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,
props, and costumes at the Ransom Center. De Niro is widely regarded as one of the
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
correspondence, stage play and photographic material from his early career, make-up
wardrobe photographs, wardrobe continuity books, costume designs, and posters, 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.
1888-2016 (359 boxes, 115 oversize boxes, 311 bound volumes, 120 oversize folders);
Niro Projects, 1899-2012 (34 boxes, 1 oversize box, 238 bound volumes, 2 oversize
and III. Early Career and Career-Related, 1946-2016 (12 boxes, 14 oversize boxes,
volumes, 25 oversize folders).
||Most of the papers are located in the first series, Films, which includes scripts
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
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
of his work with a variety of noted writers, directors, actors, and other film artists.
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
details of wardrobe, make-up, and hairstyle design and continuity is also evident
particularly well-represented in the production materials.
||Series II., De Niro Projects, includes plays, screenplays, and television scripts
reviewed, or considered. The majority of the works originate from writers and directors
whom De Niro has long been closely associated and include scripts for such notable
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
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,
contracts, correspondence, and photographs as well as materials related to awards,
appearances, and tributes. Of special note are photographs, résumés, programs, and
documenting De Niro's student work and early stage roles. Much of the correspondence
collection is located in this series, often congratulatory in nature or related to
projects. Correspondents include friends and industry colleagues, such as Kenneth
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
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
2018. Costumes, digital media, film props, moving images, personal effects, and sound
recordings are housed in related departments within the Ransom Center. The Stella
David Mamet, and Tom Stoppard collections at the Ransom Center contain additional
||Series I. Films, 1888-2016
||The bulk of the De Niro Papers are located in this series and comprise materials from
ninety-nine films dating from De Niro's 1968 film Greetings through The Wizard of Lies released in
2017. Materials in this series are arranged alphabetically by film title, and items
film are consistently arranged in this order: screenplays first, followed by production,
publicity, and research materials.
||Screenplays are heavily represented in the collection and are present for all of De Niro's
acting roles. The number of screenplays present for each film varies from film to
most are represented by multiple versions. For example, Meet the Fockers has thirty-five scripts written steadily over the
course of three years, while Raging Bull has twenty scripts
that evolved intermittently from conception to completion over a span of about ten
||Modern screenplays are notorious for their variant titles, multiple writers, and numerous
re-writes, and the De Niro scripts are no exception. Working with information provided
the title pages and dated revisions, multiple scripts for individual films have been
arranged in their probable order of creation, although undated scripts and inserted
revisions make definitive sequencing difficult. The films Analyze This and Meet the Fockers provide good
examples of a complex array of scripts with more than a dozen writers and derivative
||Descriptions of individual scripts in the following folder list are often limited
date of the original script and, for subsequent revisions, the date last revised.
titles, draft numbers or other draft identifications (e.g., "final
shooting script"), and writer names are also included if present. The descriptions
frequently also include either "with RDN notes" or "no RDN notes." De Niro's handwritten annotation of scripts is a
hallmark of his working method; rendered in ink, these annotations are primarily dialogue
and script changes and notes regarding his role.
||Shooting scripts are present for most of the films. In most cases, the shooting scripts
designated in the finding aid are the ones De Niro used during filming. They are heavily
annotated with De Niro's handwritten notes and are often bound in three-ring binders
inserted script revisions and production material. The Raging Bull shooting script contained a particularly large amount of
inserted material; in order to preserve it and also retain its original order, a facsimile
copy was created and is available for research use. The original script is restricted
access and may be viewed only with the permission of the Ransom Center’s Film Curator.
||The production materials in the De Niro Papers reflect the myriad tasks involved in
film-making. While nearly all the De Niro films contain some production materials,
type and quantity varies from film to film. The papers contain a large volume of production
materials for the two films De Niro directed, A Bronx Tale and The Good Shepherd, and a smaller
selection of production materials from other films. Among the types of items present
(automated dialogue replacement) sheets, call sheets, casting lists and résumés, contact
crew lists, dialogue notes, one-liner and shooting schedules, continuity and make-up
photographs, production reports, production stills, recruited audience preview reports,
storyboards, De Niro's handwritten notes, production-related memos and correspondence,
congratulatory correspondence, and wardrobe continuity and inventory lists. Several
also include original costume, tattoo, and set designs, as well as location photography.
||Photographs dominate the production materials in terms of sheer volume and include
hair/make-up, wardrobe, and production stills. The prints are largely in 4x6-inch
Polaroid formats, but also include 8x10-inch and oversize. Prints have been arranged
number and sleeved in frame order. Frame order is especially critical for documenting
make-up application, as evidenced by more than 3,000 prints for Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. For this film, De Niro endured a
full-body plaster cast used to create a body suit that transformed him into "The Creature." Shot by shot, the photographs document the
painstaking 16-hour make-up sessions, capturing the intricate application of face,
body prosthetics in incredible detail. The Polaroids are primarily make-up and wardrobe
continuity prints and are often marked with scene numbers and other pertinent information.
In some cases, metal rings or safety pins were used for portability on the set and
scene sequence. For the film Awakenings, 135 continuity
Polaroids on a single ring record the state of De Niro's hair and beard for each scene,
guarantee continuity over multiple takes and reshoots.
||Wardrobe continuity material is present for more than three dozen films, ranging from
sheets to binders with up to seventy pages. Typically, wardrobe items were listed
on specially-formatted sheets and supplemented with Polaroids showing De Niro in costume,
well as individual items such as shoes and jewelry. Because overlapping Polaroids
taped onto the wardrobe sheets and presented a handling problem, facsimiles were made
some of the wardrobe continuity material in the collection.
||This category of film material is the least prevalent in this series, and the amount
type varies from film to film. Publicity materials include advertising graphics and
articles and reviews, correspondence and memos, marketing and promotional materials,
posters, premiere programs and tickets, press kits, press junket itineraries, press
releases, publicity and studio stills, screening cards and invitations, and tour
information. Three cardboard cutout standees of De Niro in costume created to promote
The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, The King of Comedy, and The Mission were transferred to the Costume and Personal Effects
Department at the Ransom Center and are cataloged in the Ransom Center’s Objects and
||De Niro is well known for thoroughly researching and preparing for his acting roles.
addition to articles, pamphlets, chapter sections, and other printed material, the
collection includes 311 books used for research on topics ranging from mobsters and
to Jesuits and baseball. For each film, the books are arranged by author and title
the research section and each book is cataloged with a bv (bound volume) number. Some
these books are inscribed to De Niro and De Niro also annotated many of the volumes
handwritten notes. Many of the books originally contained loose items; these items
withdrawn and filed together. The new location of each withdrawn item is indicated
folder list, and correspondence found inside bound volumes is listed in the Index
Selected Correspondents included in this finding aid. Research material for Cape Fear, The Good Shepherd, and The Mission is particularly extensive.
||Some correspondence and production memoranda are scattered throughout Series I. and
selected correspondents appear in the Index of Selected Correspondents included in
||Series II. De Niro Projects, 1899-2012
||Throughout De Niro's long career, a great quantity of script material has come his
consideration. The plays, screenplays, and television scripts in this series are some
projects that held De Niro's interest although, for a variety of reasons, his involvement
remained limited. The projects material has been arranged alphabetically by title.
majority of works include writers and directors with whom De Niro has long been closely
associated, such as Michael Cimino, Francis Ford Coppola, Brian De Palma, George Gallo,
Michael V. Gazzo, William Goldman, Elia Kazan, Robert Kuhn, David Mamet, Michael Powell,
Richard Price, Paul Schrader, Martin Scorsese, and David Seltzer. Notable film projects
this series include 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. Series II also contains a
significant volume of screenplays and research materials for an unrealized film project
De Niro was to direct, tentatively titled "Finn." Some of
the research materials collected for this project were later used for The Good Shepherd. Approximately thirty of the bound volumes
collected as research for "Finn" are restricted from
access; patrons with a research interest in any volumes listed as restricted in the
aid can contact the Ransom Center’s Film Curator for more information. Duplicates
volumes collected for research were removed from the collection.
||Series III. Early Career and Career-Related, 1946-2016
||This series contains articles about De Niro, award certificates and certificates of
nomination, books retained for general research and received as gifts, early contracts,
correspondence, photographs, and posters. Also included are scripts for guest appearances
Saturday Night Live and other television programs; materials from
film festivals, public appearances, tributes, and film series; and materials related
musicals produced by De Niro’s Tribeca Theatrical Productions, A Bronx Tale: The Musical and We Will Rock You.
||Much of the correspondence in the collection is located in this series, often
congratulatory in nature or related to shared projects. Correspondents include friends
industry colleagues, such as Giorgio Armani, Lauren Bacall, Robert Bolt, Kenneth Branagh,
Ellen Burstyn, Michael Cimino, Francis Ford Coppola, Jonathan Demme, Barry Diller,
Dreyfuss, Dominick Dunne, Jane Fonda, Whoopi Goldberg, Tom Hayden, Israel Horovitz,
Howard, Roland Joffé, Garson Kanin, Elia Kazan, Harvey Keitel, John F. Kennedy, Jr.,
Landau, George Lucas, David Mamet, Marsha Mason, Al Pacino, Joseph Papp, Jane Pauley,
Pinter, Richard Pryor, Cliff Robertson, Oliver Sacks, Martin Scorsese, Gene Shalit,
Spielberg, Sharon Stone, Lee Strasberg, Emma Thompson, Jack Valenti, Harvey Weinstein,
Williams, Henry Winkler, Shelley Winters, and Franco Zeffirelli, among others. An
all correspondent names in this series is included in this finding aid.
||Photographs occupy a large portion of this series and contain significant images from
early days of De Niro's career. De Niro created his own résumé head shots, the earliest
which lists his acting experience through 1963. This series of photographs ends in
1970s with the appearance of studio publicity stills for films such as Bloody Mama and Mean Streets. The résumés
attached to many of the head shots, some with four different images per print, provide
valuable information regarding De Niro's stage performances that date from his days
training with The Dramatic Workshop, Luther James Studio, Stella Adler Theatre Studio,
Raphael Kelly. These résumés include the parts he played in repertory theater, tours,
commercials, performances at Hunter College and Sarah Lawrence College, the off-Broadway
shows, and early films including Greetings and The Wedding Party. Often play reviews are also attached to the head
shots. In addition, there are programs and production photographs for many of these
plays. Titles include The Boor, Generation, Glamour, Glory & Gold,
Kool Aid, One Night Stands of a Noisy
Passenger, Tchin-Tchin, and The World of Günter Grass.