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De Niro: A Biography

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The life of Hollywood’s number one movie actor, the elusive Robert De Niro, who shuns the limelight and rarely gives interviews, written by the leading film critic and biographer of Spielberg, Kubrick, Woody Allen and George Lucas. Robert De Niro is the pre-eminent Hollywood character performer of our time: film portraits like the young Don Vito Corleone in THE GODFATHER II The life of Hollywood’s number one movie actor, the elusive Robert De Niro, who shuns the limelight and rarely gives interviews, written by the leading film critic and biographer of Spielberg, Kubrick, Woody Allen and George Lucas. Robert De Niro is the pre-eminent Hollywood character performer of our time: film portraits like the young Don Vito Corleone in THE GODFATHER II, Jake La Motta in RAGING BULL and Travis Bickle in TAXI DRIVER are some of the most vivid ever put on celluloid. De Niro cannot be cast to type, prefers to work for old friends like Martin Scorsese, and (apart from FRANKENSTEIN) has never played anything but 20th-century roles. John Baxter calls him ‘the archetypal empty bottle which only becomes visible when it’s filled by a role’: which makes him such a tempting subject for one of Hollywood’s finest historian/biographers. As well as his film roles, Baxter examines De Niro’s often controversial private life, his collaborations with directors like Martin Scorsese and performers like Harvey Keitel and Meryl Streep, and his increasingly ambitious off-screen activities.


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The life of Hollywood’s number one movie actor, the elusive Robert De Niro, who shuns the limelight and rarely gives interviews, written by the leading film critic and biographer of Spielberg, Kubrick, Woody Allen and George Lucas. Robert De Niro is the pre-eminent Hollywood character performer of our time: film portraits like the young Don Vito Corleone in THE GODFATHER II The life of Hollywood’s number one movie actor, the elusive Robert De Niro, who shuns the limelight and rarely gives interviews, written by the leading film critic and biographer of Spielberg, Kubrick, Woody Allen and George Lucas. Robert De Niro is the pre-eminent Hollywood character performer of our time: film portraits like the young Don Vito Corleone in THE GODFATHER II, Jake La Motta in RAGING BULL and Travis Bickle in TAXI DRIVER are some of the most vivid ever put on celluloid. De Niro cannot be cast to type, prefers to work for old friends like Martin Scorsese, and (apart from FRANKENSTEIN) has never played anything but 20th-century roles. John Baxter calls him ‘the archetypal empty bottle which only becomes visible when it’s filled by a role’: which makes him such a tempting subject for one of Hollywood’s finest historian/biographers. As well as his film roles, Baxter examines De Niro’s often controversial private life, his collaborations with directors like Martin Scorsese and performers like Harvey Keitel and Meryl Streep, and his increasingly ambitious off-screen activities.

30 review for De Niro: A Biography

  1. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    Well, I only kept at this one for as long as I did because it was Robert De Niro. But it was not well-written at all. I think that I'm going to have to wait until he dies (hopefully for a long long long long time) before a decent biography comes out. I liked reading about how all his films came together and how he worked his craft, but it did things like, say, he took a class with an African-American (was the guy his teacher, his class-mate? I don't know), and this is the reason he hung out with Well, I only kept at this one for as long as I did because it was Robert De Niro. But it was not well-written at all. I think that I'm going to have to wait until he dies (hopefully for a long long long long time) before a decent biography comes out. I liked reading about how all his films came together and how he worked his craft, but it did things like, say, he took a class with an African-American (was the guy his teacher, his class-mate? I don't know), and this is the reason he hung out with black people for the rest of his life. What? Said absolutely nothing about the guy. Another one was that he had a pretty, vapid girlfriend at one point, said nothing about the relationship except that this was the reason he tended to marry trophy wives. Okaaay. Does anyone here know of a good biography on him? Cause I'm still interested.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Matt Micucci

    Just because a book is easy to read it does not mean it's well written. Just because a book is easy to read it does not mean it's well written.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Xanxa

    If you love glowing celebrity biographies which portray the subject in the best possible light, this book is not for you. I'm a long-time De Niro fan and I wanted something more than just a list of all the movies he's acted in. This book provides some interesting details about his early life and his parents. I already knew about his father but I knew nothing whatsoever about his mother. I get the impression that the author really isn't enamoured with the subject. He portrays De Niro as an amoral, If you love glowing celebrity biographies which portray the subject in the best possible light, this book is not for you. I'm a long-time De Niro fan and I wanted something more than just a list of all the movies he's acted in. This book provides some interesting details about his early life and his parents. I already knew about his father but I knew nothing whatsoever about his mother. I get the impression that the author really isn't enamoured with the subject. He portrays De Niro as an amoral, selfish womaniser who has little personality of his own outside of his acting roles. I'm not too shocked by anything I've read, because I already know a fair amount about his method acting and the lengths he goes to when studying for roles. I also know that most of his relationships have failed because he largely ignored his partners whilst doing movie projects. The same can be said of many high-profile actors. It goes with the territory. I did learn some new things about his off-screen life, such as his business investments, most of which seem to have been abysmal failures. The author also doesn't seem to have a high opinion of most of De Niro's movie output, denigrating the majority of them as poor choices for roles and making losses at the box office. With celebrity biographies, you can never be sure how accurate the sources are. This one does a reasonable job, but I expect hardcore fans would probably be disappointed.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    Terribly written and seems to end mid sentence

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jason Cotton

    What amazed me about this book which details the life of a great actor is that i always thought that he was one of the most successful and wanted actors in Hollywood. I have seen lots of his films (my two favourites being Once Upon a Time in America and Casino) and to me his acting is outstanding. I rather felt that the writer here spent too much time saying what was bad about the films and concentrating on the negatives. Dont get me wrong i know that de niro had problems off screen and on scree What amazed me about this book which details the life of a great actor is that i always thought that he was one of the most successful and wanted actors in Hollywood. I have seen lots of his films (my two favourites being Once Upon a Time in America and Casino) and to me his acting is outstanding. I rather felt that the writer here spent too much time saying what was bad about the films and concentrating on the negatives. Dont get me wrong i know that de niro had problems off screen and on screen but this felt more like an attack than a biography.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Hai Le

    Really good biography of Robert De Nero. Showcases us his highest highs and his lowest lows. Nicely written by John Baxter. Gives us a real glimpse of what he was like as a person off camera as well as the level of depth he takes with his acting. A true method actor at heart and the level of attention to detail he takes with his characters makes you realise why he is so successful. Intrigued by his portfolio of 1000s of pictures dressed as different characters. Highly recommended for any film bu Really good biography of Robert De Nero. Showcases us his highest highs and his lowest lows. Nicely written by John Baxter. Gives us a real glimpse of what he was like as a person off camera as well as the level of depth he takes with his acting. A true method actor at heart and the level of attention to detail he takes with his characters makes you realise why he is so successful. Intrigued by his portfolio of 1000s of pictures dressed as different characters. Highly recommended for any film buff.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Paul Allwood

    Started off very good but bizarrely from about 2/3 of the way through turned into what felt like any opportunity to bash De Niro and almost say he is overrated as an actor. Full of negative comments about his acting performance in films and basically just says he was in it for a quick quid. Maybe half true of some later movies but I really don't think many people have the right to basically bad mouth Robert De Niro, which is what this book ends up doing Started off very good but bizarrely from about 2/3 of the way through turned into what felt like any opportunity to bash De Niro and almost say he is overrated as an actor. Full of negative comments about his acting performance in films and basically just says he was in it for a quick quid. Maybe half true of some later movies but I really don't think many people have the right to basically bad mouth Robert De Niro, which is what this book ends up doing

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sam Romilly

    Very dull and difficult to read. The author does not seem to like Robert De Niro which does not help. the book also finishes at 2004 so misses out on all the later career.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Steve Chilton

    Biographies by their very nature contain a lot of personal opinion in them, but this author seems too snidey to me. Good early on when writing about De Niro's parents and early days, but not so good on De Niro the actor. To me he seems more intelligent than the author makes out, and Baxter concentrates on tittle tattle too much later on. Can't really recommend it. Biographies by their very nature contain a lot of personal opinion in them, but this author seems too snidey to me. Good early on when writing about De Niro's parents and early days, but not so good on De Niro the actor. To me he seems more intelligent than the author makes out, and Baxter concentrates on tittle tattle too much later on. Can't really recommend it.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Arian

    I enjoyed it as it was very well researched and interesting. It did annoy me a bit the way John Baxter down played Deniro a bit...i.e. made him out to be far less billiant than what he really is and as a result also didn't rate his perfomance in various of the movies he was in appropriately...especially the more recent of his movies. I enjoyed it as it was very well researched and interesting. It did annoy me a bit the way John Baxter down played Deniro a bit...i.e. made him out to be far less billiant than what he really is and as a result also didn't rate his perfomance in various of the movies he was in appropriately...especially the more recent of his movies.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Tim Evans

    Decent biography though a bit over critical. I mean the guy doesn't even like King Of Comedy?! Decent biography though a bit over critical. I mean the guy doesn't even like King Of Comedy?!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

    3.5

  13. 4 out of 5

    Greg

    Great actor to read about, he has been in so many good films. Just last night Midnight Run was on the tv, fantastic.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Terrance Gelenter

    Starts out with a bang just like DeNiro but he stopped making good movies before the book was finished so it sags at the end.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Graham

    Don't really know that much more about De Niro after reading this. Don't really know that much more about De Niro after reading this.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Neil

  17. 5 out of 5

    Damien

  18. 5 out of 5

    Rudy

  19. 4 out of 5

    Tony Lind

  20. 4 out of 5

    George

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lenore Emmanuelli

  22. 4 out of 5

    Dennis Germundal

  23. 5 out of 5

    Tom

  24. 5 out of 5

    Zilko Tarici

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jim Martinkus

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ross

  27. 4 out of 5

    Darren Nicolson

  28. 4 out of 5

    Pa

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Lamont

  30. 4 out of 5

    Nathan

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