Martin Scorsese is different than most men because he was
different than most boys. Born on November 17, 1942, in the New York
borough of Queens, he grew up in Manhattan's Little Italy where he lived
until he was 24. He had asthma as a child and rarely worked at summer
jobs or played with the neighborhood kids. Instead, he went with his
father to the local movie house and, afterward, began sketching motion picture
scenes on a drawing pad.
Raised in a strict Roman Catholic family by his father,
Luciano, and mother, Catherine Cappa, Scorsese enrolled
in a seminary with the intent of becoming a priest. But
the youngster soon learned that he wasn't cut out for the priesthood. He
was expelled for scuffling with another boy during prayers. His parents enrolled him in a high school in the Bronx,
and it's there that Scorsese discovered that what he really wanted to do was to make films.
He went to New York University, where he received a BA in
English and a master's degree in
filmmaking, winning awards for his student projects, What's a Girl Like
You Doing in a Place Like This? (1963) and It's Not Just You,
In 1973, the young filmmaker crafted a 45-minute
documentary centered around an after-dinner conversation with his parents.
The film, Italianamerican, features his parents telling stories
about their childhood and a demonstration of his mother making marinara
sauce. It received a standing ovation at the 1974 New York Film
Festival, during which his mother blew kisses to the audience.
Scorsese's breakthrough to the "bigs" was his film,
Mean Streets (1973), which is based on a relationship between a couple
of small-time hoods in the criminal world of Little Italy. The movie
also launched the acting career of Robert de Niro, who has been a close
friend of Scorsese ever since.
Among his most critically acclaimed films are Taxi
Driver, Raging Bull, The Kind of Comedy, and Goodfellas, starring
DeNiro, Ray Liotta, and Joe Pesci.