Al Pacino thinks he and Robert De Niro have ''helped each other'' through life.

The 79-year-old actor has known his 'Irishman' co-star since 1968 when ''camaraderie'' brought them together and he's very thankful for his friendship with the 76-year-old legend.

He said: ''Early on in our careers, we connected from time to time and we found we had similar things happening to us. Our lives took on a whole different kind of thing.

''[Camaraderie] got us together... We're really close. We don't see each other very much, but when we do, we found we shared certain things. In a way, I think we've helped each other throughout life.''

And their friendship has helped their performances when they have starred together in the likes of 'Heat' and 'Righteous Kill'.

Of 'The Irishman' - in which they play former friends, gang boss Jimmy Hoffa and hitman Frank Sheeran - Al said: ''We had a chance to explore that again.

''I don't think we talked about it consciously. It came relatively easy, as those things go.''

Fellow veteran actor Joe Pesci also appears in the Martin Scorsese-directed film and De Niro admitted he talked him round to appearing as he doesn't think they will ever do anything like it again.

Speaking in a joint interview with The Guardian newspaper, he recalled: ''I said: 'Come on, we're not going to do this ever again.''' Sentiment is not his thing. ''It was tough enough to get it done, to get the money to do it and everything. I don't see us putting on a movie like this. I hope we do other films together, but like this? Not likely. This is it.''