Martin Scorsese


Martin Charles Scorsese (November 17, 1942) is an American film director, screenwriter, producer and actor, whose career spans more than 50 years. One of the major figures of the New Hollywood era, he is widely regarded as one of the most significant and influential directors in film history. Scorsese’s body of work explores themes such as Italian-American identity, Catholic concepts of guilt and redemption, faith, machismo, crime and tribalism. Many of his films are known for their depiction of violence, and the liberal use of profanity and rock music. In 1990, he founded The Film Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to film preservation, and in 2007 he founded the World Cinema Foundation.

Scorsese studied at New York University where he received a bachelor’s degree in English Literature in 1964, and received a Masters in Fine Arts in film from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts in 1966. In 1967 Scorsese’s first feature film Who’s That Knocking at My Door (starring Harvey Keitel) was released and was accepted into the Chicago Film Festival, where critic Roger Ebert saw it and called it “a marvelous evocation of American city life, announcing the arrival of an important new director.”

Scorsese’s mentors included John Cassavetes, whose chatty, improvisational style did much to influence Scorsese’s scripts and production work, and who told him to “make films about what you know.” In 1971 Scorsese moved to Hollywood, where he associated with some of the young directors who defined the decade, including Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola, Brian De Palma, and George Lucas. He directed Boxcar Bertha (1972), starring Barbara Hershey and David Carradine, a cut-rate Depression-era film for Roger Corman, and Mean Streets (1973), a personal film about faith and redemption shot in Little Italy, starring Keitel and Robert De Niro.

He has established a filmmaking history involving repeat collaborations with actors and film technicians, including nine films made with De Niro. His films with De Niro are the vigilante-thriller Taxi Driver (1976), the biographical sports drama Raging Bull (1980), his first collaboration with Joe Pesci; the black comedy The King of Comedy (1982), the musical drama New York, New York (1977), with Liza Minnelli; the psychological thriller Cape Fear (1991), and the crime films Mean Streets (1973), Goodfellas (1990), with Ray Liotta and Pesci; Casino (1995), with Pesci, Sharon Stone, and James Woods. and The Irishman (2019), the latter marking his first collaboration with actor Al Pacino.

Scorsese has also been noted for his successful collaborations with actor Leonardo DiCaprio, having directed him in five films: the historical epic Gangs of New York (2002), with Daniel Day-Lewis; the Howard Hughes biography The Aviator (2004), with Cate Blanchett; the crime thriller The Departed (2006), with Jack Nicholson, Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg, Vera Farmiga, Martin Sheen, and Alec Baldwin; the psychological thriller Shutter Island (2010), with Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Michelle Williams, Emily Mortimer, Patricia Clarkson, and Max von Sydow; and the black comedy The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), with Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Matthew McConaughey, Rob Reiner, and Jon Favreau. The Departed won Scorsese the Academy Award for Best Director, in addition to winning the award for Best Picture.

Scorsese is also known for his long-time collaboration with film editor Thelma Schoonmaker, who has edited every Scorsese film beginning with Raging Bull. Schoonmaker has edited his debut feature, as well as his documentary Street Scenes (1970), but had been unable to work with him until Raging Bull due to not being in the Editor’s Guild. She’s been nominated 8 times for the Academy Award for editing, first for the concert documentary Woodstock (1970, and the rest of films directed by Scorsese, winning 3. Scorsese’s other films include After Hours (1985), The Color of Money (1986), with Paul Newman, Tom Cruise, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Helen Shaver, and John Turturro; The Age of Innocence (1993), with Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Winona Ryder; Hugo (2011), with Asa Butterfield, Chloë Grace Moretz, Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Mortimer, Christopher Lee, Ray Winstone, and Jude Law; The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), with Willem Dafoe; Kundun (1997), Bringing Out the Dead, with Nicolas Cage, Patricia Arquette, and John Goodman; and Silence (2016), with Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, and Liam Neeson.
With nine Academy Award for Best Director nominations, Scorsese is the most-nominated living director and is second only to William Wyler’s 12 nominations overall. In 2007, Scorsese was presented with the Kennedy Center Honor at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for his influence in American culture. He also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2003, a British Film Institute Fellowship in 1995, and a BAFTA Fellowship in 2012. Scorsese is also a recipient of the AFI Life Achievement Award for his contributions to the cinema, and has won an Academy Award, a Palme d’Or, Cannes Film Festival Best Director Award, Silver Lion, Grammy Award, Primetime Emmy Awards, Golden Globes, BAFTAs, and Directors Guild of America Awards. Scorsese is also known for his work in television, including directing the pilot episodes of the HBO series Boardwalk Empire and Vinyl, the latter he also co-created. As a fan of rock music, he has directed several documentaries on the subject after editing Woodstock (1970), including The Last Waltz (1978), No Direction Home (2005), Shine a Light (2008), George Harrison: Living in the Material World (2011), and Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese (2019).

Each review will be linked to the title below.

(*seen originally in theaters)

(*seen rereleased in theaters)

  • Vesuvius VI (1959) – short
  • What’s a Nice Girl Like You Doing in a Place Like This? (1963) – short
  • It’s Not Just You, Murray! (1964) – short
  • The Big Shave (1967) – short
  • Who’s That Knocking at My Door (1967)
  • Street Scenes (1970) – documentary
  • Boxcar Bertha (1972)
  • Mean Streets (1973)
  • Italianamerican (1974) – documentary
  • Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (1974)
  • Taxi Driver (1976)**
  • New York, New York (1977)
  • The Last Waltz (1978) – documentary
  • Raging Bull (1980)**
  • The King of Comedy (1983)
  • After Hours (1985)
  • The Color of Money (1986)
  • The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)
  • New York Stories (1989) – directed with Francis Ford Coppola and Woody Allen – anthology
  • Made in Milan (1990) – documentary short
  • Goodfellas (1990)**
  • Cape Fear (1991)
  • The Age of Innocence (1993)
  • A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies (1995) – documentary; co-director
  • Casino (1995)
  • Kundun (1997)
  • My Voyage to Italy (1999) – documentary
  • Bringing Out the Dead (1999)
  • Gangs of New York (2002)*
  • The Aviator (2004)
  • No Direction Home (2005) – documentary
  • The Departed (2006)
  • The Key to Reserva (2007) – short
  • Shine a Light (2008)* – concert documentary
  • Shutter Island (2010)
  • A Letter to Elia (2010) – documentary; co-director
  • Public Speaking (2010) – documentary
  • George Harrison: Living in the Material World (2011) – documentary
  • Hugo (2011)*
  • The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
  • The 50 Year Argument (2014) – documentary; co-director
  • The Audition (2015) – short
  • Silence (2016)
  • Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese (2019) – pseudo-documentary
  • The Irishman (2019)

Other notable New Hollywood filmmakers: