Martin Scorsese: Gangsters, Spirituality and Rock

Watch Selected Independent and Cult Films

Watch hundreds of rare independent and arthouse films, cult films and hand-picked documentaries from around the world with a single subscription, on any device. No limits, no ads.

Table of Contents

Martin Scorsese is one of the best directors in the history of cinema. He was born on November 17th, 1942 in the Flushing area of ​​the borough of Queens in New York City. His family moved to Little Italy in Manhattan before school started. Both Scorsese’s mom and dad, Charles Scorsese and Catherine Scorsese, worked in New York’s Garment District. Charles was a trouser press while Catherine was a seamstress as well as an actress. Both were of Italian origin: the paternal grandparents, Francesco Paolo and Teresa Scozzese, emigrated from Polizzi Generosa, while the mother’s grandparents, Martino and Domenica Cappa, emigrated from Ciminna, both in Palermo. The initial surname of the family members was Scottish, which was later changed to Scorsese due to a spelling error. Scorsese grew up in a predominantly Catholic environment.

As a teenager in the Bronx, Scorsese frequently rented Pressburger Powell and The Tales of Hoffmann (1951) from a shop that had a duplicate of the reel. He was one of only 2 people who rented it constantly; the other was the future film director George A. Romero.

Influences in Martin Scorsese’s Cinema


In his docu-drama entitled A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies, Scorsese claimed to have been in love with two films, Land of the Pharaohs and El Cid. They had a lasting and profound influence on his idea of ​​cinema. In his docu-drama, My trip to Italy, Scorsese noted that the Sicilian episode of Roberto Rossellini’s Paisà, which he first saw on television with his parents who were themselves Sicilian immigrants, had an effect significant about his life.

He attended Cardinal Hayes Boys-only High School in the Bronx, graduating in 1960. He actually initially wanted to become a pastor, attending a preparatory seminary, but failed after the initial year. This experience paved the way for him to film and, as a result, Scorsese also registered at New York University’s Washington Square College, where he earned a BA in English in 1964.

While attending the Tisch School of the Arts, Scorsese made shorts What is a good girl like you doing in a place like this? (1963) and It’s Not Just You, Murray! (1964). His most popular is the sombre The Big Shave (1967), starring Peter Bernuth. The film is an accusation of America’s participation in Vietnam, suggested by the alternative title Viet ’67. 

Martin Scorsese Awards


Scorsese earned a Masters degree from New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and also Human Development in 1968. In the 1970s and 1980s, Scorsese emerged as one of the significant names in ‘was from New Hollywood. Scorsese won the Palme d’Or at Cannes with his 1976 thriller Taxi Driver, starring Robert De Niro. The actor continued to work with Scorsese on 8 other films.

With the entertaining After Hours (1985), he won the Best Director Award at Cannes. His legendary 1990 gangster movie Goodfellas, starring De Niro, Ray Liotta and Joe Pesci, once again brought praise to Scorsese and earned him 3 British Academy Film Awards. After abandoning crime films for a few years, he returned to the category with Casino (1995). In the 2000s and also into the 2010s, Scorsese garnered crucial praise and success with his partnership with Leonardo DiCaprio. 

The Departed (2006) earned them his first Academy Award for Best Director, and their subsequent collaborations in thriller films such as Shutter Island (2010) and biopic The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) were also huge hits. Returning to his area of ​​knowledge of criminal films, Scorsese collaborated again with De Niro in The Irishman (2019), also starring Pesci and Al Pacino.

Scorsese’s films, very impressed with his Italian-American history and his childhood in New York City, focus on problematic men with a macho and criminal attitude: nihilism, as well as Catholic concepts of guilt and redemption. In addition to films, Scorsese has created episodes for some rock music television collections and documentaries, winning the Grammy Award for best long-running music video for No Direction Home (2005). A supporter of the preservation and also of the reconstruction of films, he founded 3 non-profit companies: the Film Foundation in 1990, the World Cinema Foundation in 2007 and the African Film Heritage Project in 2017.

Martin Scorsese’s Cinematic Style

Numerous recurring strategies are recognizable in many of Scorsese’s films. He actually developed a film background that includes repeated collaborations with stars, screenwriters, film editors and filmmakers, in some cases spanning several decades, such as that with Michael Ballhaus, Robert Richardson and Rodrigo Prieto.

Slow Motion and Still

Scorsese is known for his frequent use of slow motion, for example in Who Knocks at My Door (1967) and Mean Streets (1973). He is also famous for the use of still images, such as: in the opening credits of The King of Comedy (1983), in Goodfellas (1990), Casino (1995), The Departed (2006), as well as in The Irishman (2019). Its blonde protagonists are angelic and ethereal, they dress in white in their first scene and are photographed in slow motion, like Cybill Shepherd in Taxi Driver. Cathy Moriarty’s white swimsuit in Raging Bull; Sharon Stone’s white minidress in Casino. Perhaps a tribute to director Alfred Hitchcock

Scorsese often uses long sequence shots, as seen in Taxi Driver, Goodfellas, Casino, Gangs of New York, and Hugo. Scorsese in some cases highlights the characters in a scene with an iris, a tribute to the silent cinema of the 1920s. This effect can be seen in Casino (it’s used on Sharon Stone as well as Joe Pesci), Life Lessons, The Departed (on Matt Damon) and even Hugo. Some of his films consist of references / allusions to westerns, most notably Rio Bravo, The Great Train Robbery, Shane, The Searchers and The Oklahoma Kid. Slow-motion flashes and camera / flash / shutter sounds are often used, as are the Rolling Stones tune “Gim me Shelter” heard in numerous Scorsese films: Goodfellas, Casino and The Departed.

Martin Scorsese’s Cameo

Scorsese usually has a quick cameo in his films (Who’s That Bussing at My Door, Boxcar Bertha, Mean Streets, Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, Taxi Driver, The King of Comedy, After Hours, The Last Temptation di Cristo, The Age of Innocence, Gangs of New York, Hugo). He sometimes uses his voice in movies without appearing (for example in The Aviator and The Wolf of Wall Street). In The Age of Innocence he plays the role of a professional large portrait photographer in one of the film’s passing scenes. He also introduces himself as the director of the television drama with a funny Italian In the Pope’s Eye.

Martin Scorsese and Spirituality

Scorsese considered Silence to be a “project of interest”: in reality it had been in progress since 1990, two years after the launch of his film The Last Temptation of Christ, also made up of spiritual themes. When asked why he had kept the passion in a project dealing with theological issues for over 26 years, Scorsese said:

Questions, answers, loss of answer again and many other concerns, and that’s what I’m really passionate about. Yes, cinema as well as the people in my life as well as my family are the most important, but ultimately as you get older, you get so much more … Silence is simply something I am drawn to. It was an obsession, it really has to be done … it’s a true, strong, wonderful story, a thriller in a way, and yet it addresses those questions.

Martin Scorsese and Corruption

More recently, his films have featured corrupt authorities, such as police officers in The Departed, as well as political leaders in Gangs of New York and The Aviator. He is also known for his black humor and physical violence. Scorsese’s interest in political corruption as depicted in his films was further expanded in his 2019 film The Irishman. Richard Brody, writing for The New Yorker, found that the main interpretation of the film is a dark allegory of a realist analysis of American national politics and American culture which states:

The Hoffa in real life … (it was ) a crucial protagonist in both gangland politics and real politics, and also the key to the film is the inseparability of those 2 worlds. The Irishman is a frightening socio-political story that examines much of modern American history as an ever-moving crime, in which every degree of society – from ordinary life to closeness with large corporations through national and global politics – is poisoned by corruption. , unethical offers like dirty money, threats of physical violence and even its terrible implementation, as well as immunity that keeps the whole system running.

Martin Scorsese’s Collaborators

Scorsese often chooses the same actors in his projects, most notably Robert De Niro, who has collaborated with Scorsese on nine films and one short film. After the turn of the century, Scorsese found a brand new muse with the younger actor Leonardo DiCaprio, collaborating on 5 films. Prior to their deaths, Scorsese’s parents, Charles Scorsese and Catherine Scorsese, appeared in small roles, extras, or supporting roles, such as in Goodfellas.

Schoonmaker, Richardson, Powell and Dante Ferretti both won Academy Awards in their respective groups thanks to their collaboration with Scorsese. Elaine as well as Saul Bass, the latter being the creator of the Hitchcock movie titles, made the initial titles for Goodfellas, The Age of Innocence, Casino and Cape Fear.

Private Life

In 1965, Scorsese married his first wife Laraine Marie Brennan. They stayed together for 6 years and had a baby girl, Catherine, who is named after her mother.

In 1976, Scorsese married writer Julia Cameron, his second wife; they have a daughter (Domenica Cameron-Scorsese, who is an actress who appeared in The Age of Innocence), but the marriage only lasted a year. Before the end of 1979, Scorsese married actress Isabella Rossellini, and they stayed together for four years, divorcing in 1983. Scorsese then married Barbara De Fina in 1985, his fourth of 5 marriages; they divorced in 1991. 

In 1999, Scorsese married his current partner of over 20 years, Helen Schermerhorn Morris. They have a daughter, Francesca, who has appeared in The Departed as well as The Aviator.

Other Projects

Scorsese and David Tedeschi have produced a docudrama on the history of the New York Review of Books, entitled The 50 Year Argument. It was screened as a work in development at the Berlin International Film Festival in February 2014 and also premiered in June 2014 at the Sheffield Doc / Fest. 

Scorsese directed the Vinyl pilot composed by Terence Winter and George Mastras, starring Mick Jagger. The series stars Bobby Cannavale as Richie Finestra, founder and head of state of a high-end record label, incorporated into the drug and sex-fueled song organization of 1970s New York while punk and nightclubs were exploding as they try to resurrect his label. Recording began on July 25, 2014. Co-stars include Ray Romano, Olivia Wilde, Juno Temple, Andrew Dice Clay, Ato Essandoh, Max Casella and also James Jagger. The series lasted one season. Scorsese has actually served as an executive producer on a number of independent films, such as 2014’s The Third Side of the River (directed by Celina Murga), another 2014 film Revenge of the Green Dragons (co-directed by Andrew Lau, whose film Infernal Affairs influenced The Departed), As Bleed for This and Free Fire. [123]

Scorsese directed The Audition, a short film that also served as a promotional piece for the Studio City casinos in Macau and City of Dreams in Manila, Philippines. The short film features the two actors, who play fictionalized versions of themselves, competing for a role in Scorsese’s next film. The film premiered in October 2015 to coincide with the opening of Studio City.

Who’s That Knocking at My Door (1967)

In 1967, Scorsese made his first feature, the black and white I Call First, which was later renamed Who’s That Knocking at My Door, with his fellow students, star Harvey Keitel and editor Thelma Schoonmaker. Both would become lasting partners.

This film was to be the first true semi-autobiographical film in Scorsese’s trilogy, which would surely consist of a later film, Mean Streets. Critic Roger Ebert saw the film at the 1967 Chicago International Film Festival: he praised Scorsese and the writing of the film. He claimed that “I Call First” brings together two genres of films into a work that is very realistic, artistically successful and technically comparable to the best films ever made.

Scorsese ended up being a close friend of the most important directors of the 70s: Brian De Palma, Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. It was Roger Corman who taught Scorsese that films can be made for little money or time, preparing the young director well for the challenges that would come with Mean Streets. By joining the launch of the film, John Cassavetes encouraged Scorsese to make the films he wanted to make, rather than someone else’s projects.

Mean Streets (1973)

Promoted by influential film critic Pauline Kael, Mean Streets was an innovation for Scorsese, De Niro and even Keitel.

The story follows young Charlie, played by Harvey Keitel, an Italian-American involved in organized crime in Little Italy, New York. His friend Johnny Boy, played by Robert De Niro, is an impulsive and reckless individual who constantly finds himself in trouble. The title of the film remains the same in English, “Mean Streets.”

The film explores Charlie’s moral and personal conflicts as he tries to balance his life in the criminal underworld with his sense of family and religious duty. The authentic portrayal of the Lower East Side of New York and its social dynamics is a distinctive feature of the film.

“Mean Streets” is known for its raw realism and for introducing recurring themes in Scorsese’s filmography, such as guilt, spirituality, and violence. The film helped establish Scorsese as one of the most influential directors in American independent cinema.

Scorsese’s signature trait remained in place: macho attitudes, bloodthirsty violence, Catholic shame and even redemption, raw New York setting (though most of Mean Streets was fired in Los Angeles), quick editing, and even a column sound with modern music.

The film was groundbreaking, its charming atmosphere, edgy docudrama style, and street scenes were inspired by directors Cassavetes, Samuel Fuller and early filmography Jean-Luc Godard.

Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (1974)

In 1974, actress Ellen Burstyn chose Scorsese to direct her in Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, for which she won an Oscar for Best Actress. Well worried, the film remains an anomaly in the director’s early work as it focuses on a female character.

The story begins with Alice leaving her old lifestyle behind and embarking on a journey across America in search of a fresh start. Along the way, she works at various jobs, faces personal challenges, and encounters a series of interesting characters. The Italian title of the film is “Alice non abita più qui,” while the title remains the same in English, “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore.”

The film is known for Ellen Burstyn’s brilliant performance, which earned her an Academy Award for Best Actress. Scorsese provides an authentic portrayal of the challenges and opportunities a woman must confront in her quest for independence and self-determination.

Italianamerican (1974)

Returning to Little Italy to explore his ethnic roots, Scorsese then developed Italianamerican, a documentary that includes his parents Charles and Catherine Scorsese.

In the film, Scorsese interviews his parents, Charles and Catherine Scorsese, as they reminisce about their family history, traditions, and the immigrant experience. The documentary provides an intimate look at the lives of Italian-American immigrants and their descendants in New York City.

The Italian title of the documentary is “Italianamerican,” and the title remains the same in English.

“Italianamerican” is a heartfelt and nostalgic exploration of the cultural and familial bonds that shape one’s identity. Scorsese’s candid interviews with his parents offer a glimpse into the traditions and values that were passed down through generations of Italian-Americans.

Taxi Driver (1976)


Scorsese made Taxi Driver in 1976. The film tells the story of a Vietnam veteran on the crime-ridden streets of New York. The film established him as an established director and likewise made famous cinematographer Michael Chapman, whose style often tends to high contrast, strong nuances and intricate camera movements.

The film stars Robert De Niro as psychotic and distressed Travis Bickle, alongside Jodie Foster as an underage street woman, with Harvey Keitel as her pimp. 

The film marked the beginning of a series of collaborations between Scorsese and writer Paul Schrader, inspired by the diary of would-be assassin Arthur Bremer and Pickpocket, a film by French director Robert Bresson. Schrader typically takes inspiration from Bresson’s work in films such as American Gigolo, Light Sleeper, and Scorsese’s later Bringing Out the Dead.

Following his release, Taxi Driver made headlines once again 5 years later when John Hinckley Jr. made an effort to assassinate then-President Ronald Reagan. He eventually confessed that his action had been influenced by his fixation on the Taxi Driver character. Taxi driver won the Palme d’Or at the 1976 Cannes Film Festival, received 4 Oscar nominations, including one for best film. 

New York, New York (1976)

Taxi Driver’s commercial success motivated Scorsese to continue with his first high-budget project: an elegant musical, New York, New York. This homage to Scorsese’s home community and also to the timeless Hollywood was a box office failure.

The film was the director’s third collaboration with Robert De Niro, who co-stars with Liza Minnelli. The film is best remembered today for the title tune, popularized by Frank Sinatra. 

Although Scorsese’s usual visual charisma and stylistic prowess were present in the film, many film critics felt that his limited, studio-bound environment left him in the shade in contrast to his previous work.

Despite its failure, the film is well received by some critics. Richard Brody in The New Yorker wrote: “For Scorsese, a lifelong cinephile, the meaning of New York could be discovered in his love of Hollywood classics. His tribute to the golden age of musicals and also of fascinating noir melodramas has proved to be one of his most original and personal films. “

The Last Waltz (1976)

The frustrating failure that New York, New York achieved led Scorsese to depression. By this time the director had developed a severe cocaine addiction.

He identified the creative drive to make The Last Waltz, which documents The Band’s latest concert. Filming took place at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco on American Thanksgiving, November 25, 1976, with the participation of famous artists: Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Ringo Starr, Muddy Waters, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Paul Butterfield, Neil Diamond, Ronnie Wood and Eric Clapton. 

The film not only features electrifying live performances by The Band but also includes guest appearances by notable musicians and artists, including Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Eric Clapton, Joni Mitchell, and many others. The Italian title of the film is “The Last Waltz,” and the title remains the same in English.

“The Last Waltz” is renowned for its exceptional cinematography and the way it captures the energy and emotion of the concert. Scorsese’s direction provides an immersive experience for the audience, making them feel like they are right there in the audience.

The documentary also includes interviews and behind-the-scenes footage, offering a comprehensive look at the history and significance of The Band and their final performance together.

American Boy (1978)

Another docu-drama directed by Scorsese, titled American Boy, also appeared in 1978, centering on Steven Prince, the arrogant gun dealer in Taxi Driver.

Steven Prince, known for his roles in some of Scorsese’s films, including “Taxi Driver” and “Mean Streets,” shares his personal anecdotes and experiences in a candid and unfiltered manner. The film delves into Prince’s life, his encounters with various individuals, and his thoughts on addiction and survival.

The Italian title of the documentary is “American Boy,” and the title remains the same in English.

“American Boy” is considered a notable work within the genre of personal and character-driven documentaries. Scorsese’s direction allows Prince’s storytelling to take center stage, providing viewers with a raw and unvarnished look at his life and experiences.

A period of wild partying followed, damaging the director’s already delicate health and well-being.

Raging Bull (1980)

According to a number of testimonies, including Scorsese himself, Robert De Niro saved Scorsese’s life when he convinced him to get rid of his cocaine addiction to make his film Raging Bull. Writing for The New Yorker in March 2000, Mark Singer summarized Scorsese’s problem by specifying: “He (Scorsese) was more than discouraged.

Robert De Niro came to see him at the clinic and asked him if he wanted to live or die. If you want to live, De Niro proposed, let’s make this movie, referring to Raging Bull, a book about Jake La Motta, the former world middleweight boxing champion, that De Niro had offered him to read years earlier.

He earned eight Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Actor for Robert De Niro and Scorsese’s first nomination for Best Director. From this work onwards, Scorsese’s films are consistently identified as “A Martin Scorsese Picture” on advertising material. Raging Bull, recorded in a high comparison of black and white, is where Scorsese’s style reached its peak: Taxi Driver as well as New York,

New York had used elements of expressionism to show psychological factors, however in this film style has been taken to new extremes, employing slow motion, complicated tracking shots, as well as an ingenious distortion of the protagonist’s point of view.

It has been rewritten numerous times by numerous writers including Jay Cocks (who later co-wrote Scorsese’s 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 has chosen Raging Bull as the number one American sports movie on its list of 10 best sports activity movies.

The King of Comedy (1983)

Scorsese’s next work was his fifth collaboration with Robert De Niro, The King of Comedy (1983). It is a satire on the world of media and stars, the protagonist of which is a lonely and anguished man who paradoxically arrives to make a kidnapping. The film was an apparent departure from the films that Scorsese had been associated with by the public.

Visually, it was far less kinetic than the style Scorsese had actually established earlier, typically using a fixed camera and long takes. It was here that the expressionism of his previous work paved the way for moments of almost total surrealism

German director Wim Wenders counted it among his 15 favorite films. Similarly, in 1983, Scorsese made a brief cameo appearance in the film Anna Pavlova, originally meant to be directed by one of her heroes, Michael Powell. This led to a more significant acting appearance in Bertrand Tavernier’s jazz film Round Midnight. He likewise made a quick attempt on television, directing an episode of Steven Spielberg’s Incredible Stories.

The Color of Money (1986)

Along with the video clip of Michael Jackson’s 1987 songs “Bad”, Scorsese made The Color of Money, starring Tom Cruise. It is a sequel to Robert Rossen’s acclaimed The Hustler (1961) starring Paul Newman.

The story follows the return of Eddie Felson, portrayed by Paul Newman, the famous pool player, who now seeks to put his past behind him and mentor a young talent named Vincent Lauria, played by Tom Cruise, in the world of barroom pool. The title of the film remains the same in English, “The Color of Money.”

The film explores themes of competition, ambition, and the struggle for redemption. Paul Newman won an Academy Award for his performance in this film, marking his return to the character of Eddie Felson after more than 25 years.

“The Color of Money” is known for its excellent acting, especially by Newman and Cruise, and its authentic portrayal of the world of barroom pool. Scorsese captures the tension and passion of the game in an engaging manner.

The film won an Oscar for Paul Newman and gave Scorsese the power to secure ultimate support for a project that had actually been a long-time goal for him: The Last Temptation of Christ.

The Last Temptation of Christ (1998)

In 1983, Scorsese began working on this long-loved personal project. The Last Temptation of Christ, based on the 1955 novel created by Nikos Kazantzakis, tells the life of Christ in human rather than divine terms.

The film was to be shot under the Paramount Pictures banner, however shortly before filming began, Paramount ceded the rights to avoid getting dirty with Catholic-related scandals. In this 1983 version, Aidan Quinn was cast for the role of Jesus, as was Sting for the role of Pontius Pilate. (In the 1988 version, these roles were played by Willem Dafoe and David Bowie respectively.) 

However, after his mid-1980s flirtation with industrial Hollywood, Scorsese made a significant return to independent film. Universal Pictures agreed to finance the film as Scorsese agreed to make a future thriller film, Cape Fear.

Even before its release in 1988, the film created a massive rampage, with worldwide protests against its alleged blasphemy, turning a low-budget indie film into a media case. Most of the dispute involved the film’s final passages, which depicted Christ marrying and also raising a family member with Mary Magdalene in a Satan-induced hallucination while on the cross.

Bad (1986)

In 1986, Scorsese directed the 18-minute short film Bad, starring Michael Jackson and Wesley Snipes. The director of photography for the short film was Scorsese’s constant partner Michael Chapman. Dance and film were heavily influenced by the 1961 film West Side Story.

Scorsese also kept in mind the impact of his film Taxi Driver (1976) in Spike Lee’s documentary on the 25th anniversary of the short Bad 25 (2012). The short was critically acclaimed as one of the most iconic and greatest videos of all time. Jackson’s suit made an impact on the style.

Looking beyond the controversy, The Last Temptation of Christ has acquired crucial recognition and also continues to be a fundamental work of Scorsese: a specific attempt to trace the spirituality that has sustained his films up to that point. The director earned his second Oscar nomination for Best Director (again unsuccessfully, Barry Levinson won for Rain Man).

Life Lessons (1989)

Another cinematic work, shared with Woody Allen and Francis Ford Coppola in 1989, is the episode of New York Stories, called Life Lessons. Also this great critical success.

In “Life Lessons,” Nick Nolte portrays Lionel Dobie, a successful but emotionally tormented abstract painter. The film explores the complexities of his relationships, including his tumultuous romantic involvement with a much younger woman, played by Rosanna Arquette.

The Italian title of the short film is “Life Lessons,” and the title remains the same in English.

“Life Lessons” is a character-driven exploration of the art world and the emotional turmoil of the creative process. Scorsese’s direction and Nolte’s performance provide a captivating look into the life and struggles of an artist.

Goodfellas (1990)

Scorsese’s gangster epic Goodfellas (1990) marks his return to great directing: it is his most iconic film along with Raging Bull. De Niro and Joe Pesci interpreted Scorsese’s vision in a virtuous way.

After the release of the film, Roger Ebert, now a good friend and also a Scorsese fan, called Goodfellas “the best public film ever”. It is positioned at the top of Ebert’s checklist of films for 1990, along with those of Gene Siskel and Peter Travers, and is commonly regarded as one of the director’s best hits. 

The film was nominated for 6 Oscars, Best Picture and Best Director, and Scorsese also earned his third Best Director nomination, but again lost to Kevin Costner (Dances with Wolves). Joe Pesci won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. Scorsese and the film have also won many other accolades, including five BAFTA Awards, a Silver Lion, and more. The American Film Institute placed Goodfellas at number 94 on the Film History AFI.

In the 2007 updated version, they moved Goodfellas to roughly number 92 on the 100-year checklist … 100 films of the AFI (10th Anniversary Edition) and placed Goodfellas at number 2 in the list of top 10 gangster movies (after The Godfather). In 1990 he launched his documentary short film: Made in Milan, about the designer Giorgio Armani. 

Cape Fear

Then realizes Cape Fear, a remake of a cult movie of the same name, is the director’s seventh collaboration with De Niro. A further foray into the mainstream, the film was an thriller that draws heavily on Alfred Hitchcock and also Charles Laughton’s Night of the Hunter (1955).

Cape Fear has been criticized for its scenes of misogynist violence. However, the topic offered Scorsese a chance to explore visual tricks and impacts. The film earned 2 Oscar nominations. Earning $ 80 million in the United States, it was Scorsese’s smash hit until The Aviator (2004), and later The Departed (2006). The film also marked the first time Scorsese used the widescreen Panavision with an aspect ratio of 2.39: 1.

In 1990, Scorsese starred in a small role as Vincent van Gogh in Dreams Japanese director Akira Kurosawa. The Age of Innocence (1993) was a significant separation for Scorsese, a late 19th-century adaptation of New York’s high society. It was much admired on its initial release, but it was a box office failure. 

Scorsese on Scorsese

Scorsese wanted his film to be as rich an emotional experience as the book was to him, rather than a traditional academic adaptation of a literary work. In Scorsese su Scorsese, he documents the influences of films such as Senso by Luchino Visconti and Il Gattopardo, I magnifici Amberson by Orson Welles and also La Prize de pouvoir par Louis XIV by Roberto Rossellini (The seizure of power of Louis XIV).

The Age of Innocence was ultimately different from these films in terms of narrative, story and theme. The presence of a lost society, of lost values, detailed recreations of social customs and rituals, continue the tradition of these films.

The film was later re-evaluated in Europe, but is still underrated in North America. Age of Innocence earned five Academy Award nominations (including Best Adapted Screenplay for Scorsese), and won the Academy Award for Costume Design. This was Martin Scorsese’s first collaboration with Academy Award-winning actor Daniel Day-Lewis, with whom he would work again on Gangs of New York.


“Casino” is a 1995 film directed by Martin Scorsese. This film is a crime drama that explores the world of casinos and organized crime in Las Vegas during the 1970s.

The story follows the characters of Sam “Ace” Rothstein, portrayed by Robert De Niro, an experienced casino manager, and Nicky Santoro, played by Joe Pesci, a violent gangster who becomes Sam’s right-hand man. The title of the film remains the same in English, “Casino.”

The film depicts the rise and fall of the main characters as they attempt to run a gambling empire and face challenges such as corruption and crime. Scorsese explores the complex dynamics of power and personal relationships in this dangerous world.

“Casino” is known for its gripping storytelling, outstanding performances by the actors, and its gritty and realistic portrayal of Las Vegas in the 1970s. The film provides an intense and often brutal look into a world of money, power, and betrayal.

If you’re a fan of auteur and independent films, “Casino” is a compelling cinematic work that delves into the dark facets of the world of gambling and organized crime.

Comparisons were made to his previous film Goodfellas, and Scorsese admitted that Casino had a superficial resemblance to it, but said the story had a significantly broader scope. During filming, Scorsese starred as an extra playing a gambler at one of the tables.

A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies (1995)

Scorsese also found time for a four-hour documentary in 1995, titled A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies, a journey through American cinema. In it he tells about American cinema up to 1969, a year after which he began his occupation as a filmmaker. He said, “I wouldn’t feel really good commenting on myself or my peers.” 

In the four-hour documentary, Scorsese lists the 4 facets of the director he believes to be the most vital as (1) the director as a narrator; (2) the director as an illusionist: DW Griffith or FW Murnau, who developed new editing techniques among other developments that made possible the appearance of sound and color later on; (3) the director as a smuggler – directors such as Douglas Sirk, Samuel Fuller and even Vincente Minnelli, who used to hide subversive messages in their films; as well as (4) the director as a critic. 

In the preface to this docudrama, Scorsese specifies his dedication to the “Director’s Dilemma”, in which a contemporary filmmaker should be practical with regards to obtaining funding for independent films, approving the request to “make a film for a studio. , and then make one for themselves. “


If The Age of Innocence rejected and confused some followers, then Kundun (1997) took several steps further, offering an account of the very first years of life of Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, the entry of the Army popular liberation in Tibet, and also the subsequent exile of the Dalai Lama in India. Traditional dramatic devices have been replaced by trance-like reflection made with an elaborate tableau of stunning imagery. 

The film explores the early life and spiritual journey of the young Dalai Lama, from his discovery as a reincarnation to his training and eventual assumption of his role as the leader of Tibet. The Italian title of the film is “Kundun,” and the title remains the same in English.

“Kundun” is known for its visually stunning cinematography and its meticulous attention to cultural and historical details. Scorsese captures the essence of Tibetan culture and spirituality, including the struggles faced by the Tibetan people during the Chinese invasion and occupation of Tibet.

The film offers a unique and intimate look at the life of a spiritual leader and the challenges he faced in preserving his culture and beliefs in the face of adversity. It’s a beautifully crafted film that provides insight into the world of Tibetan Buddhism and the resilience of the Tibetan people.

The film was a source of chaos for its distributor, Buena Vista Pictures, which was preparing for a substantial expansion into the Chinese market at the time. Rebellious in the face of pressure from Chinese officials, Disney distanced itself from the project, damaging Kundun’s commercial potential.

Kundun was Scorsese’s second attempt to profile the life of a spiritual leader of buddhism, after Christ’s Last Temptation.

Bringing Out the Dead (1999)

Bringing Out the Dead (1999) was a return to familiar territory, with director and writer Paul Schrader building a pitch-black tale similar to the previous Taxi Driver. Like previous Scorsese-Schrader collaborations, his final scenes of spiritual redemption are explicitly reminiscent of Robert Bresson. Not the universal critical acclaim of some of his other films.

At various events Scorsese was called upon to deliver the honorary Oscar during the Oscar ceremony. In 1998, at the 70th Academy Awards, Scorsese offered the award to Stanley Donen. When he presented the award, Donen joked: “Marty, this is backwards, I should give you this, believe me.” In 1999, at the 71st Academy Awards, Scorsese and De Niro gave the award to director Elia Kazan.

This was a controversial choice for the academy due to Kazan’s participation on the Hollywood blacklist in the 1950s. Numerous Academy members, including Nick Nolte and Ed Harris, refused to applaud Kazan when he received the award, while others like Warren Beatty, Meryl Streep, Kathy Bates and Kurt Russell gave him a round of applause.

Gangs of New York (2002)

At the test of Gangs of New York at the Cannes Film Festival with Leonardo DiCaprio and Cameron Diaz is the documentary that described the director’s future project, the epic Gangs of New York (2002), influenced by great Italian directors such as Luchino Visconti and shot entirely in the famous Cinecittà film studios in Rome.

The film marked the first collaboration between Scorsese and actor Leonardo DiCaprio, which became a fixture in subsequent Scorsese films. While there is no artistic compromise in the production, some believe Gangs of New York was the director’s more conventional film, with too many stereotypes the director had always avoided, such as characters existing solely for exhibition purposes and explanatory flashbacks.

The final cut of the film lasted 168 minutes, while the director’s initial cut lasted more than 180 minutes. The film received generally favorable ratings with the Rotten Tomatoes rating aggregator which in which 75 percent of reviews say that, while imperfect, Gangs of New York is made up of a remarkable production design and Day-Lewis impressive efficiency.

The film’s themes follow the director’s well-known concerns: New York, violence as culturally native to the island and cultural and ethnic divisions. 

Originally recorded for launch in the winter months of 2001 (to win Oscar nominations), Scorsese postponed the film’s last production until after early 2002; the studio consequently postponed the film until its Oscar season launch in late 2002. Gangs of New York earned Scorsese his first Golden Globe for Best Director.

In February 2003, Gangs of New York earned 10 Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor for Daniel Day-Lewis; however, it did not win any awards.

The Blues (2003)

The following year, Scorsese completed production of The Blues, an extensive seven-part documentary that traces the history of blues music from its African roots to the Mississippi Delta and beyond. Seven directors including Wim Wenders, Clint Eastwood, Mike Figgis and Scorsese himself each contributed a 90-minute film (Scorsese’s film was titled Feel Like Going Home).

The series explores the history and impact of blues music, delving into its cultural and historical significance.

Each episode of “The Blues” is directed by a different filmmaker, and they offer a unique perspective on the genre. The Italian title of the series is “The Blues,” and the title remains the same in English.

The series features a diverse range of artists and musicians who have contributed to the evolution of blues music, including Muddy Waters, B.B. King, and many others. It delves into the roots of the blues in African American culture, its influence on other musical genres, and its enduring legacy.

“The Blues” is a comprehensive and insightful exploration of the genre, and Martin Scorsese’s involvement as a producer brings a high level of prestige to the project. It’s a must-see for anyone interested in the history of American music and its cultural impact.

In the early 2000s, Scorsese produced several films for emerging 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 by Jean-Marc Vallée).

The Aviator (2004)

Scorsese’s The Aviator (2004) is a massive biopic about the eccentric aviation pioneer and film magnate Howard Hughes, played by Leonardo DiCaprio. The film received very positive reviews and was a huge success at the box office. It also earned Academy recognition.

The Aviator was chosen for six Golden Globe Awards, including Best Drama, Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Actor in a Drama for Leonardo DiCaprio. He won 3, Best Drama and Best Drama Actor. 

In January 2005, The Aviator became the most nominated film of the 77th Academy Awards election, chosen from 11 groups including Best Picture. The film also amassed nominations in nearly all of the various other significant categories, consisting of a 5th nomination for Best Director for Scorsese.

Despite having the most nominations, the film only won five Oscars. Scorsese lost again, this time to director Clint Eastwood for Million Dollar Baby (which also won the Best Picture award).

No Direction Home (2005)

No Direction Home is a documentary film by Scorsese that chronicles the life of Bob Dylan, as well as his influence on American music and 20th century society. The film does not cover Dylan’s entire career; focuses on his beginnings, his rise to fame in the 1960s, his then controversial transformation from artist and entertainer with acoustic guitar to electric guitar.

This documentary film is a profound exploration of the life and career of one of the greatest singer-songwriters of the 20th century, Bob Dylan.

The film’s story covers the period from Dylan’s youth in Minnesota to his rise to success as an icon of folk and rock music. The title of the documentary remains the same in English, “No Direction Home.”

The documentary provides an in-depth look at Dylan’s music and influences, as well as his involvement in the civil rights movement in the 1960s. Scorsese uses a wide range of archival materials, including exclusive interviews and live performances, to create a comprehensive and compelling portrait of the artist.

“No Direction Home” is known for its authenticity and its ability to capture the atmosphere of the era. It’s a tribute to Bob Dylan and his lasting influence on music and popular culture. The documentary offers an insider’s look at one of the most significant periods in the history of music.

The film premiered on TV in both the US (as part of the PBS American Masters collection) and the UK (as part of the BBC Two Arena series) from 26 to 27 September 2005. A DVD version of the film is was launched the same month. The film won a Peabody Award and the Grammy Award for Best Long-Length Music Video. Additionally, Scorsese received an Emmy award.

The Departed (2005)

Scorsese returned to the crime genre with the thriller Boston-set The Departed, based on Infernal Affairs (co-directed by Andrew Lau and also Alan Mak). The film continued Scorsese’s collaboration with Leonardo DiCaprio and was the first time he collaborated with Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg and even Martin Sheen.

The Departed is one of Scorsese’s best efforts since Goodfellas of the 90s, and some put it on the same level as Taxi Driver and Raging Bull. With US box office grosses in excess of $ 129.4 million, The Departed was Scorsese’s highest-grossing film up to Shutter Island of 2010.

The Departed earned Scorsese a second Golden Globe Award for Best Director, as well as a Critics’ Choice Award, his first Directors Guild of America Award and the Oscar for Best Director. The award was presented by his longtime friends and colleagues Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg.

The Departed also received the Oscar for Best Picture of 2006, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Film Editing by historic Scorsese editor Thelma Schoonmaker, her third win for a Scorsese film.

Shine a Light

Shine a Light follows rock and roll band The Rolling Stones performance at the Beacon Theater in New York City on October 29 and November 1, 2006, interspersed with short news stories and interview footage from their entire career.

Its world premiere was at the opening of the 58th Berlin Film Festival on February 7, 2008. “Marty did an amazing job making us look great …” noted drummer Charlie Watts. 

This documentary brilliantly captures an iconic performance by the Rolling Stones and represents a collaboration between Scorsese and the legendary rock band.

The film showcases one of the Rolling Stones’ live performances at the Beacon Theatre in New York City during their “A Bigger Bang” tour. The title of the film remains the same in English, “Shine a Light.”

“Shine a Light” provides a breathtaking view of the band’s long-standing career and their unstoppable energy on stage. Scorsese uses his expertise in directing music documentaries to capture the power and vitality of the Rolling Stones’ music.

The documentary also includes interviews and behind-the-scenes moments, offering a more intimate look at the band and their history. It’s a tribute to the longevity and influence of the Rolling Stones in the world of rock music.

If you’re a fan of high-quality and independent films, “Shine a Light” represents an extraordinary fusion of cinema and music that celebrates one of the most iconic bands in the history of music.

Shutter Island

On October 22, 2007, the Daily Variety reported that Scorsese was sure to reunite with Leonardo DiCaprio in a movie, Shutter Island. Major filming of Laeta Kalogridis’ script, based on Dennis Lehane’s story of the same name, began in Massachusetts in March 2008.

In December 2007, Mark Ruffalo, Max von Sydow, Ben Kingsley, and Michelle Williams signed the contract. It was the first time these actors had anything to do with Scorsese. The film was released on February 19, 2010.

This film is a psychological thriller and represents a departure from Scorsese’s typical style, delving into the realm of suspense and mystery.

The story is set in the 1950s and follows U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, and his partner Chuck Aule, played by Mark Ruffalo, as they investigate the disappearance of a patient from the Ashecliffe Hospital, a psychiatric institution on Shutter Island. The Italian title of the film is “Shutter Island,” and the title remains the same in English.

As they delve deeper into the mystery, Teddy Daniels begins to unravel, and the island’s eerie atmosphere adds to the sense of foreboding. The film explores themes of mental illness, trauma, and the fine line between sanity and madness.

“Shutter Island” is known for its tense and suspenseful atmosphere, as well as its unexpected plot twists. It keeps the audience guessing until the very end. Scorsese’s direction, combined with the performances of the cast, creates a haunting and atmospheric film.

This film is a thrilling and enigmatic journey into the human psyche, and it showcases Scorsese’s versatility as a director, venturing into the realm of psychological suspense. It’s a gripping cinematic experience that lingers in the mind long after the credits roll.

On May 20, 2010, the film became Scorsese’s highest-grossing film. In 2010, the Wall Street Journal reported that Scorsese was supporting the David Lynch Foundation’s campaign to help 10,000 military professionals overcome PTSD through TM; Scorsese has actually publicly reviewed his TM technique.

Boardwalk Empire (2011)

Scorsese directed the series for Boardwalk Empire, an HBO drama series, starring Steve Buscemi and also Michael Pitt, based on Nelson Johnson’s publication Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times and Corruption of Atlantic City.

In addition to leading the pilot (for which he won the 2011 Primetime Emmy Award for Best Director), Scorsese also served as executive producer on the series. The series premiered on September 19, 2010 and ran for 5 seasons.

The series was created by Terence Winter and produced by Martin Scorsese, Mark Wahlberg, and others. This series is a notable example of high-quality television and falls within the crime-drama genre.

The story is set in the 1920s and begins during the era of Prohibition in the United States. It focuses on the life of the corrupt politician Enoch “Nucky” Thompson, portrayed by Steve Buscemi, who controls criminal activities in Atlantic City. The title of the series remains the same in English, “Boardwalk Empire.”

The series explores the world of organized crime, the illegal alcohol trade during Prohibition, and the historical figures involved in these activities, including Al Capone. The cinematography is outstanding and authentically captures the atmosphere of the Roaring Twenties.

“Boardwalk Empire” has been praised for its high-caliber performances, compelling storyline, and accurate recreation of the era. It’s a television series that provides an intriguing look into the world of political power and crime, with deep character development.

George Harrison: Living in the Material World (2011)

Scorsese led the three-and-a-half-hour docudrama George Harrison: Living in the Material World about the life and songs of Beatles member George Harrison, which premiered in the United States on HBO in two installments, which aired on October 5 and 6, 2011.

This film offers a deep portrait of the legendary Beatles musician, George Harrison.

The film’s story traces the life of George Harrison, from his childhood in Liverpool to his rise to fame as a member of the Beatles and his success as a solo artist. The Italian title of the documentary is “George Harrison: Living in the Material World,” and the title remains the same in English.

The documentary provides an in-depth immersion into Harrison’s personality and music through interviews, archival footage, and unseen material. It also explores his spiritual quest and his interest in India and Eastern culture.

The film features testimonials from friends, family, and musical colleagues of Harrison, including Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and Eric Clapton. It’s a celebration of his musical and spiritual legacy, offering an intimate look into the life of one of the most influential artists in the history of music.

“George Harrison: Living in the Material World” is a touching tribute to George Harrison, a man who left an indelible mark on music and popular culture. The documentary captures the complexity of his creative spirit and his search for meaning in life.


His next film Hugo is a drama based on Brian Selznick’s novel The Invention of Hugo CabretThe film stars Asa Butterfield, Chloë Grace Moretz, Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Ray Winstone, Emily Mortimer, Christopher Lee and Jude Law. The film was met with great success and even won Scorsese his third Golden Globe for Best Director.

The film was also nominated for 11 Academy Awards, winning five and also becoming alongside Michel Hazanavicius’ The Artist the work with the most Academy Awards won by a single film in 2011. Hugo also won two BAFTA awards, countless other awards and nominations. Hugo was Scorsese’s first 3D film and was released in the US on November 23, 2011.

This film represents an interesting departure in Scorsese’s work as it is an adaptation of the children’s novel “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” written by Brian Selznick.

The story follows a young orphan named Hugo Cabret, played by Asa Butterfield, who lives secretly in a Paris train station in the 1930s. Hugo is passionate about mechanics and automatons and seeks to repair a mysterious automaton left by his deceased father. The Italian title of the film is “Hugo Cabret,” and the title remains the same in English.

The film explores themes of discovery, passion for art, and intergenerational connections. Scorsese uses the film to celebrate the history of cinema and the legacy of Georges Méliès, a cinema pioneer. Méliès is portrayed by Ben Kingsley in the film.

“Hugo Cabret” is known for its extraordinary cinematography and innovative use of 3D technology. The film magically captures the atmosphere of 1930s Paris and offers a captivating look into the world of automation and invention.

This film is a tribute to cinema itself and its ability to enchant and inspire. It is a compelling story that combines the allure of adventure with a profound reflection on passion and the search for meaning.

The Wolf of Wall Street

Scorsese’s 2013 film, The Wolf of Wall Street, is a black comedy based on the book of the same name. of memoirs by Jordan Belfort. Written by Terence Winter and starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Belfort, alongside 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.

The story follows the life of Jordan Belfort, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, a stockbroker who becomes a greedy and corrupt Wall Street broker. The Italian title of the film is “The Wolf of Wall Street,” and the title remains the same in English.

The film is known for its frenetic pace, colorful language, and explicit scenes. It explores themes of greed, immorality, and moral decay in high finance. Despite its often irreverent tone, the film also offers a sharp critique of the world of finance and the consumer culture of the 1990s.

Leonardo DiCaprio’s performance as Belfort was acclaimed and earned him an Oscar nomination. The film is also known for Martin Scorsese’s direction and its visually captivating style.

“The Wolf of Wall Street” is a controversial yet compelling film that provides a raw and caustic look into the lives and actions of those operating in the high-stakes world of finance.

Silence (2016)

Scorsese had long planned to record an adaptation of Silence Shūsaku Endō drama about the life of 2 Portuguese Jesuit priests in Japan during the 17th century. He actually originally thought of Silence as his next work after Shutter Island. On April 19, 2013, Silence’s funding was obtained from Emmett / Furla Films, and filming began in January 2015. By November 2016, the film had finished post-production. The film was released on December 23, 2016.

The story follows two young Portuguese Jesuit priests, played by Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver, who venture to Japan in the 17th century to find their mentor, played by Liam Neeson, who has disappeared and appears to have converted to Buddhism. The Italian title of the film is “Silence,” and the title remains the same in English.

The film deeply explores issues of faith, religious persecution, and the challenge of maintaining one’s faith in extreme circumstances. It is an intense meditation on spirituality and the inner struggle of the characters in the face of oppression. The cinematography is extraordinary, capturing the unique beauty and atmosphere of Japan during that era.

“Silence” is a cinematic work that invites the viewer to reflect on spiritual and moral challenges, offering an extraordinary perspective on faith and religious tolerance. It is a film that encourages viewers to grapple with profound questions about their own spirituality.

Rolling Thunder Revue (2019)

On January 10, 2019, Variety’s Chris Willman reported that Bob Dylan’s long-awaited 1975 tour documentary, The Rolling Thunder Revue, would surely be released on Netflix: Rolling ThunderRevue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese documents the troubled spirit of America in 1975 and the songs of Dylan. Part documentary, part fiction film, component of fever desire, Rolling Thunder is a unique experience, by master Martin Scorsese. 

On April 25, 2019, the news was released that the documentary would be released on Netflix on June 12, 2019, with simultaneous cinematic involvement in twenty American, European and even Australian cities the previous night, as well as an extended program in Los Angeles and New York. 

This film is a unique work that skillfully blends elements of auteur cinema and independent documentary. The documentary revolves around the legendary singer-songwriter Bob Dylan and his 1975-1976 “Rolling Thunder Revue” tour.

In the film, the Italian title remains unchanged: “Rolling Thunder Revue.” The documentary features archival footage from Dylan’s tour and provides an intimate look into his life during that period. Scorsese skillfully blends original footage with contemporary interviews with Dylan and others involved in the tour.

The “Rolling Thunder Revue” was a one-of-a-kind music tour, known for its intense performances and surprising artistic collaborations. The film captures the energy and rebellious spirit of those years as Dylan and his group of musicians travel across the United States.

This documentary is a tribute to Bob Dylan’s creative genius and his enduring influence on music and culture. It’s a must-watch for Dylan fans and anyone interested in the history of contemporary music.

The Irishman (2019)

After years of development, shooting on Scorsese’s crime film The Irishman began in August 2017, starring Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Al Pacino. The film had its world premiere at the 57th New York Film Festival on September 27, 2019.

It was released in theaters on November 1, 2019, followed by digital streaming on November 27, 2019 on Netflix. In January 2020, The Irishman earned 10 Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Non-Original Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actor for Pacino and Pesci.

The film is based on the book “I Heard You Paint Houses” by Charles Brandt and is known for its stellar cast, including Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci.

The film tells the story of Frank Sheeran, played by Robert De Niro, a truck driver who becomes a hitman for the mafia. The plot follows his criminal life and his connection with the labor union leader Jimmy Hoffa, played by Al Pacino. The Italian title of the film is “The Irishman,” while the title remains the same in English.

The film is widely praised for its performances, especially Joe Pesci’s, who won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role. Martin Scorsese’s direction is acclaimed for its technical mastery, using special effects to make the actors appear to age throughout the story.

“The Irishman” explores themes of guilt, betrayal, and the inevitable decay of criminal power. It is a dense and engaging film that offers a fascinating look into the world of organized crime and its consequences.

Hundreds of Movies and Documentaries Selected Without Limits

New movies every week. Watch on any device, without any ads. Cancel at any time.
error: Content is protected !!