Introduction to Scorsese

Before being introduced to Martin Scorsese I had no idea who he was. I never watched any of his movies, and really just heard of his big films. Martin’s life before hitting the big stage was pretty interesting. Scorsese attended New York University where he got a Bachelors in English and a Master in Fine Arts. After school he created his first feature film in 1967 called, Who’s That Knocking On The Door. After his first feature film, he was working on the film, The Honeymoon Killers in which he got fired from. Scorsese was suffering from depression and an alcohol addiction at the time. After trying to bounce back from being fired, Scorsese went back to NYU to teach where he got his Bachelors and Master degrees. He then goes on to move to Hollywood where he gains some personal success. Films that helped his success were Mean Streets and Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore.


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After those hits, Scorsese shifts his focus to New York where he directs the film Taxi Driver. Scorsese was encouraged to direct this film by Robert De Nero. Robert De Nero plays Travis Bickle as this Vietnam War vet. De Nero plays an interesting character at the time because this film was set in the 1970’s where in New York there was prostitutes, violence, and hatred on women. Throughout the movie we meet Iris who is a young prostitute who works the streets. Travis who at the beginning of the movie saw Iris trying to escape from a man who was taking advantage of her. We get a sense that Travis wants to help her, but he denies to drive her home. In my eyes, I feel like Scorsese later in the movie wanted to make Travis not just a taxi driver, but someone who helps out. We end up seeing Travis try helping Iris out, but Iris doesn’t hesitate to keep trying to take his pants off. She doesn’t want to listen to what Travis has to say.


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After watching Taxi Driver I found it very interesting on the things that I read in one of the articles. First, I read that the writer Paul Schrader kept a gun on his desk while he wrote to keep him motivated and inspired. That’s pretty interesting due to the fact that the film was based off Travis being a Vietnam War vet. Another thing that I found interesting was that De Nero was actually a taxi driver a month before production of this film. During this time, De Nero won an Academy Award and surprisingly was only recognized once throughout the month that he spent on the streets of New York City. Jodie Foster who was supposed to play Iris was just casually 12 years old when she tried out for the spot of a prostitute. Turns out that Foster wasn’t able to take that spot, and her sister Connie had to act as her body for most of the movie. Betsy at some points in the production had to be “fed” her lines because she couldn’t remember them.

If you guys have not read the article that I linked, I would highly recommend it.

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9 Responses to Introduction to Scorsese

  1. Other than being a Vietnam War vet, why do you think he kept a gun on his desk to help him work? The gun may have helped, but of all places to keep it, on the desk was his choice. Do you think there may be an underlying reason on why a possibly loaded gun needed to be out in the open for a man to write?


  2. I never knew that the write kept a gun on his desk to inspire him. Maybe he did that because the gun reminded him how easy it can be to be a hero or a villain? Travis himself is close to being a villain the entire film. De Niro is a fantastic actor. He really immerses himself into his roles, and the fact that he did extensive research for the role is not surprising.


  3. Honestly the thing that stuck out to me most with your blog was that you said you had never seen a Scorsese movie. I was completely shocked. You are in for a treat. I recommend watching The Departed by him. It was made in 2006 I believe and it won a few Oscars including Best Picture. The cast just to name a few includes: Mark Wahlberg, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, and Leonardo DiCaprio. It is a must watch.


  4. Ricky Patrick says:

    I also did not not know who Martin Scorsese was before taking this class but I am glad to be introduced to his work. After watching some of the different films directed by him I will say the his work is very different than others. The way he leaves out little information out in the Taxi Driver film shows just how strategic he can be. I also did not know that Paul Schrader kept a gun on his desk while writing. Very interesting review.


  5. Like you, I’ve never heard of Scorsese either, but I’m impressed with his work thus far. I like how including some background information on the director and a little on De Niro and Foster. Helps better under the characters and the vision. I also like how you said Scorsese wanted Travis to be the person that ‘helps out’ but can’t even really help himself.


  6. I loved your fun facts at the end! Especially the one about the writer keeping a gun on his desk for inspiration. A gun can be a very haunting object, especially when it’s staring you in the face. This little trivia knowledge definitely gives you a little more insight and understanding about the plot.


  7. dionnarhema says:

    I love the behind the scenes info that you provided! Those kinds of things are always interesting. I’m somewhat glad that you have never seen any of Scorsese’s films because I love recommending movies to people. The top 3 that I would recommend you seeing are Goodfellas, The Aviator and The Departed. I’m almost certain that the last two are on Netflix, so check them out (if you have Netflix)!


  8. Wow, I’m kind of shocked by the amount of people saying that they’ve never seen a Scorsese film before! But anyway, you should definitely check out his work, it’s fantastic. The fact about the gun on the desk at the end was very interesting!


  9. howard says:

    I did not even think about the issues that having a 12 year old acting in such adult material would cause. I just assumed that she was doing most of the scenes because her parents would’ve had to have signed off on the project. The role gained her a lot of notoriety though.


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