70 Martin Scorsese Quotes

Lydia Samson
Sep 29, 2023 By Lydia Samson
Originally Published on Jul 28, 2022
Read some of the best Martin Scorsese quotes that every film enthusiast will love.
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 9.9 Min

On November 14, 1942, Martin Scorsese was born in New York City, United States.

He is a world-renowned film director, screenwriter, and producer, best known for films like 'Taxi Driver', 'The Departed', 'The Irishman', and 'The King Of Comedy'. To date, Scorsese has won one Academy Award for Best Director, four British Academy Film Awards, and three Golden Globe Awards.

In 2006, the legendary film director also received a Grammy Award for his documentary film 'No Direction Home: Bob Dylan'.

Martin Scorsese Quotes On Cinema

Martin Scorsese is considered to be one of the greatest film directors of all time. Listed below are some of Scorsese's best quotes on cinema.

"No matter where the cinema goes, we cannot afford to lose sight of its beginnings."

"I mean I have a project that I have been wanting to make for quite a while now; and basically, it’s a story of my parents growing up on the Lower East Side."

"We can’t afford to let ourselves be guided by cultural standards – particularly now. There was a time when the average person wasn’t even aware of box office grosses. But since the 1980s, it’s become a kind of sport – and really, a form of judgment. It culturally trivializes film."

"I don't think there is any difference between fantasy and reality in the way these should be approached in a film. Of course, if you live that way you are clinically insane."

- 'Scorsese On Scorsese', 2003, edited by David Thompson and Ian Christie.

"[Luchino] Visconti came from the Milanese branch of one of Europe’s oldest families, whose roots can be traced back to the early 13th century. He might have appeared as a character in one of his own films about the aristocracy, such as Senso or The Leopard – that’s the life he was born into."

"The fact that food plays such an important part in my films has everything to do with my family."

"As in the case of many great films, maybe all of them, we don’t keep going back for the plot. Vertigo is a matter of mood as much as it’s a matter of storytelling."

"Film in the 20th century, it's the American art form, like jazz."

- www.askmen.com, Jeremy Berger.

"I would have practically done all my films in 3D. It’s like seeing a moving sculpture of the actor and it’s almost like a combination of theater and film combined and it immerses you in the story more."

"Young filmmakers should learn how to deal with the money and learn how to deal with the power structure. Because it is like a battle."

- November 16, 1997, www.nytimes.com.

"Young people need to understand that not all images are there to be consumed like fast food and then forgotten – we need to educate them to understand the difference between moving images that engage their humanity and their intelligence, and moving images that are just selling them something."

- 'Persistence Of Vision: Reading The Language Of Cinema', April 1, 2013, the John Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

"Watching a Kubrick film is like gazing up at a mountaintop. You look up and wonder, how could anyone have climbed that high?"

"Movies touch our hearts and awaken our vision, and change the way we see things. They take us to other places, they open doors and minds. Movies are the memories of our lifetime, we need to keep them alive."

"If you don’t like the films of Samuel Fuller, then you just don’t like cinema."

"Music and film are inseparable. They always have been and always will be."

- May 5, 2011, www.interviewmagazine.com, Cameron Crowe.

"I always say that I’ve been in a bad mood for maybe 35 years now. I try to lighten it up, but that’s what comes out when you get me on camera."

"Film is history. With every foot of film that is lost, we lose a link to our culture, to the world around us, to each other, and to ourselves."

- on film preservation, www.imdb.com.

"The most important thing is the script."

"Working with HBO was an opportunity to experience creative freedom and ‘long-form development’ that filmmakers didn’t have a chance to do before the emergence of shows like ‘The Sopranos'."

- www.askmen.com, John Scott Lewinski.

"The cinema began with a passionate, physical relationship between celluloid and the artists and craftsmen and technicians who handled it, manipulated it, and came to know it the way a lover comes to know every inch of the body of the beloved."

- 'Tacita Dean: Film', Tacita Dean, 2001.

"There's a way that the force of disappointment can be alchemized into something that will paradoxically renew you."

- May 15, 2016, www.theguardian.com.

"Hong Kong cinema is something you can’t duplicate anyway."

"Leo has a similar sensibility to me. I'm 30 years older than him, but I think we see the world the same way, meaning he feels comfortable with the characters I've dealt with over the years in movies."

- www.imdb.com.

"Cinema is a matter of what's in the frame and what's out."

- July 8, 2013, Scorsese.

"The most important thing is, how can I move forward towards something that I can’t articulate, that is new in storytelling with moving images and sound?"

- www.askmen.com, Jeremy Berger.

Inspirational Martin Scorsese Quotes

(Read some of the most famous quotes from the renowned American film director Martin Scorsese.)

The great film director is known for his unique style and remarkable stories. This section contains some of Scorsese's best quotes that will definitely inspire budding filmmakers.

"There's no such thing as simple. Simple is hard."

"You have to put yourself in a situation, a lifestyle, that makes you do the work. Even if it's a monastery."

- April 1, 2015, www.interviewmagazine.com, David Ansen.

"There are two kinds of power you have to fight. The first is the money, and that’s just our system. The other is the people close around you, knowing when to accept their criticism, knowing when to say no."

- December 15, 2013, Scorsese.

"Every year or so, I try to do something; it keeps me refreshed as to what’s going on in front of the lens, and I understand what the actor is going through."

"People have to start talking to know more about other cultures and to understand each other."

"We have to remember: we may think we know what’s going to last and what isn’t. We may feel absolutely sure of ourselves, but we really don’t know, we can’t know."

"Every scene is a lesson. Every shot is a school. Let the learning continue."

- September 17, 2014, www.yahoo.com, Gwynne Watkins.

Best Martin Scorsese Quotes

Here are the best Martin Scorsese quotes that everyone should know about.

"And to all young filmmakers: you need to watch Agnès Varda’s pictures."

"I go through periods, usually when I'm editing and shooting, of seeing only old films."

- November 16 1997, www.nytimes.com.

"Very often I’ve known people who wouldn’t say a word to each other, but they’d go to see movies together and experience life that way."

"The image in the mind’s eye. For me, it’s where the obsession began. It’s what keeps me going, it never fails to excite me."

"What keeps nourishing me over the years is the spell the film casts, how it weaves the mystery of the obsession of creativity, of the creative drive."

"I think when you’re young and have that first burst of energy and make five or six pictures in a row that tell the stories of all the things in life you want to say… well, maybe those are the films that should have won me the Oscar."

"Popular music formed the soundtrack of my life."

- November 21, 2010, www.theguardian.com, Mark Kermode.

"I wouldn't presume to be God's point of view."

- December 20, 2016, www.npr.org.

"If you’re looking for the origins of film culture in America, look no further than Amos Vogel."

- April 25, 2012, www.hollywoodreporter.com, Mike Barnes.

"I think this need to recreate movement is a mystical urge. It’s an attempt to capture the mystery of who and what we are, and then to contemplate that mystery."

"Deep down you want to think that people are really good--but the reality outweighs that."

- www.imdb.com.

"And as I've gotten older, I've had more of a tendency to look for people who live by kindness, tolerance, compassion, a gentler way of looking at things."

"Some of my films are known for the depiction of violence. I don’t have anything to prove with that anymore."

"Your job is to get your audience to care about your obsessions."

"I love studying Ancient History and seeing how empires rise and fall, sowing the seeds of their own destruction."

"I just wanted to be an ordinary parish priest."

"If I’m not complaining, I’m not having a good time, hah hah."

- August 11, 2014, Scorsese.

"Sometimes when you're heavy into the shooting or editing of a picture, you get to the point where you don't know if you could ever do it again."

"I’m going to be 60, and I’m almost used to myself."

"The problem with anger is that it's so consuming. You've got to take it easy on yourself at a certain point."

- April 1, 2015, www.interviewmagazine.com, David Ansen.

"It seems to me that any sensible person must see that violence does not change the world and if it does, then only temporarily."

"The first element that I connected with was the emotion. Sorry, that's how it goes."

- www.indielondon.co.uk.

"I'm not a Hollywood director. I'm an in spite of Hollywood director."

- www.imdb.com.

"As a kid I watched the Academy Awards on television and always wanted one - or several - like one of my favorite directions, John Ford. He won six. On the other hand, Orson Welles, who's on the top of my list, didn't win any. Alfred Hitchcock didn't win any. Howard Hawks didn't win any."

- April 1, 2015, www.interviewmagazine.com, David Ansen.

"My whole life has been movies and religion. That’s it. Nothing else."

- www.imdb.com.

"You don't make pictures for Oscars."

- www.imdb.com.

"I'm not interested in a realistic look - not at all, not ever. Every film should look the way I feel."

- March 7, 1976, www.rogerebert.com, Roger Ebert.

"Food tells you everything about the way people live and who they are."

"Death comes in a flash, and that's the truth of it, the person's gone in less than 24 frames of film."

- October 6, 2006, www.theguardian.com, Ed Pilkington.

"It is not the most brilliant that excel in film, but the most patient!"

"Most people have stereo vision, so why belittle that very, very important element of our existence?"

"If your mother cooks Italian food, why should you go to a restaurant?"

- March 28, 2014, Facebook (scorsese).

"Any film, or to me any creative endeavor, no matter who you’re working with, is, in many cases, a wonderful experience."

- August 12, 2007, www.theguardian.com, Craig McLean.

"I didn't realize there are generations who do not know about the origins of film."

- February 28, 2012, www.movieweb.com, Brian Gallagher.

Iconic Quotes From Martin Scorcese's Movies

This section features quotes from some of Scorsese's best movies.

"Maybe that's why a broken machine always makes me a little sad because it isn't able to do what it was meant to do... Maybe it's the same with people. If you lose your purpose... it's like you're broken."

- Hugo Cabret, 'Hugo', 2011.

"Loneliness has followed me my whole life, everywhere. In bars, in cars, sidewalks, stores, everywhere. There's no escape. I'm God's lonely man."

- Travis Bickle, 'Taxi Driver', 1976.

"The more scribbled the name, the bigger the fame."

- Rupert Pupkin, 'The King Of Comedy', 1982.

"Which would be worse - to live as a monster, or to die as a good man?"

- Teddy Daniels, 'Shutter Island', 2010.

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Sources

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Written by Lydia Samson

Bachelor in Science specializing in Mass Communication

Lydia Samson picture

Lydia SamsonBachelor in Science specializing in Mass Communication

A diligent and driven mass communications graduate from Caleb University, Lydia has experience in media and a passion for digital marketing and communications. She is an effective communicator and team-builder with strong analytical, management, and organizational skills. She is a self-starter with a positive, can-do attitude.

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