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Great Directors: Martin Scorsese

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Martin Scorsese has been acknowledged as the greatest American filmmaker of his generation. The evidence of this critical acclaim is abundant: Mean Streets (1973), Taxi Driver (1976) and Raging Bull (1980) are all listed amongst the 360 Great Films as selected by Sight and Sound and the British Film Institute; Raging Bull was selected as the greatest American film of the 1980s by American Film and Raging Bull finished second in the voting of Top Ten Films of all time (behind Citizen Kane) in an international poll of filmmakers in Sight and Sound in 1992. His lack of recognition from the Academy Awards actually adds to rather than detracts from his reputation; after all, Orson Welles, Alfred Hitchcock and Stanley Kubrick were also all denied Oscars. With this acclaim by both filmmakers and critics alike, Scorsese has been able to accumulate a great deal of cultural prestige and power, despite the limited success and at times outright failure of his films at the box office. Scorsese's prestige also comes from his championing of film preservation and his efforts to ensure our “film heritage” is not lost. As he ages, Scorsese the cultural arbiter of taste has become as celebrated as Scorsese the filmmaker, as witnessed by his 1995 BFI documentary on the history of American film, A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies. If Steven Spielberg, with his box office success and Academy Awards, is the popular representative of their generation, Scorsese is clearly the generation's critical darling.

About Senses of Cinema:

Senses of Cinema is an online journal devoted to the serious and eclectic discussion of cinema. We believe cinema is an art that can take many forms, from the industrially-produced blockbuster to the hand-crafted experimental work; we also aim to encourage awareness of the histories of such diverse forms. As an Australian-based journal, we have a special commitment to the regular, wide-ranging analysis and critique of Australian cinema, past and present. Senses of Cinema is primarily concerned with ideas about particular films or bodies of work, but also with the regimes (ideological, economic and so forth) under which films are produced and viewed, and with the more abstract theoretical and philosophical issues raised by film study.

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