Robert De Niro Calls For Arts Program Funding at Chaplin Award Gala

Wildfire in Nature Preserve Near Tampa, Florida

Almost four decades ago, three of today's biggest names in film starred together in the Oscar-winning Vietnam War movie Deep Hunter - and Meryl Streep, Robert De Niro and Christopher Walken were together again on the red carpet for the Chaplin Award Gala in New York City.

Trump's budget was not signed into law, but that didn't stop the 73-year-old Oscar-winner from criticizing it during his acceptance speech.

It all started with Charlie Chaplin in 1971, and since that time a lot of stars, including Alfred Hitchcock, Bette Davis, Audrey Hepburn, Al Pacino, Diane Keaton, Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, Martin Scorsese and Morgan Freeman, were honored at the annual event.

Earlier in the evening, De Niro was feted by friends and co-stars including Sean Penn, Harvey Keitel, Whoopi Goldberg, Ben Stiller, Meryl Streep, Michael Douglas and Barry Levinson, director of four De Niro films, including the forthcoming The Wizard of Lies.

Veteran actor Robert DeNiro has come out against the Trump administration for targeting arts programs. "This is what they now call an 'alternative fact.' I call it what it is - bullshit".

He joked that he did not need to make movies for the rich liberal elite as, 'I've got my restaurants for that'.

He claimed the President's recent plan to scrap the National Endowment for the Arts, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the National Endowment for the Humanities, was for his administration's "own divisive political purposes".

The actor shared the space with other legends like Michael Douglas and Ben Stiller among others.

De Niro has been an outspoken critic of Trump ever since he announced he was running for president. He's a punk. He's a dog.

The actor even said he wanted to punch then-candidate Trump in October - a threat he repeated in February.

"I hope we're not keeping out the next Chaplin", he told the audience.

"I can pretend to be comfortable with him, but inside".

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