Robert De Niro has angered fans by making a rare TV commercial appearance in a controversial new American Express advert directed by pal MARTIN SCORSESE.

The movie legend is shot by the director walking around his beloved New York explaining why the Big Apple is so important to him in the grainy black and white ad.

The emotive commercial also montage footage of policemen, fireman, old- timers and basketball players. But shots of Ground Zero and De Niro's comment "My heartbreak" in the 30-second commercial have upset many fans, who deem the images inappropriate for an American Express commercial.

One angry New York fan on the Digital Spy Internet chat site has blasted the actor and Scorsese for their insensitivity.

He fumes, "For a guy who's supposed to love the city, you'd think he'd show a bit more class... Using a tragedy to sell a product stinks."

But De Niro's decision to shoot the commercial was an easy one - American Express largely funds his annual Tribeca Film Festival.

26/01/2005 03:02