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Martin Scorsese Timeline

How It All Went Down

Nov 17, 1942

Martin Scorsese Born

Martin Charles Scorsese is born in Flushing, New York. He is the second son of Luciano Charles Scorsese and Catherine Cappa Scorsese, both Sicilian-American workers in New York City's Garment District.


Move to Little Italy

Because of financial hardship, the Scorsese family moves from their Queens suburb to Manhattan's Little Italy neighborhood. The Scorseses live in a tenement on Elizabeth Street. A severe asthmatic, the sickly Martin is forced to spend lots of time indoors.


Falls in Love With Cinema

Scorsese's film buff father takes him to see The Magic Box, a British film about the history of cinema. The film is a life-changing experience for Scorsese, who falls in love with cinema. He decides to be an actor or painter when he grows up.


Studies for Priesthood

A teenage Scorsese considers joining the priesthood and begins studying at Cathedral College, a seminary on the Upper West Side. The allure of girls and rock n' roll, however, soon supersedes his piety. He is expelled from the seminary.


New York University

Scorsese enrolls at New York University to study filmmaking. He produces two short student films, the historical Roman epic Vesuvius VI and a comedy called What's a Nice Girl Like You Doing In a Place Like This?



Scorsese receives his undergraduate degree from NYU and produces another short comedy called It's Not Just You, Murray!


Marriage and Child

Scorsese marries his first wife, Laraine Marie Brennan, in New York's St. Patrick's Cathedral. Their daughter Catherine is born later that year, though the marriage later ends in divorce.


Graduate Degree

Scorsese receives his master in fine arts degree from New York University.


First Feature Film

Scorsese releases his first feature film, Who's That Knocking At My Door? (originally entitled I Call First) starring a local actor named Harvey Keitel. Like many of his later works, the film looks at an Italian-American young man growing up on the rough streets of New York. Scorsese's films have by now attracted the attention of director Roger Corman, who becomes his mentor.


Mean Streets

Scorsese releases his breakthrough autobiographical film, Mean Streets, a gritty, violent Italian-American drama set in New York. The movie stars Keitel and a young actor named Robert DeNiro, who will go on to work with Scorsese on several more films.


Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore

Scorsese directs the drama Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, for which actress Ellen Burstyn wins a Best Actress Oscar.


Second Marriage

Scorsese marries the writer Julia B. Cameron. The couple has a daughter, Domenica Cameron-Scorsese, but the marriage only lasts two years.


Taxi Driver

Scorsese releases Taxi Driver, a dark, harrowing chronicle of a man descending into madness. Robert DeNiro's performance as the insane Travis Bickle becomes legendary.


Dark Period

After his film New York, New York flops, Scorsese spirals into depression and cocaine addiction, eventually checking into a hospital to recover.

Dec 30, 1979

Third Marriage

Scorsese marries the actress Isabella Rossellini. The couple divorces in 1982.


Raging Bull

DeNiro and Scorsese team up for another classic film, Raging Bull, a biopic in which DeNiro plays the boxer Jake La Motta. DeNiro and Scorsese's longtime editor Thelma Schoonmaker win Oscars for their work. Scorsese is nominated for Best Director but loses - a frustrating but recurrent theme.


The King of Comedy

Scorsese makes the film The King of Comedy, starring DeNiro and Jerry Lewis. The movie flops at the box office, but Scorsese is already hard at work on his next film, an adaptation of the book The Last Temptation of Christ.

Feb 8, 1985

Fourth Marriage

Scorsese marries Barbara De Fina, a producer who collaborates with Scorsese on the films Goodfellas and Kundun. They divorce in 1991.


The Color of Money

Scorsese releases the film The Color of Money, about a hustler played by Paul Newman. It is one of his first big commercial successes with a domestic gross of over $50 million.

Aug 12, 1988

The Last Temptation of Christ

The Last Temptation of Christ premieres. Based on a novel by Nikos Kazantzakis, the controversial film recasts Jesus Christ as a human rather than a divine figure. Critics praise the film and religious groups protest it, with one group in Paris fire-bombing a theater during a showing.



Scorsese's classic gangster drama Goodfellas premieres, set in the Little Italy neighborhood of Scorsese's childhood. It becomes one of the best-loved films in his oeuvre. For a third time Scorsese is nominated for - and loses - the Best Director Oscar.


Cape Fear

The horror film Cape Fear is released. It becomes the most commercially successful film of Scorsese's career to this point (approximately $80 million in gross domestic box office).


The Age of Innocence

In a departure from the usual violent, urban settings of his films, Scorsese films a version of the Edith Wharton novel The Age of Innocence. Scorsese was nominated for (but didn't win) an Oscar for his adaptation of the script.



Scorsese makes the film Casino, reuniting Goodfellas stars Joe Pesci and Robert DeNiro. He also makes a four-hour documentary about American cinema called A Personal Journey With Martin Scorsese Through American Movies.



In yet another Age of Innocence style departure from classic Scorsese films, Scorsese makes the movie Kundun about the early life of the Dalai Lama. China protests the release of the film. Also this year, the American Film Institute honors Scorsese with its Life Achievement Award.


Fifth Marriage, Third Daughter

Scorsese marries his fifth wife, Helen Morris, and they have a daughter named Francesca later in the year.

Sep 11, 2001

Response to 9/11

Terrorists attack the World Trade Center in Scorsese's hometown of New York City. Along with other famous directors such as Woody Allen and Spike Lee, Scorsese directs a segment of the benefit Concert for New York City.


Gangs of New York

Scorsese releases the epic Gangs of New York, a look at the violent inter-ethnic clashes in the city in the 19th century. It was the first movie Scorsese made with actor Leonardo DiCaprio, who was to become one of his muses in the way of Robert DeNiro and Harvey Keitel. The film was nominated for ten Oscars but failed to win one.


The Aviator

Scorsese's splashy, epic biopic of the eccentric millionaire Howard Hughes premieres, starring DiCaprio. The film is a hit (with over $100 million in gross domestic box office) and Scorsese is nominated for his sixth Best Director Oscar. And loses, for the sixth time.

Feb 25, 2007

Wins Oscar

On his seventh nomination, Scorsese finally wins his first Academy Award for Best Director for the film The Departed. The Irish gangster film is acclaimed as one of Scorsese's best movies since Raging Bull.

Feb 19, 2010

Shutter Island

Scorsese reteams with DiCaprio for the thriller Shutter Island.

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