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Martin Scorsese

[skawr-sey-zee, -sez-ee]

Martin Marcantonio Luciano Scorsese, born November 17, 1942) is an Academy Award-winning American film director, writer, producer, actor and film historian. Also affectionately known as "Marty", he is the founder of the World Cinema Foundation and a recipient of the AFI Life Achievement Award for his contributions to the cinema and has won awards from the Golden Globe, BAFTA, and Directors Guild of America. Scorsese is president of the Film Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to film preservation and the prevention of the decaying of motion picture film stock.

Scorsese's body of work addresses such themes as Italian American identity, Roman Catholic concepts of guilt and redemption, machismo, and the violence Endemic to American society. Scorsese is widely considered to be one of the most significant and influential American filmmakers of his era, directing landmark films such as Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and Goodfellas; all of which he collaborated on with actor Robert De Niro. He earned an MFA in film directing from NYU's School of the Arts.

Childhood

Martin Scorsese was born in New York City. His father, Luciano Charles Scorsese (1913–1993), and mother, Catherine Scorsese (née Cappa; 1912–1997), both worked in New York's Garment District, his father as a clothes presser and his mother as a seamstress. As a boy his father would often take him to the movie theaters where he'd see films. It was at this stage in his life that he developed his passion for cinema. Scorsese also developed an admiration for neo-realist cinema at this age. He recounted its influence in a documentary on Italian neorealism, and commented on how The Bicycle Thief alongside Paisà, Rome, Open City inspired him and how this influenced his view or portrayal of his Sicilian heritage. 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. His initial desire to become a priest was forsaken for cinema the seminary traded for NYU Film School, where he received his MFA in film directing in 1969.

Early career

Although the Vietnam War had started at the time, Scorsese (who had struggled with asthma since his childhood) did not serve in the military. He attended New York University's film school (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 featured an unnamed man who shaves himself until profusely bleeding, ultimately slitting his own throat with his razor. The film is an indictment of America's involvement in Vietnam, suggested by its alternative title Viet '67.

Also in 1967, Scorsese made his first feature-length film, the black and white Who's That Knocking at My Door with fellow student, actor Harvey Keitel, and editor Thelma Schoonmaker both of whom were to become long-term collaborators. This film was a precursor to his later Mean Streets. Even in embryonic form, the "Scorsese style" was already evident: a feel for New York Italian American street-life, rapid editing, an eclectic rock soundtrack, and a troubled male protagonist.

1970s

From there he became a friend and acquaintance of the so-called "movie brats" of the 1970s: Francis Ford Coppola, Brian De Palma, George Lucas, and Steven Spielberg. It was De Palma who introduced actor Robert De Niro to Scorsese, and the two figures became close friends, working together on many projects. During this period the director worked as one of the editors on the movie Woodstock and met actor-director John Cassavetes, who would also go on to become a close friend and mentor.

Mean Streets

In 1972 Scorsese made the Depression-era gangster film Boxcar Bertha for B-movie producer Roger Corman, who had also helped directors such as Francis Ford Coppola, James Cameron, and John Sayles launch their careers. While it is widely considered a minor work, Boxcar Bertha nonetheless taught Scorsese how to make films cheaply and quickly, preparing him for his first film with De Niro, Mean Streets.

Championed by influential movie 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, rapid-fire editing, and a rock soundtrack. 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. (Indeed the film was completed with much encouragement from Cassavetes, who felt Boxcar Bertha was undeserving of the young director's prodigious talent.)

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

Two years later, in 1976, Scorsese sent shockwaves through the cinema world when he directed the iconic Taxi Driver, an unrelentingly grim and violent portrayal of one man's slow descent into insanity in a hellishly conceived Manhattan.

Scorsese's direction by now was highly accomplished, using jump cuts, expressionist lighting, point of view shots and slow motion to reflect the protagonist's heightened psychological awareness. However Taxi Driver's immense power was due in part to Robert De Niro's intense lead performance. The film co-starred Jodie Foster in a highly controversial role as an underage prostitute, and Harvey Keitel as her pimp, "Sport" Matthew.

Taxi Driver also marked the start of a series of collaborations with writer Paul Schrader. The film bears strong thematic links to (and makes several allusions to) the work of French director Robert Bresson, most explicitly Pickpocket (in essence the "diary" of a loner/obsessive who finds redemption). 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, although all were unsuccessful.

Scorsese was subsequently offered the role of Charles Manson in the movie Helter Skelter and a part in Sam Fuller's war movie The Big Red One, but he turned both down. However he did accept the role of a gangster in exploitation movie Cannonball directed by Paul Bartel. In this period there were also several directorial projects that never got off the ground including Haunted Summer, about Mary Shelley and a film with Marlon Brando about the Indian massacre at Wounded Knee.

New York, New York and The Last Waltz

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.

New York, New York was the director's third collaboration with Robert De Niro, co-starring with Liza Minnelli (a tribute and allusion to her father, legendary musical director Vincente 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 to his earlier work. Often overlooked, it remains one of the director's early key studies in male paranoia and insecurity (and hence is in direct thematic lineage with Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, as well as the later Raging Bull and The Departed).

The disappointing reception 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 Eric Clapton, Neil Young, Neil Diamond, Ringo Starr, Muddy Waters, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Paul Butterfield, Ronnie Wood and Van Morrison. However, Scorsese's commitments to other projects delayed the release of the film until 1978. Another Scorsese-directed documentary entitled American Boy also appeared in 1978 focusing on Steve Prince, the cocky gun salesman who appeared in Taxi Driver. A period of wild partying followed, damaging the director's already fragile health.

1980s

Raging Bull

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 what many consider his greatest 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 La Motta, 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.

Raging Bull, filmed in high contrast black and white, is where the director's style reached its zenith: Taxi Driver and New York, New York had used elements of expressionism to replicate psychological point 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 re-written 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 King of Comedy

Scorsese's next project was his fifth collaboration with Robert De Niro, The King of Comedy (1983). An absurdist satire on the world of media and celebrity, it was an obvious departure from the more emotionally committed films he had become associated with. Visually too it was far less kinetic than the style the director had developed up until this point, often using a static camera and long takes. The expressionism of his recent work here gave way to moments of almost total surrealism. However it was still an obvious Scorsese work, and apart from the New York locale, it bore many similarities to Taxi Driver, not least of which was its focus on an obsessed troubled loner who ironically achieves iconic status through a criminal act (murder and kidnapping, respectively).

The King of Comedy failed at the box office but has become increasingly well regarded by critics in the years since its release. It is arguable that its themes of vacuous show business and celebrity obsession are more pertinent today than when the film was originally released. German director Wim Wenders numbered it among his fifteen favourite films.

Next Scorsese made a brief cameo appearance in the movie Pavlova: 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 movie Round Midnight.

In 1983 Scorsese began work on a long-cherished personal project, The Last Temptation of Christ, based on the 1951 book written by Nikos Kazantzakis (who was introduced to the director by actress Barbara Hershey when they were both attending New York University in the late 1960s). The movie 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.)

After Hours

After the collapse of this project Scorsese again saw his career at a critical point, as he described in the recent documentary Filming for Your Life: Making 'After Hours' (2004). He saw that in the increasingly commercial world of 1980s Hollywood, the highly stylized and personal 1970s films he and others had built their careers on would not continue to enjoy the same status. Scorsese decided then on an almost totally new approach to his work. With After Hours (1985) he made an aesthetic shift back to a pared-down, almost "underground" film-making style — his way of staying viable. 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. A bit of a stylistic anomaly for Scorsese, After Hours fits in well with popular low-budget "cult" films of the 1980s, e.g. Jonathan Demme's Something Wild and Alex Cox's Repo Man.

The Color of Money

Along with the iconic 1987 Michael Jackson music video Bad, in 1986 Scorsese made The Color of Money, a sequel to the much admired Paul Newman film The Hustler (1960). (The Hustler was directed by Robert Rossen, whose 1940s boxing film Body and Soul was a major influence on Raging Bull.) Although typically visually assured, The Color of Money was the director's first foray into mainstream commercial film-making. It won actor Paul Newman a belated Oscar and gave Scorsese the clout to finally secure backing for a project that had been a long time goal for him: The Last Temptation of Christ. He also made a brief venture into television, directing an episode of Steven Spielberg's Amazing Stories.

The Last Temptation of Christ

After his mid-80s flirtation with commercial Hollywood, Scorsese made a major return to personal film-making with the Paul Schrader-scripted The Last Temptation of Christ in 1988. Based on Nikos Kazantzakis's controversial 1951 book, it retold the life of Christ in human rather than divine terms. Even prior to its release the film caused a massive furor, worldwide protests against its perceived blasphemy effectively turning a low budget independent movie 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 which had under-pinned 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).

Along with directors Woody Allen and Francis Coppola, in 1989 Scorsese provided one of three segments in the portmanteau film New York Stories, called "Life Lessons".

1990s

Goodfellas

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. A return to Little Italy, De Niro, and Joe Pesci, Goodfellas offered a virtuoso display of the director's bravura cinematic technique and re-established, enhanced, and consolidated his reputation. The film is widely considered one of the director's greatest achievements.

However, Goodfellas also signified an important shift in tone in the director's work, inaugurating an era in his career which was technically accomplished but some have argued emotionally detached. Despite this, many view Goodfellas as a Scorsese archetype — the apogee of his cinematic technique.

Scorsese earned his third Best Director nomination for Goodfellas but again lost to a first-time director, Kevin Costner (Dances with Wolves). The film also earned Joe Pesci an Academy Award (Best Supporting Actor)

In 1990, he acted in a cameo role as Vincent Van Gogh in the film Dreams by legendary Japanese director Akira Kurosawa.

Cape Fear

1991 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 in to the mainstream, the film was a stylized Grand Guignol 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 did give Scorsese a chance to experiment with a dazzling array of visual tricks and effects. The film garnered two Oscar nominations. Earning eighty million dollars domestically, it would stand 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

The opulent and handsomely mounted The Age of Innocence (1993) was on the surface a huge departure for Scorsese, a period adaptation of Edith Wharton's 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. As noted in Scorsese on Scorsese by editor/interviewer Ian Christie, the news that Scorsese wanted to make a film about a 19th Century failed 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 which 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 than 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.

Recently, it has started to come 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. It also made a significant impact on directors such as Chinese auteur Tian Zhuangzhuang, and British film-maker Terence Davies both of whom ranked it among their ten favourite films.

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's expansive Casino, 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. Critically, however, Casino received mixed notices. In large part this was due to its huge stylistic similarities to his earlier Goodfellas. Indeed many of the tropes and tricks of the earlier film resurfaced more or less intact, most obviously the casting of both Robert DeNiro and Joe Pesci, Pesci once again being an unbridled psychopath. Casino was by some considerable distance perhaps Scorsese's most violent and detached film, its early establishing scenes verging on documentary. Sharon Stone was nominated for the Best Actress Academy Award for her performance.

However many scholars have considered it a major film. In the Film Comment issue of January 2000, devoted to the best films of the 90's, Thierry Fremaux of the Institut Lumière stated that, "The best film of the decade is also the most underrated film of the decade: 'Casino'", while Michael Wilmington called both GoodFellas and Casino, "Great late pinnacles of noir"

A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies

Scorsese still found time for a four hour documentary in 1995 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."

Kundun

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 colourful visual images.

The film was a source of turmoil for its distributor, Disney, who were 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

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's 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.

2000s

Gangs of New York

In 1999 Scorsese also produced a documentary on Italian filmmakers entitled 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 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 which 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 more conventional score by Howard Shore and mainstream rock artists U2 and Peter Gabriel (making commercial, if little historic or contextual sense). The final cut of the movie ran to 168 minutes, while the director's original cut was over 180 minutes in length.

Nonetheless, the themes central to the film were consistent with the director's established concerns: New York, violence as culturally endemic, and sub-cultural divisions down ethnic lines. On this film, he also selected Georgia Lee to become an apprentice / assistant for the Gangs of New York principal photography.

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 ten Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor for Daniel Day-Lewis. This was Scorsese's fourth Best Director nomination, and many thought it was finally his year to win. Ultimately, however, the film took home not a single Academy Award, and Scorsese lost his category to Roman Polanski for The Pianist.

2003 also saw the release 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 entitled “Feel Like Going Home”).

Scorsese also had uncredited involvement as executive director with the 2002 film Deuces Wild, written Paul Kimatian.

The Aviator

Scorsese's film The Aviator (2004), was a lavish, large-scale biopic of eccentric aviation pioneer and film mogul Howard Hughes. 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 Picture - Drama, Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Actor - Drama for Leonardo DiCaprio. It won three, including Best Picture and Best Actor- Drama In January 2005, The Aviator became the most-nominated film of the 77th Academy Award 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 (Leonardo DiCaprio), Best Supporting Actress (Cate Blanchett), and Alan Alda for Best Supporting Actor. Despite having a leading tally, the film ended up with only five Oscars: Best Supporting Actress, Art Direction, Costume Design, Film Editing and Cinematography. Scorsese lost again, this time to director Clint Eastwood for Million Dollar Baby (which also won Best Picture).

No Direction Home

No Direction Home is a documentary film by Martin Scorsese that traces 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; rather, 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. In addition, Scorsese received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Directing for Nonfiction Programming.

The Departed

Scorsese returned to the crime genre with the Boston-set thriller The Departed, based on the Hong Kong police drama Infernal Affairs. The film reunited the director with Leonardo DiCaprio, an actor he has worked with for three consecutive projects. The Departed also brought Scorsese together with Jack Nicholson.

The Departed opened to widespread critical acclaim with some proclaiming it as one of the best efforts Scorsese had brought to the screen since 1990's 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 $129,402,536, The Departed is Scorsese's highest grossing film (not accounting for inflation).

Martin Scorsese's direction of The Departed earned him his second Golden Globe for Best Director, as well as a Critic's Choice Award, his first Director's Guild of America Award, and the Academy Award for Best Director. The latter was thought to be long overdue, and some entertainment critics subsequently referred to it as Scorsese's "Lifetime Achievement" Oscar. Some critics indeed further suggested that Scorsese did not deserve to win for The Departed. It was presented to him by his longtime friends and colleagues Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola, and George Lucas. 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

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.

Ashecliffe

On October 22, 2007, the Daily Variety reported that Scorsese will reunite with Leonardo DiCaprio on a fourth picture, Ashecliffe. Principal photography on the Laeta Kalogridis screenplay, based on the novel Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane, began in Massachusetts in March 2008.

In December 2007, actors Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, and Michelle Williams joined the cast. The film is slated to be released on October 2, 2009.

Future films

In May 2007, Scorsese announced his intention to shoot a film based on Shusaku Endo’s masterpiece novel, Silence, about two Portuguese Jesuits among persecuted Christians in 17th century Japan. The Internet Movie Database states that the film, currently in production, has an expected U.S. release date as 2010.

References in other media

  • In an episode of American Dad! titled "The Best Christmas Story Never", Stan convinces Scorsese to stop taking drugs in the 70s, causing Scorsese not to make the film Taxi Driver, leading to an alternate timeline where the Soviet Union had conquered the United States.
  • In an episode of The Simpsons titled A Star Is Burns, Marge Simpson crosses out Scorsese's name as a film critic at the Springfield Film Festival in favor of Homer.
  • The band King Missile included on its 1992 album Happy Hour a song entitled "Martin Scorsese," in which frontman John S. Hall assumes the persona of a crazed Scorsese obsessive who wishes to express his appreciation of the director's work by savagely assaulting him.
  • In the 1990s animated TV show Animaniacs, the Goodfeathers, a gang of pigeons based on the three main characters in the film Goodfellas, hang out at a statue of the director.
  • In an episode of the HBO series The Sopranos, Christopher Moltisanti sees Scorsese (an actor portraying Scorsese) going into a club and yells out at him "Hey! Marty! Kundun! I liked it!"
  • Scorsese appears as himself in the Curb Your Enthusiasm episodes "The Special Section" and "Krazee Eyez Killa".
  • In 2007, Scorsese was listed among Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People in The World.
  • Scorsese appeared in a series of American Express commercials as a director.
  • Scorsese directed two commercials for Armani in the 80s. They were not seen in the US.
  • In August 2007 Scorsese was named the 2nd greatest director of all time in a poll by Total Film magazine, in front of Steven Spielberg and behind Alfred Hitchcock.
  • In the movie "Singles", the girl behind the counter of the video dating service alleges that her co-worker should direct Debbie's character's video, claiming that he is the "next Martin Scorsese".
  • In the online mockmentary "Pure Pwnage", the characters refer to Martin Scorsese's last name few times in the show. A scene of the character Doug looking in the mirror pointing a plastic gun at his reflection is a reference to a similar scene in Taxi Driver.
  • In the movie Threesome, the main characters ask their less gifted friend whether she likes Scorsese and she responds "No, I don't eat spicy food".

Director trademarks

  • Begins his films with segments taken from the middle or end of the story. Examples include Raging Bull (1980), Goodfellas (1990), Casino (1995), and The Last Waltz.
  • Frequent use of slow motion, e.g. Mean Streets (1973), Taxi Driver (1976), Raging Bull (1980).
  • His lead characters are often sociopathic and/or want to be accepted in society.
  • His blonde leading ladies are usually seen through the eyes of the protagonist as angelic and ethereal; they always 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.
  • Often uses long tracking shots.
  • Use of MOS sequences set to popular music or voice over, often involving aggressive camera movement and/or rapid editing.
  • Often has a quick cameo in his films (Mean Streets, 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). Also, often contributes his voice to a film without showing his face on screen. E.g., 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.
  • Frequently uses New York City as the main setting in his films, eg. Gangs of New York, Taxi Driver, The Age of Innocence, After Hours, New York, New York.
  • Sometimes highlights characters in a scene with an iris, an homage to 1920s silent film cinema (as most scenes at the time used this transition). This effect can be seen in Casino (it is used on Sharon Stone and Joe Pesci), Life Lessons, and The Departed (on Matt Damon).
  • Some of his films include references/allusions to classic Westerns particularly Shane and The Searchers.
  • 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.

Scorsese's Circle

Scorsese has been known to cast the same actors in his films, particularly Robert De Niro, who collaborated with Scorsese for 8 films. Included are the three films that made the AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies list. Though a majority of critics cite Raging Bull to be De Niro's best performance, Scorsese has often stated that he thought Robert De Niro's best work under his direction was Rupert Pupkin in The King of Comedy. Most recently, Scorsese has found a new muse with young actor Leonardo DiCaprio, who he has collaborated for three films, with others in the works. ) Several critics have compared Scorsese's new partnership with DiCaprio with his previous one with De Niro. Other frequent collaborators include Victor Argo (6), Harvey Keitel (5), Murray Moston (5), Joe Pesci (3), Frank Vincent (3), Verna Bloom (3), Steven Prince (2), Barbara Hershey (2), David Carradine (2), Nick Nolte (2) and John C. Reilly (2). Scorsese has also collaborated twice with the acclaimed actor Daniel Day-Lewis, who had become very reclusive to the Hollywood scene. Before their deaths, Scorese's parents, Charles and Catherine, would be given bit parts, walk-ons, or supporting roles.

For his crew, Scorsese frequently worked with editor Thelma Schoonmaker, cinematographers Michael Ballhaus and Robert Richardson, screenwriters Paul Schrader and Mardik Martin, costume designer Sandy Powell, production designer Dante Ferretti, and composers Robbie Robertson, Howard Shore and Elmer Bernstein. Schoonmaker, Richardson, Powell, and Ferretti have all won Academy Awards in their respective categories due to their collaborations with Scorsese. Elaine and Saul Bass, the latter being Hitchcock's title designer of choice, have 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, Damien Lewis, Steven Berkoff and Kosta Sommer {Deuce Biggalo, European Gigolo.}

Personal life

Scorese's parents are named Charles and Catherine

Scorsese has been married to Helen Morris since 1999; she is his fifth wife. They have a daughter, Francesca, who appeared in The Departed and The Aviator.

He has a daughter, Cathy (Catherine), from his first marriage to Laraine Brennan, and a daughter, Domenica Cameron-Scorsese, who is an actress, from his second marriage to Julia Cameron. Scorsese was also married to actress Isabella Rossellini from 1979 to their divorce in 1983. He married producer Barbara De Fina in 1985; their marriage ended in divorce as well.

He is primarily based in New York City.

Awards and Recognitions

Filmography (as director)

Year Film No. of Oscar Nominations No. of Oscar Wins
1963 What's a Nice Girl Like You Doing in a Place Like This?
1964 It's Not Just You, Murray!
1967 The Big Shave
Who's That Knocking at My Door
1970 Street Scenes
1972 Boxcar Bertha
1973 Mean Streets
1974 Italianamerican
Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore 3 1
1976 Taxi Driver 4 0
1977 New York, New York
1978 The Last Waltz
1980 Raging Bull 8 2
1983 The King of Comedy
1985 After Hours
1986 The Color of Money 4 1
1988 The Last Temptation of Christ 1 0
1989 New York Stories (segment Life's Lessons)
1990 Goodfellas 6 1
1991 Cape Fear 2 0
1993 The Age of Innocence 5 1
1995 Casino 1 0
1997 Kundun 4
1999 Bringing Out the Dead
2002 Gangs of New York 10 0
2004 The Aviator 11 5
2005 No Direction Home: Bob Dylan 4 (Emmys) 1 (Emmys)
2006 The Departed 5 4
2007 The Key to Reserva (short)
2008 Shine a Light
2009 Ashecliffe
2009 The Lindabury Story

Selected filmography (as actor)

1973 Mean Streets (cameo) as Jimmy Shorts
1976 Taxi Driver (cameo) as Passenger in Travis' Cab
1978 The Last Waltz (as himself)
1983 The King of Comedy (cameo) as TV Director
1986 ''Round Midnight as Goodley
1990 Dreams as Vincent Van Gogh
1994 Quiz Show as Martin Rittenhome
1999 The Muse (as himself)
1999 Bringing Out the Dead (dispatcher)
2004 Shark Tale (voice) Sykes

See also

References

External links

Cannes Film Festival
BAFTA Award
Venice Film Festival
Golden Globe Award
Academy Award and Directors Guild of America Award

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