In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Martin Scorsese

  • Introduction
  • Writings and Teachings by Martin Scorsese
  • Interview Collections
  • Other Fictional Films
  • Documentaries
  • Scorsese’s Influence

Cinema and Media Studies Martin Scorsese
Marc Raymond
  • LAST REVIEWED: 28 November 2022
  • LAST MODIFIED: 22 August 2023
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199791286-0320


Martin Scorsese’s name has come to symbolize many broad ideas over the past few decades, to the point where he is no longer merely a filmmaker, but rather a cultural touchstone. He is associated with a particular religion (Catholicism), ethnicity (Italian), genre (gangsters), and time period (New Hollywood), while also being the foremost cinephile in American cinema, influencing whole generations in his wake. Consequently, the amount of writing on Scorsese is quite vast, and this bibliography will try to represent that variety while pointing readers to the best of this work. It is thus organized with a focus on Scorsese’s own scholarly contributions, interviews, career overviews, anthologies, major films, documentaries, and influence. There is a temptation to try to divide the work thematically, since so much of the writing centers around either religion, ethnicity, or masculinity, but doing so would risk perpetuating this overemphasis in the scholarship while also not representing the best writing on this important auteur. Thus, while certainly the work on Italian-Catholicism and masculinity will be frequent within the citations to come, they will not predominate among the selections taken as a whole. This bibliography also attempts to give some of the history of Scorsese scholarship itself, focusing on scholarly touchstones that tended to define particular historical moments and how Scorsese has been useful to particular critical approaches and/or arguments.

Writings and Teachings by Martin Scorsese

A key aspect of Scorsese as a filmmaker is his passion about the medium itself and his desire to engage in and even initiate public debates on film-related topics, as is already evident in Scorsese 1978, a “Guilty Pleasures” column in Film Comment. Most famous was his campaign against Eastman Kodak in the early 1980s to improve their color film stock to prevent fading, which led to Scorsese becoming a leading voice on film preservation. The Film Foundation Website provides information on these preservation activities, and the Story of Movies Film Literacy Program gives a curriculum for high school movie education. Furthermore, Masterclass: Martin Scorsese Teaches Filmmaking is a full, paid online course for aspiring directors. Scorsese’s authority as a teacher of film has enabled him to intervene in public debates related to filmmakers and the medium, as can be witnessed in Scorsese 1993 and, most recently, in Scorsese 2013 and Scorsese 2019. Scorsese and Wilson 1997 and Guralnick, et al. 2003 are companion pieces to Scorsese’s work as both a film and a cultural historian in the documentary medium, and his guest editorship of Civilization magazine Scorsese 1998 shows how widely his cultural prestige has spread. A fuller list of Scorsese’s various writings (up to 2012) appears in Raymond 2013 (pp. 227–228, cited under Books).

  • The Film Foundation Website.

    Founded in 1990 as part of Scorsese’s efforts to preserve film history, the organization has continued to expand, most notably with the World Cinema Project, which has restored thirty-five films to date from around the world.

  • Guralnick, Peter, Robert Santelli, Holly George-Warren, and Christopher John Farley, eds. Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues. New York: HarperCollins, 2003.

    A companion piece to Scorsese’s seven-part documentary PBS series The Blues, which Scorsese produced in addition to directing the first episode, “Feel Like Going Home.” Includes essays by the filmmakers of each episode as well as pieces by critics and scholars on each topic.

  • Masterclass: Martin Scorsese Teaches Filmmaking.

    Scorsese now teaches a paid online master class on film directing as part of the master class lecture series, which features numerous acclaimed practitioners in various fields.

  • Scorsese, Martin. “Martin Scorsese’s Guilty Pleasures.” Film Comment 14.5 (1978): 63–66.

    Following film critic Roger Ebert, Scorsese was the second contributor to Film Comment’s “Guilty Pleasures” column, his earliest effort to present himself as a cinephile and film historian as well as a filmmaker.

  • Scorsese, Martin. “Why Make Fellini the Scapegoat for New Cultural Intolerance? New York Times, 25 November 1993.

    One of Scorsese’s most passionate editorial pieces, a critique of a negative article on Federico Fellini and his art but also, more broadly, a celebration of cultural diversity and openness and the ability of foreign cinema to promote both.

  • Scorsese, Martin. “The Persisting Vision: Reading the Language of Cinema.” New York Review of Books, 15 August 2013: 25–27.

    A short lecture on film language and aesthetics, notable for its appearance in the New York Review of Books, a venerable high art institution for whom Scorsese would co-direct a celebratory documentary, The 50 Year Argument (2014).

  • Scorsese, Martin. “I Said Marvel Movies Aren’t Cinema. Let Me Explain.” New York Times, 4 November 2019.

    Scorsese controversially weighed into the film discourse (and angered many Marvel fans) by claiming in an interview that the recent superhero blockbusters were not true cinema. This editorial explains his reasoning, expressing a worry that original, auteurist works (like his own) are endangered as a result of these “theme park” entertainments.

  • Scorsese, Martin, ed. Civilization. February/March 1998.

    Scorsese was invited to guest edit the Library of Congress magazine Civilization, a high honor confirming his prestige as both filmmaker and cultural historian.

  • Scorsese, Martin, and Michael Henry Wilson. A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese through American Movies. New York: Hyperion, 1997.

    Essentially a transcript of Scorsese’s film of the same title, notable in stressing the highly structured, essay-like nature of the film. Despite Scorsese repeatedly claiming that this is a “personal journey” and not definitive, its argument about film history and the director’s role is clear.

  • The Story of Movies Film Literacy Program.

    An educational initiative from The Film Foundation aimed at creating a curriculum that would enable high school students to better understand the language of film. Also includes teaching resources and film lessons for instructors.

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