Scorsese in 2010
|Born||Martin Charles Scorsese
November 17, 1942
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Education||New York University (BA) (MFA)|
|Occupation||Film director, producer, screenwriter, film historian|
Martin Charles Scorsese (//; born November 17, 1942) is an American director, producer, screenwriter, and film historian, whose career spans more than 50 years. Scorsese's body of work addresses such themes as Sicilian-American identity, Roman Catholic concepts of guilt and redemption, faith, machismo, modern crime, and gang conflict. Many of his films are also known for their depiction of violence and liberal use of profanity.
Part of the New Hollywood wave of filmmaking, he is widely regarded as one of the most significant and influential filmmakers in cinematic history; in 1990, he founded The Film Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to film preservation, and in 2007 he founded the World Cinema Foundation. He is 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, Emmys, Golden Globes, BAFTAs, and DGA Awards.
He has directed works such as the crime film Mean Streets (1973), the vigilante-thriller Taxi Driver (1976), the biographical sports drama Raging Bull (1980), the black comedies The King of Comedy (1983), and After Hours (1985), the religious epic drama The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), the crime film Goodfellas (1990), the psychological thriller Cape Fear (1991) and the crime film Casino (1995), some of which he collaborated on with actor and close friend Robert De Niro. Scorsese has also been noted for his successful collaborations with actor Leonardo DiCaprio, having directed him in five films, beginning with Gangs of New York (2002) and most recently The Wolf of Wall Street (2013). Their third film together, The Departed (2006), won Scorsese the Academy Award for Best Director in addition to the film winning the award for Best Picture, their collaborations have resulted in numerous Academy Award nominations for both as well as them winning several other prestigious awards.
Scorsese's other film work includes the concert film The Last Waltz (1978), the biographical drama The Aviator (2004), the psychological thriller Shutter Island (2010), the historical adventure drama Hugo (2011) and the religious epic Silence (2016). His work in television includes the pilot episode of the HBO series Boardwalk Empire and Vinyl, the latter of which he also co-created. He won the Academy Award for Best Director for the crime drama The Departed (2006). With eight Best Director nominations, he is the most nominated living director and is tied with Billy Wilder for the second most nominations overall.
Scorsese was born on November 17, 1942 in Queens, New York. His family moved to Little Italy, Manhattan, before he started school, his father, Charles Scorsese, and mother, Catherine Scorsese (born Cappa), both worked in New York's Garment District. His father was a clothes presser and an actor, and his mother was a seamstress and an actress, his father's parents emigrated from Polizzi Generosa, in the province of Palermo, Sicily, and his maternal grandparents were also from Palermo, precisely from Ciminna. Scorsese was raised in a devoutly Catholic environment, as a boy, he had asthma and could not play sports or do any activities with other children, so his parents and his older brother would often take him to movie theaters; it was at this stage in his life that he developed a passion for cinema. As a teenager in the Bronx, Scorsese frequently rented Powell and Pressburger's The Tales of Hoffmann (1951) from a store that had one copy of the reel. Scorsese was one of only two people who regularly rented that reel; the other was future Night of the Living Dead director George A. Romero.
Scorsese has cited Sabu and Victor Mature as his favorite actors during his youth, he has also spoken of the influence of the 1947 Powell and Pressburger film Black Narcissus, whose innovative techniques later impacted his filmmaking. Enamored of historical epics in his adolescence, at least two films of the genre, Land of the Pharaohs and El Cid, appear to have had a deep and lasting impact on his cinematic psyche. Scorsese also developed an admiration for neorealist cinema at this time, he recounted its influence in a documentary on Italian neorealism, and commented on how Bicycle Thieves alongside Paisà, Rome, Open City inspired him and how this influenced his view or portrayal of his Sicilian roots. In his documentary, Il Mio Viaggio in Italia, Scorsese noted that the Sicilian episode of Roberto Rossellini's Paisà, which he first saw on television alongside his relatives, who were themselves Sicilian immigrants, made a significant impact on his life. He acknowledges owing a great debt to the French New Wave and has stated that "the French New Wave has influenced all filmmakers who have worked since, whether they saw the films or not." He has also cited filmmakers including Satyajit Ray, Ingmar Bergman, Michelangelo Antonioni, and Federico Fellini as a major influence on his career. His initial desire to become a priest, initially attending preparatory seminary but failing after the first year  while attending Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx gave way to cinema and consequently, Scorsese enrolled in NYU's Washington Square College (now known as the College of Arts and Science), where he earned a B.A. in English in 1964. He went on to earn his M.F.A. from NYU's School of the Arts (now known as the Tisch School of the Arts) in 1966, a year after the school was founded.
Scorsese attended New York University's Tisch School of the Arts (B.A., English, 1964; M.F.A., film, 1966) making the short films What's a Nice Girl Like You Doing in a Place Like This? (1963) and It's Not Just You, Murray! (1964). His most famous short of the period is the darkly comic The Big Shave (1967), which features Peter Bernuth, the film is an indictment of America's involvement in Vietnam, suggested by its alternative title Viet '67. Scorsese has mentioned on several occasions that he was greatly inspired in his early days at New York University by his Armenian American film professor Haig P. Manoogian.
In 1967, Scorsese made his first feature-length film, the black and white I Call First, which was later retitled Who's That Knocking at My Door with his fellow students actor Harvey Keitel and editor Thelma Schoonmaker, both of whom were to become long-term collaborators. This film was intended to be the first of Scorsese's semiautobiographical J. R. Trilogy, which also would have included a later film, Mean Streets.
Scorsese became friends with the influential "movie brats" of the 1970s: Brian De Palma, Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. It was Brian De Palma who introduced Scorsese to Robert De Niro, during this period he worked as the assistant director and one of the editors on the documentary Woodstock (1970) and met actor–director John Cassavetes, who would also go on to become a close friend and mentor.
In 1972, Scorsese made the Depression-era exploiter Boxcar Bertha for B-movie producer Roger Corman, who also helped directors such as Francis Ford Coppola, James Cameron, and John Sayles launch their careers. It was Corman who taught Scorsese that entertaining films could be shot with very little money or time, preparing the young director well for the challenges to come with Mean Streets. Following the film's release, Cassavetes encouraged Scorsese to make the films that he wanted to make, rather than someone else's projects.
Championed by influential film critic Pauline Kael, Mean Streets was a breakthrough for Scorsese, De Niro, and Keitel. By now the signature Scorsese style was in place: macho posturing, bloody violence, Catholic guilt and redemption, gritty New York locale (though the majority of Mean Streets was actually shot in Los Angeles), rapid-fire editing and a soundtrack with contemporary music, although the film was innovative, its wired atmosphere, edgy documentary style, and gritty street-level direction owed a debt to directors Cassavetes, Samuel Fuller and early Jean-Luc Godard.
In 1974, actress Ellen Burstyn chose Scorsese to direct her in Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, for which she won an Academy Award for Best Actress. Although well regarded, the film remains an anomaly in the director's early career as it focuses on a central female character. Returning to Little Italy to explore his ethnic roots, Scorsese next came up with Italianamerican, a documentary featuring his parents Charles and Catherine Scorsese.
Taxi Driver followed in 1976—Scorsese's dark, urban nightmare of one lonely man's slow descent into insanity. The film established Scorsese as an accomplished filmmaker and also brought attention to cinematographer Michael Chapman, whose style tends towards high contrasts, strong colors, and complex camera movements, the film starred Robert De Niro as the troubled and psychotic Travis Bickle. The film co-starred Jodie Foster in a highly controversial role as an underage prostitute, and Harvey Keitel as her pimp, Matthew, called "Sport". Taxi Driver also marked the start of a series of collaborations between Scorsese and writer Paul Schrader, whose influences included the diary of would-be assassin Arthur Bremer and Pickpocket, a film by the French director Robert Bresson. Writer–director Schrader often returns to Bresson's work in films such as American Gigolo, Light Sleeper, and Scorsese's later Bringing Out the Dead. Already controversial upon its release, Taxi Driver hit the headlines again five years later, when John Hinckley, Jr. made an assassination attempt on then-president Ronald Reagan. He subsequently blamed his act on his obsession with Jodie Foster's Taxi Driver character (in the film, De Niro's character, Travis Bickle, makes an assassination attempt on a senator). Taxi Driver won the Palme d'Or at the 1976 Cannes Film Festival, also receiving four Oscar nominations, including Best Picture.
The critical success of Taxi Driver encouraged Scorsese to move ahead with his first big-budget project: the highly stylized musical New York, New York, this tribute to Scorsese's home town and the classic Hollywood musical was a box-office failure. The film was the director's third collaboration with Robert De Niro, co-starring with Liza Minnelli, the film is best remembered today for the title theme song, which was popularized by Frank Sinatra. Although possessing Scorsese's usual visual panache and stylistic bravura, many critics felt its enclosed studio-bound atmosphere left it leaden in comparison with his earlier work, despite its weak reception, the film is positively regarded by some critics. Richard Brody in The New Yorker wrote:
For Scorsese, a lifelong cinephile, the essence of New York could be found in its depiction in classic Hollywood movies. Remarkably, his backward-looking tribute to the golden age of musicals and noirish romantic melodramas turned out to be one of his most freewheeling and personal films.
The disappointing reception that New York, New York received drove Scorsese into depression. By this stage the director had also developed a serious cocaine addiction. However, he did find the creative drive to make the highly regarded The Last Waltz, documenting the final concert by The Band, it was held at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco, and featured one of the most extensive lineups of prominent guest performers at a single concert, including Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Ringo Starr, Muddy Waters, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Paul Butterfield, Neil Diamond, Ronnie Wood, and Eric Clapton. However, Scorsese's commitments to other projects delayed the release of the film until 1978.
- Other works in 1970s
Another Scorsese-directed documentary, titled American Boy, also appeared in 1978, focusing on Steven Prince, the cocky gun salesman who appeared in Taxi Driver. A period of wild partying followed, damaging the director's already fragile health. Scorsese also helped provide footage for the documentary Elvis on Tour; in 1977, he directed the Broadway musical The Act, starring Liza Minnelli.
By several accounts (Scorsese's included), Robert De Niro practically saved Scorsese's life when he persuaded Scorsese to kick his cocaine addiction to make his highly regarded film Raging Bull. Convinced that he would never make another movie, he poured his energies into making this violent biopic of middleweight boxing champion Jake LaMotta, calling it a kamikaze method of film-making, the film is widely viewed as a masterpiece and was voted the greatest film of the 1980s by Britain's Sight & Sound magazine. It received eight Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Best Actor for Robert De Niro, and Scorsese's first for Best Director. De Niro won, as did Thelma Schoonmaker for editing, but Best Director went to Robert Redford for Ordinary People, from this work onwards, Scorsese's films are always labeled as "A Martin Scorsese Picture" on promotional material. Raging Bull, filmed in high contrast black and white, is where Scorsese's style reached its zenith: Taxi Driver and New York, New York had used elements of expressionism to replicate psychological points of view, but here the style was taken to new extremes, employing extensive slow-motion, complex tracking shots, and extravagant distortion of perspective (for example, the size of boxing rings would change from fight to fight). Thematically too, the concerns carried on from Mean Streets and Taxi Driver: insecure males, violence, guilt, and redemption.
Although the screenplay for Raging Bull was credited to Paul Schrader and Mardik Martin (who earlier co-wrote Mean Streets), the finished script differed extensively from Schrader's original draft, it was rewritten several times by various writers including Jay Cocks (who went on to co-script later Scorsese films The Age of Innocence and Gangs of New York). The final draft was largely written by Scorsese and Robert De Niro, the American Film Institute chose Raging Bull as the No. 1 American sports film on their list of the top 10 sports films. In 1997, the Institute ranked Raging Bull as the 24th greatest film of all time on their AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies list. In 2007, they ranked Raging Bull as the 4th greatest film of all time on their AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition) list.
Scorsese's next project was his fifth collaboration with Robert De Niro, The King of Comedy (1983), it is a satire on the world of media and celebrity, whose central character is a troubled loner who ironically becomes famous through a criminal act (kidnapping). The film was an obvious departure from the more emotionally committed films he had become associated with. Visually, it was far less kinetic than the style Scorsese had developed up until this point, often using a static camera and long takes, the expressionism of his previous work, here gave way to moments of almost total surrealism. It still bore many of Scorsese's trademarks, however, the King of Comedy failed at the box office, but has become increasingly well regarded by critics in the years since its release. German director Wim Wenders numbered it among his 15 favorite films.
With After Hours (1985) Scorsese made an aesthetic shift back to a pared-down, almost "underground" film-making style. Filmed on an extremely low budget, on location, and at night in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan, the film is a black comedy about one increasingly misfortunate night for a mild New York word processor (Griffin Dunne) and featured cameos by such disparate actors as Teri Garr and Cheech and Chong.
Along with the 1987 Michael Jackson music video "Bad", in 1986 Scorsese made The Color of Money, a sequel to the much admired Robert Rossen film The Hustler (1961) with Paul Newman, which co-starred Tom Cruise. Although adhering to Scorsese's established style, The Color of Money was the director's first official foray into mainstream film-making, the film finally won actor Paul Newman an Oscar and gave Scorsese the clout to finally secure backing for a project that had been a longtime goal for him: The Last Temptation of Christ.
In 1983, Scorsese began work on a long-cherished personal project, The Last Temptation of Christ, based on the 1951 novel written by Nikos Kazantzakis that retold the life of Christ in human rather than divine terms. Barbara Hershey recalls introducing Scorsese to the book while they were filming Boxcar Bertha. The film was slated to shoot under the Paramount Pictures banner, but shortly before principal photography was to commence, Paramount pulled the plug on the project, citing pressure from religious groups; in this aborted 1983 version, Aidan Quinn was cast as Jesus, and Sting was cast as Pontius Pilate. (In the 1988 version, these roles were played respectively by Willem Dafoe and David Bowie.) However, following his mid-1980s flirtation with commercial Hollywood, Scorsese made a major return to personal filmmaking with the project, which was ultimately released in 1988. Even prior to its release, the film (adapted by Taxi Driver and Raging Bull veteran Paul Schrader) caused a massive furor, with worldwide protests against its perceived blasphemy effectively turning a low-budget independent film into a media sensation. Most controversy centered on the final passages of the film, which depicted Christ marrying and raising a family with Mary Magdalene in a Satan-induced hallucination while on the cross.
Looking past the controversy, The Last Temptation of Christ gained critical acclaim and remains an important work in Scorsese's canon: an explicit attempt to wrestle with the spirituality underpinning his films up until that point, the director went on to receive his second nomination for a Best Director Academy Award (again unsuccessfully, this time losing to Barry Levinson for Rain Man).
- Other works in 1980s
Scorsese made a brief cameo appearance in the film Anna Pavlova (also known as A Woman for All Time), originally intended to be directed by one of his heroes, Michael Powell. This led to a more significant role in Bertrand Tavernier's jazz film Round Midnight, he also made a brief venture into television, directing an episode of Steven Spielberg's Amazing Stories.
After a decade of mostly mixed results, gangster epic Goodfellas (1990) was a return to form for Scorsese and his most confident and fully realized film since Raging Bull. De Niro and Joe Pesci offered a virtuoso display of the director's bravura cinematic technique in the film and re-established, enhanced, and consolidated his reputation, after the film was released Roger Ebert, a friend and supporter of Scorsese, named Goodfellas "the best mob movie ever" and is ranked No. 1 on Roger's movie list for 1990, along with Gene Siskel and Peter Travers, the film is widely considered one of the director's greatest achievements. The film was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, Scorsese earned his third Best Director nomination for Goodfellas but again lost to a first-time director, Kevin Costner (Dances with Wolves). Joe Pesci earned the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Goodfellas. Scorsese and the film won numerous awards, including five BAFTA Awards, a Silver Lion and more, the American Film Institute put Goodfellas at No. 94 on the AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies list. On the 2007 updated version they moved Goodfellas up to No. 92 on the AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies list (10th Anniversary Edition) and they put Goodfellas at No. 2 on their list of the top 10 gangster films (after The Godfather).
In 1990, he also released his only short-form documentary: Made in Milan about fashion designer Giorgio Armani, the following year brought Cape Fear, a remake of a cult 1962 movie of the same name and the director's seventh collaboration with De Niro. Another foray into the mainstream, the film was a stylized thriller taking its cues heavily from Alfred Hitchcock and Charles Laughton's The Night of the Hunter (1955). Cape Fear received a mixed critical reception and was lambasted in many quarters for its scenes depicting misogynistic violence. However, the lurid subject matter gave Scorsese a chance to experiment with visual tricks and effects, the film garnered two Oscar nominations. Earning $80 million domestically, it stood as Scorsese's most commercially successful release until The Aviator (2004), and then The Departed (2006), the film also marked the first time Scorsese used wide-screen Panavision with an aspect ratio of 2.35:1.
The Age of Innocence (1993) was a significant departure for Scorsese, a period adaptation of the Edith Wharton novel about the constrictive high society of late-19th century New York. It was highly lauded by critics upon original release, but was a box office bomb, making an overall loss, as noted in Scorsese on Scorsese by editor–interviewer Ian Christie, the news that Scorsese wanted to make a film about a failed 19th-century romance raised many eyebrows among the film fraternity; all the more when Scorsese made it clear that it was a personal project and not a studio for-hire job.
Scorsese was interested in doing a "romantic piece", his friend Jay Cocks gave him the Wharton novel in 1980, suggesting that this should be the romantic piece Scorsese should film as Cocks felt it best represented his sensibility. In Scorsese on Scorsese he noted that
Although the film deals with New York aristocracy and a period of New York history that has been neglected, and although it deals with code and ritual, and with love that's not unrequited but unconsummated—which pretty much covers all the themes I usually deal with—when I read the book, I didn't say, "Oh good, all those themes are here."
Scorsese, who was strongly drawn to the characters and the story of Wharton's text, wanted his film to be as rich an emotional experience as the book was to him rather than the traditional academic adaptations of literary works. To this aim, Scorsese sought influence from diverse period films that made an emotional impact on him; in Scorsese on Scorsese, he documents influences from films such as Luchino Visconti's Senso and his Il Gattopardo as well as Orson Welles's The Magnificent Ambersons and also Roberto Rossellini's La prise de pouvoir par Louis XIV. Although The Age of Innocence was ultimately different from these films in terms of narrative, story, and thematic concern, the presence of a lost society, of lost values as well as detailed re-creations of social customs and rituals continues the tradition of these films, it came back into the public eye, especially in countries such as the UK and France, but still is largely neglected in North America. The film earned five Academy Award nominations (including for Scorsese for Best Adapted Screenplay), winning the Costume Design Oscar, this was his first collaboration with the Academy Award–winning actor Daniel Day-Lewis, with whom he would work again in Gangs of New York.
Casino (1995), like The Age of Innocence before it, focused on a tightly wound male whose well-ordered life is disrupted by the arrival of unpredictable forces. The fact that it was a violent gangster film made it more palatable to fans of the director who perhaps were baffled by the apparent departure of the earlier film. Casino was a box office success, but the film received mixed notices from critics. In large part this was due to its huge stylistic similarities to his earlier Goodfellas, and its excessive violence that garnered it a reputation as possibly the most violent American gangster film ever made. Indeed, many of the tropes and tricks of the earlier film resurfaced more or less intact, most obviously the casting of both Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci, Pesci once again playing an unbridled psychopath. Sharon Stone was nominated for the Best Actress Academy Award for her performance. During the filming Scorsese played a background part as a gambler at one of the tables.
Scorsese still found time for a four-hour documentary in 1995, titled A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies, offering a thorough trek through American cinema. It covered the silent era to 1969, a year after which Scorsese began his feature career, stating, "I wouldn't feel right commenting on myself or my contemporaries." In the four-hour documentary, Scorsese lists the four aspects of the director he believes are the most important as (1) the director as storyteller; (2) the director as an illusionist: D.W. Griffith or F. W. Murnau, who created new editing techniques among other innovations that made the appearance of sound and color possible later on; (3) the director as a smuggler—filmmakers such as Douglas Sirk, Samuel Fuller, and Vincente Minnelli, who used to hide subversive messages in their films; and (4) the director as iconoclast.
If The Age of Innocence alienated and confused some fans, then Kundun (1997) went several steps further, offering an account of the early life of Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, the People's Liberation Army's entering of Tibet, and the Dalai Lama's subsequent exile to India. Not least a departure in subject matter, Kundun also saw Scorsese employing a fresh narrative and visual approach. Traditional dramatic devices were substituted for a trance-like meditation achieved through an elaborate tableau of colorful visual images, the film was a source of turmoil for its distributor, Buena Vista Pictures, which was planning significant expansion into the Chinese market at the time. Initially defiant in the face of pressure from Chinese officials, Disney has since distanced itself from the project, hurting Kundun’s commercial profile; in the short term, the sheer eclecticism in evidence enhanced the director's reputation. In the long term, however, it generally appears Kundun has been sidelined in most critical appraisals of the director, mostly noted as a stylistic and thematic detour. Kundun was the director's second attempt to profile the life of a great religious leader, following The Last Temptation of Christ.
Bringing Out the Dead (1999) was a return to familiar territory, with the director and writer Paul Schrader constructing a pitch-black comic take on their own earlier Taxi Driver. Like previous Scorsese–Schrader collaborations, its final scenes of spiritual redemption explicitly recalled the films of Robert Bresson. (It is also worth noting that the film's incident-filled nocturnal setting is reminiscent of After Hours.) It received generally positive reviews, although not the universal critical acclaim of some of his other films. It stars Nicolas Cage, Ving Rhames, John Goodman, Tom Sizemore, and Patricia Arquette.
- Other works in 1990s
In 1990, Scorsese acted in a small role as Vincent van Gogh in the film Dreams by Japanese director Akira Kurosawa. Scorsese's 1994 cameo appearance in the Robert Redford film Quiz Show is remembered for the telling line: "You see, the audience didn't tune in to watch some amazing display of intellectual ability, they just wanted to watch the money." De Fina-Cappa was the production company he formed that same year with producer Barbara De Fina.
Since the 1990s, Scorsese has increased his role as a film producer. Scorsese produced a wide range of films, including major Hollywood studio productions (Mad Dog and Glory, Clockers), low-budget independent films (The Grifters, Naked in New York, Grace of My Heart, Search and Destroy, The Hi-Lo Country), and even foreign film (Con gli occhi chiusi).
In 1999 Scorsese also produced a documentary on Italian filmmakers titled Il Mio Viaggio in Italia, also known as My Voyage to Italy, the documentary foreshadowed the director's next project, the epic Gangs of New York (2002), influenced by (amongst many others) major Italian directors such as Luchino Visconti and filmed in its entirety at Rome's famous Cinecittà film studios.
With a production budget said to be in excess of $100 million, Gangs of New York was Scorsese's biggest and arguably most mainstream venture to date. Like The Age of Innocence, it was set in 19th-century New York, although focusing on the other end of the social scale (and like that film, also starring Daniel Day-Lewis), the film also marked the first collaboration between Scorsese and actor Leonardo DiCaprio, who since then has become a fixture in later Scorsese films. The production was highly troubled, with many rumors referring to the director's conflict with Miramax boss Harvey Weinstein, despite denials of artistic compromise, Gangs of New York revealed itself to be the director's most conventional film: standard film tropes that the director had traditionally avoided, such as characters existing purely for exposition purposes and explanatory flashbacks, here surfaced in abundance. The original score composed by regular Scorsese collaborator Elmer Bernstein was rejected at a late stage for a score by Howard Shore and mainstream rock artists U2 and Peter Gabriel.
The final cut of the movie ran to 168 minutes, while the director's original cut was over 180 minutes in length, the film still received generally positive reviews with the review tallying website Rotten Tomatoes reporting that 75 percent of the reviews they tallied for the film were positive and summarizing the critics by saying, "Though flawed, the sprawling, messy Gangs of New York is redeemed by impressive production design and Day-Lewis's electrifying performance." The themes central to the film were consistent with the director's established concerns: New York, violence as culturally endemic, and subcultural divisions down ethnic lines. Originally filmed for a release in the winter of 2001 (to qualify for Academy Award nominations), Scorsese delayed the final production of the film until after the beginning of 2002; the studio consequently delayed the film for nearly a year until its release in the Oscar season of late 2002. Gangs of New York earned Scorsese his first Golden Globe for Best Director. In February 2003, Gangs of New York received 10 Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor for Daniel Day-Lewis; however, it did not win in any category.
The following year Scorsese completed production of The Blues, an expansive seven-part documentary tracing the history of blues music from its African roots to the Mississippi Delta and beyond. Seven film-makers including Wim Wenders, Clint Eastwood, Mike Figgis, and Scorsese himself each contributed a 90-minute film (Scorsese's entry was titled "Feel Like Going Home").
Scorsese's film The Aviator (2004) is a lavish, large-scale biopic of eccentric aviation pioneer and film mogul Howard Hughes and reunited Scorsese with actor Leonardo DiCaprio. The film received highly positive reviews. The film also met with widespread box office success and gained Academy recognition.
The Aviator was nominated for six Golden Globe awards, including Best Motion Picture—Drama, Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Actor—Motion Picture Drama for Leonardo DiCaprio. It won three, including Best Motion Picture—Drama and Best Actor—Motion Picture Drama. In January 2005 The Aviator became the most-nominated film of the 77th Academy Awards nominations, nominated in 11 categories including Best Picture, the film also garnered nominations in nearly all of the other major categories, including a fifth Best Director nomination for Scorsese, Best Actor in a Leading Role (Leonardo DiCaprio), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Cate Blanchett), and Alan Alda for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. Despite having a leading tally, the film ended up with only five Oscars: Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing and Best Cinematography. Scorsese lost again, this time to director Clint Eastwood for Million Dollar Baby (which also won Best Picture).
No Direction Home is a documentary film by Martin Scorsese that tells of the life of Bob Dylan, and his impact on American popular music and culture of the 20th century. The film does not cover Dylan's entire career; it focuses on his beginnings, his rise to fame in the 1960s, his then-controversial transformation from an acoustic guitar–based musician and performer to an electric guitar–influenced sound and his "retirement" from touring in 1966 following an infamous motorcycle accident. The film was first presented on television in both the United States (as part of the PBS American Masters series) and the United Kingdom (as part of the BBC Two Arena series) on September 26–27, 2005. A DVD version of the film was released that same month, the film won a Peabody Award and the Grammy Award for Best Long Form Music Video. In addition, Scorsese received an Emmy nomination for it.
Scorsese returned to the crime genre with the Boston-set thriller The Departed, based on the Hong Kong police drama Infernal Affairs (which is co-directed by Andrew Lau and Alan Mak). The film continued Scorsese's collaboration streak with Leonardo DiCaprio, and was his first collaboration with Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, and Martin Sheen.
The Departed opened to widespread critical acclaim, with some proclaiming it as one of the best efforts Scorsese had brought to the screen since 1990s Goodfellas, and still others putting it at the same level as Scorsese's most celebrated classics Taxi Driver and Raging Bull. With domestic box office receipts surpassing US$129.4 million, The Departed was Scorsese's highest-grossing film (not accounting for inflation) until 2010's Shutter Island.
Martin Scorsese's direction of The Departed earned him his second Golden Globe for Best Director, as well as a Critics' Choice Award, his first Directors Guild of America Award, and the Academy Award for Best Director. While being presented with the award, Scorsese poked fun at his previous track record of nominations, asking "Could you double-check the envelope?" It was presented to him by his longtime friends and colleagues Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas, and Steven Spielberg. The Departed also received the Academy Award for the Best Motion Picture of 2006, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Film Editing by longtime Scorsese editor Thelma Schoonmaker, her third win for a Scorsese film.
Shine a Light is a concert film of rock and roll band The Rolling Stones' performances at New York City's Beacon Theater on October 29 and November 1, 2006, intercut with brief news and interview footage from throughout the band's career. The film was initially scheduled for release on September 21, 2007, but Paramount Classics postponed its general release until April 2008, its world premiere was at the opening of the 58th Berlinale Film Festival on February 7, 2008.
- Other works in 2000s
In the 2000s, Scorsese produced several films for upcoming directors, such as You Can Count on Me (directed by Kenneth Lonergan), Rain (directed by Katherine Lindberg), Lymelife (directed by Derick Martini) and The Young Victoria (directed by Jean-Marc Vallée). At that time, he established Sikelia Productions; in 2003, producer Emma Tillinger Koskoff joined the company.
On October 22, 2007, Daily Variety reported that Scorsese would reunite with Leonardo DiCaprio on a fourth picture, Shutter Island. Principal photography on the Laeta Kalogridis screenplay, based on the novel of the same name by Dennis Lehane, began in Massachusetts in March 2008; in December 2007, actors Mark Ruffalo, Max von Sydow, Ben Kingsley, and Michelle Williams joined the cast, marking the first time these four actors have worked with Scorsese. The film was released on February 19, 2010, on May 20, 2010, the film was Scorsese's highest-grossing film.
Scorsese directed the series premiere for Boardwalk Empire, an HBO drama series, starring Steve Buscemi and Michael Pitt, and based on Nelson Johnson's book Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times and Corruption of Atlantic City. Terence Winter, who previously wrote for The Sopranos, created the series. In addition to directing the pilot (for which he won the 2011 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing), Scorsese also served as an executive producer on the series, the series premiered on September 19, 2010, and was broadcast for five seasons.
Scorsese directed the three-and-a-half-hour documentary George Harrison: Living in the Material World about the life and music of former Beatles member George Harrison, which premiered in the United States on HBO over two parts on October 5 and 6, 2011.
Hugo is a 3D adventure drama film based on Brian Selznick's novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret. The film stars Asa Butterfield, Chloë Grace Moretz, Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Ray Winstone, Emily Mortimer, Christopher Lee and Jude Law. The film has been met with critical acclaim and earned Scorsese his third Golden Globe Award for Best Director. The film was also nominated for 11 Academy Awards, winning five of them and becoming tied with Michel Hazanavicius's film The Artist for the most Academy Awards won by a single film in 2011. Hugo also won two BAFTA awards, among other numerous awards and nominations. Hugo is Scorsese's first 3D film and was released in the United States on November 23, 2011.
Scorsese's 2013 film, The Wolf of Wall Street, is an American biographical black comedy based on Jordan Belfort's memoir of the same name. The screenplay was written by Terence Winter and starred Leonardo DiCaprio as Belfort, along with Jonah Hill, Matthew McConaughey, and others, the film marked the fifth collaboration between Scorsese and DiCaprio and the second between Scorsese and Winter after Boardwalk Empire. It was released on December 25, 2013.
The film tells the story of a New York stockbroker, played by DiCaprio, who engages in a large securities fraud case involving corruption on Wall Street, stock manipulation, namely the practice of "pump and dump" and the corporate banking world. DiCaprio was given the award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy at the 2014 Golden Globe Awards, with the film being nominated for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy as well. Also, The Wolf of Wall Street was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor for Leonardo DiCaprio, Best Supporting Actor for Jonah Hill, Best Director for Martin Scorsese, and Best Adapted Screenplay for Terence Winter but did not win in any category. In a 2016 critics' poll conducted by BBC, the film was ranked one of the 100 greatest motion pictures since 2000.
Scorsese and David Tedeschi made a documentary about the history of the New York Review of Books, titled The 50 Year Argument, it screened as a work in progress at the Berlin International Film Festival in February 2014 and premiered in June 2014 at the Sheffield Doc/Fest. It was also screened in Oslo, and Jerusalem before being shown on the BBC's Arena series in July and at Telluride in August. In September, it was seen at the Toronto International Film Festival and is scheduled for the Calgary and the New York Film Festival. It aired on HBO on September 29, 2014.
Scorsese directed The Audition, a short film that also served as a promotional piece for casinos Studio City in Macau and City of Dreams in Manila, Philippines. The short brought together Scorsese's long-time muses Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro for the first time under his direction, the short film featured the two actors, playing fictionalized versions of themselves, competing for a role in Scorsese's next film. It was Scorsese's first collaboration with De Niro in two decades, the film premiered in October 2015 in conjunction with the grand opening of Studio City.
Scorsese directed the pilot for Vinyl written by Terence Winter and George Mastras, with Mick Jagger producing and Mastras as showrunner. The series stars Bobby Cannavale as Richie Finestra, founder and president of a top-tier record label, set in 1970s New York City's drug-and sex-fueled music business as punk and disco were breaking out, all told through the eyes of Finestra trying to resurrect his label and find the next new sound. On July 25, 2014, Mick Jagger tweeted from the set, confirming that the filming had started. Co-stars include Ray Romano, Olivia Wilde, Juno Temple, Andrew Dice Clay, Ato Essandoh, Max Casella, and James Jagger. On December 2, 2014, Vinyl was picked up by HBO, the series lasted one season.
Scorsese has long anticipated filming an adaptation of Shūsaku Endō's novel Silence, a drama about the lives of two Portuguese Jesuit priests in Japan during the 17th century. Scorsese had originally planned Silence as his next project following Shutter Island. On April 19, 2013, financing was secured for Silence by Emmett/Furla Films, and filming began in January 2015. By November 2016, the film had completed post-production, it was written by Jay Cocks and Scorsese, based on the novel, and stars Andrew Garfield, Liam Neeson, and Adam Driver. The film was released on December 23, 2016.
Principal photography on Scorsese's film The Irishman began in August 2017, and will star Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Al Pacino. He had also reported that his long-planned Frank Sinatra biopic was coming up, with Phil Alden Robinson writing the screenplay. However, while promoting Silence, Scorsese confirmed that the Sinatra biopic has been cancelled, due to a lack of support from the Sinatra estate.
One of Scorsese's next documentary features will be a film on former president Bill Clinton for HBO. "A towering figure who remains a major voice in world issues, President Clinton continues to shape the political dialogue both here and around the world," Scorsese said. "Through intimate conversations, I hope to provide greater insight into this transcendent figure." In August 2014, the estate of influential punk rock band The Ramones claimed a biopic of the band was in the works with Scorsese's involvement.
In March 2015, it was reported that Scorsese will direct a Mike Tyson biopic, the film is set to star Oscar-winning actor Jamie Foxx to play Tyson. Foxx mentioned that, "This will be the first boxing movie that Martin Scorsese has done since Raging Bull." The Mike Tyson film that Terence Winter (The Wolf of Wall Street, Boardwalk Empire) is penning will cover the full breadth of his career, reportedly using the aging technology deployed in David Fincher's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. It has since been announced that Scorsese will instead produce, rather than direct the project, on August 10, 2015, it was announced that Scorsese will direct an adaptation of The Devil in the White City, which will star Leonardo DiCaprio and be written by Billy Ray.
Variety reported in January 2016 that Scorsese is also producing a biopic based on the life of classical pianist Byron Janis, with Peter Glanz writing a screenplay based on Janis' own book, Chopin and Beyond: My Extraordinary Life in Music and the Paranormal. Paramount Pictures will distribute the film.
On April 29, 2016, it was announced that Scorsese was in early talks to direct The General, a film based on the life of George Washington, in which he hopes to get Leonardo DiCaprio on board, he has also expressed interest in directing an adaptation of Home, the 2008 novel by Marilynne Robinson. On July 14, 2017, Scorsese and DiCaprio are developing a film adaptation of the novel Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI. Filming is expected to start in spring 2018; in September 2017, Scorsese and DiCaprio were also developing a biopic in which DiCaprio will portray President Theodore Roosevelt.
On August 23, 2017, it was reported that Scorsese will be producing a Joker origin story, to be directed by Todd Phillips. Meant to be a "gritty and grounded hard-boiled crime film" in Gotham City in the early 80's, the movie is reportedly intended to feel like no other iteration of the DC comic universe.
Scorsese has been married five times, his first wife was Laraine Marie Brennan; they have a daughter, Catherine. He married the writer Julia Cameron in 1976; they have a daughter (Domenica Cameron-Scorsese, who is an actress and appeared in The Age of Innocence), but the marriage lasted only a year. The divorce was acrimonious and served as the basis of Cameron's first feature, the dark comedy God's Will, which also starred their daughter, Domenica, their daughter also had a small role in Cape Fear using the name Domenica Scorsese and has continued to act, write, direct, and produce. Scorsese was married to actress Isabella Rossellini from 1979 to their divorce in 1983, he then married producer Barbara De Fina in 1985; their marriage ended in divorce as well, in 1991. Scorsese has been married to Helen Schermerhorn Morris since 1999, they have a daughter, Francesca, who appeared in The Departed and The Aviator. He is based in New York City.
Scorsese has commented, "I'm a lapsed Catholic, but I am Roman Catholic; there's no way out of it." In 2010 The Wall Street Journal reported that Scorsese was supporting the David Lynch Foundation's initiative to help 10,000 military veterans overcome posttraumatic stress disorder through Transcendental Meditation, and Scorsese has publicly discussed his own practice of TM.
In the 2012 Sight & Sound polls, held every 10 years to select the greatest films of all time, contemporary directors were asked to select 10 films of their choice. Scorsese, however, picked 12, which are listed below:
- 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
- 8½ (1963)
- Ashes and Diamonds (1958)
- Citizen Kane (1941)
- The Leopard (1963)
- Paisà (1946)
- The Red Shoes (1948)
- The River (1951)
- Salvatore Giuliano (1962)
- The Searchers (1956)
- Ugetsu Monogatari (1953)
- Vertigo (1958)
In 1997, Scorsese received the AFI Life Achievement Award; in 1998, the American Film Institute placed three Scorsese films on their list of the greatest American movies: Raging Bull at #24, Taxi Driver at #47, and Goodfellas at #94. For their tenth anniversary edition of the list, Raging Bull was moved to #4, Taxi Driver was moved to #52, and Goodfellas was moved to #92. In 2001, the American Film Institute placed two Scorsese films on their list of the most "heart-pounding movies" in American cinema: Taxi Driver at #22 and Raging Bull at #51. At a ceremony in Paris, France, on January 5, 2005, Martin Scorsese was awarded the French Legion of Honour in recognition of his contribution to cinema, on February 8, 2006, at the 48th Annual Grammy Awards, Scorsese was awarded the Grammy Award for Best Long Form Music Video for No Direction Home.
In 2007, Scorsese was listed among Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People in The World; in August 2007, Scorsese was named the second-greatest director of all time in a poll by Total Film magazine, in front of Steven Spielberg and behind Alfred Hitchcock. In 2007, Scorsese was honored by the National Italian American Foundation (N.I.A.F.) at the nonprofit's thirty-second Anniversary Gala. During the ceremony, Scorsese helped launch N.I.A.F.'s Jack Valenti Institute, which provides support to Italian film students in the U.S., in memory of former foundation board member and past president of the Motion Picture Association of America (M.P.A.A.) Jack Valenti. Scorsese received his award from Mary Margaret Valenti, Valenti's widow. Certain pieces of Scorsese's film related material and personal papers are contained in the Wesleyan University Cinema Archives, to which scholars and media experts from around the world may have full access, on September 11, 2007, the Kennedy Center Honors committee, which recognizes career excellence and cultural influence, named Scorsese as one of the honorees for the year. On June 17, 2008, the American Film Institute placed two of Scorsese's films on the AFI's 10 Top 10 list: Raging Bull at #1 for the Sports genre and Goodfellas at #2 for the Gangster genre. In 2013, the staff of Entertainment Weekly voted Mean Streets the seventh greatest film ever made.
On January 17, 2010, at the 67th Golden Globe Awards, Scorsese was the recipient of the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award. On September 18, 2011, at the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards, Scorsese won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series for his work on the series premiere of Boardwalk Empire. In 2011, Scorsese received an honorary doctorate from the National Film School in Lodz, at the awards ceremony he said, "I feel like I'm a part of this school and that I attended it," paying tribute to the films of Wajda, Munk, Has, Polanski and Skolimowski. King Missile wrote "Martin Scorsese" in his honor. On February 12, 2012, at the 65th British Academy Film Awards, Scorsese was the recipient of the BAFTA Academy Fellowship Award.
On September 16, 2012, Scorsese won two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Directing for Nonfiction Programming and Outstanding Nonfiction Special for his work on the documentary George Harrison: Living in the Material World. In 2013, the National Endowment for the Humanities selected Scorsese for the Jefferson Lecture, the U.S. federal government's highest honor for achievement in the humanities. He was the first filmmaker chosen for the honor, his lecture, delivered on April 1, 2013 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts was titled "Persistence of Vision: Reading the Language of Cinema". Martin Scorsese was awarded the Polish Gold Medal for Merit to Culture – Gloria Artis on April 11, 2017, in recognition of his contribution to Polish cinema.
Scorsese has earned praise from many film legends including Ingmar Bergman, Frank Capra, Jean-Luc Godard, Werner Herzog, Elia Kazan, Akira Kurosawa, David Lean, Michael Powell, Satyajit Ray, and François Truffaut.
Themes and style
Scorsese is known for his frequent use of slow motion, for example, in Who's That Knocking at My Door (1967), Mean Streets (1973), Taxi Driver (1976), Raging Bull (1980), Goodfellas (1990), and The Wolf of Wall Street (2013). Also known for using freeze frame, such as the opening credits of The King of Comedy (1983), and throughout Goodfellas (1990). Such a shot is also used in Casino (1995) and The Departed (2006), his blonde leading ladies are usually seen through the eyes of the protagonist as angelic and ethereal; they wear white in their first scene and are photographed in slow motion (Cybill Shepherd in Taxi Driver; Cathy Moriarty's white bikini in Raging Bull; Sharon Stone's white minidress in Casino). This may possibly be a nod to director Alfred Hitchcock. Scorsese often uses long tracking shots, as seen in Taxi Driver, Goodfellas, Casino, Gangs of New York, and Hugo. Use of MOS sequences set to popular music or voice-over, often involving aggressive camera movement and/or rapid editing. Scorsese sometimes highlights characters in a scene with an iris, an homage to 1920s silent film cinema (as scenes at the time sometimes used this transition), this effect can be seen in Casino (it is used on Sharon Stone and Joe Pesci), Life Lessons, The Departed (on Matt Damon), and Hugo. Some of his films include references/allusions to Westerns, particularly Rio Bravo, The Great Train Robbery, Shane, The Searchers, and The Oklahoma Kid. Slow motion flashbulbs and accented camera/flash/shutter sounds are often used, as is song "Gimme Shelter" by The Rolling Stones; heard in several of Scorsese's films: Goodfellas, Casino, and The Departed.
Usually has a quick cameo in his films (Who's That Knocking at My Door, Boxcar Bertha, Mean Streets, Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, Taxi Driver, The King of Comedy, After Hours, The Last Temptation of Christ (albeit hidden under a hood), The Age of Innocence, Gangs of New York, Hugo). Also, often contributes his voice to a film without appearing on screen (e.g. as in The Aviator and The Wolf of Wall Street). He provides the opening voice-over narration in Mean Streets and The Color of Money; plays the off-screen dressing room attendant in the final scene of Raging Bull; provides the voice of the unseen ambulance dispatcher in Bringing Out the Dead.
More recently, his films have featured corrupt authority figures, such as policemen in The Departed and politicians in Gangs of New York and The Aviator. Guilt is a prominent theme in many of his films, as is the role of Catholicism in creating and dealing with guilt (Who's That Knocking at My Door, Mean Streets, Raging Bull, Goodfellas, Bringing Out the Dead, The Departed, Shutter Island). He has been noted for his liberal usage of profanity and violence.
Scorsese often casts the same actors in his films, particularly Robert De Niro, who collaborated with Scorsese for eight feature films and one short film. Included are the three films (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, and Goodfellas) that made AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies list. Scorsese has often said he thinks De Niro's best work under his direction was Rupert Pupkin in The King of Comedy, after the turn of the century, Scorsese found a new muse with younger actor Leonardo DiCaprio, collaborating for five feature films to date, along with one short. Several critics have compared Scorsese's new partnership with DiCaprio with his previous one with De Niro. Frequent collaborators also include Victor Argo (6), Harry Northup (6), Harvey Keitel (5), Murray Moston (5), J. C. MacKenzie (3), Joe Pesci (3), Frank Vincent (3) and Verna Bloom (3). Others who have appeared in multiple Scorsese films include Daniel Day-Lewis, who had become very reclusive to the Hollywood scene, Alec Baldwin, Ben Kingsley, Jude Law, Emily Mortimer, John C. Reilly, Frank Sivero, Ray Winstone and Nick Nolte. Before their deaths, Scorsese's parents, Charles Scorsese and Catherine Scorsese, appeared in bit parts, walk-ons or supporting roles, most notably in Goodfellas.
For his crew, Scorsese frequently worked with editor Thelma Schoonmaker, cinematographers Michael Ballhaus, Robert Richardson, and Michael Chapman, screenwriters Paul Schrader, Mardik Martin, and John Logan, costume designer Sandy Powell, production designer Dante Ferretti, music producer Robbie Robertson, and composers Howard Shore and Elmer Bernstein. Schoonmaker, Richardson, Powell, and Ferretti have all won Academy Awards in their respective categories on collaborations with Scorsese. Elaine and Saul Bass, the latter being Hitchcock's frequent title designer, designed the opening credits for Goodfellas, The Age of Innocence, Casino and Cape Fear. He was the executive producer of the film Brides, which was directed by Pantelis Voulgaris and starred Victoria Haralabidou, Damian Lewis, Steven Berkoff, and Kosta Sommer.
|Actor||Who's That Knocking at My Door (1968)||Boxcar Bertha (1972)||Mean Streets (1973)||Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974)||Taxi Driver (1976)||New York, New York (1977)||Raging Bull (1980)||The King of Comedy (1983)||After Hours (1985)||The Color of Money (1986)||The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)||Goodfellas (1990)||Cape Fear (1991)||The Age of Innocence (1993)||Casino (1995)||Kundun (1997)||Bringing Out the Dead (1999)||Gangs of New York (2002)||The Aviator (2004)||The Departed (2006)||Shutter Island (2010)||Hugo (2011)||The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)||Silence (2016)||The Irishman (2019)|
|Robert De Niro|
|J. C. MacKenzie|
Actors' awarded performances
- 70 nominations total: 22 Academy Award, 21 BAFTA Award, 27 Golden Globe Award
- 25 Best Leading Actor, 7 Best Leading Actress, 12 Best Supporting Actor, 24 Best Supporting Actress, 2 Best New Comer
Awards and recognition
|Year||Film||Academy Award Nominations||Academy Award Wins||Golden Globe Nominations||Golden Globe Wins||BAFTA Nominations||BAFTA Wins|
|1974||Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore||3||1||2||7||4|
|1977||New York, New York||4||2|
|1983||The King of Comedy||5||1|
|1986||The Color of Money||4||1||2|
|1988||The Last Temptation of Christ||1||2|
|1993||The Age of Innocence||5||1||4||1||4||1|
|2002||Gangs of New York||10||5||2||12||1|
|2013||The Wolf of Wall Street||5||2||1||4|
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- Works by or about Martin Scorsese in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- on YouTube, movie clip compilation, 3 min.
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- They Shoot Pictures, Don't They?
- 1999 Princeton Q&A lecture (RealMedia video)
- Podcast: Scorsese Discusses His Digital Workflow Techniques
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- Appearances on C-SPAN