Video Essay: “The Martin Scorsese Film School”


For the past couple of weeks, movie buffs have been tweeting, discussing, and analyzing this piece from Fast Company, which distilled a four hour interview with Martin Scorsese into a list of 85 films “you need to see to know anything about film” — Mr. Scorsese’s mini-film school, if you will. There are some real surprises on the list: no Kubrick, no Fellini, no Kurosawa, no Peckinpah, very little French New Wave, only one Hitchcock. Meanwhile, there’s more Altman than we might have anticipated, as well as copious amounts of Welles and Rossellini.

If Marty is like us — and we’d like to imagine he is — there’s also a very good chance that these are just the 85 movies that were on his mind that day. Your list of favorite films is a living thing, always changing and amending, growing and revising; we’d bet good American money he thought of five films he should’ve included the second he walked out the door. (The absence of 8 ½, for example, is suspect, since he called it a “personal turning point” in his documentary My Voyage to Italy.) But this is the list he made on that day, in that room, and it’s worth looking at; there are some really interesting choices here, titles worth seeking out if you haven’t seen them.

In the interest of helping you sift through the list and load up your Netflix queue and Amazon cart accordingly, we’ve put together a video essay of clips and stills from the “Scorsese 85,” using his own words when possible (from his wonderful documentaries A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies and My Voyage to Italy ). We strongly recommend reading the article first, since some of the other clips were chosen specifically to comment his quotes on them (Klute, The Trial, and M*A*S*H, for example). Check out our latest video essay after the jump.

Video Essay: “The Martin Scorsese Film School” from Flavorwire on Vimeo.


Edited by Jason Bailey Music by Van Morrison, the Rolling Stones, and Derek and the Dominoes Special Thanks to Fast Company

CLIPS AND STILLS Ace in the Hole (Billy Wilder, 1951) All That Heaven Allows (Douglas Sirk, 1955) America, America (Elia Kazan, 1963) An American in Paris (Vincente Minnelli, 1951) Apocalypse Now (Francis Ford Coppola, 1979) Arsenic and Old Lace (Frank Capra, 1944) The Bad and the Beautiful (Vincente Minnelli, 1952) The Band Wagon (Vincente Minnelli, 1953) Born on the Fourth of July (Oliver Stone, 1989) Cape Fear (J. Lee Thompson, 1962) Cat People (Jacques Tourneur, 1942) Caught (Max Ophüls, 1949) Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941) The Conversation (Francis Ford Coppola, 1974) Dial M for Murder (Alfred Hitchcock, 1954) Do The Right Thing (Spike Lee, 1989) Duel in the Sun (King Vidor, 1946) Europa ’51 (Roberto Rossellini, 1952) Faces (John Cassavetes, 1968) The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse (Rex Ingram, 1921) The Fall of the Roman Empire (Anthony Mann, 1964) The Flowers of St. Francis (Roberto Rossellini, 1950) Force of Evil (Abraham Polonsky, 1948) Forty Guns (Samuel Fuller, 1957) Germany Year Zero (Roberto Rossellini, 1948) Gilda (Charles Vidor, 1946) The Godfather (Francis Ford Coppola, 1972) Gun Crazy (Joseph H. Lewis, 1950) HealtH (Robert Altman, 1980) Heaven’s Gate (Michael Cimino, 1980) House of Wax (André De Toth, 1953) How Green Was My Valley (John Ford, 1941) The Hustler (Robert Rossen, 1961) I Walk Alone (Byron Haskin, 1948) The Infernal Cakewalk (Georges Méliès, 1903) It Happened One Night (Frank Capra, 1934) Jason and the Argonauts (Don Chaffey, 1960) Julius Caesar (Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1953) Kansas City (Robert Altman, 1996) Kiss Me Deadly (Robert Aldrich, 1955) Klute (Alan J. Pakula, 1971) La Terra Trema (Luchino Visconti, 1948) The Lady from Shanghai (Orson Welles, 1947) The Leopard (Luchino Visconti, 1963) Macbeth (Orson Welles, 1948) The Magic Box (John Boulting, 1951) M*A*S*H (Robert Altman, 1970) A Matter of Life and Death (aka Stairway to Heaven) (Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, 1946) McCabe & Mrs. Miller (Robert Altman, 1971) The Messiah (Roberto Rossellini, 1975) Midnight Cowboy (John Schlesinger, 1969) Mishima (Paul Schrader, 1985) Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (Frank Capra, 1936) Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (Frank Capra, 1939) Nashville (Robert Altman, 1975) Night and the City (Jules Dassin, 1950) One, Two, Three (Billy Wilder, 1961) Othello (Orson Welles, 1952) Paisan (Roberto Rossellini, 1946) Peeping Tom (Michael Powell, 1960) Pickup on South Street (Samuel Fuller, 1953) The Player (Robert Altman, 1992) The Power and the Glory (William K. Howard, 1933) Raw Deal (Anthony Mann, 1948) The Red Shoes (Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, 1948) The Rise of Louis XIV (Roberto Rossellini, 1966) The Roaring Twenties (Raoul Walsh, 1939) Rocco and his Brothers (Roberto Rossellini, 1960) Rome, Open City (Roberto Rossellini, 1945) Secrets of the Soul (Vincenzo Denizot,1912) Senso (Luchino Visconti, 1954) Shadows (John Cassavetes, 1959) Shock Corridor (Samuel Fuller, 1963) Some Came Running (Vincente Minnelli, 1958) Stagecoach (John Ford, 1939) Stromboli (Roberto Rossellini, 1950) Sullivan’s Travels (Preston Sturges, 1941) Sweet Smell of Success (Alexander Mackendrick, 1957) T-Men (Anthony Mann, 1947) Tales of Hoffman (Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, 1951) The Third Man (Carol Reed, 1949) Touch of Evil (Orson Welles, 1958) The Trial (Orson Welles, 1962) Two Weeks in Another Town (Vincente Minnelli, 1962) Voyage to Italy (aka Journey to Italy) (Roberto Rossellini, 1954)

Check out our previous video essays: “Being Denzel Washington” and “How to Pull the Perfect Movie Heist.” And if you’re a Scorsese fan, be sure to read our piece about rock music in his movies.