Martin Charles Scorsese is a U.S. film director, screenwriter, producer, actor, and film historian. He is the founder of the World Cinema Foundation and a recipient of the AFI Life Achievement Award for his contributions to the cinema, and has won awards from the Oscars, Golden Globe, BAFTA, and Directors Guild of America. Scorsese is president of The Film Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to film preservation.
Scorsese’s body of work addresses such themes as Italian identity in the U.S., Roman Catholic concepts of guilt and redemption, machismo, and violence. Scorsese is widely considered to be one of the most significant and influential U.S. film-makers of his era, directing landmark films such as Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and Goodfellas ? all of which he collaborated on with actor and close friend Robert De Niro. He won the Academy Award for Best Director for The Departed and earned an MFA in film directing from the New York University Tisch School of the Arts.
In 2007, Scorsese was honored by the National Italian American Foundation at the nonprofit’s thirty-second Anniversary Gala. During the ceremony, Scorsese helped launch N.I.A.F.’s Jack Valenti Institute, which provides support to Italian film students in the U.S., in memory of former Foundation Board Member and past president of the Motion Picture Association of America Jack Valenti. Scorsese received his award from Mary Margaret Valenti, Jack’s widow. Certain of Scorsese’s film related material and personal papers are contained in the Wesleyan University Cinema Archives to which scholars and media experts from around the world may have full access.
Martin Scorsese was born in New York City. His father, Luciano Charles Scorsese, and mother, Catherine Scorsese, both worked in New York’s Garment District. His father was a clothes presser and his mother was a seamstress. As a boy, his parents would often take him to movie theatres; it was at this stage in his life that he developed passion for cinema. Enamored of historical epics in his adolescence, at least two films of the genre, Land of the Pharaohs and El Cid, appear to have had a deep and lasting impact on his cinematic psyche. Scorsese also developed an admiration for neorealist cinema at this time. He recounted its influence in a documentary on Italian neorealism, and commented on how The Bicycle Thief alongside Paisà, Rome, Open City inspired him and how this influenced his view or portrayal of his Sicilian genes. In his documentary, Il Mio Viaggio in Italia, Scorsese noted that the Sicilian episode of Roberto Rossellini’s Paisà which he first saw on television alongside his relatives, who were themselves Sicilian immigrants, made a significant impact on his life. He has also cited filmmaker Satyajit Ray as a major influence on his career. His initial desire to become a priest while attending Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx was forsaken for cinema, and, consequently, Scorsese enrolled in NYU Tisch School of the Arts, where he received his M.F.A. in film directing in 1966.