Martin Scorsese - Biography - IMDb
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Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (4)  | Trade Mark (26)  | Trivia (118)  | Personal Quotes (109)  | Salary (3)

Overview (4)

Born in Queens, New York City, New York, USA
Birth NameMartin Charles Scorsese
Nickname Marty
Height 5' 3" (1.6 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Martin Charles Scorsese was born on November 17, 1942 in Queens, New York City, to Catherine Scorsese (née Cappa) and Charles Scorsese, who both worked in Manhattan's garment district, and whose families both came from Palermo, Sicily. He was raised in the neighborhood of Little Italy, which later provided the inspiration for several of his films. Scorsese earned a B.S. degree in film communications in 1964, followed by an M.A. in the same field in 1966 at New York University's School of Film. During this time, he made numerous prize-winning short films including The Big Shave (1967), and directed his first feature film, I Call First (1967).

He served as assistant director and an editor of the documentary Woodstock (1970) and won critical and popular acclaim for Mean Streets (1973), which first paired him with actor and frequent collaborator Robert De Niro. In 1976, Scorsese's Taxi Driver (1976), also starring De Niro, was awarded the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, and he followed that film with New York, New York (1977) and The Last Waltz (1978). Scorsese directed De Niro to an Oscar-winning performance as boxer Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull (1980), which received eight Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director, and is hailed as one of the masterpieces of modern cinema. Scorsese went on to direct The Color of Money (1986), The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), Goodfellas (1990), Cape Fear (1991), The Age of Innocence (1993), Casino (1995) and Kundun (1997), among other films. Commissioned by the British Film Institute to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of cinema, Scorsese completed the four-hour documentary, Century of Cinema: A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies (1995), co-directed by Michael Henry Wilson.

His long-cherished project, Gangs of New York (2002), earned numerous critical honors, including a Golden Globe Award for Best Director; the Howard Hughes biopic The Aviator (2004) won five Academy Awards, in addition to the Golden Globe and BAFTA awards for Best Picture. Scorsese won his first Academy Award for Best Director for The Departed (2006), which was also honored with the Director's Guild of America, Golden Globe, New York Film Critics, National Board of Review and Critic's Choice awards for Best Director, in addition to four Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Scorsese's documentary of the Rolling Stones in concert, Shine a Light (2008), followed, with the successful thriller Shutter Island (2010) two years later. Scorsese received his seventh Academy Award nomination for Best Director, as well as a Golden Globe Award, for Hugo (2011), which went on to win five Academy Awards.

Scorsese also serves as executive producer on the HBO series Boardwalk Empire (2010) for which he directed the pilot episode. Scorsese's additional awards and honors include the Golden Lion from the Venice Film Festival (1995), the AFI Life Achievement Award (1997), the Honoree at the Film Society of Lincoln Center's 25th Gala Tribute (1998), the DGA Lifetime Achievement Award (2003), The Kennedy Center Honors (2007) and the HFPA Cecil B. DeMille Award (2010). Scorsese and actor Leonardo DiCaprio have worked together on five separate occasions: Gangs of New York (2002), The Aviator (2004), The Departed (2006), Shutter Island (2010) and The Wolf of Wall Street (2013).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Pedro Borges

Family (4)

Spouse Helen Morris Scorsese (22 July 1999 - present)  (1 child)
Barbara De Fina (8 February 1985 - 5 October 1991)  (divorced)
Isabella Rossellini (29 September 1979 - 1 November 1982)  (divorced)
Julia Cameron (30 December 1975 - 19 January 1977)  (divorced)  (1 child)
Laraine Brennan (15 May 1965 - ?)  (divorced)  (1 child)
Children Francesca Scorsese
Cathy Scorsese
Domenica Cameron-Scorsese
Parents Catherine Scorsese
Charles Scorsese
Relatives Scorsese, Frank (sibling)

Trade Mark (26)

Often begins his films with segments taken from the middle or end of the story (Raging Bull (1980), Goodfellas (1990), Casino (1995) and The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)).
[slow-motion] Makes use of slow motion techniques (e.g., Mean Streets (1973), Taxi Driver (1976), Raging Bull (1980), The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)).
Often uses diegetic music (i.e., source of music is visible on-screen)
Often uses long tracking shots (His most famous is from Goodfellas (1990), following Henry Hill and his future wife Karen through the basement of the Copacabana night-club and ending up at a newly prepared table). A notoriously difficult shot to perfect, he has been dubbed by some as the "King of the Tracking Shot".
Often uses freeze frames (Raging Bull (1980), Goodfellas (1990), The Departed (2006), The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)).
Frequently uses music by The Rolling Stones, especially the song "Gimme Shelter" (Goodfellas (1990), Casino (1995), The Departed (2006)).
[Cameo] Cameo appearances by himself and family members like his parents, Charles Scorsese and Catherine Scorsese. Catherine played Joe Pesci's mother in Goodfellas (1990).
Frequently sets his films in New York City
Unflinchingly graphic and realistic violence
Cuts his movies to the music.
Frequently makes references to the work of Michael Powell.
Thick black horn-rimmed glasses
Thick, dark eyebrows and grey hair
Though he is particular about the aesthetics of each shot in most of his films, he frequently encourages improvisation in dialogue.
Often when the formal end-credits song is over before the credit sequence, the remaining minute or so will have atmospheric sound footage pertaining to the movie. For instance, The Age of Innocence (1993) had sounds of a horse-drawn carriage; The Last Waltz (1978) had the Winterland audience filing out as "Greensleeves" was played on the organ; Gangs of New York (2002) had modern-day New York City traffic, and Raging Bull (1980) had sounds of Lamotta's nightclub.
Most of his movies features narration (Mean Streets (1973), Taxi Driver (1976), Goodfellas (1990), Casino (1995), Bringing Out the Dead (1999), The Departed (2006), Hugo (2011), The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)).
Fast track-ins and track-outs
Nearly all of his films feature split-diopter, or double-focus, shots, which splice together two shots of characters in different depths in order to keep both in focus.
His films often contain extraordinary levels of cursing. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) has the most uses of the word 'fuck' (or other tenses) in a film at 569 and Casino (1995) has the fourth.
Frequently uses The Rolling Stones song "Gimme Shelter" in his films.
Many of his films highlight the fun and glamorous side of immoral behavior while also unflinchingly showing the ultimate cost to both the person and everyone around them
Many of his films have at least one character who is known for being extremely violent, temperamental or generally unpredictable
Often uses quick fades in order to jump ahead in shots of routine action (i.e., characters parking and getting out of cars, etc.).
Frequent use of conspicuously redubbed bits of dialogue.

Trivia (118)

(December 19, 1996) Listed as one of 50 people barred from entering Tibet. Disney clashed with Chinese officials over the film Kundun (1997), which Scorsese directed.
Awarded third annual John Huston Award for Artists Rights by the Artists Rights Foundation. [1995]
Presented with a special tribute at the 1976 Telluride Film Festival. It was presented by Michael Powell. [1976]
Is a longtime friend and was once a housemate of The Band's Robbie Robertson. He directed The Last Waltz (1978), the documentary of their supposedly last gig which Robertson produced. Robertson later produced the soundtrack for Scorsese's The Color of Money (1986).
Good friends with editor Thelma Schoonmaker and cinematographer Michael Ballhaus. Scorsese introduced Thelma to her husband Michael Powell and he often quotes Powell as an influence.
His name is pronounced "Scor-sez-see".
He directed Michael Jackson's music video Michael Jackson: Bad (1987). The full length video runs 16 minutes and is in both black and white and color. It is usually shortened down to just the color segment for television.
He appears as attached to his pet white Bichon Frise Zoe as he was to his beloved parents - except Zoe is right beside Marty every day in the office.
Has one daughter with Helen Morris Scorsese: Francesca Scorsese. Has one daughter with Julia Cameron: Domenica Cameron-Scorsese.
John Woo dedicated his action film The Killer (1989) to Scorsese on a commentary he did for the movie's DVD.
Taught both Oliver Stone and Spike Lee at New York University.
Was at one point going to make a movie about the life of comedian Richard Pryor.
He was an altar boy at Old St. Patrick's Cathedral, which was used in his early films I Call First (1967) and Mean Streets (1973). Old St. Patrick's is also where the baptism scene in The Godfather (1972) took place.
Was at one point slated to direct Clockers (1995), but for reasons that are not entirely clear, handed the directing chores to his onetime NYU student Spike Lee, while staying on as producer. He was also at one point going to direct Little Shop of Horrors (1986) for David Geffen, with Steven Spielberg as the executive producer. He was ultimately uninvolved, but claims that he wanted to shoot the movie in 3-D. It no doubt would have been a loving homage to Roger Corman, for whom he directed Boxcar Bertha (1972).
He took a cameo in his film Taxi Driver (1976) (as a man about to kill his wife) only because the actor who was supposed to play the role was sick on the day the scene was to be shot. Says he is generally uncomfortable in front of the camera.
Has a dog named Silas.
Is the subject of the song "Martin Scorsese" by the alternative band King Missile.
Father of actress Cathy Scorsese with Laraine Marie Brennan.
Of the three films he has been trying to make since the mid-1970s, he has done two: The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) and Gangs of New York (2002). The third film, a biopic of Dean Martin called "Dino", has been on hiatus at Warner Brothers since the late 1990s. Scorsese has a very specific all A-list cast in mind, probably why this has yet to be produced. He wants Tom Hanks to star as Martin, Jim Carrey to play Jerry Lewis, John Travolta to play Frank Sinatra, Hugh Grant to play Peter Lawford, and Adam Sandler to play Joey Bishop.
Was voted the fourth greatest director of all time by Entertainment Weekly, making him the only living person in the top 5 and the only working film director in the top 10 (Ingmar Bergman being retired as a filmmaker).
Has appeared on Curb Your Enthusiasm (2000) as a shrill version of himself who comes to regret his decision to cast Larry David as a violent gangster in a movie after David repeatedly ruins the suit he needs to wear as the character.
Several characters in his films refer to the legendary (noir) actor John Garfield, star of the original film The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946), which is also mentioned.
He was one of three major directors to have been offered the opportunity to direct Schindler's List (1993) by producer Steven Spielberg, the other two being Roman Polanski and Billy Wilder. Scorsese thought a Jewish filmmaker should direct this; Polanski was not yet ready to deal with the painful subject (having lost his mother in the Holocaust); and Wilder (who was retired and who lost his mother and grandmother in the Holocaust) finally told Spielberg that he should do this himself.
Because so many of his actors win or are nominated for awards, actors are dying to work with him. The film With Friends Like These (1998) pokes fun at this very real desire.
Both The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) and Gangs of New York (2002) were personal passions of his that he had wanted to make since the 1970s. When he first starting considering them, Robert De Niro was in his mind to play the lead characters in both (Jesus Christ in "Temptation" and Bill Cutting in "Gangs"). De Niro ultimately turned down the role in "Temptation" and this was decided he was too old to play Cutting by the time that "Gangs" finally went into production.
Has famously collaborated with Robert De Niro in eight films. Scorsese has said that his creative collaboration with De Niro is very deep and that they can often understand each other without even talking. Their collaboration has had many dry spells (including recently), but Scorsese says he shows almost every script he writes or considers directing to De Niro to see what the actor's thoughts on them are even when De Niro ultimately has no involvement in the film.
Has appeared in an "American Express" ad where he goes to pick up photos of his nephew's birthday party at a drug store, and then proceeds to nervously pick through what's wrong with each picture while trying to get the clueless photo-lab clerk's opinion on them. He proceeds to buy more film with an American Express card and calls the people on the pictures saying they need to reshoot. Scorsese says this funny ad is probably the closest he's come to accurately "playing" himself.
Apart from his legendary work as a filmmaker, he has been a vocal supporter of film preservation for almost three decades. His efforts to create a strong public awareness for the work of film archives include The Film Foundation, a non-profit organisation which he started together with other filmmakers. The Film Foundation regularly partners with the American film archives on the restoration of "lost" or endangered films.

With this background he has agreed to serve as Honorary President of the Austrian Film Museum in Vienna.
Personally spurns the notion of the "director's cut" feeling that once a film has been completed, this should not be further altered in any way.
He lost three best director - and best picture - Oscars to leading-man actors turned directors: Robert Redford, Kevin Costner and Clint Eastwood (Raging Bull (1980) lost to Redford's Ordinary People (1980); Goodfellas (1990) to Costner's Dances with Wolves (1990); The Aviator (2004) to Eastwood's Million Dollar Baby (2004)). On the only two occasions when he was Oscar-nominated as Best Director in years ending in zero, he was beaten by actors making their directorial debuts (Redford and Costner). In similar circumstance, has lost two times the Best Director Oscar to directors who act occasionally. Nominations came from Gangs of New York (2002) (lost out to trained actor Roman Polanski in The Pianist (2002)) and The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) (lost to Barry Levinson for Rain Man (1988)).
In 1975, he accepted the Oscar for "Best Actress in a Leading Role" on behalf of Ellen Burstyn, who wasn't present at the awards ceremony. She won for her performance in Scorsese's Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974)
President of jury at the Cannes Film Festival in 1998.
Has mentioned that he thought Robert De Niro's best performance under his direction was as Rupert Pupkin in The King of Comedy (1982).
Ranked #3 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Greatest directors ever!". [2005]
His favorite films include: Citizen Kane (1941), The Red Shoes (1948) and The Leopard (1963).
Was friend, protégé, and employee of actor-director John Cassavetes.
When asked where audiences would find the next Martin Scorsese, he said to look to Wes Anderson, the young director of Rushmore (1998).
As of 2019, has directed eight biopics: Raging Bull (1980), The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), Goodfellas (1990), Casino (1995), Kundun (1997), The Aviator (2004), The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) and The Irishman (2019).
He received a Degree ad honorem in "Cinema, TV and Multimedia Production" from the University of Bologna on November 26, 2005.
Served as mentor to Georgia Lee and invited her to apprentice for Gangs of New York (2002) in Europe.
The 1912 American Mutoscope & Biograph Company short The Musketeers of Pig Alley (1912) heavily influenced Scorsese in the making of his own gangster films Goodfellas (1990), and Gangs of New York (2002). The film was picked by Scorcese for his 2005 tribute at Beaubourg, centre d'art et de culture Georges Pompidou (1977) in Paris, France. Biograph is the oldest movie company in America and in existence today, headed by producer/director Thomas R. Bond II.
Scorsese and Taxi Driver (1976) are, among others, named as inspiration for the Massive Attack debut "Blue Lines".
He signed a four-year, first-look deal to develop projects with studio executives of Paramount Pictures. [November 2006]
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) is the highest-grossing movie of his 47-year career with a worldwide gross of $389,600,694.
The Aviator (2004) was his first movie to gross over $100 million in the United States.
Has worked with big names of music business: Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, U2, Michael Jackson and David Bowie.
Directed 19 different actors in Oscar nominated performances: Jodie Foster, Robert De Niro (three times), Joe Pesci (twice), Leonardo DiCaprio (twice), Daniel Day-Lewis, Cate Blanchett, Winona Ryder, Ellen Burstyn, Sharon Stone, Diane Ladd, Cathy Moriarty, Juliette Lewis, Lorraine Bracco, Paul Newman, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Alan Alda, Mark Wahlberg, Jonah Hill, and Al Pacino. Burstyn, De Niro, Newman, Pesci and Blanchett won Oscars for their roles in one of Scorsese's movies.
When he won his Best Director Oscar for The Departed (2006), he received the award from legendary directors, George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola, and Steven Spielberg. The four were part of the "New Hollywood" movement of the 1970s and combined have nine Academy Awards and 38 nominations.
As a teenager in the Bronx, Scorsese frequently rented Michael Powell's The Tales of Hoffmann (1951) from a store that only had one copy of the reels. When this was not available the owner told him, "that Romero kid has it", referring to George A. Romero who was also a huge fan of the film. Today, both directors cite the film as a major influence.
Says he was happy with the fact that it took so long for him to win Best Director, because if he had won it earlier, it would have affected his directing and films.
Recipient of the 2007 Kennedy Center Honors. Other recipients that year were Leon Fleisher, Steve Martin, Diana Ross and Brian Wilson.
Says the only thing he regrets in his career is that he was only able to make The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) on a small budget although he imagined it to be a grand version.
Was originally going to direct The Honeymoon Killers (1970), but was replaced after a week of shooting.
Served as a guest critic on At the Movies (1986) following the death of Gene Siskel. The episode was "The Best Films of the 90s" in which Roger Ebert cited Scorsese's Goodfellas (1990) as one of the best films of the 1990s (#3). Scorsese's full list of his favorite films of the 1990s: 10.) Tie: Malcolm X (1992) and Heat (1995), 9.) Fargo (1996), 8.) Crash (1996), 7.) Bottle Rocket (1994), 6.) Breaking the Waves (1996), 5.) Bad Lieutenant (1992), 4.) Eyes Wide Shut (1999), 3.) A Borrowed Life (1994), 2.) The Thin Red Line (1998), 1.) The Horse Thief (1986).
He was made a Fellow of the British Film Institute in recognition of his outstanding contribution to film culture.
Resides in New York City. His production offices are located on West 57th Street in Manhattan.
Attended Cardinal Hayes high school in the Bronx as a young man. Fellow alumni included George Carlin, George Dzundza, Regis Philbin, Jamal Mashburn and Don DeLillo.
Is a huge fan of the British Hammer Films series.
Is a huge fan of Fawlty Towers (1975). He describes the episode, Fawlty Towers: The Germans (1975), as "so tasteless, it's hilarious".
In the fifth edition of 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die (edited by Steven Jay Schneider), seven of Scorsese's films are listed: Mean Streets (1973), Taxi Driver (1976), Raging Bull (1980), The King of Comedy (1982), Goodfellas (1990), Casino (1995) and The Departed (2006).
Haig Manoogian was Scorsese's mentor at NYU. He eventually produced Scorsese's first film (I Call First (1967)) and when he died in 1980, Scorsese dedicated Raging Bull (1980) to Manoogian.
Roger Ebert is a great admirer of Scorsese's work. 14 of Scorsese's films were given four stars by Ebert (Mean Streets (1973), Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974), Taxi Driver (1976), Raging Bull (1980), After Hours (1985), The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), Goodfellas (1990), The Age of Innocence (1993), Casino (1995), Kundun (1997), Bringing Out the Dead (1999), The Aviator (2004), The Departed (2006), Shine a Light (2008)), seven of his films are in Ebert's Great Movies list (Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, After Hours, The Last Temptation of Christ, Goodfellas and The Age of Innocence), and Ebert has written an entire book of his reviews, interviews and essays on Scorsese's work simply titled "Scorsese By Ebert".
As of March 2016, seven of his films are on the IMDb's Top 250 Films list: Goodfellas (1990), Taxi Driver (1976), Raging Bull (1980), The Departed (2006), Casino (1995), Shutter Island (2010) and The Wolf of Wall Street (2013).
The first movie he saw at the cinema was Duel in the Sun (1946), he was age 4.
Other than his short films and documentaries, all his film from 1972 to 1990 were shot in Widescreen aspect ratio (1.85:1) and all his films from 1992 onward (with the exception of 2011's "Hugo") were shot in CinemaScope aspect ratio (2.35:1).
The death of Federico Fellini was very similar to his father's death. Bypass surgery, a stroke and then a coma. Scorsese also noted that they both lasted exactly the same days in the coma.
Scorsese's elaborate 2010 docu-commercial for "Bleu de Chanel" men's French fragrance, flashes a very brief image of a clapper board with the name - "C Cappa" - written on the Director credit space. Apparently this is an homage to his mother whose maiden name was C(atherine) Cappa.
Directed three films on the American Film Institute's list of the 100 Greatest Movies: Raging Bull (1980) at #4, Taxi Driver (1976) at #52 and Goodfellas (1990) at #92.
The Magic Box (1951) was the film that created the biggest impression on him and made him think he could do filmmaking himself.
According to lifelong collaborator Thelma Schoonmaker, Marty's favorite facet of the filmmaking process is the editing.
Donated his collection of papers, photographs, memorabilia and other film-related ephemera to the Wesleyan University Cinema Archive, where it is conserved along with the collections of such film luminaries as Frank Capra, Clint Eastwood, Ingrid Bergman, John Waters, Elia Kazan and others. The Archive is kept under the supervision of renowned film historian, scholar and Professor of Film Studies Jeanine Basinger.
Went to see The Searchers (1956) on the afternoon of the day that he graduated from Parochial school.
Named after his maternal grandfather, Martin "Filippo" Cappa.
Was given the script of Taxi Driver (1976) by his friend Brian De Palma.
Honorary president of the Vienna Film Museum. [2005]
Was at one time interested in making a remake of Scarface (1932) with Robert De Niro.
President of the jury at the 13th Marrakech Film Festival in 2013.
Despite being known for his gangster films, he has only made five films out of almost 50 about the Mob: Mean Streets (1973), Goodfellas (1990), Casino (1995), Gangs of New York (2002) and The Departed (2006). His other films vary in genre and style, from period epics to musical to biography of the 14th Dalai Lama.
Admits he made Hugo (2011) so he would have at least one film his daughter could watch.
Despite being known for directing extremely dark and often very violent movies, he is known in real life to be a very friendly, polite and mild-mannered person who gets along very well with his cast and crew.
Once surprised Dave Chappelle by saying he was a huge fan and quoting from "The Playa Haters Ball".
Has written three books on the cinema - "A Director's Diary: the Making of Kundun", "The Magic Box: 201 Movie Favourites" and "A Personal journey with Martin Scorcese Through American Movies" (A literary adaption of his Channel 4/British Film Institute documentary).
Has been directed by such directors as Robert Altman, Robert Redford, Akira Kurosawa, Albert Brooks and Irwin Winkler.
The film that had the greatest influence on him is Duel in the Sun (1946).
He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6801 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on February 28, 2003.
Is a huge fan of comedians. He has also directed comedians such as Alan King, Kevin Pollak, Henny Youngman, Don Rickles, Dick Smothers and Jerry Lewis.
In two of his films, After Hours (1985) and Cape Fear (1991), writer Henry Miller is mentioned.
Once considered producing a remake of Akira Kurosawa's High and Low (1963) with Mike Nichols as the director.
Eric Clapton gave Martin Scorsese the gold record of the song "Sunshine of Your Love" as a gift. Martin Scorsese used this song in Goodfellas (1990).
Martin Scorsese presented both Robert De Niro and Mel Brooks their AFI Lifetime Achievement awards.
Martin Scorsese made cameo appearances as a photographer in two films that he directed. The two films are The Age of Innocence (1993) and Hugo (2011).
Leonardo DiCaprio thanked him when he won the Best Actor Oscar for Alejandro G. Iñárritu's The Revenant (2015). During his acceptance speech, DiCaprio thanked Scorsese for "teaching him so much about the cinematic art form" [February 28, 2016].
Despite the fact that Martin Scorsese does not like remakes, he has directed two. The first was Cape Fear (1991) and the second was The Departed (2006). The Departed is a remake of the Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs (2002).
St. Patrick's Old Cathedral is used as a location in two Martin Scorsese films, which are I Call First (1967) and Mean Streets (1973).
Was Francis Ford Coppola's choice to direct The Godfather Part II (1974), but Paramount Pictures wanted Coppola back, with the promise of his own creative freedom.
Peter Bogdanovich and George Cukor signed his directing card that allowed him into the Directors Guild.
President of the 'Cinéfondation and Short Films' jury at the 55th Cannes International Film Festival in 2002.
He and Robert De Niro were brought up blocks apart in the Greenwich Village area of Manhattan, but never formally met when they were young. When introduced at a party in 1972, the two came to realize that they had seen each other many times but had never spoken.
First heard of Leonardo DiCaprio through old friend Robert De Niro who had co-starred with Leo in This Boy's Life (1993). He later spotted him on television one night in What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993) which he thought, at first, was a documentary. By the time Leo had had his breakthrough outing in the blockbuster Titanic (1997), he was now in a position to help greenlight the production of Gangs of New York (2002).
With the exception of eight features, all of his other feature films have received at least one Academy Award nomination. The selected eight not nominated for an Oscar are: I Call First (1967), Boxcar Bertha (1972), Mean Streets (1973), New York, New York (1977), The King of Comedy (1982), After Hours (1985), Bringing Out the Dead (1999) and Shutter Island (2010).
(November 30, 2016) For the very first time the director had the great privilege of a private audience with Pope Francis in the Vatican in the company of his wife Helen Morris Scorsese, daughters Francesca Scorsese, Cathy Scorsese and fellow producer Gastón Pavlovich. Scorsese screened his religious epic Silence (2016) (Nov. 29th) at the Jesuit-run Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome for an international group of Jesuits and again (Nov. 30th) in the Vatican for a select group of guests.
Has directed Victor Argo in six films: Boxcar Bertha (1972), Mean Streets (1973), Taxi Driver (1976), After Hours (1985), The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) and New York Stories (1989).
Has appeared in six Oscar Best Picture nominees, making cameos in five of his own Best Picture nominated films (Taxi Driver (1976), Raging Bull (1980), Gangs of New York (2002), The Aviator (2004), Hugo (2011)), as well as having a role in Quiz Show (1994).
Has directed Illeana Douglas in four films: The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), New York Stories (1989), Goodfellas (1990) and Cape Fear (1991).
Directed 9 films nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars: Taxi Driver (1976), Raging Bull (1980), Goodfellas (1990), Gangs of New York (2002), The Aviator (2004), The Departed (2006), Hugo (2011), The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), and The Irishman (2019), with The Departed being the only winner in the category as well as for Best Director.
He has directed five films that have been selected for the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant: Mean Streets (1973), Taxi Driver (1976), The Last Waltz (1978), Raging Bull (1980) and Goodfellas (1990). With Raging Bull and Goodfellas, he is the only director to have two films that were selected for the registry in their first year of eligibility.
Is one of four directors who have directed Academy Award winning performances in all four acting categories. The others being William Wyler, Elia Kazan and Hal Ashby.
Several of Scorsese's films have scenes with felines. Scorsese's student film "What's A Nice Girl Like You Doing In A Place Like This" features a short-haired house cat. "Mean Streets", "Goodfellas", "Casino", and "The Wolf of Wall Street" feature full-grown lions. "The Aviator" has a brief scene with a lion cub. Additionally, "The Irishman" has a spotted leopard in its cast -- but it did not make the final cut.
Although his films often have large amounts of profanity; Scorsese himself rarely uses R rated language in real life.
Was in a relationship with Illeana Douglas from 1988 to 1997.
Is a fan of Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977), even favoring it over The Exorcist (1973).
Recipient of the inaugural Robert Osborne Award in 2018. It is awarded by Turner Classic Movies at its annual TCM Classic Film Festival "to an individual whose work has helped keep the cultural heritage of classic films alive and thriving for generations to come".
Roger Corman showed him how to make a film with Boxcar Bertha and helped him to get Mean Streets off the ground. As a way of showing thanks Marty used a clip from 'Tomb of Ligeia''as a homage to him and because it's his favourite Corman film..
He is a fan and admirer of the science fiction and monster films from Toho. Specifically the work of Ishirô Honda, director of Godzilla, Mothra, and Rodan. Scorsese met Honda while working on the set of Kurosawa's Dreams (1990) and told Honda how he enjoyed his films in his youth. He would also contribute to Honda's biography.
Got the directing job for Taxi Driver (1976) after being turned down by others, including Sidney Lumet, Milos Forman, and Robert Mulligan.
Before he was hired to direct The King of Comedy (1982), Michael Cimino, Milos Forman and Randal Kleiser were attached at one point.
Born at 12:24 AM (EWT).

Personal Quotes (109)

The only person who has the right attitude about boxing in the movies for me was Buster Keaton.
[on sports] Anything with a ball, no good.
Because of the movies I make, people get nervous, because they think of me as difficult and angry. I am difficult and angry, but they don't expect a sense of humor. And the only thing that gets me through is a sense of humor.
[on Raging Bull (1980)] Robert De Niro wanted to make this film. Not me. I don't understand anything about boxing. For me, it's like a physical game of chess.
It seems to me that any sensible person must see that violence does not change the world and if it does, then only temporarily.
I think when you're young and have that first burst of energy and make five or six pictures in a row that tell the stories of all the things in life you want to say... well, maybe those are the films that should have won me the Oscar. When Taxi Driver (1976) was up for Best Picture, it got three other nominations: Best Actor [Robert De Niro], Best Supporting Actress [Jodie Foster] and Best Music. But the director and writer were overlooked. I was so disappointed, I said, "You know what? That's the way it's going to be." What was I going to do, go home and cry?
Basically, you make another movie, and another, and hopefully you feel good about every picture you make. And you say, "My name is on that. I did that. It's okay." But don't get me wrong, I still get excited by it all. That, I hope, will never disappear.
I think a lot of it has to do with the nature of the community. I've lived here in Los Angeles, but I'm more of a New Yorker, and the nature of my films is regarded as somewhat violent and the language is considered tough. As you grow older, you change. I make different films now. You don't make pictures for Oscars.
I'm in a different chapter of my life. As time goes by and I grow older, I find that I need to just be quiet and think. There have been periods when I've locked myself away for days, but now it's different--I'm married and we have a daughter who is in my office the whole time.
If I continue to make films about New York, they will probably be set in the past. The "new" New York I don't know much about. It's not that I'm against contemporary film. I'm open to it in general, but I find the new colors of the city, the new Times Square, kind of shocking. I guess I'm stuck in a time warp.
It probably is better I didn't win in the '70s or mid-'80s or something. My view on making films is somewhat different in a way, and I think maybe it's something that . . . I was not able to handle at the time . . . Had I gotten an Oscar, maybe I would have gotten maybe an extra two days shooting, maybe a couple, you know what I'm saying?
I prefer celluloid--there's no doubt about it. Yet I know that if I was starting to make movies now, as a young person, if I could get my hands on a DV [digital video] camera, I probably would have started that way . . . There's no doubt I'm an older advocate of pure celluloid, but ultimately I see it going by the wayside, except in museums, and even then it could be a problem.
My whole life has been movies and religion. That's it. Nothing else.
There is no such thing as pointless violence. City of God (2002), is that pointless violence? It's reality, it's real life, it has to do with the human condition. Being involved in Christianity and Catholicism when I was very young, you have that innocence, the teachings of Christ. Deep down you want to think that people are really good--but the reality outweighs that.
I'm a lapsed Catholic. But I am Roman Catholic--there's no way out of it.
[on the Iraq war] One hopes that this kind of war can be done diplomatically, with intelligence rather than wiping out a lot of innocent civilians.
[on political correctness] You can hardly say anything about minorities now. It has made it extremely difficult to open your mouth.
[on the Iraq War] There are a lot of Americans who also feel that a lot of this war talk is economic, part of this has to do with the oil. I think it really has to come down to respecting how other people live. There's got to be ways this can be worked out diplomatically, there simply has to be.
What does it take to be a filmmaker in Hollywood? Even today I still wonder what it takes to be a professional or even an artist in Hollywood. How do you survive the constant tug of war between personal expression and commercial imperatives? What is the price you pay to work in Hollywood? Do you end up with a split personality? Do you make one movie for them, one for yourself?
Cinema is a matter of what's in the frame and what's out.
[onstage at the 2007 Oscars after winning for Best Director] Could you double-check the envelope?
[on The Departed (2006)] It's the only movie of mine with a plot.
[on Robert De Niro] And even now I still know of nobody who can surprise me on the screen the way he does--and did then. No actor comes to mind who can provide such power and excitement.
[on working with Liza Minnelli on New York, New York (1977)] After 15 minutes I realized that not only could she sing, she could be one hell of an actress. She's so malleable and inventive. And fun, even when things are hard.
[on Stanley Kubrick] One of his films . . . is equivalent to ten of somebody else's. Watching a Kubrick film is like gazing up at a mountain top. You look up and wonder, "How could anyone have climbed that high?".
[on Stanley Kubrick] Why does something stay with you for so many years? It's really a person with a very powerful storytelling ability. A talent . . . a genius, who could create a solid rock image that has conviction.
But once Haig Manoogian started talking about film, I realized that I could put that passion into movies, and then I realized that the Catholic vocation was, in a sense, through the screen for me.
[on Kathryn Bigelow] I've always been a fan of hers, over the years . . . Blue Steel (1990) . . . She's good, she's really good.
It's hilarious, the problems that arise when you're on the set. It's really funny because you make a complete fool of yourself. I think I know how to use dissolves, the grammar of cinema. But there's only one place for the camera. That's the right place. Where is the right place? I don't know. You get there somehow.
I can't take shooting any scene for granted. I just can't. The moment I do that, I have no idea what I'm doing. "Oh, that'll be easy, I'll do that in five minutes." Believe me, that never happens.
[on Robert De Niro] I've come to know De Niro fairly well down the years. He's a very compassionate man. He's basically a very good man and you can see that in him. So he can take on characters that are pretty disturbing and make them human because of that compassion. It's taken me years to figure it out. He has an ability to make audiences feel empathy for very difficult characters because there is something very decent in him.
[on Akira Kurosawa] His influence on filmmakers throughout the entire world is so profound as to be almost incomparable.
[on Akira Kurosawa] The term "giant" is used too often to describe artists. But in the case of Akira Kurosawa, we have one of the rare instances where the term fits.
[on Leonardo DiCaprio] Leo has a similar sensibility to me. I'm 30 years older than him, but I think we see the world the same way, meaning he feels comfortable with the characters I've dealt with over the years in movies. But also with Leo it's always an interesting process of discovery. And I don't say that in a facile way either, because we never know what that process is going to be, and it's always intimidating at first. And then Leo really gets into it and we start unravelling all these layers. With Shutter Island (2010) the story really lent itself to that.
When I did The Age of Innocence (1993), the critics said, "Is it wrong to expect a little more heat from Scorsese?" I thought "Age of Innocence" was pretty hot. So I said, "Alright, I'll do Casino (1995)," and they said, "Well, gee, it's the same as Goodfellas (1990)." You can't win. Yes, "Casino" has the style of "Goodfellas", but it has more to do with America and even Hollywood--the idea of never being satisfied.
Movies touch our hearts and awaken our vision, and change the way we see things. They take us to other places, they open doors and minds. Movies are the memories of our life time, we need to keep them alive.
The Color of Money (1986) was deep-rooted in social concern about the effect money has on the upper class. The billiards game in the film was a symbol depicting society. I very much liked Paul Newman in The Hustler (1961), and thought of repeating him in a character with more mature shades. He scored with his brilliant underplaying, winning an Oscar. He was very cooperative with newcomer Tom Cruise, who showed promise. In fact, the whistling tone in the film titles was Newman's idea. He was one of those actors who made method acting spontaneous, and his emerald eyes spoke volumes.
I considered it a true cinematic challenge of working with a versatile actor such as Robert De Niro, who molds himself according to each character. The only other actor who matches his histrionic ability is Al Pacino.
L'Avventura (1960) gave me one of the most profound shocks I've ever had at the movies, greater even than Breathless (1960) or Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959). Or La dolce vita (1960). At the time there were two camps, the people who liked the [Federico Fellini] film and the ones who liked "L'Avventura". I knew I was firmly on [Michelangelo Antonioni's side of the line, but if you'd asked me at the time, I'm not sure I would have been able to explain why. I loved Fellini's pictures and I admired "La Dolce Vita", but I was challenged by "L'Avventura". Fellini's film moved me and entertained me, but Antonioni's film changed my perception of cinema, and the world around me, and made both seem limitless. I was mesmerized by "L'Avventura" and by Antonioni's subsequent films, and it was the fact that they were unresolved in any conventional sense that kept drawing me back. They posed mysterie--or rather the mystery, of who we are, what we are, to each other, to ourselves, to time. You could say that Antonioni was looking directly at the mysteries of the soul. That's why I kept going back. I wanted to keep experiencing these pictures, wandering through them. I still do.
[on casting Ray Liotta as Henry Hill in Goodfellas (1990)] I'd seen Ray in Something Wild (1986), Jonathan Demme's film; I really liked him. And then I met him. I was walking across the lobby of the hotel on the Lido that houses the Venice Film Festival, and I was there with The Last Temptation of Christ (1988). I had a lot of bodyguards around me. Ray approached me in the lobby and the bodyguards moved toward him, and he had an interesting way of reacting, which was he held his ground, but made them understand he was no threat. I liked his behavior at that moment, and I saw, Oh, he understands that kind of situation. That's something you wouldn't have to explain to him.
Very often I've known people who wouldn't say a word to each other, but they'd go to see movies together and experience life that way.
A painting can't turn. If you look closely at some of the portraits from cubism at the time, you'll find a portrait of a woman that is really a projector.
Every shot [while making Hugo (2011) in 3D] is rethinking cinema, rethinking narrative--how to tell a story with a picture. Now, I'm not saying we have to keep throwing javelins at the camera, I'm not saying we use it as a gimmick, but it's liberating. It's literally a Rubik's Cube every time you go out to design a shot, and work out a camera move, or a crane move. But it has a beauty to it also. People look like . . . like moving statues. They move like sculpture, as if sculpture is moving in a way. Like dancers . . .
[Hugo (2011)] [is] really the story of a little boy. But he does become friends with the older Georges Méliès who was discovered in 1927, or 1928, working in a toy store, completely bankrupt. And then he was revived in a way, with a beautiful gala in 1928, in Paris. And in my film, the cinema itself is the connection--the automaton, the machine itself becomes the emotional connection between the boy, his father, Méliès, and his family. It's about how it all comes together, how people express themselves using the technology emotionally and psychologically. It's the connection between the people, and the thing that's missing--how it supplies what's missing.
I've always liked 3D. I mean, we're sitting here in 3D. We are in 3D. We see in 3D. So why not?
[I remember the] curiosity and sense of completion [that drove him to seek out hard-to-find films in his youth, and the undeniable fetishism of film which underwrote that all-consuming passion]. It's interesting because the fetish ideas are all there in Peeping Tom (1960). All the elements: the projector is correct; the lenses are right; the sprockets are correct. Even the sounds of the sprockets are correct. You do . . .

There is a point in time, many times over the years . . . where I've loved to hear the sound of film going through a projector. And I could tell you if it's 35mm or 16mm, you know. Now that's gone, of course . . . but there's a certain kind of . . . it's like going into a trance almost, or I should say a "meditation" of some kind. It depends what you do with it. And it has to come out other ways. For me, it was burning to be able to express myself with cinema, and to be inspired by films.
[The colors of my childhood were inflected by the gaudy hues of Eastmancolor which were] very powerful, very strong and very lurid, and kind of violent in a way. What I saw growing up were those colors, when there was color. Normally, it was all hallways with single light bulbs; it was mainly black-and-white in a way. But when it was color, it was harsh, strong; some would say lurid. My formative years were in the '50s, when you had all those popular novels with paperback covers, and films like Raoul Walsh's Battle Cry (1955) were just splashed all over the consciousness of popular culture.
I think I was eight years old when I first saw Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's The Red Shoes (1948) and it had a very strong impact on me for many reasons: the nature of the storytelling; the images; the editing; the camera movements; the use of music--and the color. And then I saw Stairway to Heaven (1946) on a black-and-white television, and Hour of Glory (1949), again on TV, one afternoon when I was home sick from school. In New York, there was a television show called "The Million Dollar Movie", which would show a film twice a night for a week. And so one week it would be Citizen Kane (1941). Edited. With commercials. And with the "News on the March" sequence missing. Ha! That was the first time I'd ever seen it! Then, you know, you would get The Third Man (1949), with half the film cut out. But one of the films they showed was Michael Powell (I) and Emeric Pressburger's The Tales of Hoffmann (1951). And it was cut down to about an hour and 40 minutes or so, black-and-white, with commercials. And it had a quality like "The Red Shoes"--a darkness, and a humor. But what was so interesting to me was the way the camera moved with the music. And the sense of editing. I lived in a tenement with my mother and father and my brother at the time, and if that film was on twice a night, I'd have to keep watching it. At certain point, my mother would ask, "Is it necessary to watch that again?".
Well, I think in my own work the subject matter usually deals with characters I know, aspects of myself, friends of mine - that sort of thing. And we try to work it out. By 'work it out' I mean almost like 'work it through your system'. Particularly, I think, on films like Mean Streets (1973), or Taxi Driver (1976) from Paul Schrader's script. And Raging Bull (1980), especially. At the end of that film, Robert De Niro was fine, but me - I left Jake LaMotta's character more at peace with himself than I was with myself. And I was hoping to get to that moment that he was at the end of the film. That moment where he's looking at himself in the mirror. I was hoping to get there myself. But I hadn't made it. So it's a matter of living through the cinema I think.
A friend of mine sent me that line ["All this filming isn't healthy"] on a note when we were making Raging Bull (1980)! I think it was one of the cinematographers who had just seen Peeping Tom (1960). And there is no doubt that filmmaking is aggressive and it could be something that is not very healthy. When you make a film . . . there are times in your life when you're burning with a passion and it's very, very strong. It's almost like a pathology of cinema where you want to possess the people on film. You want to live through them. You want to possess their spirits, their souls, in a way. And ultimately you can't stop. It has to be done until you get to the bitter end. You're exhausted. In some cases friends might have died, in some cases they don't come back, in some cases they can't make another picture. The only thing to do is try to make another picture. It's got to be done again. Now, I don't mean to sound dramatic, a lot of great films are made that way. And we might not only be talking about cinema here. We could be talking about other things, too. I would think that it might apply to other art forms. But I must say, that with that passion and that power, there is pathology in wanting to live vicariously through the people.
Boardwalk Empire (2010) is made for what I guess you would call the small screen. But we made it like a film; an epic B-film in a way. And you know what? Those small screens aren't that small any more!
[on making Boardwalk Empire (2010), set in the 1920s] To me, it's as if we're talking now about the 1980s or late 1970s. That was like yesterday to me. The 20s in my head were always very present because my parents always referred to it: the music, the people, the clothes. I know all the songs from that period; I know all the films. We knew it all. And so it was a natural transition. But you know I really was fascinated with the idea of working with Terry Winter and these guys, and taking these characters over 13 hours, developing them, developing their story, the complications of corruption in American politics.
[on black and white films] Black and white is never really black and white. It's shades of grey.
I'm not a Hollywood director. I'm an in-spite-of-Hollywood director.
[on film preservation] Film is history. With every foot of film that is lost, we lose a link to our culture, to the world around us, to each other and to ourselves.
I think it's certainly interesting that what's happening now, in the past nine or ten years, particularly at HBO, was what we had hoped for in the mid-'60s when films were being made for television. We hoped that there would be this kind of freedom, the ability to create another world and develop character in a long-form story and narrative. That didn't happen in the '70s and '80s with television. This is a good example, and HBO has really been the trail-blazer in this, with the extraordinary series that they've had. I've been tempted, over the years, to be involved in one of them because of the nature of the long-form and the development of character and plot. So many of their other series that have been made are thoughtful, intelligent and brilliantly put together. It's a new opportunity for story-telling, which is very different from television in the past. This was my inroad.
[in 2011] At this point I find that the excitement of a young student or filmmaker can get me excited again. I like showing them things and seeing how their minds open up, seeing the way their response then gets expressed in their own work.
I'm concerned about a culture where everything is immediate and then discarded. I'm exposing [12-year-old daughter Francesca] to stuff like musicals and Ray Harryhausen spectaculars, Frank Capra films. I just read her a children's version of "The Iliad". I wanted her to know where it all comes from. Every story, I told her, every story is in here, "The Iliad". Three months ago, I had a screening here for the family. Francesca had responded to Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936), and to Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), so I decided to try It Happened One Night (1934). I had kind of dismissed the film, which some critics love, of course, but then I realized I had only seen it on a small screen, on television. So I got a 35mm print in here, and we screened it. And I discovered it was a masterpiece. The way [Claudette Colbert] and [Clark Gable] move, their body language. It's really quite remarkable!
There was always a part of me that wanted to be an old-time director. But I couldn't do that. I'm not a pro.
There are two kinds of power you have to fight. The first is the money, and that's just our system. The other is the people close around you, knowing when to accept their criticism, knowing when to say no.
I was never interested in the accumulation of money, you know. And I never had a mind for business. There have been serious issues with money over the years. I have a nice house now, in New York. But there have been major, major issues. In the mid-'80s it was pathetic, I mean, my father would help me out. I couldn't go out, I couldn't buy anything. But it's all my own doing.
There is an essence to the project that you must protect. You cannot make concessions on that, the story cannot be tampered with past that point; you have to fight off every power or force around you.
When I get frustrated with the commercial playing field of feature films, I go to these [music documentary] movies. I have had the need, more and more, to explore the spiritual or religious. Elements of that find their way into my music films. Music is for me the purest art form. There's a transcendent power to it, to all kinds, to rock 'n' roll. It takes you to another world, you feel it in your body, you feel a change come over you and a desire to live. That's transcendence.
[on Hugo (2011)] I've always loved 3D, going back to stereoscopic images - devices used in the Victorian period. When 3D was first used in my time, in 1953, I was so excited by it. I was talking to Elia Suleiman, the great Palestinian filmmaker. I said that I was very excited about the use of 3D. He pointed out that, if you do use 3D, it had to be there in the script. With Hugo, I felt that it was.
[in 2011, on his legacy] I don't know if there is any. Maybe a part of me wants there to be, if I'm being brutally honest, but the reality is it's a different experience now, cinema. Young people perceive the world and information in a completely different way to when I was growing up. So what I did in the past, I don't know how they'll see that in the future and if it will mean anything to them. I hope the scripts for Taxi Driver (1976), or Mean Streets (1973), or Raging Bull (1980) or any of these things, will have some resonance in the future for other people, if they see them at all. Things fall out of favor, out of fashion. I have no idea. All I can do is hope to get to make another one.
[on Amos Vogel] If you're looking for the origin of film culture in America, look no further than Amos Vogel. Amos opened the doors to every possibility in film viewing, film exhibition, film curating, film appreciation.
[on The Bronx Bull (2016)] At the end of Raging Bull (1980) Jake La Motta is looking in a mirror and he's at comfort with himself. He's not fighting, he's not beating himself up. That's all. So, I don't know where they're going to go. I really don't know what "The Bronx Bull" would be.
I have a desire to tell stories. And I'm never quite satisfied.
The cinema began with a passionate relationship between celluloid and the artists and craftsmen and technicians who handled it, manipulated it, and came to know it in the way a lover comes to know every inch of the body of the beloved. No matter where the cinema goes, we cannot afford to lose sight of the beginning.
[on actors he would like to work with] Johnny Depp is one. I like him. He's unique. I don't know how he does it.
[on the 2013 release of a restored The King of Comedy (1982) ] I've always been partial to comedians--the irreverence, the absurdity, the hostility, all the feelings under the surface--and to the old world of late-night variety shows hosted by Steve Allen and Jack Paar and, of course, Johnny Carson, to the familiarity and the camaraderie between the guests. You had the feeling that they were there with you, in your living room.
The King of Comedy (1982) is my coming to terms with disappointment, disappointment with the fact that the reality is different from the dream.
When I first went to L.A. in 1970, there was a little bit of that need in me--to buy into, participate in, the dream world of celebrity. It's almost as if they are like gods and goddesses--that's the impression they make on you from when you're four or five years old. That's the old story. I hear a lot of actors talk about this, where people come up to them and talk to them, and finally the actor gets mad and says, "Please, leave me alone". Then the fan thinks, "Well, actors are a different kind of person", and also, :What do you think I am? I am a person, too".
I think it's accumulated. If it's trained, it's trained from my own films. You can imagine the tension in a scene, or the warmth, or the humor. I think I know the size of the frame, and I think I know when to cut--and when not to. Somehow that comes out of the story, and the actors who are playing the parts. They determine, sometimes, whether you should move the camera or not, whether you should be in close-up, whether it should be a medium close-up. I try to translate all of that into visual terms-the feeling I'd like to get from a scene.
Each film is interlocked with so many other films. You can't get away. Whatever you do now that you think is new was already done in 1913.
[on death] I'm still struggling with the religious aspects of it.
[on Boardwalk Empire (2010)] I don't have time to watch any other shows. I only watched The Sopranos (1999) once or twice. I just couldn't connect with it. I started watching Curb Your Enthusiasm (2000), that is the key one, that is when I realised you could do something on television.
Every time I get on an airplane, I know I'm not really an atheist. "Oh God, dear God," I say the minute the plane takes off. "I'm sorry for all my sins, please don't let this plane crash." And I keep praying out loud until the plane lands.
You can't do your work according to the people's values. I'm not talking about "following your dream", either, I never like the inspirational value of that phrase. Dreaming is a way of trivializing the process, the obsession that carries you through the failure as well as the successes which could be harder to get through. If you're dreaming, you're sleeping. It's important and imperative to always be awake to your feelings, your possibilities, your ambitions. But you also know this, for your work, for your passions, every day is a re-dedication. Painters, dancers, writers, filmmakers, it's the same for all of you, all of us. Every step is a first step, every brush stroke is a test, every scene is a lesson, every shot is a school. So, let the learning continue.
[on Brian De Palma] Brian took me under his wing when I went out to L.A. In the '70s, introduced me to [Robert De Niro], Paul Schrader and other people, got me started. He gave me the Taxi Driver (1976) script, which he read. I once had very bad asthma, and Brian visited me in the hospital, took me home and took care of me until I got better. He is a warm, passionate, compassionate person who, I think, puts on a tough front.
[in a 1993 article for "Premiere" Magazine] As a film student in New York in the early '60s, I was fortunate to be exposed to foreign and American classics as well as "B" movies. I saw film as a learning process, a cross-cultural language that brought people together to share a common experience. I'm still a film student. If I'm not out making films, I'm watching them over and over, painfully aware of how much there is to learn. It would be a shame if future generations did not have the same chance.
[remembering the late Jacques Rivette] The news of Jacques Rivette's passing is a reminder that so much time has passed since that remarkable moment in the late '50s and early '60s when so many directors were redrawing the boundaries of cinema. Rivette was one of them. He was the most experimental of the French New Wave directors, probably the least known in those early years. I vividly remember the shock of seeing his first two films, Paris Belongs to Us (1961) and The Nun (1966). Two very different experiences, both uniquely troubling and powerful, quite unlike anything else around. Rivette was a fascinating artist, and it's strange to think that he's gone. Because if you came of age when I did, the New Wave still seems new. I suppose it always will.
[on Mean Streets (1973)] I was so pleased when Warner Bros. bought it because they had all the best gangster films.
Cape Fear (1991) was an attempt to work in the mainstream.
[on Nicolas Cage] I was looking in a way for a picture that I would be able to work with him on. I remember a few years ago his uncle [Francis Ford Coppola] asked me to meet him and I did and we had a nice talk. And a couple of Christmases ago, Brian De Palma told me at a Christmas dinner he's really great to work with, he did Snake Eyes (1998) with him.
Max von Sydow is iconic in cinema. There's no doubt about it. He changed the face of cinema with his portrayals, going back to Ingmar Bergman.
When I went to Hollywood in the '70s, what I saw of the old Hollywood was dying away.
There's no way I can compare a movie of mine to the films that formed me.
[on Las Vegas] A lot of people love to go to Vegas because they really love the aesthetic of the bad taste. I find it remarkable. I think it's interesting visually but I don't enjoy it.
[on working with Jack Nicholson in The Departed (2006)] Jack works a certain way. Even when he was declining the role, he was talking about certain things he would do with the character. You have to decipher him. So we decided to jack up his character and then he said, "Okay, I'm interested." His character is a man with power who has all the drugs in the world, all the money in the world, all the women in the world, he can do anything, mutilate people. He's like God. And he's still not fulfilled.
[February 2017, on why theaters are still the best way to see movies] The problem now is that it is everything around the frame that is distracting. Now you can see a film on an iPad. You might be able to push it closer to your [face] in your bedroom, just lock the door and look at it if you can but I do find just glimpsing stuff here or there, even watching a film at home on a big-screen TV, there is still stuff around the room. There's a phone that rings. People go by. It is not the best way.
[on John Ford] To me and to so many directors, John Ford is a towering figure and continues to be a profound inspiration. His films deftly convey his unique and acute sense of humanity, his deep understanding of people. When I first started watching his films, Ford's force behind the camera was palpable. He was a visionary in the truest form and his films are enriched with artistic energy. I see his films often, studying them and each time, I learn something new.
[on making Silence (2016) in Taiwan] I'm not an outdoorsman. I'm known for my hypochondria and asthma. I'm known for being an urban person, Manhattan. I've lived here in California for ten or 12 years, but that's about as far as I got into the country. So for me, being placed in caves and thunderous waves hitting--I didn't even understand quite about high tide. How come is this getting high? What's going on here? Oh, I see, the moon! I get it, I get it! I mean, I'm a New Yorker. I began to appreciate the elements.
[on Taxi Driver (1976)] The script was given to me by Brian De Palma. He thought it was a wonderful script.
[on Margot Robbie] With Margot you can recall some classic precedents: the comedic genius of Carole Lombard, for her all-bets-off feistiness; Joan Crawford, for her grounded, hardscrabble toughness; Ida Lupino, for her emotional daring. Margot has all this, in addition to a unique audacity that surprises and challenges and just burns like a brand into every character she plays.
If you're intrigued by movie making as a career, this isn't the class for you. But if you need to make movies, if you feel like you can't rest until you've told this particular story that you're burning to tell, then I could be speaking to you.
If you don't get physically ill seeing your first rough cut, something's wrong.
[on Howard Hughes] He was sort of like the outlaw of Hollywood.
[asked if he has a favorite Stanley Kubrick film] I keep coming back to Barry Lyndon (1975). I think that's because it's such a profoundly emotional experience. The emotion is conveyed through the movement of the camera, the slowness of the pace, the way the characters move in relation to their surroundings. People didn't get it when it came out. Many still don't. Basically, in one exquisitely beautiful image after another, you're watching the progress of a man as he moves from the purest innocence to the coldest sophistication, ending in absolute bitterness--and it's all a matter of simple, elemental survival. It's a terrifying film because all the candlelit beauty is nothing but a veil over the worst cruelty. But it's real cruelty, the kind you see every day in polite society.
[May 2018, on which films he used storyboards] All the boxing scenes in Raging Bull (1980) were designed on paper. We shot all the fight scenes first. Ten weeks. It was supposed to be three. All of Taxi Driver (1976), all of Mean Streets (1973). Primarily just because of the short schedules. I needed drawings to show to the cameraman and say, "This sort of thing". To explain how I saw it.
[[speech at Lincoln Center's Chaplin Award, 8th May 2017, on working with Robert De Niro] When we did Mean Streets (1973) in 1972 we were in L.A. shooting the film and Bob suggested in rehearsal that there be a scene that was added with him and Harvey Keitel that would kind of set the tone for their relationship, and I thought it was a great idea. As we were doing the scene I sensed there was something really extraordinary going on with them, and sure enough, in the editing of the film it crystalized. It was a perfect set up for the whole film and the culture and the people. We went off, came back together on Taxi Driver (1976) and by that time when he had suggestions, every now and then he'd come up to me and say "I've got this idea. It's a little off, it's a little crazy" and I'd say, "Don't tell me. Let's just shoot it". And invariably when he played out these ideas in front of the camera, of course I loved it, and watching him, I became the audience.
[on Hugo (2011)] To prepare to make a movie from "The Invention of Hugo Cabret", I met with the whole creative team to discuss costumes, makeup, set design, props, and so on, with historical photographs and films as reference. The objective was to create our own universe with its own visual language. We wanted to find a balance between realism and myth. This is partially expressed in visual details such as the color of a costume or the placement and size of a poster. The Paris we created has a basis in reality but it is not an exact reproduction.
I felt a passion for the movies. It was sparked by my obsession with the illusion of movement that motion pictures create.
[on Killers of the Flower Moon (2023)] When I read David Grann's book, I immediately started seeing it - the people, the settings, the action - and I knew that I had to make it into a movie. I'm so excited to be working with Eric Roth and reuniting with Leonardo DiCaprio to bring this truly unsettling American story to the screen.
[on Brian De Palma and his use of the Steadicam and long takes] Brian is a great director. Nobody can interpret things visually like he does: telling a story through a lens. Take the scene in The Untouchables where Charles Martin Smith is shot in the elevator. Look at that Steadicam shot; he's not just moving the camera to show you that we can go longer because we have the Steadicam. Francis [Ford Coppola] used to tell me, 'Marty, we can start a shot and go up to the Empire State Building and come back down. Anybody can do it. You have to know how to move a camera a little bit, that's all.' A lot of people use the Steadicam and don't know what they're doing. What Brian does with it is tell the story, progressing the story within the shot. That's just one example. Then in Carlito's Way (1993) there's a scene entering a night-club and the camera tracks up. It's extraordinary, his visual interpretation. He deals with stories that enable him to do that sort of thing. So when you get a real De Palma picture like Raising Cain (1992) or Body Double (1984), you're getting something really unique. He's provocative. He goes, 'I'm going to do this again. Hitchcock did it-so what? Who cares? I'm doing it this way.' Brian knows. We always talk about that together.
[on what to do when an actor does something that is not working] The most important thing is to have patience.
[on Killers of the Flower Moon (2023)] I've been working with Eric Roth on the script for a few years now, and we're - now, actually, yesterday, in this room, and last night - we're knocking away at this script, and restructuring it, rethinking it. Because it's convenient to do a sort of detective story, but we all know what it is. So I want to explore something else, and that is the nature of a whole way of thinking as being complicit in genocide. It's dehumanizing people. (...) I was out in Oklahoma about six weeks ago, and ultimately, as the Osage told me, it's about greed. And therefore you could think that these people don't deserve any of it because they're not human anyway. Not really human.
[on Nicolas Cage] There's a spiritual conflict in Nick's eyes and in his face. It's visible, it's open, and it translates into an overall sense of unease. The conflict is an inner questioning: Will I be redeemed? Have I done enough?
[on Gaspard Ulliel's death, January 19, 2022] I'm in a state of shock today over the loss of Gaspard Ulliel. I had the chance to work with him once briefly, and I was so impressed by his dedication and his intelligence. He loved the cinema, and I know that he would have been an interesting filmmaker if he'd lived to realize his dream. It's just heartbreaking.

Salary (3)

Gangs of New York (2002) $6,000,000 (had to pay $3,000,000 back due to budget overruns)
Shutter Island (2010) $3,500,000
Hugo (2011) $10,000,000

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