Antique Auto Advertising: A Young Robert DeNiro Impresses His Parents With an 1970 AMC Ambassador

Whoever booked actors for American Motors’ ad agency in the late 1960s and early 1970s must have had a great eye for talent. We’ve already posted a Javelin ad with a young Richard Dreyfuss playing a tough young man. Here’s a slightly older but still young Robert Deniro, playing a CPA, “just two years out of college”, impressing his parents with an American Motors Ambassador. They think he’s bought an expensive car. His mom is impressed with the fact that it had air conditioning, “Joey, so fancy?”. It’s hard to consider when even the humblest Kia can be better equipped than most luxury cars of yore that most American cars didn’t come with A/C until the late 1970s at the earliest. In 1970s, there were probably companies still charging for a heater and defroster (yes, Virginia, heaters were once optional for the real cheapskates). At the end of the ad, Joey offers to take his folks for a ride and his mom demurs, “Joey, the way I’m dressed?” and Joey says, in an accent that DeNiro would reprise in his role as Al Capone in The Untouchables, “You look beeyootiful,” and kisses his mother. Apparently the American Film Institute liked DeNiro’s work in the ad so much that it was featured when they honored him.

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