Updated: Thu, 02 Jan 2014 09:45:00 GMT | By Francis Whittaker
Spotlight: Robert De Niro

Early career

Greetings (© SNAP/Rex Features)
  • Robert De Niro's life in pictures (© AP)
  • Young De Niro (© Rex Features)
  • Greetings (© SNAP/Rex Features)
  • Mean Streets (© Everett Collection/Rex Features)
  • The Godfather Part 2 (© Everett Collection/Rex Features)
  • Taxi Driver (© SNAP / Rex Features)
  • Diahnne Abbott and Robert De Niro (© Everett Collection/Rex Features)
  • The Deer Hunter (© Universal/Everett / Rex Features;)
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After honing his craft in theatre workshops and off-Broadway productions, De Niro's first big break came through his relationship with director Brian De Palma, who cast him in the Wedding Party, a movie filmed in 1963 but not released until 1969. They also worked together on Greetings (1968, pictured) and Hi Mom! (1970), and later on 1987's Oscar-winning The Untouchables. After these early roles, his career began to gather pace. He appeared as a Barker gang member in Blood Mama (1969), and he even paid his own passage to Italy to research a small role in The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight (1971).