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How Martin Scorsese makes Masterpiece Movies


If you have watched the movie “Goodfellas”, remember the first scene and first dialogue of the movie and understand the meaning and impact of its very first dialogue. Then, my friend, you have understood the Martin Scorsese. 

Martin Scorsese is an Italian-American filmmaker who has a career of 50 years which has started from “who’s that knocking at my door”, giving us masterpieces like a Raging Bull, Goodfellas, Taxi Driver and then modern cinema like Hugo, shutter island, the wolf of wall street to last one with “The Irishman ”.

Martin Scorsese has been regarded as the greatest filmmaker who is able to impact world cinema and has inspired so many upcoming new filmmakers through his work. But How?

So, here we are with some of the film perimeters to explain why Martin Scorsese is able to make that type of cinema which will be remembered for years to come.

Filmmaking Styles

  1. Script
  2. Cinematography and Color
  3. Music and sound
  4. Editing
  5. Production Design
  6. Conclusion
  7. FAQ


The script often chosen by Martin is not fantasy or fiction but rather a true and real approach towards the story. If you ever watch any movie of his, you will find the characters fictional but more authentic than anyone else.

This story is all about flawed characters. For him, everyone around him is having some fears, grittiness, and sorrow due to some incident that is going on in this world.

This approach can be seen in the movie Taxi Driver where Travis is constantly affected by people, incidents, and the nature of New York City. All these events made him rage. You will sympathize with him and will appreciate his actions.

Try to create characters who have their own pain and things around them will make him/her uncomfortable. Due to which you will be able to create the real characters and make them alive in this immortal world. 

Cinematography and Color

Cinematography is a practice of use of cameras to show Visual Imagery in a narrative cinema. His use of camera always defines the character in an odd way and sometimes depicts flashy and lavishness.

For Martin Scorsese, the use of cameras is about the use of lenses, framing, movement, and lightning. Though his cinema is about realism, his approach is always cinematic. If you haven’t watched the movie “Hugo”, then you missed the use of a 3D camera by a movie wizard. Maybe watch the restaurant scene of “Goodfellas”.

Primarily, you will see close up and fast-paced tilt & movement to create energy in the scene. Sometimes, the use of slow-motion creates tension in the scene. All these elements always make every scene look authentic and cinematic.

His understanding of color is about highlighting a scene and characters by using gritty color. He always tries to avoid bold colors. The color symbolizes the nature of the scene and the situation of the character.   

Setting any situation apart from the crowd is the use of contrast and odd color. All these decisions will look weird at first glance but they will make sense at the end of the editing table.   

Music and sound

Music and sound is a very essential part of his filmmaking. The difference between music and sound is that music is the use of lyrics or poems with the use of rhythm and tone but the sound is the voice of the nearby objects like walking sound, car sound, etc.

Music is used in his movies for setting the mood and pace in his cinema. Mostly they use the old pop culture songs to depict that era and particular feeling craving out of their mind.

This approach towards sound is quite unique and innovative. The fight sequence in “Raging Bull”. The use of voices from different people with small sounds of elephant and horse riding is to create excessive tension. 

The character can be categorized with the use of sound design in movies that showcase the real locations of the character and it depicts the situation and habitat around him. 


Editing is the most important thing in his movies. Thelma Schoonmaker is his long time editor who has edited his every movie. He always uses different kinds of editing to experiment with his craft. 

The use of excessive and fast-paced cuts is his symbolic signature style. He has the ability to show the energy with fast cuts and slow motion to create tension. His cinema has a variety of editing styles like close-ups, fast pacing cuts, extreme movement cuts, and many more.

Martin Scorsese has mostly used the editing style of “Voice-over narration with a visual depiction of the character in the movie”. Though it may surprise you most of his editing style has been copied by his fellow directors who have a big name in the industry.

Interestingly, if you have watched the movie “cape town”. notice the movement of the main character and style of editing and try to understand the situation. It will amaze you in a prolific manner.  

Production Design

The use of production design isn’t about lavish sets but rather an authentic location created to show the formation of the real world. You might not like his sets too lavishly but it has depth most people ignore.

Observe every character of his movies and their surroundings which tells every bit of a thing. Maybe it is Hugo, Taxi Driver or Goodfellas, the production design has the power to create an engaging world around him.

Mostly he uses the real locations for filmmaking which range from New York, Japan to Europe. His understanding of production design is simple. Create the surrounding which suited your character and will tell you about everything about him.  


Now, you have a total spreadsheet to understand his filmography. I will advise you to watch every movie and every bit of the scene to understand the true nature of his cinema.

This article will not cover every aspect of his Filmmaking but this article is all about giving the idea to observe every character in the process.

The true essence of cinema is not about crafting the scene but rather creating a visual story that inspires you to indulge in your own cinema.

I hope you have liked our breakdown. Remember this breakdown is not complete but rather an approach towards the greatest filmmaking the world has ever seen. Martin Scorsese got no praise but the work he has left, creates an impact in this emotional or immortal world.

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How many movies has Martin Scorsese?

He has directed a total of 25 narrative feature films in his five decades spanning filmmaking career.

How many Martin Scorsese movies have won Oscars?

Out of 91 Oscar nomination, His movies have won a total of 20 Oscars including Best Director for “The Departed”.

What is Martin Scorsese known for?

Martin Scorsese is known for his hard hitting, gritty and brutal filmmaking. He is considered as a most influential and important filmmaker of all time.



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