February 23, 2014

Watch 'The Martin Scorsese Film School' & Explore the History of Cinema with a Master

Almost a year ago, we shared a list of 85 films that Martin Scorsese marked as essential to learn everything you need to know about cinema. Seeing as Scorsese is not only one of the greatest filmmakers of all time, but a walking encyclopedia of cinematic knowledge, it would be more than fair to say that the list, as well as the director's insight into each film constitutes some of the best and most inexpensive film education available. Inspired by the list, Flavorwire compiled audio clips of Scorsese referencing said films and put together an almost 30-minute crash course on film.

The video, dubbed The Martin Scorsese Film School, offers many great lessons on film history, film theory, and film production.  According to the Flavorwire article, the video includes clips from films mentioned in the "Scorsese 85", along with audio clips (when possible) from Scorsese's documentaries A Personal Journey With Martin Scorsese Through American Movies and My Voyage to Italy.

Scorsese touches on cinema's role in society, politics, and the human experience in short vignettes for each film. For example, he explains why certain films were so important historically -- how gangster films transitioned into film noir at the end of Prohibition, how villainous "gangsters" turned into villainous "corporations" after WWII, and how McCarthyism and the Second Red Scare inspired many cinematic themes. You'll also learn a great deal about what influenced and continues to influence Scorsese himself. He references many types of films and filmmakers, from the stylized cinematography of Orson Welles to the deeply personal films of John Cassavetes.

Check out The Martin Scorsese Film School below -- it's an excellent springboard for further study. And if you haven't already, explore his list of 85 essential films -- find them, watch them, and study them. A short video essay can only teach you so much, ya know!

What do you think about Scorsese's list of essential films? What area of cinema would you like to learn more about? Let us know in the comments below.

Link: Video Essay: “The Martin Scorsese Film School” -- Flavorwire

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20 Comments

I respect Martin Scorsese very much as on our times greatest directors. But this list of films I can't take serious. I'm not doubting the importance of these films, but they're important to Martin Scorsese because of the way they influenced him. They had a great impact on him, but that doesn't mean they'll have that same effect on everyone else. For example The Dark Knight had a great influence on me, but that's not to say it will have had that on Martin Scorsese or on film-makers in the future. I think he forgets that film making is also an art form which rely on creative influence, and if a given film don't leave an impact on you it will not influence you.

You can acknowledge a film for being the first to use a given technique or do something in a groundbreaking way, but add time to that equation and only the film that keeps leaving it's footprint on the following generations will be remembered.

February 23, 2014 at 9:44AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Jesper

Yeah, but in the Personal Journey documentary he blatantly states that the films he names are strictly the films that had an impact on him. I will say a lot of the films he names are very much classics.

February 23, 2014 at 10:07AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Coty

You need to know the history to make your own style and preferences.
Film is changing so much and knowing how it was working in past let us consciously find the core idea of filmaking.
Marty is the example of great artist and only because of that I really want to know what impressed and influenced him. I missed the times of great stylish cinema.

February 23, 2014 at 11:49AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Also agreed Karol

November 17, 2014 at 11:26PM

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Reduanul Azim
Director
156

? You make it sound like he and I don't agree... My whole point was that a classic is a classic because people agrees on it because it leaves an impact on them. But if the film doesn't keep doing that, one can argue whether it keeps being a classic, and therefore question the point of 'forcing someone to watch it.' I think it's much more beneficial to learn about the films that inspires you for yourself, as long as you seek out different films (and other forms of art in general).

February 23, 2014 at 12:39PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Jesper

I agreed with you .

November 17, 2014 at 11:25PM

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Reduanul Azim
Director
156

sorry for spam

February 23, 2014 at 11:50AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Karol

He barley talked about movies in the 70's. I love him. he's old school, i get it, but those classic movies are so boring. People don't have patience now a days, like in the 50's. When Jaws came out people were puking they were so terrified. Imagine showing them Saw? I'm a film grad and love all of Marty's work, and if this is what shaped him into what he is today, that's awesome. But movies from the 50's and 60's don't really do it for me. There's little i can learn from those movies that I can't learn form more modern movies. Marty at least made those more accessible for us. But yeah, snore fest. It's 2014, roll with the punches.

February 23, 2014 at 12:17PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Josh

If you like movies then why not watch them?

February 23, 2014 at 11:24PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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David Tabor

I’m often asked by younger filmmakers, why do I need to look at old movies — And the response I find that I have to give them is that I still consider myself a student. The more pictures I’ve made in the past twenty years the more I realize I really don’t know. And I’m always looking for something to, something or someone that I could learn from. I tell them, I tell the younger filmmakers and the young students that I do it like painters used to do, or painters do: study the old masters, enrich your palette, expand your canvas. There’s always so much more to learn. -Martin Scorsese

I disagree that classic films don't have an impact or influence on our youth. I recently watched The film Vertigo by alfred Hitchcock on a 4K projector and was amazed by this beautiful film.
I also watched the Sergio Leone spaghetti westerns and was in awe of the beautiful film. I also saw Sergio Leones 3 hour 45 minutes epic masterpiece Once upon a time in America. Another beautiful dark crime drama. Film is so subjective. For me I thought the dark knight was good. But I don't admire it. I admire more the films by Leone, Hitchcock, Scorsese, Welles, Kubrick and recently Wes Anderson, David Fincher, Paul Thomas Anderson. Filmmakers that use the camera as there pen to tell the story. But my opinion is not right or wrong since film is so subjective.

February 23, 2014 at 4:16PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Aaron

Agreed. Once I learned to slow down as a moviegoer, I began to appreciate new things in films -- in older films especially. We live in a time where people watch TV, get on Facebook, and text all at the same time, so it's not surprising that watching older, slower movies takes some effort (though it's worth it). Miyazaki talked about this a while back, as well as the dangers of not "non-stop action", when he was interviewed by Roger Ebert. It directly relates:

Ebert: Instead of every movement being dictated by the story, sometimes people will just sit for a moment, or they will sigh, or look in a running stream, or do something extra, not to advance the story but only to give the sense of time and place and who they are.

Miyazaki: We have a word for that in Japanese. It’s called ma. Emptiness. It’s there intentionally. [claps his hands] The time in between my clapping is ma. If you just have non-stop action with no breathing space at all, it’s just busyness. but if you take a moment, then the tension building in the film can grow into a wider dimension. If you just have constant tension at 80 degrees all the time you just get numb.

http://nofilmschool.com/2013/09/master-of-ma-director-hayao-miyazaki-set...

February 23, 2014 at 4:39PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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V Renée
Nights & Weekends Editor
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Miyazaki: We have a word for that in Japanese. It’s called ma. Emptiness. It’s there intentionally. [claps his hands] The time in between my clapping is ma. If you just have non-stop action with no breathing space at all, it’s just busyness. but if you take a moment, then the tension building in the film can grow into a wider dimension. If you just have constant tension at 80 degrees all the time you just get numb...............Truly said

November 17, 2014 at 11:40PM

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Reduanul Azim
Director
156

I agree, there is always something to be learned. I recently watched 'Vertigo' too, for the first time and was blown away by the use of space. Another film to learn from is 'Twelve Angry Men' - the room where they discussed the case became one of the main characters; the room getting smaller adding to the dramatic impact.

November 9, 2018 at 11:29AM

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Avalina Kreska
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This makes me think of all of the great old-time blues pickers, many of them didn't even know how to tune or play their guitars in any traditional since. If these people had studied the history of music and had technical training on their instruments, then they never would have been who they were. I think that the whole concept of meticulously studying all the classic films so that you too can make classic films is crap. Be very careful what you let influence you, because it will have a great impact on your work, and once you've seen something you can never un-see it. Make sure that you are creating and not re-creating. There are no rules to learn.

February 27, 2014 at 5:39PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Mountain Ledoux

There are no rules to learn.

November 17, 2014 at 11:46PM

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Reduanul Azim
Director
156

Regarding Josh's Comments ...

"People don’t have patience now a days, like in the 50′s. When Jaws came out people were puking they were so terrified. Imagine showing them Saw? ... movies from the 50′s and 60′s don’t really do it for me."

Josh (others?) ...

Perhaps you've never seen Psycho, and/or the recent Hitchcock Film with Anthony Hopkins

Watch, and read/learn about the History of WHAT that Film did to USA in the day

People were afraid to take showers ... Mom/Pop Old School Motels went out of business, replaced by Holiday Inn's at the Interstate Interchanges (remember, she only got to Bate's Motel due to the construction)

On and on ... and that's just one example - the Power of Visuals/Film can also be 'seen' in TV Commercials today, as well as Political Campaigns, etc etc

Please, do study/learn what those like Marty are teaching

Very Valuable Lessons for this Digital Age of Global Village
.

March 11, 2014 at 8:04AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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BCtheDJ

I don't see the issues with a 30min video from a legend. Like whats the problem??? I'm young went to film school but left to do my own thing I for one believe that there is no ONLY way to do cinema but I will say that so many of us nowadays have it easy and most would not be shooting or "filmmakers" of celluloid was still the pitch of the eve. These older films classic or not help us to appreciate a different time they cause any real artist to slow down and take pause and notice. And that to me is missing the most in today's hurry up and go digital world, so I say thank you Marty and all others who paved the way... Lets not be spoiled 21st century baby filmmakers, its only shows our insecurities LOL

March 18, 2014 at 10:49PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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dclemo

What's the name of the song in the beginning?

November 12, 2014 at 8:49AM

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What's the name of the song in the beginning?

November 12, 2014 at 8:51AM

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August 29, 2018 at 4:07AM

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Amanda Parkinson
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