by Laurent Kelly

For a while now Martin Scorsese has held the monniker of America’s greatest living filmmaker and it is an accolade which continues to resonate strongly with the director  still in the business of making great films as he enters what is most  likely the twilight period of his career. Suffering from asthma at a young age, Scorsese was unable to play sport or partake in much outdoor activity and so he immersed himself in the world of cinema and his passion grew from there. A passion which has treated audiences to some of the finest American films ever made. What follows is a list of ten interesting facts about the one and only Martin Scorsese.

  • 1.) IMDB Top 250 features the director five times on the list with highest entry Goodfellas (#16) along with Taxi Driver (#40), The Departed (#51), Raging Bull (#71) and Casino (#176). Although impressive this is nothing compared to IMDB leader Alfred Hitchcock who has eleven films featured. The AFI’S list of the 100 greatest American films also includes Raging Bull (4), Taxi Driver (52)  and Goodfellas (92).


  • 2.) Martin Scorsese has worked with Robert De Niro on no less than eight occasions listed in chronological order as Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, New York, New York, Raging Bull, The King of Comedy, Goodfellas, Cape Fear and Casino. Again though this is nothing on record holders Woody Allen and former wife Mia Farrow who have appeared together in thirteen of the director’s movies. So much for keeping work and personal life separate.

CLASSIC SCORSESE CLIP #1:  Johnny Boy’s Entrance in Mean Streets to the infectious sound of the Rolling Stones Jumping Jack Flash


  • 3.) Martin Scorsese is one of only a handful of directors to have won the prestigious Palme D’or Award at the Cannes Film Festival (Taxi Driver) as well as the more mainstream Academy Award for Best Direction (The Departed.) Other directors to have acclomplished this feat include Roman Polanski (both times for The Pianist), Francis Ford Coppolla (Palme d’or for Apocalypse Now and The Conversation, Oscars for Godfather and Godfather Part II),  The Coen Brothers (Palme d’or for Barton Fink, Oscar for No Country for Old Men), Steven Soderbergh (Palme D’or for Sex, Lies and Videotape, Oscar for Traffic), Delbert Mann (both times for Marty), Billy Wilder and David Lean.

  • 4.) Like many other directors and critics Martin Scorsese has claimed that Citizen Kane is his favourite film. Orson Welles masterpiece is also the favourite film of directors Michael Mann and Joe Dante.


 CLASSIC SCORSESE CLIP #2 – Travis Bickle sat alone with a gun in his apartment to the haunting sound of Jackson Browne’s Late for the Sky.


  • 5.) Key to Reserva is a must see commercial in which Scorsese pays special tribute to the memorable films and distinct filming style of the late, great Alfred Hitchcock. The pay-off at the end is wonderfully executed. If you haven’t seen it already then spare yourself ten minutes by following this link.


  • 6.) Although his performances for Raging Bull, Taxi Driver, Mean Streets and Goodfellas are more famous Marty’s personal favourite De Niro performance under his own directon is in the incredibly underrated King of Comedy in which De Niro plays a deluded stand up comedian who kidnaps Jerry Lewis in order to try and secure a spot on his talk show. The film was years ahead of its time in its social comment on an increasingly celebrity and fame obsessed society.

 Henry Hill leads Karen through a shortcut in Goodfellas.



  • 7.) Martin Scorsese is a massive fan of British punk legends The Clash. In his book Scorsese on Scorsese he said that Janie Jones was his all time favourite British Rock and Roll song. Good call there Marty although I personally prefer White man in hammersmith palais. He reportedly listened to the band’s records in between takes on the set of Taxi Driver and included two of their songs (including Janie Jones) in the soundtrack to Bringing out the Dead.



  • 9.) Hard to believe now but as the ninety eighties approached Martin Scorsese had lost all passion for filmmaking owing to a bleak divorce with actress Liza Minelli which had left the director with a nasty drugs habit. It was up to actor Robert De Niro to try and reignite Marty’s passion by asking him if he really wanted to end up as a flash in the pan director who could have gone on to be great but instead wasted their cinematic potential. De Niro thus managed to convince the initially sceptical director that a biopic of brutal boxer Jake La Motta would be the perfect project to get him back on his feet and fall in love once more with the world of the screen. Thankfully the director was persuaded.


 CLASSIC SCORSESE CLIP # 4:  Howard Hughes wants to see all the blueprints in The Aviator:


  • 10.) Priesthood was Scorsese’s initial calling before he decided to become a film director. Thank God. Religion has a strong impact on a number of the director’s films including his debut Whose that knocking at my door?, Mean Streets, Kundun and perhaps most strikingly in The Last Temptation of Christ.

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