”There are three ways of doing things around here: the right way, the wrong way and the way that I do it.” - From the movie “Casino”
I’m certainly in no position to argue. After all, for a guy who never graduated high school, Mr. De Niro has made a pretty good career when it comes to acting.
”Bobby” (as his close personal friends call him) De Niro was born in Greenwich Village in New York City on August 17, 1943. Maybe his heritage had a bit do with his career in the arts. His mother was a poet/painter and his father was a sculptor and expressionist painter. They divorced when he was three years old but he while being raised by his mother in Little Italy he also managed to maintain a close relationship with his father. He also hit the stage early. When he was 10 years old he played the character of the Cowardly Lion in a school presentation of The Wizard of Oz.
After bouncing around a few high schools in lower Manhattan, he dropped out at the age of sixteen and decided to make acting his purpose in life. He studied at the “Stella Adler Conservatory” as well as the famous school founded by Lee Strasbeg called the Actors Studio.
He got his first film role (unaccredited) at the age of 20 when he appeared in a movie by Brian De Palma called “The Wedding Party”. He followed that with a few more unaccredited roles in some minor films but got his first critical acclaim when he starred in “Bang the Drum Slowly”, a moving story about a dying professional baseball player. Soon after that, he’d make the first of his many collaborations with director Martin Scorsese when he appeared in “Mean Streets”.
He followed that up with the The Godfather Part II and his portrayal of the young Vito Corleone landed him an academy award for Best Supporting Actor even though he spoke very little English throughout the film.
Even though you might think of him a tough guy Mafioso type in many of his roles, De Niro could also pull off just about any character that came his way. All you have to do is look at his role as Travis Bickle in the movie Taxi Driver to see De Niro (nominated for Best Actor) was not one to be typecast. To play the role of Jake LaMotta (filmed in black and white) in Raging Bull, De Niro put on 60 pounds to get the character right. Always looking to expand his horizons as an actor, De Niro then took on more comedic roles in films such as Midnight Run, Analyze This and Meet the Parents.
On a personal note, I’ve seen many, many films that Mr. De Niro has appeared in and while there have been a few clunkers, the vast majority of his work has been stellar and the respect he has gained from his peers in the movie industry for his work ethic and commitment to his trade remains unparalleled when compared to many of his peers.
Throughout his long and distinguished career, Robert De Niro has been nominated and won numerous awards. Here’s just a few of them.
2013 – Nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for “Silver Linings Playbook”
1992 - Nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role for “Cape Fear”
1991 – Nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role for “Awakenings”
1981 – Won Best Actor in a Leading role for “Raging Bull”
1979 – Nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for “The Deer Hunter”
1977 - Nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role for “Taxi Driver”
1975 - Won Best Actor in a Supporting Role for “The Godfather : Part II
What follows are some his more famous quotes from the many roles in which he has appeared during his career. See if you can either guess the character or the movie it came from. Answers will be provided at the end of this write up.
1) "Can I ask you something? These sunglasses, they're really nice: are they government-issued, or all you guys go to the same store to get them?"
2) "The flesh is weak, Johnny. Only the soul is immortal. And yours belongs to me."
3) "What am I doing? I'm talking to an empty telephone. 'Cause there is a dead man on the other end of this fucking line."
4) "Tell me about an ambush. I ambushed you with a cup of coffee!"
5) "I'm not mad, I'm proud of you. You took your first pinch like a man and you learn two great things in your life. Look at me, never rat on your friends and always keep your mouth shut."
6) "You see, I have a story too, Mr. Bailey. I had a friend once. A dear friend. I turned him in to save his life. He died. But he wanted it that way. Things went bad for my friend, and they went bad for me, too."
7) "I ain't no white trash piece of shit. I'm better than you all! I can out-learn you. I can out-read you. I can out-think you. And I can out-philosophize you. And I'm gonna outlast you. You think a couple whacks to my guts is gonna get me down? It's gonna take a hell of a lot more than that, Counselor, to prove you're better than me!"
8) "I will be watching you and if I find that you are trying to corrupt my first born child, I will bring you down, baby. I will bring you down to Chinatown."
9) "Hello. My name is Leonard Lowe. It has been explained to me that I've been away for quite some time. I'm back."
10) "You don't become a cop because you want to serve and protect. You join the force because they let you carry a gun and a badge. You do it because you get respect."
11) "Don't you talk back to me! You show me some respect! Without people like me, you're nothing! We're the ones that get you your 40 fucking million!"
12) "If I talk to you, and you turn me into a fag... I’m gonna kill you , you understand?"
13) "You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? Then who the hell else are you talking... you talking to me? Well I'm the only one here. Who the fuck do you think you're talking to?"
That last one was a gimmee...
Complete Filmography as of November 2014.
1969 The Wedding Party
1970 Bloody Mama
1970 Hi, Mom!
1971 Born to Win
1971 Jennifer on My Mind
1971 The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight
1973 Bang the Drum Slowly
1973 Mean Streets
1974 The Godfather Part II
1976 Taxi Driver
1976 The Last Tycoon
1977 New York, New York
1978 The Deer Hunter
1979 The Swap
1980 Raging Bull
1981 True Confessions
1983 The King of Comedy
1984 Falling in Love
1984 Once Upon a Time in America
1986 The Mission
1987 Angel Heart
1987 The Untouchables
1988 Midnight Run
1989 We're No Angels
1990 Stanley & Iris
1991 Cape Fear
1991 Guilty by Suspicion
1992 Night and the City
1993 A Bronx Tale
1993 Mad Dog and Glory
1993 This Boy's Life
1994 Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
1995 A Hundred and One Nights
1996 Marvin's Room
1996 The Fan
1997 Cop Land
1997 Jackie Brown
1997 Wag the Dog
1998 Great Expectations
1999 Analyze This
2000 Meet the Parents
2000 Men of Honor
2000 The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle
2001 15 Minutes
2001 The Score
2002 Analyze That
2002 City by the Sea
2004 Meet the Fockers
2004 Shark Tale
2004 The Bridge of San Luis Rey
2005 Hide and Seek
2006 Arthur and the Invisibles
2006 The Good Shepherd
2008 Righteous Kill
2008 What Just Happened
2009 Everybody's Fine
2010 Little Fockers
2011 Killer Elite
2011 Manuale d'amore 3
2011 New Year's Eve
2012 Being Flynn
2012 Red Lights
2012 Silver Linings Playbook
2013 American Hustle
2013 Grudge Match
2013 Killing Season
2013 Last Vegas
2013 The Big Wedding
2013 The Family
2014 The Bag Man
Okay, if you’ve made it this far, here are the answers to the movie quotes.
1) Midnight Run
2) Angel Heart
6) Once Upon a Time in America
7) Cape Fear
8) Meet the Parents
10) Righteous Kill
11) The Fan
12) Analyze This
13) Taxi Driver