Martin Scorsese Taxi DriverMartin Scorsese is, without a doubt, one of America's finest filmmakers. His depictions of realistic and brutal violence as well as his use of themes of greed and guilt have made Scorsese an auteur worth studying. In 1990, PBS aired an American Masters episode on the man to coincide with the release of Goodfellas. Think about that: Scorsese was already an "American Master" 23 years ago, just based on his filmography to that point. Hit the jump to watch the documentary and learn about Scorsese, his childhood, early career, and the filming of Goodfellas.

From his start at NYU, editing the film of Woodstockhis first feature Who's That Knocking at My Door?, his strange and wonderful 80s' films like The King of Comedy and After Hours, and his 90s' renaissance beginning with Goodfellas and continuing into the new millenium, Scorsese has had a long and successful career. Most people know Scorsese for his Gangster/Crime films, like Mean Streets, Taxi Driverand Casino, but almost no American director of his stature has successfully worked in so many different genres. Scorsese tackled the Psychological Thriller genre in Shutter Island, Religion in  The Last Temptation of Christ, and Childrens' Adventure in Hugo.

This documentary is a wonderful piece of work, and well-worth a view (or two), especially because you get to hear about his projects from the one who knows them best -- himself. We get to see Scorsese behind-the-scenes working with actors (and talking incredibly fast) demonstrating his control and mastery of the craft.

And speaking of control, there's a great moment in the documentary (around 27:55) where Steven Spielberg talks about Scorsese working with Robert DeNiro, saying that DeNiro is Scorsese's alter ego. The connection Spielberg makes is a really beautiful one -- one that adds another dimension to understanding Martin Scorsese as a director and person.

Check out the documentary below:

What did you think of the documentary? What do you like about Martin Scorsese as a director? What sets him apart from other directors? What's your favorite Scorsese film?

Via: American Masters: Martin Scorsese Directs -- YouTube