Martin Scorsese

American Film Auteur
b. November 17th, 1942 | Flushing, Queens, NYC

“I wanted to be a priest. My whole life has been movies and religion. That’s it. Nothing else.” – Martin Scorsese

In this FSA Inspiration, we highlight the work of acclaimed American film auteur– writer, director, and producer Martin Scorsese (b. 1942). As one of the most notable filmmakers emerging from the Hollywood Renaissance era (mid 1960s to early 1980s), Scorsese’s award-winning films encompass nuanced depictions of faith, penance, sin, and grace. 

Born in Flushing, Queens, NYC to Italian-American parents of Sicilian immigrants, his family experienced eviction and was forced to move back to the building in Little Italy, Manhattan where his parents were raised. This move affected Scorsese’s asthma, as the congested urban environment limited many outdoor childhood activities, fostering an unbearable feeling of isolation and fear. There were two spaces that Scorsese found solace from his neighborhood streets – the local Catholic parish and the movie theater. As both an altar boy and choir member at the Basilica of Old Saint Patrick’s Cathedral on Mulberry Street, Scorsese describes his experience in church as a haven amidst the criminal caste system and poverty of his local community. His priest and his family members took him regularly to the movie theaters, exposing him to film at an early age. This ritual cultivated a passion for cinema in Scorsese, as he was seduced by the magic of the silver screen.