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University of Texas at Austin

Robert De Niro:

A Preliminary Inventory of His Papers at the Harry Ransom Center

Creator: De Niro, Robert , 1943-
Title: Robert De Niro Papers
Dates: 1888-2016 (bulk 1960s-2016)
Extent: 517 boxes, 131 oversize boxes (osb) (217.14 linear feet), 147 oversize folders (osf), 601 bound volumes (bv)
Abstract: The Robert De Niro Papers include scripts plus related production, publicity, and research materials for ninety-nine films documenting De Niro's career from the 1968 film Greetings through The Wizard of Lies released in 2017. A smaller amount of materials documents his early career, including stage and television work. There are also files on projects considered and other career-related materials.
Call Number: Film Collection FI-5100
Language: English and Italian, with printed materials in Arabic, Flemish, French, German, Japanese, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, and Russian.
Access: Open for research. Researchers must create an online Research Account and agree to the Materials Use Policy before using archival materials. Please note: Polaroids in box 176 require 24 hours advance notice for access. Some materials are restricted and may only be paged with the approval of the Ransom Center’s Film Curator. Special Handling Instructions: Most of the scripts in this collection have been left in an unaltered or minimally processed state to provide the reader with the look and feel of the original as De Niro used it. When handling unbound scripts, or scripts with inserted materials, users are asked to be extremely careful in retaining the original order of the material. Script pages folded length-wise by De Niro are likewise to remain folded in keeping with original order. Potentially harmful or damaging materials such as paperclips, self-adhesive "sticky" notes, metal brads, and clasps were removed during physical processing. Processing notes were inserted where paperclips and sticky notes were removed. In many cases paper-clipped sections were placed in white paper sleeves. Some surrogate preservation photocopies were substituted for the original items, such as faxes. The original faxes have been retained with the photocopies, although in time the faxed pages will fade beyond recognition.
The production and research materials contain a number of items from which personal information has been redacted or restricted to protect an individual's privacy. Examples are social security, telephone, and account numbers; the names of medical patients, military personnel, and prisoners; and personnel records. The originals were removed and have been replaced with redacted photocopies.
Use Policies: Ransom Center collections may contain material with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in the collections without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the Ransom Center and The University of Texas at Austin assume no responsibility.
Restrictions on Use: Authorization for publication is given on behalf of the University of Texas as the owner of the collection and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder which must be obtained by the researcher. For more information please see the Ransom Center's Open Access and Use Policies.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin. Robert De Niro Papers (Film Collection FI-5100).
Acquisition: Gift, 2006-2016 (G12588, 09-07-005-G, 11-08-012-G, 12-07-010-G, 14-04-015-G, 16-08-007-G)
Processed by: Liz Murray, Katherine Mosley, and Bob Taylor, 2008; Ancelyn Krivak, 2012, 2018

The University of Texas at Austin, Harry Ransom Center

Scope and Contents

The extraordinary breadth of actor, director, and producer Robert De Niro's cinematic career from the 1960s through 2016 is reflected in his collection of papers, film, movie props, and costumes at the Ransom Center. De Niro is widely regarded as one of the greatest actors of his generation and a key figure in "The New Hollywood," an artistic renaissance that began in the late 1960s. He appeared in many of the period's key films: Taxi Driver (1976), Raging Bull (1980), The Godfather: Part II (1974), and The Deer Hunter (1978). De Niro has produced more than two dozen films since the late 1980s and directed A Bronx Tale (1993) and The Good Shepherd (2006).
The papers described in this finding aid include De Niro's heavily-annotated scripts and correspondence, stage play and photographic material from his early career, make-up and wardrobe photographs, wardrobe continuity books, costume designs, and posters, as well as extensive production, publicity, and research material. The collection focuses exclusively on De Niro's professional career: while some congratulatory correspondence and exchanges with his colleagues provide insight into the personal side of his working relationships, De Niro's private life remains private. The papers are arranged in three series: I. Films, 1888-2016 (359 boxes, 115 oversize boxes, 311 bound volumes, 120 oversize folders); II. De Niro Projects, 1899-2012 (34 boxes, 1 oversize box, 238 bound volumes, 2 oversize folders); and III. Early Career and Career-Related, 1946-2016 (12 boxes, 14 oversize boxes, 48 bound volumes, 25 oversize folders).
Most of the papers are located in the first series, Films, which includes scripts plus related production, publicity, and research materials for ninety-nine films documenting De Niro's career from the 1968 film Greetings through The Wizard of Lies released in 2017. While the type and amount of material present varies from film to film, there is not only abundant evidence of De Niro's rigorous preparation for his acting roles from the large amounts of research material present and his copious notations in scripts, but also insight into the collaborative nature of his work with a variety of noted writers, directors, actors, and other film artists. The evolution of many screenplays can also be traced, often from the original source material and through numerous drafts to the final shooting script. The close attention paid to the details of wardrobe, make-up, and hairstyle design and continuity is also evident and particularly well-represented in the production materials.
Series II., De Niro Projects, includes plays, screenplays, and television scripts received, reviewed, or considered. The majority of the works originate from writers and directors with whom De Niro has long been closely associated and include scripts for such notable film projects as Apocalypse Now, The Aviator, A Bridge Too Far, Clockers, Gangs of New York, Glengarry Glen Ross, The Godfather: Part III, Hoffa, The Last Temptation of Christ, Silence, and Weeds. This series also includes screenplays and research materials for an unrealized film project that De Niro was to direct, tentatively titled "Finn." Some of the research materials collected for this project were later used for The Good Shepherd.
The final series, Early Career and Career-Related, contains articles about De Niro, early contracts, correspondence, and photographs as well as materials related to awards, public appearances, and tributes. Of special note are photographs, résumés, programs, and reviews documenting De Niro's student work and early stage roles. Much of the correspondence in the collection is located in this series, often congratulatory in nature or related to shared projects. Correspondents include friends and industry colleagues, such as Kenneth Branagh, Michael Cimino, Francis Ford Coppola, Jonathan Demme, Ron Howard, Roland Joffé, Harvey Keitel, George Lucas, David Mamet, Al Pacino, Harold Pinter, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Lee Strasberg, Jack Valenti, and Harvey Weinstein, among others. A complete index of all correspondent names in this series is included in this finding aid.
Additions to the original accession were processed and added to the inventory in 2012 and 2018. Costumes, digital media, film props, moving images, personal effects, and sound recordings are housed in related departments within the Ransom Center. The Stella Adler, David Mamet, and Tom Stoppard collections at the Ransom Center contain additional De Niro-related material.

Series Descriptions

Related Material

The Stella Adler, David Mamet, and Tom Stoppard collections at the Ransom Center contain additional De Niro-related material.

Separated Material

De Niro's costumes, digital media, film props, moving images, personal effects, and sound recordings are housed in related departments within the Ransom Center. Commercial sound and moving image recordings, collected for research for A Bronx Tale, The Good Shepherd, and other films, were removed from the collection. A list of the recordings that were removed is available in Folder 170.9.

Container List

Oversize boxes Container 171-230, 328-379, 516-537   
Request entire Container 171-230, 328-379, 516-537