Robert De Niro

Robert De Niro in The Family

Robert De Niro in “The Family”

Robert De Niro is one of the greatest actors of all time, and probably the best actor of his entire generation. His devotion to the art of method acting is truly unique, bringing to life a number of memorable film characters throughout his years on screen. Easily compared to the incredibly talented and respected Marlon Brando, De Niro shares a lot of the same qualities as the late legend, including playing a younger version of Brando’s famous Don Corleone. Simply put, Robert De Niro is the man, no doubt about it. Born in New York to a family of artists and nicknamed “Bobby Milk” by the neighborhood kids due to his pale complexion, De Niro spent most of his childhood days reading a book inside while the other kids played on the streets of Little Italy. He landed his first stage role at the age of 10 in a production of “The Wizard of Oz” and continued touring for several years on off-Broadway productions in order to keep himself out of trouble with the teenage gangs. Following the lead of Brando’s early career, De Niro enrolled to study under Stella Adler and Lee Strasberg.

De Niro began his official Hollywood film career in the late 1960’s under the guidance of director Brian De Palma with films like “The Wedding Party” and “Hi, Mom.” It wasn’t for another five years until the critics began to notice the talented actor, most notably in “Bang the Drum Slowly” (for which he was awarded Best Actor by the New York Film Critics) and Martin Scorsese’s “Mean Streets,” who he would later work with seven more times. De Niro made his biggest mark on the film world one year later when Francis Ford Coppola chose the relative unknown to play the role of the young Don Corleone in “The Godfather: Part II.” Winning an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, De Niro was catapulted to super stardom and fast became a household name in Hollywood. His later projects of the 80’s included three more blockbuster collaborations with Scorsese (“New York, New York,” “King of Comedy,” “Taxi Driver” and “Raging Bull,” for which he won an Oscar for Best Actor), “The Deer Hunter” and “The Untouchables” playing Al Capone.

The 1990’s only seemed to capitalize on De Niro’s successful career even more. After teaming again with Scorsese on the mob films “Goodfellas” and “Casino,” De Niro took his bad guy act in a new direction, receiving rave reviews for his criminal performances in “Heat” and “Jackie Brown,” and his psychotic turn in the remake of “Cape Fear.” Since the mid-90’s, De Niro has gotten a bad reputation for starring in a series of crappy thrillers and comedies, but that doesn’t make him any less appreciated. It’s refreshing to see an actor attempt a different genre after becoming famous for his typecast roles as the Mafioso, but transitioning from those characters to his comedic pothole is a lot like Michael Jordan’s decision to move to baseball. While fans respect his enthusiasm to try new things, De Niro’s career will unfortunately drown in an ocean that begs for one more wise guy routine. Maybe that’s why his latest film, “Shark Tale,” has the veteran actor portraying a shark-led mafia boss underwater? Whatever his intentions, Robert De Niro will continue to retain the respect he deserves for nearly three decades of excellence.

In 2019, De Niro starred in “The Irishman” and “Joker,” and in 2020, he starred in “The War With Grandpa.”

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Robert on the Screen

Robert De Niro is a true film legend, starring in over fifty films in the past twenty years. Best known for his typecast roles as mafia men in films like “The Godfather: Part II,” “The Untouchables,” “Goodfellas” and “Casino,” De Niro has created a scrapbook of famous characters with almost every film he appears in. From his earlier acting gigs in “Mean Streets,” “Taxi Driver” and “Raging Bull,” De Niro quickly became a favorite for director Martin Scorsese (whose films also strongly center around the Italian mob tale. De Niro is the perfect villain, maturing quickly from the mafia bad guy to other criminal roles in “Heat” and Quentin Tarantino’s “Jackie Brown. Later in the 90’s and into the new millennium, De Niro changed career paths and focused his energy on comedic films like “Meet the Parents,” “Analyze This,” its sequel “Analyze That” and “Showtime,” a humorous side he hinted at during his wise guy roles with Scorsese and an earlier film with Jerry Lewis, “King of Comedy.”

More recently, the actor has mixed up his film choices quite a bit, appearing in a variety of different movies like “Machete,” “New Year’s Eve,” “Red Lights” and “The Big Wedding,” as well as his Oscar-nominated role in “Silver Linings Playbook.”

Robert Says

On the pros of acting:
“One of the things about acting is it allows you to live other people’s lives without having to pay the price. I’ve never been one of those actors who has touted myself as a fascinating human being.”

On method acting:
“There is a certain combination of anarchy and discipline in the way I work.”

On watching himself on screen:
“I don’t like to watch my own movies – I fall asleep in my own movies.”