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Director Martin Scorsese has produced some of the most memorable films in cinema history, including the iconic Taxi Driver and Academy Award-winner The Departed.
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Born November 17, 1942, in Flushing, New York, Martin Scorsese is known for his gritty, meticulous filmmaking style and is widely considered one of the most important directors of all time.
Martin Scorsese was born November 17, 1942, in Flushing, New York. Raised by Italian-American parents in the Little Italy district of Manhattan, Scorsese later remembered his neighborhood as being "like a village in Sicily." Scorsese's parents, Charles and Catherine, both worked part-time as actors, helping set the stage for their son's love of cinema.
Because Scorsese was afflicted by severe asthma, his childhood activities were limited; rather than play sports, he spent much of his time in front of the television or at the movie theater, where he fell in love especially with stories about the Italian experience and films by director Michael Powell. By the time he was eight years old, Scorsese was already drawing his own storyboards –often complete with the line, "Directed and Produced by Martin Scorsese."
Scorsese was raised a devout Catholic and even entertained the idea of entering the priesthood before deciding to pursue filmmaking instead. Although his parents "didn't get" his mania for movies, Scorsese felt he was headed in the right direction when a 10-minute comedy short earned him a $500 scholarship to New York University.
After completing his MFA in film directing at NYU in 1966, Scorsese briefly worked at the university as a film instructor. His students included Jonathan Kaplan and Oliver Stone. In 1968, Scorsese completed his first feature-length film, Who's That Knocking at My Door? While working on that project, he met Harvey Keitel, whom he would go on to cast in many future projects, as well as Thelma Schoonmaker, an editor with whom he would collaborate for more than 40 years.
In 1973, Scorsese directed Mean Streets, his first film to be widely acknowledged as a masterpiece. Revisiting characters from Who's That Knocking at My Door?, the film showcased elements that have since become trademarks of Scorsese's filmmaking: dark themes, unsympathetic lead characters, religion, the Mafia, unusual camera techniques and contemporary music. Directing Mean Streets also introduced Scorsese to Robert De Niro, sparking one of the most dynamic filmmaking partnerships in Hollywood history.
Over the course of the 1970s and 1980s, Scorsese directed hard-hitting films that helped define a generation of cinema. His gritty 1976 masterpiece, Taxi Driver, won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival and fixed De Niro's status as a living movie legend. Apparently, it also inspired an unstable John Hinckley to attempt to assassinate President Ronald Reagan five years later. "I never thought in a million years there was a connection with the film," Scorsese later recalled. "It turned out even my limo driver was FBI."
Scorsese and De Niro struck gold together once more in their 1980 picture Raging Bull, based on the life of troubled boxer Jake LaMotta.
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From the early days of film, directors have transported audiences from darkened movie theaters to memorable worlds of their own creations. Their artistic visions and technical innovations have made a lasting impression on cinema from early silent films, starring and directed by Charlie Chaplin, to the psychological thrillers of Alfred Hitchcock to the blockbuster hits of Steven Spielberg and so many more. Here is a look at the famous film directors who have made their mark on the big screen.
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