Robert De Niro might not seem as if he would be the most likely of subjects for a teenage love song but this song is hardly a traditional love song. The song was originally conceived as being sung from the point of view of a girl who deals with the trauma of being raped by escaping into a pretend world where Robert De Niro is her boyfriend. By the time the song was actually recorded, the rape angle had been dropped but this it’s still darker than your normal teen crush song.
Originally, the subject of the song was going to be Al Pacino, which might have made more sense. (Remember that while Robert De Niro was shooting pimps in Taxi Driver, posters of Al Pacino as Serpico were decorating dorm rooms.) However, it was decided that, musically, Robert De Niro sounded better than Al Pacino.
This video features the members of Bananarama being followed by two “gangsters” who could have stepped out of a De Niro film. It was directed by Duncan Gibbins, a talented director who tragically died in 1993. I wrote more about Gibbins and his career when I reviewed his video for Smuggler’s Blues.