Robert De Niro And Martin Scorsese Reveal How Their Iconic Collaboration Started

(Photo by STEFANO RELLANDINI/AFP via Getty Images)

Mariane Angela Contributor
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Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese shared how their collaboration in the film industry started, in an interview with PEOPLE published Saturday.

The two titans of the film industry share a bond forged over five decades of collaboration and mutual respect. The pair first met in New York, where their paths crossed during their teenage years, though it wasn’t until a fateful Christmas dinner that their legendary partnership started.

“We finally met at Christmas dinner years later and I saw Who’s That Knocking [at My Door], and I said, ‘That was a really terrific movie,’” De Niro told PEOPLE. “He said, ‘I have the script.’ And Mean Streets was at that time called Season of the Witch, and so that’s how it started.”

This dynamic duo has since created an impressive roster of films, including iconic titles such as “Taxi Driver,” “Raging Bull,” and “Goodfellas,” culminating in their latest Oscar-nominated venture, “Killers of the Flower Moon.” This film, which delves into the harrowing true story of the Osage murders in 1920s Oklahoma, showcases their continued ability to tackle complex narratives and bring them to life on the big screen, PEOPLE noted. (RELATED:Martin Scorsese Breaks Steven Spielberg’s Record As Most Oscar-Nominated Living Director: REPORT)

De Niro, now 80, reflects on the serendipity of their partnership and the creative freedom Scorsese offers to everyone involved in a project. “He has very clear ideas but knows not to impose anything and let the people just feel free enough to be expressed as much as they can through whatever they’re doing,” De Niro further added.

Scorsese, 81, reciprocates this admiration, highlighting De Niro’s unparalleled commitment to his roles. “When Bob commits to a role, he starts digging in with research, questions about absolutely everything, from what the character wears to what he eats for breakfast,” the legendary director said.