Martin Scorsese is a filmmaker renowned for his gritty portrayals of American culture.
Since the 1970s, he has crafted a body of work that is bold and brilliant, though often demanding and intense. Known for working with substantial budgets and Hollywood's top stars, he has a reputation as a cult director with mainstream resources.
His most renowned films, including Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Goodfellas, The Departed, The Wolf of Wall Street, and The Irishman, are considered cinema classics with numerous Oscar nominations.
Surprisingly, Scorsese — born in 1942 in Queens, New York — himself won his first and only Oscar for directing The Departed in 2007, four decades after his debut film premiered.
His latest project, Killers of the Flower Moon, reunites him with Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro. It tells the true story of a series of overlooked killings in 1920s and 1930s Oklahoma, where indigenous Native Americans were brutally murdered in a ruthless land grab for the oil beneath their settlements.
Celebrated as one of the most acclaimed American directors in the history of cinema — Francis Ford Coppola recently dubbed him 'the world’s greatest living filmmaker — Scorsese built a remarkable body of work over the decades, but who are Scorsese's most frequent collaborators?
These are the select group of talented individuals who have worked closely with him over the years.
Robert De Niro | Ten appearances
One of Martin Scorsese's most iconic collaborations has been with the legendary actor Robert De Niro, who he first worked with on 1973's Mean Streets.
Their partnership has spanned several decades and produced some of cinema's most memorable works including 1976's Taxi Driver, 1980's Raging Bull, 1990's Goodfellas, right up to 2023's Killers of the Flower Moon.
De Niro's intense performances have often been the centre piece of Scorsese's films, and their collaboration has left an indelible mark on the world of cinema.
Leonardo DiCaprio | Six appearances
In recent years, another actor has become a prominent figure in Martin Scorsese's filmmaking journey - Leonardo DiCaprio. Their partnership began with 2002's Gangs of New York, and has continued with movies like 2004's The Aviator, 2006's The Departed, and 2013's The Wolf of Wall Street.
DiCaprio's versatility as an actor and his dedication to Scorsese's vision have resulted in critical and commercial successes.
Harvey Keitel | Six appearances
Native New Yorker Harvey Keitel could be considered Scorsese's first acting muse taking big roles in six of his films starting with 1967's Who's That Knocking at My Door, 1973's Mean Streets, 1974's Alice Doesn't Live Here Any More, and 1976's Taxi Driver.
He returned to the Scorsese fold for 2019's The Irishman — which featured a host of the filmmaker's regular collaborators — for their first team up since 1988's The Last Temptation of Christ.
Joe Pesci | Four appearances
Joe Pesci is another actor who has frequently collaborated with Martin Scorsese. Known for his memorable roles in films like Raging Bull and Goodfellas, Pesci's dynamic and often volatile characters have added depth and complexity to Scorsese's narratives.
His performance in 2019's The Irishman marked a return to the Scorsese fold after a lengthy acting hiatus.
Victor Argo | Five appearances
Victor Argo, a talented actor, left his mark in five Martin Scorsese movies during his career, primarily in smaller roles, especially in Scorsese's early works. Despite limited screen time, some of his appearances remain unforgettable.
In Taxi Driver, he played a clerk present during Travis Bickle's first on-screen act of violence but his most significant role in a Scorsese film was that of one of Jesus' apostles, Peter, in The Last Temptation of Christ.
Harry Northup | Six appearances
Like Argo’s, Harry Northup's roles in Martin Scorsese's films tend to be brief, often spanning only a scene or two. Some of the roles he took lacked names, such as 'Soldier' in Mean Streets and 'Bartender' in Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore.
He appeared in the first six films directed by Scorsese, commencing with Who's That Knocking at My Door in 1967 and concluding with New York, New York in 1977.
Producers and screenwriters
Martin Scorsese has worked with several key individuals from the film industry across multiple projects.
While he collaborates with a wide range of talented film professionals, there are some recurring names that have been prominent in his filmmaking journey:
Producer Irwin Winkler, has been a long-time collaborator with Scorsese, producing many of his iconic films, including Raging Bull, Goodfellas and The Irishman.
Marty is never afraid to do anything that's different. He has no fear.Irwin Winkler
"Marty is never afraid to do anything that's different," said Winkler. "He has no fear." in an interview with CBS News.
Scorsese said of Winkler, "I saw him work telephones and make deals, like, in 15 minutes that were amazing. If he couldn't get it done, I don't know who would."
Barbara De Fina worked closely with Scorsese on numerous projects, including Casino, The Age of Innocence, and Cape Fear.
Born in New Jersey in 1949, she began working as a producer in the low-budget filmmaking industry and married Scorsese in 1985, their marriage lasted six years.
According to Vincent LoBrutto's book, Martin Scorsese: A Biography, the couple met on the set of the director's dark comedy After Hours.
Screenwriter Paul Schrader, wrote the screenplay for Taxi Driver in 1976 and Raging Bull in 1980, two of Scorsese's most celebrated films.
His other work include 1988's The Last Temptation of Christ, and 1999's Bringing Out the Dead.
Nicholas Pileggi collaborated with Scorsese on Goodfellas, and Casino, both of which explored the world of organised crime.
He began his career as a journalist and had a profound interest in the Mafia and is best known for his non-fiction book, Wiseguy: Life in a Mafia Family published in 1985, which he adapted into the movie Goodfellas.
Thelma Schoonmaker - editor
Behind the scenes, Thelma Schoonmaker has been a crucial collaborator for Scorsese. As his longtime film editor, Schoonmaker has played a pivotal role in shaping the pacing, rhythm, and emotional impact of Scorsese's films for over five decades.
Her work has earned her multiple Academy Awards, including The Aviator, for which she won an Oscar, her partnership with Scorsese is emblematic of their creative synergy.
"It's never an argument with us, I'll just present him with options," she has said of working with Scorsese,
"A lot of editors and directors do fight over movies. He trained me after all - I know what he likes and he doesn't."
In the Scorsese cinematic world, a frequent collaborator was't an actor — it was Martin Scorsese's own mother, the late Catherine Scorsese.
Though not a professional actor, she took on roles like the mother of Joe Pesci's character in Goodfellas.
“All we told her to do was just welcome her son home; she hasn’t seen him in a while,” Scorsese said of his mother as reported in the IndieWire.
Her presence on screen was also not just acting, she became part of the crew and cast, even cooking for them and watched how her son became one of America's biggest directors.
Killers of the Flower Moon is out in UK cinemas and IMAX now, with an Apple TV+ release to follow.
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