Martin Scorsese Biography

Martin Scorsese is an acclaimed American director and writer. This biography profiles his childhood, family, personal life, achievements, career, and some interesting facts.

Quick Facts

Birthday: November 17, 1942

Nationality: American

Famous: Directors T V & Movie Producers

Age: 77 Years, 77 Year Old Males

Sun Sign: Scorpio

Also Known As: Martin Charles Scorsese

Born in: Queens, New York City, New York, United States

Famous as: Director, Producer

Height: 5'4" (163 cm), 5'4" Males


father: Charles Scorsese

mother: Catherine Scorsese

City: New York City

U.S. State: New Yorkers

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Martin Scorsese is an acclaimed American director and writer whose films like ‘Mean Streets’ and ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ have shaped the history of American cinema. The legendary director is known for his steely, often violent and painstaking filmmaking style and is widely considered as one of the most important directors of all time. Having spent nearly half a century behind the camera, Martin has made a string of landmark films, such as ‘Goodfellas’, ‘The Last Waltz’,‘The King of Comedy’, ‘Taxi Driver’, ‘Raging Bull’, ‘The Departed’ and many more. He has also written a number of screenplays. He is the founder and the honorable president of The Film Foundation. Martin, as a member of the advisory board for the Independent Film Channel, has also been very active in promoting independent filmmakers. He has been honored with a host of nominations and awards including the Lifetime Achievement Award by The American Film Institute, Academy Award, Palme d'Or, Silver Lion, Grammy Award, Emmys, Golden Globes, BAFTAs and DGA Awards.

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Childhood & Early Life
  • Martin was born as Martin Marcantonio Luciano Scorsese on November 17, 1942 in Flushing, New York. He was raised by Italian-American parents in Little Italy, Manhattan.
  • Martin's parents, Charles and Catherine, both worked part-time as actors. As a result, his passion for films developed at a young age of eight. However, being a devout Catholic, priesthood was his first choice of profession.
  • Martin suffered from asthma as a child, and he often spent time alone, unable to participate in the neighborhood and school activities.
  • After a 10-minute comedy short film earned him a scholarship of 500 US dollars, he entered the Film School at New York University.
  • During his NYU days, Martin directed a few short films that had prominent influences on foreign classics and Hollywood musicals. Among them was the 1963 short film, ‘What’s a Nice Girl Like You Doing in a Place Like This?’
  • His next short film, ‘It’s Not Just You, Murray!’ won the Producers Guild Award for the best student film in 1964. He also received awards for other short films that he made as an undergraduate.
  • After completing his MFA in film directing at NYU in 1966, Martin briefly worked at the university as a film instructor. His students included Jonathan Kaplan and Oliver Stone.
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  • In 1968, Martin completed his first feature-length film, ‘Who's That Knocking at My Door’. While working on the project, he met actor Harvey Keitel, whom he would go on to cast in many future projects.
  • The film earned Martin encouraging reviews, and he was offered the position of assistant director and supervising editor for ‘Woodstock’ in 1970. During the filming, he met Thelma Schoonmaker, an editor with whom he collaborated for more than 40 years.
  • Over the period of 1970s and 1980s, Martin directed several hard-hitting films that helped define new age cinema. In 1970, he directed a less seen documentary about the protests against the Vietnam War, ‘Street Scenes’. He then worked as an editor for concert films like ‘Medicine Ball Caravan’ in 1971 and ‘Elvis on Tour’ in 1972.
  • In 1973, Martin directed ‘Mean Streets’, his first film to be widely acknowledged as a masterpiece. The film introduced him to Robert De Niro, which later gave rise to one of the most dynamic filmmaking partnerships in Hollywood history.
  • After making the documentary ‘Italianamerican’ in 1974, which was a chronicle about his parents, Martin started working on his first mainstream studio picture, ‘Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore’.
  • His gritty 1976 masterpiece, ‘Taxi Driver’, was nominated under different categories at the Academy Awards. Perhaps the most controversial and most disturbing among his filmography, ‘Taxi Driver’ is considered as Martin’s best work to date.
  • In 1978, Martin made an acclaimed documentary titled ‘The Last Waltz’, using old concert footage. The documentary showcased farewell performances of Van Morrison, Bob Dylan and Muddy Waters. Since then, he has renewed his musical passion through his films.
  • The 1977 film, ‘New York, New York’ once again saw the glorious collaboration of Martin and Rober De Niro. The film is best known for the extensive usage of non-naturalistic light and elaborate sets.
  • They collaborated once again through their 1980 picture, ‘Raging Bull’, based on the life of the boxer Jake LaMotta. Although initial reactions were mixed due to the display of extensive violence, ‘Raging Bull’ is now widely considered as one of the greatest movies of all time.
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  • The 1982 feature film, ‘The King of Comedy’ had a similar fate. After an initial disapproval, it later received critical praise. Martin directed his first huge box-office success, ‘The Color of Money’ in 1986. The film is considered as his most commercial and conventional film.
  • In 1988, ‘The Last Temptation of Christ’ earned Martin his second Oscar nomination.
  • The 1990s saw the release of two of Martin’s most important gangster movies to date – ‘Goodfellas’ and the 1995 classic feature, ‘Casino’.
  • In 2003, he completed his seven-part documentary series, ‘The Blues’. Two years later, his Bob Dylan documentary, ‘No Direction Home’ was aired as a part of the American Masters series.
  • Martin again used footage from a 2006 Rolling Stones concert to direct the 2008 documentary, ‘Shine a Light’.
  • Leonardo DiCaprio caught Martin’s artistic eyes and eventually became his go-to actor. Together, they gave some benchmark films like ‘Gangs of New York’ in 2002, ‘The Aviator’ in 2004 and ‘The Departed’ in 2006, which brought Martin his first Oscar.
  • Martin worked with DiCaprio once again in the 2013 flick, ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’, which gained another Oscar nomination. He branched out further into television as the executive producer of the 2014 series, ‘Boardwalk Empire’.
  • He once again ventured out as an executive producer for HBO’s ‘Vinyl’, aired in 2016. Martin next co-wrote the 2016 feature film, ‘Silence’, which was based on a novel by Shusaku Endo.
  • Martin has started his first-ever online class, where he shares valuables thoughts ranging from storytelling to editing to his approach towards filmmaking.
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Major Works
  • Who’s That Knocking at My Door – This is Martin’s first theatrical film, released on November 15, 1967. The feature was an intimate portrayal of life on the streets of Little Italy.
  • Woodstock – The huge accolades for his debut film earned Martin the position of assistant director and supervising editor for this documentary. The 3 hour long movie is a brilliant conversion of a raw footage, shot at a 1969 rock concert.
  • Mean Streets – This boundary-breaking film is a rework of the themes that he introduced in his debut film. The film displayed rapid dialogue delivery, extreme violence and blaring rock music. Released on October 2, 1973, the film is one of Martin’s masterpieces.
  • Taxi Driver – One of the many gems produced out of the Martin-DeNiro collaboration, this film is also his first major hit. Released on February 8, 1976, the film elevated De Niro's status as a living legend.
  • New York, New York – Set in the era of the 1950’s Hollywood Musicals, this film is about a novice saxophone player Jimmy Doyle, played by DeNiro. Post its release on June 21, 1977, the film was stamped as a commercial flop, only to become a cult later.
  • Goodfellas – This is an adaptation of Nicholas Pileggi’s non-fiction work, ‘Wiseguy’. Through this film, Martin showcased his mastery over trick shots and his usage of numerous other new skills that were in contrast to his conventional ways. Premiered at the Venice Film Festival, the film reached the US audience on September 19, 1990.
  • The Aviator – This is a biopic of aviator and movie producer Howard Hughes, played by Leonardo DiCaprio. Martin lavishly re-created the 1930s and 1940s Hollywood. Post its release on 25 December 2004, the film became a box office success and also earned 11 Oscar nominations.
  • The Departed – Released on October 6, 2006, the film is based on a Hong Kong action flick titled, ‘MouGaan Dou’. The film starred Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon in prominent roles. This film brought Martin his first Oscar.
Awards & Achievements
  • Writers Guild of America (2003) – Martin was honored with the Evelyn F. Burkey Award for his remarkable journey as a screenplay writer.
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  • Walk of Fame (2003) – On 28 February 2003 at the 6801st Hollywood Blvd, Martin received the Star on the Walk of Fame Motion Picture Honor.
  • Venice Film Festival (1990) – Martin won 4 awards under categories, Best Director, The silver Lion, Filmcritica Bastone Bianco and the Audience Award for ‘Goodfellas’.
  • Grammy (2006) – Martin shared the award with Bob Dylan for his documentary, ‘No Direction Home: Bob Dylan’.
  • Academy Award (2007) – Martin won the Best Achievement in Directing for ‘The Departed’.
Personal Life
  • Martin entered the institution of marriage on five different occasions. He first married Laraine Marie Brennan with whom he has a daughter, Catherine.
  • Then in 1975, he married the renowned author, Julia Cameron and divorced her after a year. They too have a daughter named Domenica Cameron-Scorsese. She is an actress and has starred in few of Martin’s films.
  • Actress Isabella Rossellini was his third wife from 1979 to 1983. Martin then married producer Barbara De Fina in 1985.
  • After divorcing Barbara in 1991, Martin married Helen Schermerhorn Morris in 1999 with whom he has a daughter, Francesca. She too has worked with Martin in few of his films.

1. Joker (2019)

  (Crime, Drama, Thriller)

2. Taxi Driver (1976)

  (Crime, Drama)

3. Goodfellas (1990)

  (Drama, Crime)

4. Raging Bull (1980)

  (Biography, Sport, Drama)

5. The Irishman (2019)

  (Biography, Crime, Drama)

6. The Last Waltz (1978)

  (Music, Documentary)

7. The Departed (2006)

  (Crime, Drama, Thriller)

8. The King of Comedy (1982)

  (Comedy, Drama, Crime, Thriller)


Academy Awards(Oscars)
2007 Best Achievement in Directing The Departed (2006)
Golden Globe Awards
2012 Best Director - Motion Picture Hugo (2011)
2007 Best Director - Motion Picture The Departed (2006)
2003 Best Director - Motion Picture Gangs of New York (2002)
Primetime Emmy Awards
2012 Outstanding Directing for Nonfiction Programming George Harrison: Living in the Material World (2011)
2012 Outstanding Nonfiction Special George Harrison: Living in the Material World (2011)
2011 Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series Boardwalk Empire (2010)
BAFTA Awards
1991 Best Screenplay - Adapted Goodfellas (1990)
1991 Best Direction Goodfellas (1990)
1991 Best Film Goodfellas (1990)
Grammy Awards
2006 Best Long Form Music Video No Direction Home: Bob Dylan (2005)

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- November 14, 2017
Martin Scorsese

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