May 8th, 2004
Martin Scorsese
About Martin Scorsese

From the violent realism of MEAN STREETS, TAXI DRIVER, and RAGING BULL to the poignant romance of ALICE DOESN’T LIVE HERE ANY MORE, the black comedy of AFTER HOURS, and the burning controversy of THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST, Martin Scorsese’s uniquely versatile vision has made him one of the cinema’s most acclaimed directors.

Martin Scorsese was born in Flushing, New York in 1942. A quiet child with a strong case of asthma, Scorsese spent much of his young life alone— in the movie theater or watching movies on television. After attending high school in the Bronx he spent a year in the seminary before enrolling at New York University. The early 1960s was a time of renewed interest in American film, and he found himself drawn to NYU’s film school, where the emerging French and Italian New Wave and independent filmmakers such as John Cassavetes had a profound influence on him.

Soon after graduating he became a film instructor at NYU and made commercials in both England and the United States. He also finished his first full-length feature in 1968, WHO’S THAT KNOCKING AT MY DOOR? He followed this with a number of hard-hitting films throughout the 1970s. His style combined a rough and gritty attention to the everyday life of the urban jungle with a monumental visual sensibility. In one of his most famous films, TAXI DRIVER (1976), Scorsese focused on the particulars of an individual and his obsessions. Starring Robert DeNiro (with whom Scorsese has had one of the most celebrated collaborative relationships in American cinema), TAXI DRIVER elevates the obscure specifics of a disturbed life with the greatest drama.

With two later films, RAGING BULL (1980) and THE KING OF COMEDY (1983) (both starring De Niro), Scorsese focused on a theme that has permeated nearly every one of his movies—the plight of the desperate and out-of-control individual. Often unsympathetic, his characters display a crazed violence that mimics the repressive social structures in which they live. With the protagonist in RAGING BULL we find a fighter possessed with anger both in and out of the ring, while in THE KING OF COMEDY we find one overwhelmed by the impossibility of breaking into the entertainment industry. Both are telling social commentaries and engaging films.

Emotionally precise and visually overpowering, Scorsese creates lush landscapes in which every detail seems to pulse with energy. In his 1988 masterpiece THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST, Scorsese used this elevation of the particular to present both Jesus and everything around him with a fullness required by such a loaded topic. The controversial nature of the film and the stunning visual reality it created stirred up Hollywood and met with strong reactions from the general public.

In 1995’s CASINO, Scorsese brought together much of the stylistic and theoretical content of his earlier works. The engaging world and controlling power structure of the Mafia (a source repeatedly tread by Scorsese) is brought to life in the loud and visually stunning world of the casino. In tone, style, and content, Scorsese is constantly pushing the boarders of the film, seeing how much we can come to feel about the most foreign and familiar characters. For many, Martin Scorsese is the most important living American filmmaker—one whose relentless search for the furthest emotional reaches of his genre have led him to the center of the American psyche.

  • David McGovern Jr.

    Martin Scorsese made a film about me in 1976 titled “Taxi Driver” for which he promised me payment of sixty thousand dollars. He had his mob buddies tried and take my life instead. They failed and this deadbeat still owes me. These punks murdered both my parents. I’m pissed off and ready to tell my story.

  • Francois Elo

    Ihave written two novels in the last 12 months sequels of one another (of romance, action, world travel, international cuisine AND Politics!) Great reviews from readers (”Idoya” and “Begona”). Would Mr. Scorsese/his readers or scouts be interested in taking a look?

  • Meister

    Sounds like a good movie plot maybe Scorsese will consider it.

  • George Kuvakas

    Sir, I have been on the docks for 47 years and have a story to tell. Please contact me if interested.

  • Ed Gordon

    I have just finished reading a book By Ron Ross – Al “Bummy” Davis vs Murder Inc. It was in the genre of Raging Bull with mob connections inter-twined. I think it would translate very well on the Big Screen. Mr Scorcese is one of the few directors who would be able to deliver its various storylines. It was a good book, but I think it could as good or an even better movie.

    Please consider Mr S.

  • jacqueline

    i don’t know if Mr. Scorsese would remember, but he waited in a car in front of my house after going to the film archives in Berkeley…so he too is part of “my” story. I wonder if he would be interested in reading it. It has been such a huge lesson, that i don’t believe it is for me alone, that is why i must find a way to share it, because it is a lesson for us all(in my opinion) Bill Moyers has a copy, although i have added an extra page since i sent it to him, by the way he thought it was” a deeply moving book”. I would be delighted to send a copy if interested.
    Best Regards,

  • bob borrelli

    Dear Mr. Scorsese:
    I tried my hand at writing a fictional and historical story of two men who were in the 2nd World War. The story seemed to flow easily from my hunt and peck typing style. Those who have read it think it is pretty good and has possibilities to be made into a movie, since it is not typical of all movies about produced about WW ll.

    How would I go about of sending it to you to give it a once over to see if it has what it takes to be made into a film.

    Bob Borrelli

  • Speedzzter

    It’s amazing that the seven responses from 2010 about a 2004 profile are mostly unknown writers pitching film deals! Does anyone really believe that such a legendary filmmaker trolls the internet in search of his next project? Or has our “money for nothing, chicks for free” celebrity-obsessed culture deluded so many into becoming Rupert Pupkins?**

    **See “King of Comedy” (1982).

  • satadru rej

    Mr S, I believe Shutter Island is your best film till death. I really hope that you make a prequel to The Departed. There is so much depth in all the characters. It is overwhelming.

  • Celeste Lederer

    Dear Marty,

    I remember that whenever you conversed with my late husband, you used to credit a teacher from NYU as being a mentor and profound influence on you. I believe his name was Prof. Menugian (not sure of the spelling). Did you stay in touch? And what of Fr. Principe who encouraged many in the “old neighborhood” to venture out and beyond?

    It’s wonderful to credit film influences such as Cassavetes, but I think it’s also worthwhile to mention the mortar that helped to build and hold the artistic bricks in place throughout the years.


  • Someone who knows someone

    Dear Celeste,

    I know two people who know Marty. Why not contact Marty’s publicist with that question about Manoogian? I’d tell you how, here, but there are too many amateurs pitching unsolicited material on this website, and they’d use the contact to stalk him. So out of respect to the man, I will not reveal his PR contact info and can only wish you the best in finding him.

    Be respectful, do your homework, ask around, you’ll track him down. Don’t be a nuisance; wait patiently for the right people to make the right contact properly.

    I think he would be touched re: Manoogian story and probably definitely stayed in contact. But, be aware, some of the people he used to know, Marty “doesn’t know” anymore. That’s the way it goes.

    To you people pitching him story ideas: please just don’t. The business doesn’t work that way. Pick up a film writing book or take a class, learn how it’s done, and pay your dues.

    And NO, I am definitely not Martin Scorsese, nor am I anyone who works with him. I just know two people who personally know him, and you may rest absolutely assured, he hasn’t read this page and likely never will. Not to disparage the page or PBS; he just has more things to do than read his own publicity for a project already long completed. Best,

    Someone in New York

  • tony cafarelli

    Does any know of or recall a documentary on Martin Scorsese that I saw years ago , on a PBS (I think) station.
    In this documentary a Catholic priest was one of the people interviewed, the priest was/or is, either related to or a close family friend of Martin Scorsese or his family. The priest featured in this documentary served at a parish which I was a member of while in grade school.
    Hoping I can get some information
    by the way i am a huge Martin Scorsese film fan

  • satadru rej

    Dear Mr S, i really hope that you make a war movie, albeit from a different perspective. I also hope that you make a stunning love story. hoping that you get my message

  • Generoso

    I grew up in New Rochelle the all Italian section. Most people spoke Italian. It was a safe place to live a great place to live. Old ladies dressed in black for the rest of their lives mourning for their long dead husbands.Priests who ruled with an iron hand. Stopping a wedding when the bridesmaids dresses didn’t cover enough. Nuns who were strict but kind hearted. Kids of all ages hanging out in the streets ’till the street lights came on. Italian ices for a nickle.Millie’s store down the corner where you could buy 50 cents worth of ham and tell her your mother would pay next week so she would write it down on a paper bag with your name on it. shareing one skate each because we only had one on a dead end near the railroad tracks across from the cemetery. me and my friend having a picnic on her mothers grave and having a good time.the old ladies cheering georgous george the wrestler on tv and hearing them while we played in the street at night.sitting on old milk boxes with Catarina, Sundial, Annekia,mr.lafanzo whose real name was just alfonzo.cindray whose real name we found out so many years later was andre. saying upastairs and backayard.theres a story there somewhere.

  • RHC

    Martin Scorsese is the MAN to make it happen. I rquest him to get ‘ONE EYED JACKS’ released in original A1 quality DVD and/or Blu ray.

    Please Mr. Scorsese make it happen.

    Thank you……….

  • Celeste Lederer

    Dear ” Someone in New York”,

    I am not an “online” person and so your response of long ago was just made known to me by a friend.

    Perhaps this will make my initial comments clearer : My late husband was one of the contributing writers of
    “Martin Scorsese The First Decade” by Mary Pat Kelly.

    My posting therefore was in regard to the PBS special and not an attempt to contact Marty through others using this site.

    Celeste Lederer

  • sarina

    An extremely talented director! He is so much more talented than Spielberg, yet, does not get the credit and accolades that Speilberg gets – this is a true tragedy!

    Scorcese films are provocative, meaningful cinema that appeals to all strata of society.

    I still feel that Taxi Driver, and The Age of Innocence are Scorcese’s best works.

    As an Indian, I appreciate his knowledge and appreciation of Satyajit Rai and other Indian artists.

  • Sambit Padhan

    Recently saw another one of his masterpiece Hugo.The movie further strengthen my believe that Marty is the greatest film student in the world now who is in his 60s is studying this art like a child.Exploring each and every art form and technique in film Making.Recent example is Usage of 3-D in Hugo.I once saw a documentary where Spielberg made a comment about Marty that he envy him because like many great film maker like Orson Welles,Elia Kazan Martin Scorsese has a unique style of his own which filmmaker like Spielberg doesn’t have and will always anvy him about this fact….

  • Maria Pineda

    I’ve seen a documentary once,and they said that Scorcese makes films for himself. Which means he makes films for his own pleasure,whereas most directors makes films which they think the audience will like.

  • brainsick213

    Dear Mr. Scorsese

    Let me get this clear, you are a very big influence in my life, you are my favorite director of all time. Your stories of machismo, guilt and violence in American society are unforgettable, I believe you have made the greatest film of all time “Mean Streets”. A tale about urban sin and pressure from the streets, it is a film that I really can relate too, especially in the characters. Charlie, Johnny Boy, Tony and Michael. They all represent diffrent people that I know in my life, Charlie being the one that gets by, Johnny Boy the neighborhood fuck up, its a very deep story and it has shot in such an incredible way. Backed up with an extraordinary soundtrack from great artists. Your film inspires me to become a filmmaker myself, because of its originality, I hope you continue to bring great and hopefully greater films.

  • Caroll Bram

    I cannot express how thankful I am for MR. Landis and his commitment to his work what a wonderful man and awesome movie. thank you so much

Inside This Episode

  • About Martin Scorsese


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