Robert De Niro says A Bronx Tale failure stalled directing opportunities

Although well received, A Bronx Tale was such a box office disappointment that it slowed the directing career of Robert De Niro.

De Niro Bronx Tale

With 1993’s A Bronx Tale celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, two things are for sure. One, not every beloved movie does well at the box office. Two, if she doesn’t lean over and lift the car lock, dump her. But Robert De Niro has more to say on the former, as A Bronx Tale almost cost him his future as a director.

Speaking at the Tribeca Festival – which Robert De Niro co-founded as the Tribeca Film Festival as a way to bring prosperity back to New York after 9/11 – the actor/director recalled A Bronx Tale peaking at #7 and only grossing around $17 million at the box office. “How could you not be disappointed? You do all this work for it. At the same time, I was lucky to be able to make the movie I made.” He added, “I never got asked to do movies after that,” although, more accurately, it would be another decade before De Niro stepped behind the camera to direct, later helming 2006’s The Good Shepherd, which he called “another uphill battle.”

Although Robert De Niro has only directed two pictures, A Bronx Tale remains a bit of a minor classic within the gangster genre, even being selected by the American Film Institute as one of the 50 best of its kind. (A Bronx Tale didn’t make the top 10, but De Niro was represented with Goodfellas and The Godfather Part II.) Adding to its legacy despite a disappointing box office performance, De Niro said, “Other movies are the same way…With Marty, even Raging Bull, you do the movie because you really love it and you know it’s what you want to do because you feel it has to be done. When it makes a lot of money, that’s great, because it’s a kind of validation; a lot of people see it. But at the same time, things become recognized in certain ways. Even today, with Bronx Tale, I enjoyed doing it, and it was a great experience to have been able to do it.”

A Bronx Tale is based on the autobiographical one-man play by Chazz Palminteri, who was also in attendance with De Niro and producer Jane Rosenthal. Although approached many times to turn the play into a feature, Palminteri gave in to De Niro after agreeing he could remain screenwriter.

Are you a fan of A Bronx Tale? Do you wish Robert De Niro had directed more than just two movies? Give us your thoughts below!

Source: Variety

About the Author

2015 Articles Published

Mathew is an East Coast-based writer and film aficionado who has been working with JoBlo.com periodically since 2006. When he’s not writing, you can find him on Letterboxd or at a local brewery. If he had the time, he would host the most exhaustive The Wonder Years rewatch podcast in the universe.