese admits.

As the night went on, the margin between DeNiro and Pacino was either nonexistent, or so small it was sending people into a frenzy, with Reese herself demanding that the Pacino TikTok girlies jump into the fray to try and even the score.

I myself voted for Robert DeNiro, with the mental images of him tattooed and terrifying in Cape Fear and smoking a bowl in Jackie Brown swaying my decision. Though, as many people pointed out, Pacino in The Godfather is a pretty nice piece of torta, ya know what I mean?

The Pacino/DeNiro polls closed before the Succession episode polls closed, and although the latter’s ended on a controversial decision (ultra-right Republican Menken won after hundreds of thousands of likely liberal ballots were burned in an attack on a polling center), the former ended in a tie. Yes, a tie. 50/50 DeNiro/Pacino split. But just like the show it accidentally mirrored, the results weren’t actually 100% reliable: Reese tweeted a picture showing DeNiro narrowly edging out Pacino (50.1% to 49.9%), while other Twitter users (myself included), currently see a 50/50 tie.

“On the browser version of Twitter you can see a more accurate breakdown of the numbers and after Pacino had a good lead, the DeNiro heads caught up. I think the final result was a .2% difference,” Reese says.

If you didn’t get a chance to vote in the poll, or you did and want reassurance that you made the right decision, we’ve gathered some images of young DeNiro and young Pacino in a slideshow for you. Just click through and see where you stand on the young Italian-American actor hotness debate. I would like to point out that I have managed to not make a spicy sausage joke this entire time. You’re welcome.

Al Pacino in The Godfather (1972)

A young Al Pacino in The Godfather.
A young Al Pacino in The Godfather.

He’s clean-shaven, baby-faced, and falls for a Sicilian woman. I’m right here, Al!

Robert DeNiro in Taxi Driver (1976)

Robert DeNiro wearing sunglasses and sitting in a taxi on the set of Taxi Driver.
Robert DeNiro wearing sunglasses and sitting in a taxi on the set of Taxi Driver.

Ladies, we love an unhinged guy, right?

Al Pacino in Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

A young, shirtless Al Pacino in Dog Day Afternoon.
A young, shirtless Al Pacino in Dog Day Afternoon.

Pacino famously plays a gay man in this ‘70s crime flick, which makes him even hotter.

Robert DeNiro in The Godfather Part II (1974)

Robert DeNiro with a mustache on a New York City street on The Godfather Part II set.
Robert DeNiro with a mustache on a New York City street on The Godfather Part II set.

The fact that this man speaks Sicilian the entire movie is enough fodder for the “he’s hotter” argument for me.

Al Pacino in Serpico (1973)

Al Pacino wearing a sweatshirt and a beanie on a rooftop overlooking NYC.
Al Pacino wearing a sweatshirt and a beanie on a rooftop overlooking NYC.

Okay, this one made me rethink my choice. Pacino looks like every Bushwick boy who’d break your heart here, and I’m not mad about it.

Robert DeNiro in Raging Bull (1980)

Robert DeNiro shirtless with boxing gloves on in boxing movie Raging Bull.
Robert DeNiro shirtless with boxing gloves on in boxing movie Raging Bull.

The busted boxer’s nose, the frequent shirtlessness, the anger in his eyes. This is peak sexy, scary DeNiro.

Al Pacino in Scarface (1983)

Al Pacino holding a gun and wearing a suit in Scarface.
Al Pacino holding a gun and wearing a suit in Scarface.

Okay, alright, fine, he looks good here. For most of my life I felt a visceral aversion to Pacino in Scarface, mostly because his visage plastered the wall of every frat boy I ever slept with on his sheet-less bed. But now, with many years between myself and college, I can comfortably say that he is very hot here.

Robert DeNiro in Cape Fear (1991)

Robert DeNiro shirtless and covered in fake tattoos in Cape Fear.
Robert DeNiro shirtless and covered in fake tattoos in Cape Fear.

Listen, Robert DeNiro is a nightmare of a person in this movie. He is terrible, horrible, absolutely impossible to be reconciled—a human version of the devil. But, he is very hot. I’m sorry.

Pacino and DeNiro in Heat (1995)


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Though both men are older here (and I’d argue DeNiro looks better), Heat is a prime example of the latent sexiness that’s embedded in both of their bodies. This is an iconic standoff in Hollywood history: Two men, on the either side of the law, meeting face-to-face for the first time. It’s rife with tension (some could even argue sexual), and a reminder that Pacino and DeNiro, no matter who you think is hotter, are god-tier actors.


Where do you stand on the Pacino/DeNiro debate?

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