34 Martin Scorsese Quotes That Cinephiles Will Adore

Martin Scorsese in a tuxedo at Cannes Film Festive barely smiling
via Shutterstock

He's a goodfella, ya know.

We Promise, Even Marvel Fans Will Appreciate These Martin Scorsese Quotes

If you love movies then there's a preeeeeetty large chance you love Martin Scorsese.

The director has quite the filmography from The Departed to Goodfellas, his work speaks for itself. And so do his words!

We rounded up some of the best Martin Scorsese quotes. From advice on film-making to his Italian-American upbringing, he has some profound ideas waiting for you. So, if you love the man behind some of the best movies ever made, you'll love these quotes.

Martin Scorsese Quotes

  • "You never know how much time you have left."

  • "Cinema is a matter of what's in the frame and what's out."

  • "And as I've gotten older, I've had more of a tendency to look for people who live by kindness, tolerance, compassion, a gentler way of looking at things."

  • "And as I've gotten older, I've had more of a tendency to look for people who live by kindness, tolerance, compassion, a gentler way of looking at things."

  • "It seems to me that any sensible person must see that violence does not change the world and if it does, then only temporarily."

  • "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'm a lapsed Catholic. But I am Roman Catholic--there's no way out of it."

  • "My whole life has been movies and religion. That's it. Nothing else."

  • "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."

  • "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."

  • "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."

  • "If your mother cooks Italian food, why should you go to a restaurant?"

  • "I'm not a Hollywood director. I'm an in-spite-of-Hollywood director."

The Best Martin Scorsese Quotes

  • "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."

  • "I love studying Ancient History and seeing how empires rise and fall, sowing the seeds of their own destruction."

  • "It did remind me of something out of Greek mythology - the richest king who gets everything he wants, but ultimately his family has a curse on it from the Gods."

  • "I do know that some Buddhists are able to attain peace of mind."

  • "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 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."

  • "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."

  • "There's no way I can compare a movie of mine to the films that formed me."

  • "If you don't get physically ill seeing your first rough cut, something's wrong."

  • "I felt a passion for the movies. It was sparked by my obsession with the illusion of movement that motion pictures create."

  • "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 lifetime. We need to keep them alive."

Iconic Martin Scorsese Quotes

  • "Every scene is a lesson. Every shot is a school. Let the learning continue."

  • "There must be people who remember World War II and the Holocaust who can help us get out of this rut."

  • "Eradicating a religion of kindness is, I think, a terrible thing for the Chinese to attempt."

  • "I think there's only one or two films where I've had all the financial support I needed. All the rest, I wish I'd had the money to shoot another ten days."

  • "There's no such thing as simple. Simple is hard."

  • "Your job is to get your audience to care about your obsessions."

  • "Always stay open to surprise."

  • "You don't make up for your sins in church. You do it in the streets. You do it at home. The rest is bullshit and you know it."

  • "Violence is not the answer, it doesn’t work any more. We are at the end of the worst century in which the greatest atrocities in the history of the world have occurred... The nature of human beings must change. We must cultivate love and compassion."

  • "I'm often asked by younger filmmakers, 'Why do I need to look at old movies?' I've made a number of pictures in the last 20 years and the response I have to give them is that I still consider myself a student. The more pictures I've made in 20 years, the more I realize I really don't know. And I'm always looking for something or someone that I could learn from. I tell the younger filmmakers, and the young students, that do it like painters used to do—that painters do—study the old masters, enrich your palette, expand the canvas. There's always so much more to learn."

Martin Scorsese Quotes

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