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August 17, 2022

20 Photographs of Robert De Niro in the 1980s

One of the greatest American actors of his generation, Robert De Niro (born August 17, 1943) is known for his total immersion in roles. Whether driving a cab to prepare for Taxi Driver or gaining 60 pounds to play boxer Jake La Motta in Raging Bull, De Niro studies his characters intensely. The Oscar-winning actor is best known for his roles in gangster-related films such as The Godfather Part II. By the end of the 1970s, he was widely considered one of the best actors of his generation.

In a 1976 interview, De Niro explained his approach to preparing for a role. “Actors must expose themselves to the surroundings and keep their minds obsessed with that,” he said.  “...I always look at everything... If you don’t practice, you don’t know your subject and it can’t be natural... You’ve got to physically and mentally become that person you are portraying.”

In the 1980s De Niro appeared in a series of box office failures that have nevertheless become cult favorites. Scorsese’s The King of Comedy (1983), which offered a desolate look at the hazards of celebrity, won critical praise but little public interest, whereas Sergio Leone’s epic Once upon a Time in America (1984) suffered from postproduction studio interference, as did Terry Gilliam’s futuristic satire Brazil (1985). De Niro also performed in more conventional films during that era, including True Confessions (1981), Falling in Love (1984), The Mission (1986), and De Palma’s The Untouchables (1987). He revealed a talent for comedy in Midnight Run (1988) and won some of the best notices of his career for his depiction of a catatonic patient in Awakenings (1990).


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