Masters of Cinema : Akira Kurosawa

                                             Akira Kurosawa (1910-1998), was hailed as a cinematic "giant" and one of the most influential directors in the history of the industry, whose work was acclaimed throughout the world. Born as the youngest of eight children in Tokyo in 1910. A combustible mix of influences fired the visions of young Kurosawa. Kurosawa turned to the cinema after failing to get into art school as a painter and began his film-making career as an assistant director in 1936. By 1941 he was writing scripts and directing major film sequences for other directors films. At age 33, he directed his first film, Sugata Sanshirô (1943).  Within a few years, Kurosawa had achieved sufficient stature to allow him greater creative freedom. 
  • Trade Mark : Frequently uses the "wipe effect" to fade from one scene to another. This effect later became famous due to its usage in the Star Wars trilogy. Likes to do Shakespearean plays in Japanese settings. Use of weather to heighten mood, most obviously rain.
  • In 1950 he directed Oscar-nominated "Rashomon," in which a single violent event was retold in completely different versions from the point of view of the individual participants. Rashomon is not just a movie but a term of art, a building block for future productions, and a cultural reference understood around the world.
  • He was voted the 6th greatest director of all time by Entertainment Weekly, making him the only Asian on a list of 50 directors. Ranked #6 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Greatest directors ever!"
  • Because he could not get film financing for a period of time in his career, he directed and even appeared in Japanese television commercials. In December 1971, after a period of suffering from mental fatigue and frustrated with a run of unsatisfying directing work, Kurosawa attempted suicide by slashing his wrist. Fortunately, the wounds were not fatal and he made a full recovery.
  •  His two favorite actors to work with were apparently Takashi Shimura and, more famously, Toshirô Mifune. Kurosawa made 16 films with Mifune (almost always in a leading role) and 21 films with Shimura.
  • He was infamous for his perfectionism. He would ask the actors in his period films to wear their costumes for several weeks, daily, before filming so that they would look natural. He rarely thought about anything other than films. Even when at home, he would sit around silently, apparently composing shots in his head.
  • Kurosawa received an Honorary Oscar Award in 1990 "For cinematic accomplishments that have inspired, delighted, enriched and entertained worldwide audiences and influenced filmmakers throughout the world." Awarded the French Legion of Honor, 1984.  
 Akira Kurosawa Quotes :  

"With a good script, a good director can produce a masterpiece. With the same script, a mediocre director can produce a passable film. But with a bad script even a good director can't possibly make a good film."
"Movie directors, or should I say people who create things, are very greedy and they can never be satisfied... That's why they can keep on working. I've been able to work for so long because I think next time, I'll make something good."

"Human beings are unable to be honest with themselves about themselves. They cannot talk about themselves without embellishing."
                                        Kurosawa's life became known around the world for his life-affirming, humanistic art. He is concerned with the human lot above all else and he particularly insists upon the equality of all human emotion. All of his films share this basic assumption. Kurosawa's films had taken so experimental and original form, which in the end may just sum up his own personality and life.

Kurosawa's Honorary Oscar:

Groundhog Day - A Groundbreaking Movie

                                      The most horrible thing about life is not knowing what's going to happen next. Or at least that's what we have thought up till now. But "Groundhog Day," brilliantly imaginative, wildly funny movie, demonstrates that there is something even more horrible -- knowing exactly what's going to happen next. It's deja vu gone mad. The premise of  Groundhog Day is essentially 'if you had to do it over again - and again - what would you do differently?.'

     Phil (Bill Murray), an arrogant, narcissistic, cynical TV weatherman, is sent to Punxsatawney PA to cover the annual Groundhog Day Festival. After being the usual annoyance, especially to his co-workers Rita and Larry, a blizzard (that he failed to forecast) forces him to spend another night at his Punxsatawney bed & breakfast. He awakens next morning to find that it is Groundhog Day, again, and again, and again at 6 a.m., and moves on almost invariably....apparently he is doomed to repeat this day forever.

          Bill Murray's weatherman is tailor-made for his  screen persona. The entire movie rested on his shoulders. While all other actors had rather simple roles to repeat, his character was the only one being the aware the utter repetitiveness of his existence and thus the only one who was changing through the entire movie. It was really fine to see the different ways he reacted to the situation - anger, disbelief, despair and final acceptance - all that through the subtle gestures or one-liners.  Director Harold Ramis, has given us a spectacular product of comedy genre, with a solid and intelligent script from Danny Rubin. The other actors and their performances were, as someone should expect, shadowed by Bill Murray's role.

                              The humor is of a higher caliber than that found in most so-called comedies. Groundhog Day finds its humor in situations and characters. Show it to your friends and simply let them laugh at Murray's pranks, or take it deeper and discuss Murray's character growth as an example of spiritual awakening and moral enlightenment. Groundhog Day isn't a science fiction or fantasy film, so it's not interested in answering the technical questions of how the time loop came about. Instead, it presents the situation to the audience on a take-it-or-leave-it basis.  

                         On the surface,it might look like a silly comedy. But a closer look, reveals a beauty easily not seen. With all of the formula-driven, painfully unfunny comedies available today, it's a pleasure to uncover something as unique as Groundhog Day.


Denzel Washington - Charismatic Actor

                              Big words are insufficient to describe this great actor's look and feel. Born 57 years ago in a middle-class New York family, the two-time Oscar-winning actor has convincingly proved that Hollywood is not just a money workshop, but also offers well profound characters with fascinating plots. Such are the roles that Denzel chooses to play, putting in his unique sense of character interpretation. 
  • After graduating from high school, Denzel enrolled for a career in journalism. However, he turned to acting  while appearing in student drama productions and, upon graduation, he moved to San Francisco and enrolled at the American Conservatory Theater.
  • Denzel's overwhelming presence in front of the camera captivated lots of producers and he found a  good place in TV (St. Elsewhere-1982) and movie (Carbon Copy-1981) projects that pave the way to his trademark movie performances. 
  • In a Newsweek cover story about the biological basis of the perception of beauty, he was used as a key example in a scientific explanation why he is considered an extremely handsome man.
  • Tom Hanks said working with Washington on Philadelphia (1993) was like "going to film school". Hanks said he learned more about acting by watching Denzel than from anyone else.
  • First African-American actor to receive two Academy Awards. Only the second African-American actor to win the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. 
  • His performance as Malcolm X in Malcolm X (1992) is ranked #17 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time (2006). Named one of E!'s "top 20 entertainers.
  • The offer he regrets turning down the most is Brad Pitt's role in Se7en (1995).
  • To prepare for his role as boxer Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter in The Hurricane (1999), Washington worked out for a year with L.A. boxing trainer Terry Claybon. For Courage Under Fire (1996), he trained at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin in California, where he qualified on the M1A1 tank and the 120mm gun, participated in battle games and listened to audiotapes of tank battles in Desert Storm.
Denzel Washington's Charity Work:
  • Denzel has spent time visiting wounded soldiers at Fisher Houses, hospitals which provide housing for injured soldiers’ families at little or no cost, and made a large donation to the Fisher House Foundation. 
  • Spokesperson for the Boys' and Girls' Clubs of America.
  • Honorary Chairperson for Save Africa's Children. 
    • Lifetime Founder Member of the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund.
    • Washington donated $1 million to Wiley College to re-establish its debate team.
    Denzel Washington's Quotes:
    "I'm very proud to be black, but black is not all I am. That's my cultural historical background, my genetic makeup, but it's not all of who I am nor is it the basis from which I answer every question."

    (on having to do publicity) "I'm an actor, so that's the bottom line. I'm not a marketing whatever. My strength does not lie in marketing a product called 'Denzel.' That's not what I do. My strength lies in playing a part and hopefully entertaining and affecting people on some level."
    "I say luck is when an opportunity comes along and you're prepared for it."
    "I've worked in a factory. I was a garbage man. I worked in a post office. It's not that long ago. I like to think that I'm just a regular guy."

     "You pray for rain, you gotta deal with the mud too. That's a part of it."

                                                    Inevitably one of Hollywood's A list actors, Denzel Washington could have easily enjoyed the privilege. However, like many actors who had got so attached to their work, Washington was also addicted to the challenge of making movies rather than making profit and recognition out of them. More importantly, Washington's efforts, have done much to dramatically expand the range of dramatic roles given to African-American actors and actresses.  

    Denzel Washington - Wikipedia                                                

It's A Wonderful Life - Holiday Classsic

                                  It's a Wonderful Life is one of today's most popular Christmas films. One could use It’s a Wonderful Life to teach their children values—compassion, selflessness, loyalty, and self-respect, among many others that the film preaches without being, well, preachy. The story not only stands strong half a century later, but it continues to show up today's formulaic Hollywood films for the mindless use of celluloid that they are.

     George Bailey (Stewart) has so many problems that he is thinking about ending it all - and on Christmas! As the angels discuss George, the film shows his life in flashbacks. As George is about to jump from a bridge, he ends up rescued by his guardian angel, Clarence. Clarence then shows George what his town would have looked like if he hadn't been born or if it hadn't been for all his good deeds over the years. Will Clarence be able to convince George to return to his family and forget about suicide?

           The direction from Frank Capra is excellent, sensitive and nuanced, and Capra shows even more talent as a screenwriter having penned one of the most honest and touching scripts ever in a film. This was the first movie Capra made after returning from service in World War II, and he wanted it to be special--a celebration of the lives. The acting is wonderful. James Stewart is absolutely superb as George Bailey, a truly complex character who goes through such a lot to get to where he is at the end of the movie. The supporting cast is both excellent and memorableFor a good morality tale, you need a good villain. Well in the name of Potter, you have one. Visually, the film is a wonder. I don't think it is dated at all, the cinematography is crisp, the black and white looks beautiful and the pure Christmas scenery is very genuine.

                                                 What is it about this film, an uplifting, sentimental allegory about the importance of the individual, that strikes a responsive chord with so many viewers? Some might argue that it has something to do with the season, but that's not the real reason. it effectively touches upon one basic truth of life that we all would like to believe -- that each of us, no matter how apparently insignificant, has the power to make a difference, and that the measure of our humanity has nothing to do with fame or money, but with how we live our life on a day-to-day basis.
                                                  By Hollywood standards, the original release of “It’s A Wonderful Life” in 1946 was a box office disappointment. The film cost around 3.7 million to make, but only generated 3.3 million in its initial run. 

                                                  It's a Wonderful life is an inspirational movie to warm the coldest hearts. It isn't just a holiday favorite, but a great movie by almost any standards. Whether you view this film at Christmas or any-other time, Capra's greatest film represents one of the most exceptional  and joyful experiences any movie-lover can hope for.

          If u are going to watch one black & white movie in your life let it be this.

Memorable Quotes:

"Strange, isn't it? Each man's life touches so many other lives. When he isn't around he leaves an awful hole, doesn't he?."
"Dear George, remember no man is a failure who has friends."

Trailer :

 It's A Wonderful Life - Imdb

The Pursuit of Happyness : A Touching Story of Perseverance And Commitment

                         "Don't ever let somebody tell you you can't do something." Based on the real life story of Chris Gardner, the fact-inspired drama "The Pursuit of Happyness"(deliberately misspelled), looks at the ups and downs in Chris' life on his way to becoming a stock broker, and eventually as everyone knows, a multi-millionaire. A quietly agonized drama of reaching and missing and reaching again, it takes place in between the American dream and its nightmare shadow. It's a fine film, with a portrait of fatherhood that feels driven and real.

     Chris Gardner (Will Smith) is a bright and talented, but marginally employed salesman. Struggling to make ends meet, Gardner finds himself and his five-year-old son(Jaden Smith) evicted from their San Francisco apartment with nowhere to go. When Gardner lands an internship at a prestigious stock brokerage firm, he and his son endure many hardships, including living in shelters, in pursuit of his dream of a better life for the two of them.

                   At one level, even though the movie is titled The Pursuit of Happyness, it is pretty depressing. Yes, the movie is supposed to focus on the struggles of the main protagonist as he chases what seems like a dream. However, every time you think that things are going to get better, they only get even worse for Chris. As Chris and his son move from one slump to another, you begin to wonder is there truly light at the end of the tunnel for this man? 

                                               But the picture’s ending — which is satisfying, possibly even happy, depending on how you look at it — is almost inconsequential; it’s the texture of everything leading up to it that matters.  For the most part, the movie is Will Smith's showcase of talents, and he throws his all into the role. The younger Smith is allowed to deliver a natural, childlike performance. The director, Gabriele Muccino moves us from one intense scene to the next with a carefully fine-tuned sense of melodrama.

                                               Some people will see “The Pursuit of Happyness” as a glorification of capitalism, but the movie is much less about “getting” than it is about “not having.” In the movie, Chris opens his wallet, and we see a five and three ones. That equals a cab ride for the company executive, but it may be all Chris has left for a day’s worth of meals for his kid. Chris hesitates before handing over the five, and the executive plucks it out of his hand gratefully.
                                              This small moment may be the most painful one in the movie, perhaps because Smith plays it with such wry, — and because the executive has no idea of the harm he’s doing. But in this generous-spirited picture, the guy eventually remembers to give the five back, even though by that point, Chris doesn’t need it so badly. 

                Five bucks is five bucks, except when it’s all the money in the world. 

 Movie Quotes :

"You got a dream, you gotta protect it... If you want something, go get it. Period."

 "Don't ever let somebody tell you you can't do something."

"I'm the type of person that if you ask me a question,and I don't know the answer, I'm gonna tell you that I don't know. But I bet you what. I know how to find the answer,and I will find the answer."


Pursuit of Happyness - Imdb  

Masters of Cinema : Stanley Kubrick

                                One of the most consistently fascinating filmmakers in the latter half of the 20th century, director Stanley Kubrick saw his seminal work praised and damned with equal energy, though oftentimes found that his film’s reputations grew over time. He had a directing career spanning over 40 years, during which he completed only thirteen full-length features. However, those features are some of the most esteemed, and controversial  films ever made.
  •  Stanley Kubrick was born in New York(July 26, 1928), and was considered intelligent despite poor grades at school. Jack Kubrick introduced Chess to his son, which he took passionately and became a skilled player.
  • Jack Kubrick's decision to give his son a camera for his thirteenth birthday changed Stanley into an avid photographer. He would often make trips around New York taking photographs which he would develop in a friend's darkroom.
  • He earned money by selling photographs to Look Magazine. After graduation he became their full-time staff photographer. In the 1950's Kubrick began making short subject documentary films for the theatrical newsreel The March of Time.
  • He then moved to directing feature films in 1953 with his film Fear and Desire. Filming this movie was not a happy experience. Despite mixed reviews for the film itself, Kubrick received good notices for his obvious directorial talents.
  • In that same decade Kubrick directed Killer's Kiss, The Killing, and the acclaimed World War I film Paths of Glory. Kubrick's next film was the Roman epic Spartacus (1960). Kubrick took this project after the original director, was fired. Although the film was a success both commerically and critically, Kubrick was frustrated with his lack of creative control due to the constraints of the Hollywood system. The film won four Academy Awards. 
  •  Kubrick's next project was to direct Marlon Brando in One-Eyed Jacks (1961), but negotiations broke down and Brando himself ended up directing the film himself.
  • Starting with Lolita (1962), he independently produced all his films from his adopted home of England, UK.
  • Trade Mark: His films often tell about the dark side of human nature, especially dehumanization. One of his signature shots was "The Glare" - a character's emotional meltdown is depicted by a close-up shot of the actor with his head tilted slightly down, but with his eyes looking up - usually directly into the camera.Almost always uses previously composed music. His films often tackle Controversial Social themes. Very strong visual style with heavy emphasis on symbolism.
  • Kubrick was convinced that nuclear war would break out between the Russians and Americans as late as 1962. He conducted extensive research on bomb shelters in preparation for the impending war, and even began scouting locations for its placement. After just a few short years, however, he abandoned his fear and his plans for sitting out the apocalypse and made Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) instead. This is how the film got its peculiarly descriptive caption.
  • Kubrick was forced to ban his own film from Britain when A Clockwork Orange (1971) garnered him death-threats.
  • In the 5th edition of 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, 9 of Kubrick's films are listed.Kubrick only directed 13 in his career. Ranked #4 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Greatest directors ever!" 
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) is hailed by many as the best ever made; an instant cult favorite, it has set the standard and tone for many science fiction films that followed. 
  • Kubrick had started pre-production on Full Metal Jacket (1987) in 1980, a full seven years before it was theatrically released. Wartime Lies" was abandoned when Steven Spielberg announced he would direct Schindler's List (1993), which covered much of the same material. 
  • Refused to talk about his movies on set as he was directing them and never watched them when they were completed. He rarely gave interviews. However he was loved by his family and friends.
  • Kubrick was infamous for his perfectionism, often requiring his actors to perform countless takes before he accepted their work and moved on. 1.3 million feet of film was shot for The Shining (1980) and Eyes Wide Shut (1999) which was in production for more than two years.
  • He was considered to be a well-read man with an extreme attention to detail. For his aborted film project on Napoléon Bonaparte, he had one of his assistants go to various bookstores to acquire every book he could find on the French emperor, and he returned with well in excess of 100. Kubrick read them all and astonished his associates.
  • Special effects technology had matured rapidly in the meantime, and Kubrick immediately began active work on Artificial Intelligence: AI (2001), but tragically suffered a fatal heart attack in his sleep on March 7th, 1999. After Kubrick's death, Spielberg revealed that the two of them were friends that frequently communicated discretely about the art of filmmaking.  Based on this relationship, Spielberg took over as the film's director and completed the last Kubrick project, AI.
  • How much of Kubrick's vision remains in the finished project -- and what he would think of the film as eventually released -- will be the final great unanswerable mysteries in the life of this talented and private filmmaker.
Kubrick's Quotes : 

"I think the big mistake in schools is trying to teach children anything, and by using fear as the basic motivation. Fear of getting failing grades, fear of not staying with your class, etc. Interest can produce learning on a scale compared to fear as a nuclear explosion to a firecracker."

" I've never achieved spectacular success with a film. My reputation has grown slowly. I suppose you could say that I'm a successful filmmaker - in that a number of people speak well of me. But none of my films have received unanimously positive reviews, and none have done blockbuster business."

"Anyone who has ever been privileged to direct a film also knows that, although it can be like trying to write 'War and Peace' in a bumper car in an amusement park, when you finally get it right, there are not many joys in life that can equal the feeling."

                                           Love him or hate him, Stanley Kubrick is the influential director in the movie history. Kubrick is the true perfectionist.

Powerhouse Performers

                                                      Method acting became popular in the late fifities, when students were trained by Lee Strasberg and Stella Adler.

 What is Method Acting?
                            The “Method Acting” requires a performer to draw on his or her own self, on experiences, memories, and emotions that could inform a characterization and shape how a character might speak or move. Characters were thus shown to speak and gesture in a manner one would use in private life; rather than being stereotyped figures representing a single concept (the hero, the villain, the heroine).

Here are some of the best actors who gave everything, sometimes even their life to get into a character for a movie:

Daniel Day Lewis : He is a two-time oscar winner, and was nominated four times. Daniel spent three years to get into the role of Daniel Plainview, a oil prospector in the movie 'There will be blood.' In the movie, 'My left foot' he did a character of person with cerebral palsy. Daniel refused to leave his character’s wheelchair, spoke in the broken dialect of an individual afflicted with cerebral palsy and even had crew members feed him. The hard work won the actor his first Oscar. 
                                       For the movie, 'In the name of father', he slept in prison and ate prison food, to do role of a inmate. He trained as a butcher and caught pneumonia for Scorsese's 'Gangs of New york.'He made only 16 films in his 28 year film career, because of the dedication he gave to each roles. These are just few examples of his commitment towards acting.

Marlon Brando : He is the godfather of  method acting. Brando received 8 oscar nominations and won two. He spent a full month confined to a veteran’s hospital in preparation for his debut film “The Men.” Brando auditioned for the role of Vito Corleone, putting on make-up by stuffing Kleenex in his cheeks and worked out the characterization infront of a mirror. 

Robert De Niro : He won his second oscar for his role of Jake la Motta in 'Raging Bull.' De Niro worked out to achieve a lean, muscular body and then gained over 60 pounds for the film’s climax as a washed-up old boxer. He also trained with a boxer for a year. He is a left-hand user, but he trained himself to write in right-hand for the movie 'Taxi Driver.' De niro is the best, because he stresses himself to prepare for a role mentally.

Al Pacino : Al was nominated 8 times for oscars and 14 times for Golden Globes. To prepare for a role, Al Pacino always isolates himself on and off-screen. 
Pacino on his acting: "I'm sorry to say it, but it was all a drag doing those things. When I was younger, making films, I would try to stay in the role and be in a state of isolation, both on and off set. If I were to go back, I would tell myself, 'You don't have to do that all the time, Al. Just be yourself, and only when it's time to act, only then get into the role." Al Pacino is also co-president of the Actors Studio, where he studied method acting.

Dustin Hoffman : He had won two oscars for 'Rain Man' and Kramer Vs Kramer' and numerous other awards. He has played deeply serious roles in films like “Kramer v. Kramer,” totally transforming roles like “Rainman,” and hilarious roles like “Tootsie.” In every instance he is completely believable and great at what he does. In 'Marathon Man' there was a scene, where his character was tortured without sleep for 3 days. To film this scene, he really didn't sleep for three days.

Jack Nicholson : He received twelve Oscar nominations in his career, the most of any male actor as of 2010, and he won three times. Jack on method acting, "I was talking to Sean Penn on the phone today. I told him it was interesting that they managed to leave me off this long list of Method actors they'd published in some article. I told him, "I'm still fooling them!" I consider it an accomplishment. Because there's probably no one who understands Method acting better academically than I do, or actually uses it more in his work. But it's funny -- nobody really sees that. It's perception versus reality, I suppose."

Christian Bale : He is one of the best method actor of this generation, recently won his oscar for 'The Fighter.' In 2004, Bale dropped to 120 pounds for the film “The Machinist” before working out and gaining almost 100 pounds six months later for his role as Batman in Christopher Nolan’s 2005 film “Batman Begins." The cycle of reducing weight and gaining it back is going on upto now.

 Heath Ledger : Heath Ledger’s method acting work affected his health while filming “The Dark Knight.”  In an interview with the New York Times, he said he felt exhausted and refused to let his mind stop. He filled notebooks with strange, off-the-wall writings as he buried himself in the persona of The Joker. His hard work paid off; he posthumously won an Oscar for the performance.

Adrien Brody : He won his oscar for Polanski's 'The Pianist.' To prepare for his role as a man who lived in a war-torn Warsaw, Brody gave up his car and apartment because he felt he owed it to the Polish Jews he represented in the movie.

 Edward Norton : He is another actor who studies the method acting techniques. Norton was nominated for his first oscar in his debut movie, 'Primal Fear.' He gained 60 pounds for the movie 'American History X', to portray the role Neo-Nazi.

                                       In India, Kamal Hassan is the pioneer in method acting. Kamal has attended workshops for make-up techniques in US for several years and once trained as a make-up man under Michael Westmore. He strains himself for each roles, and sometimes takes upto six hours to apply a make-up for even a small role in a movie. 
                                      All these performers, mostly didn't had any box-office success for their powerful roles. But they just gave us these roles, as a great and true artist. 
                                      I might have left-out many great actors in this list. These are just few examples to show-case the tortures and difficulty a performer went through for a movie. There are many other great actors in India and world-wide, other than the ones in this list too.  

Legendary Actors : Robert De Niro

                                            Over the course of nearly forty years, Robert De Niro has established himself as one of the most respected and iconic screen actors in history. Robert De Niro built a durable star career out of his formidable ability to disappear into a character through perfectionism.

  • Robert De Niro was born in New York, New York on August 17th, 1943. His parents were both respected artists. His father, Robert Snr, was a painter, sculptor and poet. His mother, Virginia Admiral was also a painter.
  • He dropped out of high school and spent his time roaming the streets of Little Italy with a street gang, picking up the nickname Bobby Milk  for his deathly white complexion.
  • De Niro was so captivated by the movies. De Niro learned how to immerse himself in a character emotionally and physically.De Niro's professional life took an auspicious turn, however, when he was introduced to former Little Italy acquaintance Martin Scorsese at a party in 1972. Sharing a love of movies as well as their neighborhood background, De Niro and Scorsese immediately became friends.
  • He exploded onscreen as Johnny Boy in "Mean Streets" (1973), his first of many landmark collaborations with director Martin Scorsese. De Niro's performance as Johnny Boy remains arguably perhaps the finest and most revered breakthrough performances in cinema history.
  • Robert De Niro won an Oscar as best supporting actor for The Godfather, Part II in 1974. Over the next few decades he became known for his intense portrayals of mobsters, tough guys, loners and other not-quite-socially-adjusted characters.
  • Trade Mark: Often played characters that were prone to brutal violence and/or characters who were borderline psychotics. Intense physical and mental preparation for roles.
  • Ranked #1 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Greatest Living Actor (Gods Among Us)" list. Was voted the Number 2 greatest movie star of all time in a Channel 4 (UK) poll, narrowly being beaten by Al Pacino.  
  • Rarely does interviews and is known as one of the most ultra-private celebrities. Apart from the very occasional tabloid snippet, we hear nothing about the man, only ever seeing him when he’s playing someone else – which is, of course, exactly how he wants it to be.
  • Is left handed. However, he wrote with his right hand in Taxi Driver (1976).
  • Perhaps no other collaboration between De Niro and Scorsese was more discouraged and admired at the same time than "Raging Bull" (1980). Raging Bull was critical and financial disaster, but over the years remains as a classic that ranked high on many lists of greatest films.
  • "Raging Bull" depicted the life of former middleweight boxer Jake La Motta. For an entire year prior to production, De Niro trained as a boxer with La Motta, who molded the actor. Scorsese stopped production for four months so De Niro could eat his way to gaining 60-odd pounds. In the end, De Niro delivered a visceral portrayal of a man who can only use animalistic violence to deal with complex human emotions, earning his first Academy Award for Best Leading Actor.
  • For the role of Max Cady in Cape Fear (1991), he paid a dentist $5,000 to make his teeth look suitably bad. After filming, he paid $20,000 to have them fixed. For this film, he was tattooed with vegetable dyes, which faded after a few months.
  • He is a staunch supporter of the US Democratic Party. He supported Al Gore in the 2000 Presidential election and supported John Kerry in the 2004 Presidential election. Supported Democratic senator Barack Obama for the 2008 presidential election.
  •  He owns several restaurants in New york, California.
De Niro Quotes:

"I don't like to watch my own movies - I fall asleep in my own movies."

(on Taxi Driver (1976)'s infamous line) "You have no idea that, years later, people in cars will recognize you on the street and shout, "You talkin' to me?" I don't remember the original script, but I don't think the line was in it. We improvised. For some reason it touched a nerve. That happens.

"The hardest thing about being famous is that people are always nice to you. You're in a conversation and everybody's agreeing with what you're saying -- even if you say something totally crazy. You need people who can tell you what you don't want to hear."

[on Martin Scorsese]" I wish I had that knowledge of movies that he has. He's like an encyclopedia. I could call him up and ask him about a certain movie, and he would know about it. He's seen everything, it's great."

"After my first movies, I gave interviews. Then I thought, What's so important about where I went to school, and hobbies? . . . Wwhat does any of that have to do with acting, with my own head?"

                                                         Due to his detestation towards interviews, De Niro had famously remained tight-lipped about everything. De Niro developed a reputation for being one of the hardest working actors in the business, giving rise to legendary methods of preparation. But there was never any doubt as to where De Niro stood in the pantheon of acting - he towered above all. Who he was as a man, however, would never be known. In the end, all that was left was his performances. Given his amazing body of work, that would be enough.

Warrior : Not just another fight movie

                                              Warrior is so beautifully constructed and emotionally engaging, the tears are almost certain to fall. It is a straight genre picture, a fight movie of the old school. But it’s a mixed martial arts tale, I don't know much about Mixed Martial Arts except that it appears to be an extreme form of regulated fighting, with combatants using a variety of tactics to bring their opponent down. 

         Brendan (Joel Edgerton) is a dedicated educator and a devoted family man. His students adore him, and so does his wife, Tess (Jennifer Morrison). But Brendan’s roots and his future are entangled in more violent pursuits. He used to be something of a big deal on the mixed martial arts circuit. As hard as they work, Brendan and Tess have financial troubles. And one of their children requires expensive medical care. 
             Meanwhile Tommy (Tom Hardy), Brendan’s estranged younger brother, returns to the modest house in Pittsburgh where they grew up. Years before, Tommy and their mother fled the boys’ abusive, alcoholic father, Paddy(Nick Nolte), a wrestling coach. Tommy, a former Marine and a war hero who served in Iraq, is looking for a fight, and without forgiving his sobered-up, apologetic dad, he engages the old man’s professional services as he prepares to go into the ring.
            Unknown to each other, both Tommy and Brendan are training for Sparta, a $5 million, winner-take-all tournament. Every sports movie needs a Big Game, the Sparta provides us a grand spectacle of redemption and revenge. 

The Good
  • 'Warrior' has one of the best acting cast of this year. Outstanding performances by Tom Hardy, Nick Nolte and Joel Edgerton are a big part of this movie. Hardy is as good an actor as there is working today; his intensity here is amazing. Nolte hasn't been this good in a long time. And Edgerton  and Jennifer Morrison have less flashy but no less important roles. 
  • Director O'Connor gives the film a dark, moody look, which is the best choice for so many boiling emotions. This is not a traditional stand-up-and-cheer fight movie; the undertones are too strong and deep.      
  •  The fight scenes are choreographed and filmed with great energy. This sports-movie takes us to the big tournament, that both men enter, each with a need to win. That destination is entertaining, but it is the journey and the people who take it, that makes this fine film.
                                             In all the fight movies, we always want one man  to win the tournament, but this is a rare fight movie in which we don't want to see either fighter lose. Warrior has real emotion, vivid, finely crafted performances and a story that will seize you from its opening moments. Action movies are never this good.

The most fascinating thing about "Warrior" is that, for all its violence and mayhem, it is a movie about love.