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GIFFONI FILM FESTIVAL 1982 - 31 July.8 August

ROBERT DE NIRO

Robert Anthony De Niro Jr. (New York, 17 August 1943) is an American actor who holds both American and Italian citizenship. De Niro's first film role came at the age of 20, when he appeared in Brian De Palma's 1963 film "The Wedding Party", but the film was not released until 1969. He then appeared in Roger Corman's film "Bloody Mama" (1970). He gained popular attention with his role as a dying Major League Baseball player in "Bang the Drum Slowly" (1973) and began his collaboration with Martin Scorsese when he played the small-time criminal Johnny Boy in "Mean Streets" (1973).

De Niro had a pivotal role in the Francis Ford Coppola film "The Godfather Part II" (1974), playing the young Vito Corleone. Coppola had remembered his previous auditions for the roles of Sonny Corleone, Michael Corleone, Carlo Rizzi, and Paulie Gatto in The Godfather. His performance earned him his first Academy Award, for Best Supporting Actor, although Coppola accepted the award as De Niro was not present at the ceremony. De Niro became the first actor to win an Academy Award speaking mainly a foreign language. In this case, several Sicilian dialects, although he delivered a few lines in English. He and Marlon Brando, who played the older Vito Corleone in the first film, are the only actors to have won Oscars for portraying the same fictional character.

After working with Scorsese in "Mean Streets", De Niro went on to have a successful working relationship with him in films such as "Taxi Driver" (1976), "New York, New York" (1977), "Raging Bull" (1980) and "The King of Comedy" (1982). "Taxi Driver" was particularly important to De Niro's career. His iconic performance as Travis Bickle catapulted him to stardom and forever linked his name with Bickle's famous "You talkin' to me?" monologue, which De Niro largely improvised. The role of Bickle earned him his first Academy Award Nomination for Best Actor. De Niro played Michael Vronsky in the acclaimed Vietnam War film "The Deer Hunter" (1978), for which he was nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role.

In 1976, De Niro appeared in "1900", Bernardo Bertolucci's biographical exploration of life in Italy before World War II, seen through the eyes of two Italian childhood friends at the opposite sides of society's hierarchy. He also starred in "The Last Tycoon" (1976), directed by Elia Kazan. Kazan recalls that De Niro "would do almost anything to succeed" and noted that he cut his weight down from 170 to 128 pounds for the role in this film. Kazan adds that De Niro "is one of a select number of actors I've directed who work hard at their trade, and the only one who asked to rehearse on Sundays. Most of the others play tennis. Bobby and I would go over the scenes to be shot. Bobby is more meticulous... he's very imaginative. He's very precise. He figures everything out both inside and outside. He has good emotion. He's a character actor: everything he does he calculates. In a good way, but he calculates". Kazan developed and used those personality traits for his character in the film. And although the film did poorly at the box office, reviewers praised De Niro's acting. Film critic Marie Brenner wrote that "for De Niro, it is a role that surpasses even his brilliant and daring portrayal of Vito Corleone in The Godfather Part II... his performance deserves to be compared with the very finest".

  • Filmography:

    • ACTOR
    Encounter, by Norman C. Chaitin (1965)
    Three Rooms in Manhattan, by Marcel Carné (1965) - uncredited
    Les Jeunes Loups, by Marcel Carné (1968) - uncredited
    Greetings, by Brian De Palma (1968)
    The Wedding Party, by Brian De Palma, Wilford Leach and Cynthia Munroe (1969)
    Sam's Song, by John Broderick and John Shade (1969)
    Bloody Mama, by Roger Corman (1970)
    Hi, Mom!, by Brian De Palma (1970)
    Jennifer on My Mind, by Noel Black (1971)
    Born to Win, by Ivan Passer (1971)
    The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight, by James Goldstone (1971)
    Bang the Drum Slowly, by John D. Hancock (1973)
    Mean Streets, by Martin Scorsese (1973)
    The Godfather Part II, by Francis Ford Coppola (1974)
    Taxi Driver, by Martin Scorsese (1976)
    1900, by Bernardo Bertolucci (1976)
    The Last Tycoon, by Elia Kazan (1976)
    New York, New York, by Martin Scorsese (1977)
    The Deer Hunter, by Michael Cimino (1978)
    Raging Bull, by Martin Scorsese (1980)
    True Confessions, by Ulu Grosbard (1981)
    The King of Comedy, by Martin Scorsese (1982)