Martin Scorsese

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Martin Scorsese
Martin Charles Scorsese
BirthplaceQueens, New York, US
Film director, producer, actor, screenwriter
EducationCardinal Hayes High School

Scorsese, Martin

Scorsese, Martin (skôrsāˈzē, –sĕzˈē), 1942–, American film director; b. Queens, N.Y. A major figure in contemporary cinema, he grew up in Manhattan's Little Italy, attended film school at New York Univ., made his first feature-length film in 1968, and scored his first success with Mean Streets (1973). Often dealing with violent and obsessive aspects of modern America and focusing on Italian-American characters, Scorsese's films frequently feature a struggling hero and themes of sin and redemption. His major movies include Taxi Driver (1976), a harrowing urban morality tale; Raging Bull (1979), a look into the savage world of boxing; Goodfellas (1990), an exploration of the brutalities of Mob life; Gangs of New York (2002), a violent epic of life in Manhattan's 19th-century slums; and The Irishman (2019), the saga of the Mob and Jimmy Hoffa. Scorsese has often partnered with actor Robert De Niro, who has shown an ability to embody the tragic dualities of many of Scorsese's lead characters.

Among Scorsese's other films are Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974), New York, New York (1977), The King of Comedy (1983), The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), The Age of Innocence (1993), Casino (1995), Kundun (1998), The Aviator (2004), The Departed (2006, Academy Award), Shutter Island (2010), Hugo (2011), an enchanting children's movie and his first 3D film, and The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), a story of greed, depravity, and stock fraud. His A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese through American Movies (1995) and Il Mio Viaggio in Italia [my journey in Italy] (2001), reflections on great filmmaking in the United States and Italy, provide revealing glimpses into the influences that have shaped his art, and his documentaries on music and musicians encompass such topics as The Band in its farewell concert (The Last Waltz, 1978), the Delta blues (Feel like Going Home, 2003), and Bob Dylan (No Direction Home, 2005 and Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese, 2019).


See D. Thompson and I. Christie, ed., Scorsese on Scorsese (rev. ed. 2004); P. Brunette, ed., Martin Scorsese: Interviews (rev. ed. 2006); biography by V. LoBrutto (2007); studies by M. Weiss (1987), D. Ehrenstein (1992), L. Keyser (1992), M. K. Connelly (1993), M. Bliss (1985 and 1995), L. Stern (1995), L. S. Friedman (1997), A. Dougan (1998), L. Grist (2000), G. Seesslen (2003), M. T. Miliora (2004), M. Nicholls (2004), B. Nyce (2004), P. A. Woods, ed. (2005), R. Casillo (2006), R. Ebert (2008), T. R. Lindlof (2008), and E. Cashmore (2009).

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Scorsese, Martin

(1942–  ) film director; born in Flushing, N.Y. Small and sickly as a child, he grew up in New York City's Little Italy and entered a Catholic seminary in his early teens; he left after a year to go on to New York University's film school (where he stayed as an instructor until 1970). As a student he made several prize-winning short films; his feature directorial debut was Who's That Knocking at My Door? (1968). He made some television documentaries and another feature film but gained his first broad public with Mean Streets (1973). From then, many of his films drew upon his Italian-American heritage and often deal with masculine aggression, as in Taxi Driver (1976), Raging Bull (1979), and Cape Fear (1991). Something of a loner and not really a part of the Hollywood crowd, he showed an ability to balance his critically acclaimed films, which seem to question traditional American values, with more commercially viable movies.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.