Motivational & Inspirational Robert De Niro Quotes on Life, Love, Movies & Acting


Passion should always trump common sense.

Robert De Niro quote - Passion

Things rarely turn out the way we want them to.

You do what you do best, try to stop guys like me

The talent is in the choices.

Feeling a little bit alive is a lot better than just waiting to die.

Sometimes if you have financial restraints, it’s a benefit. It forces you to come up with a more creative way.

The older you get, the more you know about certain things.

You don’t have to rush to do anything.

I will not hesitate. Not for a second.

If it’s the right chair, it doesn’t take too long to get comfortable in it.

You’ll have time to rest when you’re dead.

Robert de niro quote

If you’re an actor, always be true to your character. If you are not an actor, have character and always be true to yourself.

You don’t always have to have the answer to everything.

Somebody steals from me, I’m gonna say you stole. Not talk to him for spitting on the sidewalk. Understand?

I didn’t have a problem with rejection, because when you go into an audition, you’re rejected already. There are hundreds of other actors. You’re behind the eight ball when you go in there.


You don’t need words to express feelings.

Robert De Niro quote - feelings

You don’t just play a part. You’ve got to earn the right to play it.

Robert De Niro quote - Playing a role

One of the things about acting is it allows you to live other people’s lives without having to pay the price.

As an actor, you use the things from yourself that you can apply to the character.

I’ve never been one of those actors who has touted myself as a fascinating human being. I had to decide early on whether I was to be an actor or a personality.

I always tell actors when they go in for an audition: Don’t be afraid to do what your instincts tell you. You may not get the part, but people will take notice.

Good directors can bring certain things out of you, with their intensity or gentleness or sensitivity or understanding. They can make an actor feel he can do no wrong.

When you are working hard, you don’t have time for anything other than what you are doing in the scene and what the director wants.

Certain writers have it very precise and there’s not much room to add something.

Auditions are like a gamble. Most likely you won’t get the part, but if you don’t go, you’ll never know if you could’ve got it.

You have to think about one shot. One shot is what it’s all about. A deer’s gotta be taken with one shot.

You draw on whatever’s relevant to the part you’re playing. It makes it more personal.

As an actor who’s starting out, you can’t say, “Hey, I’m too good for this.” You gotta do it, because people see you, your name gets around, and it has a cumulative effect.

I never walk into a place I don’t know how to walk out of.


Better to be king for a night than a schmuck for a lifetime.

You learned the two greatest thing in life, never rat on your friends, and always keep your mouth shut.

Reputation, you know – a lifetime to build, seconds to destroy.

The saddest thing in life is wasted talent

There’s nothing more ironic or contradictory than life itself.

Money makes your life easier. If you’re lucky to have it, you’re lucky.

In acting, I always try to go back to what would actually be the real situation, the real human behavior in life.

The hardest thing about being famous is that people are always nice to you.

In civilized societies, we spend our lifetimes trying to become what is socially acceptable. We’re dark and we’re light. We all have both sides to us.

Write down everything you want to do with your life and then spend the next 25 years doing them.

It’s important not to indicate. People don’t try to show their feelings, they try to hide them.

Loneliness has been following me my whole life.

I have to be able to trust you with my life. Do you understand?


Movies are hard work. The public doesn’t see that. The critics don’t see it. But they’re a lot of work. A lot of work.

Robert De Niro quote - Movies

You always learn something about movies. Directing or acting, there’s always something new. It’s the technological thing; there’s always something to learn.

Movies are hard to make, and you have to work toward a common ethic and do your best. You don’t want to work with people who don’t care or who are acting out some neurotic, crazy thesis on the set.

The bottom line is if the movie does well, everybody is happy and they forget about what they went through. And if it doesn’t, it’s ‘I told you.’ There’s one director who I won’t mention, who said, ‘it’s all blood under the bridge.’

When you make a movie, everyone should leave their own personal problems at home. When they start bringing those to set, filming can be very difficult… You don’t need any extra drama. Put the drama into the story, in the characters.

The director respects what they’ve hired you for and chosen you for: to do the part and respect what you’re doing.

I always wanted to direct. Directing is a lot more of a commitment though, a lot more time. I like directors who do very few takes, they know what they want.

The mind of a writer can be a truly terrifying thing. Isolated, neurotic, caffeine-addled, crippled by procrastination, consumed by feelings of panic, self-loathing, and soul-crushing inadequacy. And that’s on a good day.

About himself

I don’t like to watch my own movies – I fall asleep in my own movies.

I don’t remember what made me want to be an actor. In fact, I’m always curious.

I always enjoy coming to Israel. Israelis are warm, they’re energetic people. Forthright. Very smart. I always like smart people. They’re nice people, you know. Aggressive, and I respect that aggressiveness because you need it in their situation.

There is a certain combination of anarchy and discipline in the way I work.

One regret I have: I didn’t get as much of the family history as I could have for the kids.

I always go back to how people behave. If you watch how people actually behave in a situation, it’s very simple and honest and contained. You don’t need to use as much expression, as much feeling. Some characters will boil over, and that’s another thing, but a lot of times I think you can just do very, very little.

I certainly know the difference between right and wrong.

My mother worked for a woman, Maria Ley-Piscator, who with her husband founded the Dramatic Workshop, which was connected to the New School. My mother did proofreading and typing and stuff or her, and as part of her payment, I was able to take acting classes there on Saturdays when I was 10.

How to do

Time goes on. So whatever you’re going to do, do it. Do it now. Don’t wait.

If you don’t go, you’ll never know.

A lot of young actors have the idea that, “I’ve got to do this right. There’s a right way to do this.” But there’s no right or wrong. There’s only good and bad. And “bad” usually happens when you’re trying too hard to do it right. There’s a very broad spectrum of things that can inhibit you. The most important thing for actors – and not just actors, but everybody – is to feel loose enough to create what you want to create, and be free to try anything. To have choices.


When you love someone you gotta trust them, there’s no other way. You gotta give them the key to everything that’s yours. Otherwise, what’s the point?

What’s the difference between sex and love?’ Hmm. That’s a good question. Hey, you interviewed Al Pacino. How’d he answer that?’

I love to find new people. It’s not for the sake of their being new; it’s because if you find someone who perfectly fits a part, that’s such a great thing.


There is only one way to gain access to the truth and that is to not expect anything.

Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt.

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