Skip to main content Skip to Search Box
Summary Article: Scorsese, Martin (Charles)
From The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

US director, screenwriter, and producer. One of the most influential figures in modern US cinema, he has made such contemporary classics as Mean Streets (1973), Taxi Driver (1976), Raging Bull (1980), and GoodFellas (1990), all of which featured the actor Robert De Niro. He has won a plethora of awards and nominations, including an Academy Award (Best Director for his 2006 crime drama The Departed), BAFTAs (three for GoodFellas and the Academy Fellowship in 2012), Golden Globes (for Gangs of New York (2002), The Departed, and Hugo (2011), plus the Cecil B DeMille Award in 2010), Emmys for the pilot episode of the drama series Boardwalk Empire (2010) and the documentary George Harrison: Living in the Material World (2011), and the Long Form Music Video Grammy for No Direction Home: Bob Dylan (2005).

Many of Scorsese's films are immensely personal narratives, informed by his Italian-American Catholic background. They deal with the motifs of sin and redemption, alienation, masculine violence, and obsession, and display complex characterization, an elaborate visual style, and innovative use of popular music. Among his other films are Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974), New York, New York (1977), The King of Comedy (1982), After Hours (1985), The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), Cape Fear (1991), The Age of Innocence (1993), The Aviator (2004), and The Wolf of Wall Street (2013).

From the late 1980s onwards, Scorsese became involved in the work of other film-makers. He produced Stephen Frears's The Grifters (1990) and Spike Lee's Clockers (1995), among several others, and also performed in 'Round Midnight (1986), Akira Kurosawa's Dreams (1990), and Quiz Show (1994).

He received the American Film Institute's life achievement Award in 1997. In 1998 he was the recipient of the Billy Wilder Award for Excellence in Film Direction presented by the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures Awards.

Scorsese was raised in New York City's ‘Little Italy’ and studied film at New York University. There he won acclaim for his shorts What's a Nice Girl Like You Doing in a Place Like This? (1963), It's Not Just You, Murray! (1964), and the surreal The Big Shave (1967). Like many film-makers in his generation, he received an education in low-budget genre production under Roger Corman, for whom he directed Boxcar Bertha (1972). With Mean Streets, however, he returned to the more personal style of film-making he had first displayed in Who's That Knocking at My Door? (1967) and which he would later develop in Taxi Driver and, above all, Raging Bull. Mean Streets in particular proved to be hugely influential on the generation of US film-makers who emerged in the 1990s, such as Nick Gomez and Quentin Tarantino. Pursuing his interest in the strong cultural influences of popular music, he has also directed documentaries about Bob Dylan, and George Harrison, and Shine a Light (2008), about The Rolling Stones.

Scorsese has also been instrumental in campaigning for film preservation and enhancing the public's knowledge of their film heritage, both through re-releasing old films on celluloid, video, and laser disk, and filming the wide-ranging documentary A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese through American Movies (1995).


Scorsese, Martin

© RM, 2018. All rights reserved.

Related Articles

Full text Article Scorsese, Martin (1942- )
Chambers Film Factfinder

American, born in Queens, New York City. A sickly child, he at one stage planned to become a priest before opting instead to study film at New...

Full text Article Scorsese, Martin
Philip's Encyclopedia

1942- US film director. His first major success was Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1975). Scorsese often casts Robert De Niro in leading...

Full text Article Scorsese, Martin (1942 - )
The Macmillan Encyclopedia

He established his reputation with such films as Mean Streets (1973), Taxi Driver (1976), and Raging Bull (1980);...

See more from Credo