Ronin: Celebrate Robert De Niro’s 80th birthday with a classic!

Last Updated on August 24, 2023

Robert De Niro is 80 years old, and what better way to celebrate his birthday than with a look back at one of his most underrated classics: Ronin. John Frankenheimer’s career seemed to reach its nadir when he directed the ill-conceived remake of The Island of Dr. Moreau. Still, someone in Hollywood must have been impressed by how he held that tortured project together, as two years later, he would release 1998’s Ronin, boasting an all-star cast including Robert DeNiro, Sean Bean and Jean Reno. This action flick about a group of disavowed spies working as mercenaries wound up being a masterclass in action filmmaking from the director who helped invent the genre with The Train, Black Sunday, Grand Prix, and so many more.

While a modest box office hit, Ronin has become something of a classic, famed for its spectacular car chases through the streets of Paris. It’s a rare foray into pure action for DeNiro, who’s never been cooler than he is here, and a last hurrah for the great Frankenheimer. It’s this week’s Best Movie You Never Saw – and make sure to let us know in the comments what you think of this masterful piece of action cinema.

This episode of the Best Movie You Never Saw is written by Alex Maidy, narrated and produced (with Adam Walton) by Chris Bumbray, and edited by Edward Clark. Check out other episodes below and make sure to let us know what you think of Ronin in the comments!

Ronin has the following synopsis: Deirdre (Natascha McElhone) puts together a team of experts that she tasks with stealing a valuable briefcase, the contents of which are a mystery. The international team includes Sam (Robert De Niro), an ex-intelligence officer, along with Vincent (Jean Reno), Gregor (Stellan Skarsgard) and others. As their operation gets underway, several team members are found to be untrustworthy, and everyone must complete the mission with a watchful eye on everyone else.

About the Author

Chris Bumbray began his career with JoBlo as the resident film critic (and James Bond expert) way back in 2007, and he has stuck around ever since, being named editor-in-chief in 2021. A voting member of the CCA and a Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic, you can also catch Chris discussing pop culture regularly on CTV News Channel.