Martin Scorsese Poster

Quotes (104)

  • The only person who has the right attitude about boxing in the movies for me was Buster Keaton.
  • [on sports] Anything with a ball, no good.
  • Because of the movies I make, people get nervous, because they think of me as difficult and angry. I am difficult and angry, but they don't expect a sense of humor. And the only thing that gets me through is a sense of humor.
  • [on Raging Bull (1980)] Robert De Niro wanted to make this film. Not me. I don't understand anything about boxing. For me, it's like a physical game of chess.
  • It seems to me that any sensible person must see that violence does not change the world and if it does, then only temporarily.
  • 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. When Taxi Driver (1976) was up for Best Picture, it got three other nominations: Best Actor [Robert De Niro], Best Supporting Actress [Jodie Foster] and Best Music. But the director and writer were overlooked. I was so disappointed, I said, "You know what? That's the way it's going to be." What was I going to do, go home and cry?
  • Basically, you make another movie, and another, and hopefully you feel good about every picture you make. And you say, "My name is on that. I did that. It's okay." But don't get me wrong, I still get excited by it all. That, I hope, will never disappear.
  • I think a lot of it has to do with the nature of the community. I've lived here in Los Angeles, but I'm more of a New Yorker, and the nature of my films is regarded as somewhat violent and the language is considered tough. As you grow older, you change. I make different films now. You don't make pictures for Oscars.
  • I'm in a different chapter of my life. As time goes by and I grow older, I find that I need to just be quiet and think. There have been periods when I've locked myself away for days, but now it's different--I'm married and we have a daughter who is in my office the whole time.
  • If I continue to make films about New York, they will probably be set in the past. The "new" New York I don't know much about. It's not that I'm against contemporary film. I'm open to it in general, but I find the new colors of the city, the new Times Square, kind of shocking. I guess I'm stuck in a time warp.
  • It probably is better I didn't win in the '70s or mid-'80s or something. My view on making films is somewhat different in a way, and I think maybe it's something that . . . I was not able to handle at the time . . . Had I gotten an Oscar, maybe I would have gotten maybe an extra two days shooting, maybe a couple, you know what I'm saying?
  • I prefer celluloid--there's no doubt about it. Yet I know that if I was starting to make movies now, as a young person, if I could get my hands on a DV [digital video] camera, I probably would have started that way . . . There's no doubt I'm an older advocate of pure celluloid, but ultimately I see it going by the wayside, except in museums, and even then it could be a problem.
  • My whole life has been movies and religion. That's it. Nothing else.
  • There is no such thing as pointless violence. Cidade de Deus (2002), is that pointless violence? It's reality, it's real life, it has to do with the human condition. Being involved in Christianity and Catholicism when I was very young, you have that innocence, the teachings of Christ. Deep down you want to think that people are really good--but the reality outweighs that.
  • I'm a lapsed Catholic. But I am Roman Catholic--there's no way out of it.
  • [on the Iraq war] One hopes that this kind of war can be done diplomatically, with intelligence rather than wiping out a lot of innocent civilians.
  • [on political correctness] You can hardly say anything about minorities now. It has made it extremely difficult to open your mouth.
  • [on the Iraq War] There are a lot of Americans who also feel that a lot of this war talk is economic, part of this has to do with the oil. I think it really has to come down to respecting how other people live. There's got to be ways this can be worked out diplomatically, there simply has to be.
  • What does it take to be a filmmaker in Hollywood? Even today I still wonder what it takes to be a professional or even an artist in Hollywood. How do you survive the constant tug of war between personal expression and commercial imperatives? What is the price you pay to work in Hollywood? Do you end up with a split personality? Do you make one movie for them, one for yourself?
  • Cinema is a matter of what's in the frame and what's out.
  • [onstage at the 2007 Oscars after winning for Best Director] Could you double-check the envelope?
  • [on The Departed (2006)] It's the only movie of mine with a plot.
  • [on Robert De Niro] And even now I still know of nobody who can surprise me on the screen the way he does--and did then. No actor comes to mind who can provide such power and excitement.
  • [on working with Liza Minnelli on New York, New York (1977)] After 15 minutes I realized that not only could she sing, she could be one hell of an actress. She's so malleable and inventive. And fun, even when things are hard.
  • [on Stanley Kubrick] One of his films . . . is equivalent to ten of somebody else's. Watching a Kubrick film is like gazing up at a mountain top. You look up and wonder, "How could anyone have climbed that high?".
  • [on Stanley Kubrick] Why does something stay with you for so many years? It's really a person with a very powerful storytelling ability. A talent . . . a genius, who could create a solid rock image that has conviction.
  • But once Haig Manoogian started talking about film, I realized that I could put that passion into movies, and then I realized that the Catholic vocation was, in a sense, through the screen for me.
  • [on Kathryn Bigelow] I've always been a fan of hers, over the years . . . Blue Steel (1990) . . . She's good, she's really good.
  • It's hilarious, the problems that arise when you're on the set. It's really funny because you make a complete fool of yourself. I think I know how to use dissolves, the grammar of cinema. But there's only one place for the camera. That's the right place. Where is the right place? I don't know. You get there somehow.
  • I can't take shooting any scene for granted. I just can't. The moment I do that, I have no idea what I'm doing. "Oh, that'll be easy, I'll do that in five minutes." Believe me, that never happens.
  • [on Robert De Niro] I've come to know De Niro fairly well down the years. He's a very compassionate man. He's basically a very good man and you can see that in him. So he can take on characters that are pretty disturbing and make them human because of that compassion. It's taken me years to figure it out. He has an ability to make audiences feel empathy for very difficult characters because there is something very decent in him.
  • [on Akira Kurosawa] His influence on filmmakers throughout the entire world is so profound as to be almost incomparable.
  • [on Akira Kurosawa] The term "giant" is used too often to describe artists. But in the case of Akira Kurosawa, we have one of the rare instances where the term fits.
  • [on Leonardo DiCaprio] 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. But also with Leo it's always an interesting process of discovery. And I don't say that in a facile way either, because we never know what that process is going to be, and it's always intimidating at first. And then Leo really gets into it and we start unravelling all these layers. With Shutter Island (2010) the story really lent itself to that.
  • When I did The Age of Innocence (1993), the critics said, "Is it wrong to expect a little more heat from Scorsese?" I thought "Age of Innocence" was pretty hot. So I said, "Alright, I'll do Casino (1995)," and they said, "Well, gee, it's the same as Goodfellas (1990)." You can't win. Yes, "Casino" has the style of "Goodfellas", but it has more to do with America and even Hollywood--the idea of never being satisfied.
  • 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 life time, we need to keep them alive.
  • The Color of Money (1986) was deep-rooted in social concern about the effect money has on the upper class. The billiards game in the film was a symbol depicting society. I very much liked Paul Newman in The Hustler (1961), and thought of repeating him in a character with more mature shades. He scored with his brilliant underplaying, winning an Oscar. He was very cooperative with newcomer Tom Cruise, who showed promise. In fact, the whistling tone in the film titles was Newman's idea. He was one of those actors who made method acting spontaneous, and his emerald eyes spoke volumes.
  • I considered it a true cinematic challenge of working with a versatile actor such as Robert De Niro, who molds himself according to each character. The only other actor who matches his histrionic ability is Al Pacino.
  • L'avventura (1960) gave me one of the most profound shocks I've ever had at the movies, greater even than À bout de souffle (1960) or Hiroshima mon amour (1959). Or La dolce vita (1960). At the time there were two camps, the people who liked the [Federico Fellini] film and the ones who liked "L'Avventura". I knew I was firmly on [Michelangelo Antonioni's side of the line, but if you'd asked me at the time, I'm not sure I would have been able to explain why. I loved Fellini's pictures and I admired "La Dolce Vita", but I was challenged by "L'Avventura". Fellini's film moved me and entertained me, but Antonioni's film changed my perception of cinema, and the world around me, and made both seem limitless. I was mesmerized by "L'Avventura" and by Antonioni's subsequent films, and it was the fact that they were unresolved in any conventional sense that kept drawing me back. They posed mysterie--or rather the mystery, of who we are, what we are, to each other, to ourselves, to time. You could say that Antonioni was looking directly at the mysteries of the soul. That's why I kept going back. I wanted to keep experiencing these pictures, wandering through them. I still do.
  • [on casting Ray Liotta as Henry Hill in Goodfellas (1990)] I'd seen Ray in Something Wild (1986), Jonathan Demme's film; I really liked him. And then I met him. I was walking across the lobby of the hotel on the Lido that houses the Venice Film Festival, and I was there with The Last Temptation of Christ (1988). I had a lot of bodyguards around me. Ray approached me in the lobby and the bodyguards moved toward him, and he had an interesting way of reacting, which was he held his ground, but made them understand he was no threat. I liked his behavior at that moment, and I saw, Oh, he understands that kind of situation. That's something you wouldn't have to explain to him.
  • 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.
  • A painting can't turn. If you look closely at some of the portraits from cubism at the time, you'll find a portrait of a woman that is really a projector.
  • Every shot [while making Hugo (2011) in 3D] is rethinking cinema, rethinking narrative--how to tell a story with a picture. Now, I'm not saying we have to keep throwing javelins at the camera, I'm not saying we use it as a gimmick, but it's liberating. It's literally a Rubik's Cube every time you go out to design a shot, and work out a camera move, or a crane move. But it has a beauty to it also. People look like . . . like moving statues. They move like sculpture, as if sculpture is moving in a way. Like dancers . . .
  • [Hugo (2011)] [is] really the story of a little boy. But he does become friends with the older Georges Méliès who was discovered in 1927, or 1928, working in a toy store, completely bankrupt. And then he was revived in a way, with a beautiful gala in 1928, in Paris. And in my film, the cinema itself is the connection--the automaton, the machine itself becomes the emotional connection between the boy, his father, Méliès, and his family. It's about how it all comes together, how people express themselves using the technology emotionally and psychologically. It's the connection between the people, and the thing that's missing--how it supplies what's missing.
  • I've always liked 3D. I mean, we're sitting here in 3D. We are in 3D. We see in 3D. So why not?
  • [I remember the] curiosity and sense of completion [that drove him to seek out hard-to-find films in his youth, and the undeniable fetishism of film which underwrote that all-consuming passion]. It's interesting because the fetish ideas are all there in Peeping Tom (1960). All the elements: the projector is correct; the lenses are right; the sprockets are correct. Even the sounds of the sprockets are correct. You do . . . There is a point in time, many times over the years . . . where I've loved to hear the sound of film going through a projector. And I could tell you if it's 35mm or 16mm, you know. Now that's gone, of course . . . but there's a certain kind of . . . it's like going into a trance almost, or I should say a "meditation" of some kind. It depends what you do with it. And it has to come out other ways. For me, it was burning to be able to express myself with cinema, and to be inspired by films.
  • [The colors of my childhood were inflected by the gaudy hues of Eastmancolor which were] very powerful, very strong and very lurid, and kind of violent in a way. What I saw growing up were those colors, when there was color. Normally, it was all hallways with single light bulbs; it was mainly black-and-white in a way. But when it was color, it was harsh, strong; some would say lurid. My formative years were in the '50s, when you had all those popular novels with paperback covers, and films like Raoul Walsh's Battle Cry (1955) were just splashed all over the consciousness of popular culture.
  • I think I was eight years old when I first saw Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's The Red Shoes (1948) and it had a very strong impact on me for many reasons: the nature of the storytelling; the images; the editing; the camera movements; the use of music--and the color. And then I saw A Matter of Life and Death (1946) on a black-and-white television, and The Small Back Room (1949), again on TV, one afternoon when I was home sick from school. In New York, there was a television show called "The Million Dollar Movie", which would show a film twice a night for a week. And so one week it would be Citizen Kane (1941). Edited. With commercials. And with the "News on the March" sequence missing. Ha! That was the first time I'd ever seen it! Then, you know, you would get The Third Man (1949), with half the film cut out. But one of the films they showed was Michael Powell (I) and Emeric Pressburger's The Tales of Hoffmann (1951). And it was cut down to about an hour and 40 minutes or so, black-and-white, with commercials. And it had a quality like "The Red Shoes"--a darkness, and a humor. But what was so interesting to me was the way the camera moved with the music. And the sense of editing. I lived in a tenement with my mother and father and my brother at the time, and if that film was on twice a night, I'd have to keep watching it. At certain point, my mother would ask, "Is it necessary to watch that again?".
  • Well, I think in my own work the subject matter usually deals with characters I know, aspects of myself, friends of mine - that sort of thing. And we try to work it out. By 'work it out' I mean almost like 'work it through your system'. Particularly, I think, on films like Mean Streets (1973), or Taxi Driver (1976) from Paul Schrader's script. And Raging Bull (1980), especially. At the end of that film, Robert De Niro was fine, but me - I left Jake LaMotta's character more at peace with himself than I was with myself. And I was hoping to get to that moment that he was at the end of the film. That moment where he's looking at himself in the mirror. I was hoping to get there myself. But I hadn't made it. So it's a matter of living through the cinema I think.
  • A friend of mine sent me that line ["All this filming isn't healthy"] on a note when we were making Raging Bull (1980)! I think it was one of the cinematographers who had just seen Peeping Tom (1960). And there is no doubt that filmmaking is aggressive and it could be something that is not very healthy. When you make a film . . . there are times in your life when you're burning with a passion and it's very, very strong. It's almost like a pathology of cinema where you want to possess the people on film. You want to live through them. You want to possess their spirits, their souls, in a way. And ultimately you can't stop. It has to be done until you get to the bitter end. You're exhausted. In some cases friends might have died, in some cases they don't come back, in some cases they can't make another picture. The only thing to do is try to make another picture. It's got to be done again. Now, I don't mean to sound dramatic, a lot of great films are made that way. And we might not only be talking about cinema here. We could be talking about other things, too. I would think that it might apply to other art forms. But I must say, that with that passion and that power, there is pathology in wanting to live vicariously through the people.
  • Boardwalk Empire (2010) is made for what I guess you would call the small screen. But we made it like a film; an epic B-film in a way. And you know what? Those small screens aren't that small any more!
  • [on making Boardwalk Empire (2010), set in the 1920s] To me, it's as if we're talking now about the 1980s or late 1970s. That was like yesterday to me. The 20s in my head were always very present because my parents always referred to it: the music, the people, the clothes. I know all the songs from that period; I know all the films. We knew it all. And so it was a natural transition. But you know I really was fascinated with the idea of working with Terry Winter and these guys, and taking these characters over 13 hours, developing them, developing their story, the complications of corruption in American politics.
  • [on black and white films] Black and white is never really black and white. It's shades of grey.
  • I'm not a Hollywood director. I'm an in-spite-of-Hollywood director.
  • [on film preservation] 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.
  • I think it's certainly interesting that what's happening now, in the past nine or ten years, particularly at HBO, was what we had hoped for in the mid-'60s when films were being made for television. We hoped that there would be this kind of freedom, the ability to create another world and develop character in a long-form story and narrative. That didn't happen in the '70s and '80s with television. This is a good example, and HBO has really been the trail-blazer in this, with the extraordinary series that they've had. I've been tempted, over the years, to be involved in one of them because of the nature of the long-form and the development of character and plot. So many of their other series that have been made are thoughtful, intelligent and brilliantly put together. It's a new opportunity for story-telling, which is very different from television in the past. This was my inroad.
  • [in 2011] At this point I find that the excitement of a young student or filmmaker can get me excited again. I like showing them things and seeing how their minds open up, seeing the way their response then gets expressed in their own work.
  • I'm concerned about a culture where everything is immediate and then discarded. I'm exposing [12-year-old daughter Francesca] to stuff like musicals and Ray Harryhausen spectaculars, Frank Capra films. I just read her a children's version of "The Iliad". I wanted her to know where it all comes from. Every story, I told her, every story is in here, "The Iliad". Three months ago, I had a screening here for the family. Francesca had responded to Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936), and to Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), so I decided to try It Happened One Night (1934). I had kind of dismissed the film, which some critics love, of course, but then I realized I had only seen it on a small screen, on television. So I got a 35mm print in here, and we screened it. And I discovered it was a masterpiece. The way [Claudette Colbert] and [Clark Gable] move, their body language. It's really quite remarkable!
  • There was always a part of me that wanted to be an old-time director. But I couldn't do that. I'm not a pro.
  • 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.
  • I was never interested in the accumulation of money, you know. And I never had a mind for business. There have been serious issues with money over the years. I have a nice house now, in New York. But there have been major, major issues. In the mid-'80s it was pathetic, I mean, my father would help me out. I couldn't go out, I couldn't buy anything. But it's all my own doing.
  • There is an essence to the project that you must protect. You cannot make concessions on that, the story cannot be tampered with past that point; you have to fight off every power or force around you.
  • When I get frustrated with the commercial playing field of feature films, I go to these [music documentary] movies. I have had the need, more and more, to explore the spiritual or religious. Elements of that find their way into my music films. Music is for me the purest art form. There's a transcendent power to it, to all kinds, to rock 'n' roll. It takes you to another world, you feel it in your body, you feel a change come over you and a desire to live. That's transcendence.
  • [on Hugo (2011)] I've always loved 3D, going back to stereoscopic images - devices used in the Victorian period. When 3D was first used in my time, in 1953, I was so excited by it. I was talking to Elia Suleiman, the great Palestinian filmmaker. I said that I was very excited about the use of 3D. He pointed out that, if you do use 3D, it had to be there in the script. With Hugo, I felt that it was.
  • [in 2011, on his legacy] I don't know if there is any. Maybe a part of me wants there to be, if I'm being brutally honest, but the reality is it's a different experience now, cinema. Young people perceive the world and information in a completely different way to when I was growing up. So what I did in the past, I don't know how they'll see that in the future and if it will mean anything to them. I hope the scripts for Taxi Driver (1976), or Mean Streets (1973), or Raging Bull (1980) or any of these things, will have some resonance in the future for other people, if they see them at all. Things fall out of favor, out of fashion. I have no idea. All I can do is hope to get to make another one.
  • [on Amos Vogel] If you're looking for the origin of film culture in America, look no further than Amos Vogel. Amos opened the doors to every possibility in film viewing, film exhibition, film curating, film appreciation.
  • [on The Bronx Bull (2016)] At the end of Raging Bull (1980) Jake La Motta is looking in a mirror and he's at comfort with himself. He's not fighting, he's not beating himself up. That's all. So, I don't know where they're going to go. I really don't know what "The Bronx Bull" would be.
  • I have a desire to tell stories. And I'm never quite satisfied.
  • The cinema began with a passionate relationship between celluloid and the artists and craftsmen and technicians who handled it, manipulated it, and came to know it in the way a lover comes to know every inch of the body of the beloved. No matter where the cinema goes, we cannot afford to lose sight of the beginning.
  • [on actors he would like to work with] Johnny Depp is one. I like him. He's unique. I don't know how he does it.
  • [on the 2013 release of a restored The King of Comedy (1982) ] I've always been partial to comedians--the irreverence, the absurdity, the hostility, all the feelings under the surface--and to the old world of late-night variety shows hosted by Steve Allen and Jack Paar and, of course, Johnny Carson, to the familiarity and the camaraderie between the guests. You had the feeling that they were there with you, in your living room.
  • The King of Comedy (1982) is my coming to terms with disappointment, disappointment with the fact that the reality is different from the dream.
  • When I first went to L.A. in 1970, there was a little bit of that need in me--to buy into, participate in, the dream world of celebrity. It's almost as if they are like gods and goddesses--that's the impression they make on you from when you're four or five years old. That's the old story. I hear a lot of actors talk about this, where people come up to them and talk to them, and finally the actor gets mad and says, "Please, leave me alone". Then the fan thinks, "Well, actors are a different kind of person", and also, :What do you think I am? I am a person, too".
  • I think it's accumulated. If it's trained, it's trained from my own films. You can imagine the tension in a scene, or the warmth, or the humor. I think I know the size of the frame, and I think I know when to cut--and when not to. Somehow that comes out of the story, and the actors who are playing the parts. They determine, sometimes, whether you should move the camera or not, whether you should be in close-up, whether it should be a medium close-up. I try to translate all of that into visual terms-the feeling I'd like to get from a scene.
  • Each film is interlocked with so many other films. You can't get away. Whatever you do now that you think is new was already done in 1913.
  • [on death] I'm still struggling with the religious aspects of it.
  • [on Boardwalk Empire (2010)] I don't have time to watch any other shows. I only watched The Sopranos (1999) once or twice. I just couldn't connect with it. I started watching Curb Your Enthusiasm (2000), that is the key one, that is when I realised you could do something on television.
  • Every time I get on an airplane, I know I'm not really an atheist. "Oh God, dear God," I say the minute the plane takes off. "I'm sorry for all my sins, please don't let this plane crash." And I keep praying out loud until the plane lands.
  • You can't do your work according to the people's values. I'm not talking about "following your dream", either, I never like the inspirational value of that phrase. Dreaming is a way of trivializing the process, the obsession that carries you through the failure as well as the successes which could be harder to get through. If you're dreaming, you're sleeping. It's important and imperative to always be awake to your feelings, your possibilities, your ambitions. But you also know this, for your work, for your passions, every day is a re-dedication. Painters, dancers, writers, filmmakers, it's the same for all of you, all of us. Every step is a first step, every brush stroke is a test, every scene is a lesson, every shot is a school. So, let the learning continue.
  • [on Brian De Palma] Brian took me under his wing when I went out to L.A. In the '70s, introduced me to [Robert De Niro], Paul Schrader and other people, got me started. He gave me the Taxi Driver (1976) script, which he read. I once had very bad asthma, and Brian visited me in the hospital, took me home and took care of me until I got better. He is a warm, passionate, compassionate person who, I think, puts on a tough front.
  • [in a 1993 article for "Premiere" Magazine] As a film student in New York in the early '60s, I was fortunate to be exposed to foreign and American classics as well as "B" movies. I saw film as a learning process, a cross-cultural language that brought people together to share a common experience. I'm still a film student. If I'm not out making films, I'm watching them over and over, painfully aware of how much there is to learn. It would be a shame if future generations did not have the same chance.
  • [remembering the late Jacques Rivette] The news of Jacques Rivette's passing is a reminder that so much time has passed since that remarkable moment in the late '50s and early '60s when so many directors were redrawing the boundaries of cinema. Rivette was one of them. He was the most experimental of the French New Wave directors, probably the least known in those early years. I vividly remember the shock of seeing his first two films, Paris nous appartient (1961) and La religieuse (1966). Two very different experiences, both uniquely troubling and powerful, quite unlike anything else around. Rivette was a fascinating artist, and it's strange to think that he's gone. Because if you came of age when I did, the New Wave still seems new. I suppose it always will.
  • [on Mean Streets (1973)] I was so pleased when Warner Bros. bought it because they had all the best gangster films.
  • Cape Fear (1991) was an attempt to work in the mainstream.
  • [on Nicolas Cage] I was looking in a way for a picture that I would be able to work with him on. I remember a few years ago his uncle [Francis Ford Coppola] asked me to meet him and I did and we had a nice talk. And a couple of Christmases ago, Brian De Palma told me at a Christmas dinner he's really great to work with, he did Snake Eyes (1998) with him.
  • Max von Sydow is iconic in cinema. There's no doubt about it. He changed the face of cinema with his portrayals, going back to Ingmar Bergman.
  • When I went to Hollywood in the '70s, what I saw of the old Hollywood was dying away.
  • There's no way I can compare a movie of mine to the films that formed me.
  • [on Las Vegas] A lot of people love to go to Vegas because they really love the aesthetic of the bad taste. I find it remarkable. I think it's interesting visually but I don't enjoy it.
  • [on working with Jack Nicholson in The Departed (2006)] Jack works a certain way. Even when he was declining the role, he was talking about certain things he would do with the character. You have to decipher him. So we decided to jack up his character and then he said, "Okay, I'm interested." His character is a man with power who has all the drugs in the world, all the money in the world, all the women in the world, he can do anything, mutilate people. He's like God. And he's still not fulfilled.
  • [February 2017, on why theaters are still the best way to see movies] The problem now is that it is everything around the frame that is distracting. Now you can see a film on an iPad. You might be able to push it closer to your [face] in your bedroom, just lock the door and look at it if you can but I do find just glimpsing stuff here or there, even watching a film at home on a big-screen TV, there is still stuff around the room. There's a phone that rings. People go by. It is not the best way.
  • [on John Ford] To me and to so many directors, John Ford is a towering figure and continues to be a profound inspiration. His films deftly convey his unique and acute sense of humanity, his deep understanding of people. When I first started watching his films, Ford's force behind the camera was palpable. He was a visionary in the truest form and his films are enriched with artistic energy. I see his films often, studying them and each time, I learn something new.
  • [on making Silence (2016) in Taiwan] I'm not an outdoorsman. I'm known for my hypochondria and asthma. I'm known for being an urban person, Manhattan. I've lived here in California for ten or 12 years, but that's about as far as I got into the country. So for me, being placed in caves and thunderous waves hitting--I didn't even understand quite about high tide. How come is this getting high? What's going on here? Oh, I see, the moon! I get it, I get it! I mean, I'm a New Yorker. I began to appreciate the elements.
  • [on Taxi Driver (1976)] The script was given to me by Brian De Palma. He thought it was a wonderful script.
  • [on Margot Robbie] With Margot you can recall some classic precedents: the comedic genius of Carole Lombard, for her all-bets-off feistiness; Joan Crawford, for her grounded, hardscrabble toughness; Ida Lupino, for her emotional daring. Margot has all this, in addition to a unique audacity that surprises and challenges and just burns like a brand into every character she plays.
  • If you're intrigued by movie making as a career, this isn't the class for you. But if you need to make movies, if you feel like you can't rest until you've told this particular story that you're burning to tell, then I could be speaking to you.
  • If you don't get physically ill seeing your first rough cut, something's wrong.
  • [on Howard Hughes] He was sort of like the outlaw of Hollywood.
  • [asked if he has a favorite Stanley Kubrick film] I keep coming back to Barry Lyndon (1975). I think that's because it's such a profoundly emotional experience. The emotion is conveyed through the movement of the camera, the slowness of the pace, the way the characters move in relation to their surroundings. People didn't get it when it came out. Many still don't. Basically, in one exquisitely beautiful image after another, you're watching the progress of a man as he moves from the purest innocence to the coldest sophistication, ending in absolute bitterness--and it's all a matter of simple, elemental survival. It's a terrifying film because all the candlelit beauty is nothing but a veil over the worst cruelty. But it's real cruelty, the kind you see every day in polite society.
  • [May 2018, on which films he used storyboards] All the boxing scenes in Raging Bull (1980) were designed on paper. We shot all the fight scenes first. Ten weeks. It was supposed to be three. All of Taxi Driver (1976), all of Mean Streets (1973). Primarily just because of the short schedules. I needed drawings to show to the cameraman and say, "This sort of thing". To explain how I saw it.
  • [[speech at Lincoln Center's Chaplin Award, 8th May 2017, on working with Robert De Niro] When we did Mean Streets (1973) in 1972 we were in L.A. shooting the film and Bob suggested in rehearsal that there be a scene that was added with him and Harvey Keitel that would kind of set the tone for their relationship, and I thought it was a great idea. As we were doing the scene I sensed there was something really extraordinary going on with them, and sure enough, in the editing of the film it crystalized. It was a perfect set up for the whole film and the culture and the people. We went off, came back together on Taxi Driver (1976) and by that time when he had suggestions, every now and then he'd come up to me and say "I've got this idea. It's a little off, it's a little crazy" and I'd say, "Don't tell me. Let's just shoot it". And invariably when he played out these ideas in front of the camera, of course I loved it, and watching him, I became the audience.
  • To prepare to make a movie from The Invention of Hugo Cabret, I met with the whole creative team to discuss costumes, makeup, set design, props, and so on, with historical photographs and films as reference. The objective was to create our own universe with its own visual language. We wanted to find a balance between realism and myth. This is partially expressed in visual details such as the color of a costume or the placement and size of a poster. The Paris we created has a basis in reality but it is not an exact reproduction.
  • I felt a passion for the movies. It was sparked by my obsession with the illusion of movement that motion pictures create.
  • Talking about David Grann's novel Killers of the Flower Moon: When I read David Grann's book, I immediately started seeing it- the people, the settings, the action- and I knew that I had to make it into a movie. I'm so excited to be working with Eric Roth and reuniting with Leo DiCaprio to bring this truly unsettling American story to the screen.