al pacino and robert de niro side by side

Denis Makarenko/ShutterStock s_bukley/ShutterStock (Licensed)

The internet is completely divided over who was hotter: Young Al Pacino or young Robert De Niro

It's a surprisingly contentious question.


Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

Internet Culture

Posted on May 15, 2023

In an old-school Twitter moment akin to The Dress, this weekend saw the app go to war over a surprisingly divisive question: Who is hotter, young Al Pacino, or young Robert De Niro?

Posted by writer Ashley Reese, this poll stemmed from a conversation she was having at a wedding. At first glance, it’s a pretty simple question that most people could answer in seconds. But therein lies the problem.

Since De Niro and Pacino are inescapable figures for generations of filmgoers, most of our opinions are set in stone. And as it turns out, the split between Pacino lovers and De Niro stans is precisely 50/50—a hilarious result after more than 277,000 people weighed in on the viral poll.

As several commenters pointed out, a crucial issue here is that each actor represents a different flavor of hotness. There’s a lot more context than a choice between, say, Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans.

Both Pacino and De Niro were at peak beauty around the same time: The mid-1970s, when they starred in The Godfather Part II. But while De Niro is perhaps more classically handsome—and has a dimply charm that served him well into the warmer, more comedic roles of his later years—Pacino benefits from a chaotic, dangerous energy that caters to different tastes. (This also explains why vintage De Niro and Pacino were paired up in Tumblr‘s imaginary homoerotic Scorsese movie Goncharov last year, btw.)
It’s a perfect zero-consequences argument, with both sides are screaming “DON’T YOU GET IT??” while trying to persuade each other of a completely subjective opinion. Exemplified, in fact, by Ashley Reese returning to her own thread to advocate for a sweaty photo of Pacino in Dog Day Afternoon. The girls who get it, get it. The girls who don’t, don’t.

To add an extra layer of absurdity here, the hot boomer actor poll went viral on the same night as Succession‘s election episode, “America Decides.” So along with people joking that the Pacino/De Niro poll attracted better turnout than real elections, there were a lot of Succession crossover jokes.

As the poll closed (mid Succession, we might add!), Reese posted a screencap showing Robert De Niro with a 0.1% margin over Al Pacino—although if you just look at the poll on regular Twitter, it shows a 50/50 split. An appropriately contentious result.

We crawl the web so you don’t have to.
Sign up for the Daily Dot newsletter to get the best and worst of the internet in your inbox every day.
Sign up now for free
Share this article
*First Published: May 15, 2023, 11:33 am CDT