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Conversations with Scorsese

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  446 ratings  ·  48 reviews
Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, The Last Temptation of Christ, Kundun, The Departed, The Aviator, Shutter Island: these are just a few of the critically acclaimed films, startling experimental works, and spectacular commercial blockbusters with which Martin Scorsese has forever enriched American cinema. Here is a rare and wonderfully insightful chance to experience ...more
Hardcover, 423 pages
Published March 8th 2011 by Knopf (first published January 1st 2011)
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4.19  · 
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 ·  446 ratings  ·  48 reviews

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Rodney Welch
Jul 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
What is it about Martin Scorsese that makes film critics want to be his Best Friend Forever?

Roger Ebert wrote a book-length appreciation in 2008 about how he and Scorsese are just like that. Now Time veteran Richard Schickel’s weighs in with this chatfest, opening with the words: “We are an odd couple, Marty and I.”

Is it because so much of a critic’s life has been spent reviewing Scorsese’s films? Or because Scorsese, who has made a number of superb documentaries of film history, is as much of a
Tom Stamper
Oct 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
If you have heard Scorsese interviewed for documentaries then you have a pretty good idea the depth in which he can talk about film. The book talks about all of his movies up until 2011 as well as his childhood in Little Italy and how that prepared him for a career in film. When they talk about other people's movies they nearly always agree on their quality. Marty, however, has seen movies that even Schickel missed. Marty's relationship with God and faith is a constant theme throughout the talk. ...more
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My original notes on the book will suffice as a review of the whole:
Dwight Davis
May 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
A fascinating look at the life and career of Scorsese. The strongest aspects of this book are the chapters that deal with individual films, and the moments when Scorsese was allowed to talk at length about his work and process. I found most of Schickel's longer digressions during the conversations to be unnecessary and largely self-indulgent. However, there's some real gems about cinema history and technique in this that make it well worth reading. It's a shame that this was written before Hugo ...more
Jul 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The phrase, "a must read" gets tossed around plenty, but never before have I read a book composed of interviews with a filmmaker that approaches this books richness, the vast cinema canon that is Scorsese's head, tricks for filmmakers, behind the scenes avoiding gossip for focused cinema analysis and interesting bits about every movie this great man has made and his life before his early films his thoughts on angles and style and his connection to John Ford, those and so many more clutter "Conve ...more
Apr 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book opened a whole new world of cinema for me. I will now look for viewing each one of Scorsese movies! And repeat watching the ones I saw already to understand the nuances that he speaks about. Great book for any film aficianado and for a would-be one too.
Renato Muller
Nov 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of those books you want to never end. It brings you a deep view on Scorsese's motivations, desires and interests on movie-making, making his movies even more amazing.
Thomas Jackson Jr
As someone who enjoys reading as much as I do , I also love movies and this book really piqued my interest. Reading this book was like a master-class in movies and film from one of the most influential directors of our generation.

Not only does Mr. Scorsese give us an insiders look at his process of filmmaking and filmmaking in general but a play by play if you will of his films that he has made over the years.

If you have an interest in movies or movie making this book is like the holy grail fo
Ashok Rao
Aug 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It's a conversation between a great critic and a great director. Schickel has an amazing knowledge of films which makes this conversation a text book on film making.
May 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, film
Brilliant read about what inspires and drives one of the most consistently creative and impressive directors.
Benjamin Zapata
Oct 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
For years now,those who cherish the tradition and the prospect of American filmmaking have talked of Martin Scorsese as "our best". He is a self-declared movie fanatic,a collector,a man devoted to film preservation and to celebrating careers like that of Michael Powell,Bob Dylan,The Band,etc. He likes to play small parts in films,so great is his appetite,....and he is the director of some of the most powerful and controversial films in movie history,films like "Taxi Driver","Raging Bull","The La ...more
Edwin Arnaudin
Apr 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
What happens when one of the world's most important directors and admitted film obsessive (Martin Scorsese) sits down with an equally knowledgeable film critic, historian, and documentarian (Richard Schickel) for a series of chats on the former's life? A film lover's dream, that's what.

Schickel serves as an ideal interviewer, guiding Scorsese's wildly informative thoughts on his films and experiences in the industry, yet embracing his tangents (which are inevitable given Scorsese's knowledge and
Garrett Cash
May 06, 2014 rated it it was ok
I was quite surprised at how devoid of information this book is, especially for being so long. Any information about Scorsese and his films are easily found elsewhere. What makes up most of the book is Schickel and Scorsese shooting off on what their favorite and least-favorite movies are. That sounds cool in theory, but it gets very dull and repetitive. For instance, this kind of exchange makes up most of the dialogue..

Schickel: [ ] was awful, but this scene was beautiful.

Scorsese: Beautiful, b
Tom Holehan
Mar 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
I am a sucker for any insight into the creative process and Scorcese is probably my favorite contemporary director. What a treat to read a complete account of all his films and how he approached them. Schickel is a very knowledgeable critic and keeps up with Scorcese film for film. I loved the Q&A format and learned a lot about movies I'd forgotten about. It also includes a great source of lost films to check out and some of Scorcese's pictures, like "Kundun", that I have always avoided seei ...more
Apr 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: movies, 2011
If you have ANY interest in Martin Scorsese and his body of work, this book is a great read; a long-form conversation between two really knowledgeable people. Schickel doesn’t fawn over the director, something that usually annoys me when I read interviews with lofty subjects. He’s as fair with his criticism of the director’s movies as he is with his triumphs. At the same time, Scorsese doesn’t fawn over himself- I was blown away by the chapter on Shelter Island where the director basically comes ...more
Aug 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebooks
Well, Richard Schickel and Martin Scorsese have both seen every movie ever made so often they can cite lighting of a one second shot and other minute details of movies I never heard of--as well as more well-known ones.

This is a transcription of actual conversations, so sometimes it seems to be trivia oneupsmanship.

Scorsese has analyzed how many directors we all know of created their classics and enlightens us, making their works even more laudable.

There are revealing chapters on how Marty uses
Jul 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
In this Q&A-format biography, document filmmaker director Scorsese on a journey through his life in cinema. An asthmatic, sickly child, Scorsese used movies to escape from family tensions and the mean streets of New York's Little Italy. Scorsese has made over 20 feature films (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Goodfellas, etc.) as well as numerous documentaries. A cross between a film master class and after-hours jam session, the conversations range from Scorsese's Italian upbringing to Hollywood go ...more
Dorian Domi
Sep 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The story of the legendary director, Martin Scorsese. What Richard Schickel did for Conversations with Scorsese was amazing and made it feel like you were at the interview. The book gives you personal thoughts from him and makes this experience amazing. Martin talks about his films that include Taxi Driver, The Departed, Goodfellas, and Raging Bull. What techniques did he use? Where did he grow up? How did he become one of the most successful directors of all time? I recommend this book to any f ...more
Dean Anderson
Nov 12, 2011 rated it liked it
I did enjoy this book, particularly the discussion of "The Last Temptation of Christ" and Scorsese's surprise at the hostile reaction it received. There was one disturbing bit of conversation in the section on "Shutter Island" when Scorsese speculates that men returning from the war in Iraq (or any war) are trained to be killing machines and wonders how many have killed their wives. And Schickel agree it must be many. I read this baseless accusation on Veteran's Day, which may be why I was espec ...more
B.Z.R. Vukovina
Aug 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: film
Rambling but infectious: a narcotic—if you love cinema the way Scorsese loves cinema. Being a fan of Scorsese's films helps, but it's not required. Sometimes Scorsese on other films is better than Scorsese making his own. So take the book, make space on your lap and spend lots of coffee time with two men talking about themselves, the movies, and the cinephilia that connects the dots. (Because the book is long, A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies, My Journey to Italy a ...more
May 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A must-own book for film lovers. Schickel who has done some of the best commentary tracks ever for so many great movies on DVDs and doesn't fawn all over Scorsese. The book is an unfolding conversion that goes deep into the brilliance of Scorsese where he talks about much more than just his own films.
Drew Raley
Aug 20, 2011 rated it it was ok
A snore. Scorsese drags out stale anecdotes and sidesteps the myriad personal problems that motivate his portrayals of women and violence. Schickel comes off as himself: a hero-worshipping hagiographer (between this book and his Eastwood books, Schickel crosses into sycophanty). Read Scorsese on Scorsese, listen to some audio commentaries, and ignore this crawl-up-the-butt hack job.
Simon Sweetman
Jun 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Some good stuff here - certainly worth it for the film-by-film discussion. Some misfires, obviously, but when you see it written out in order, and commented around, it's an impressive line-up of films.
KB Burke
Apr 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 101-in-1001
So far this book is mindblowing. I feel like I'm a fly on the wall, listening to two masters of the art have a personal conversation. Each page is making me want to revisit the films they're referencing... or see them for the first time.
Jan 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
A must read for fans - Richard Schickel has put together a fascinating series of interviews that cover Scorcese's childhood up to his most recent work. Some of what's covered is well-worn territory but there are some great revelations as well.
Oct 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: re-read
Scorsese's an inspiration to generations of filmmakers and a living national treasure. Perhaps the most surprising revelation to emerge from these interviews, which span his career up to late 2010, is how humorously self-deprecating he can be.
H Wesselius
Jul 26, 2011 rated it it was ok
At times it read like an inside conversation by two people who were playing a game of name that film which for the rest of us becomes quite tedious.
Jack Herbert Christal Gattanella
as close to a memoir I think we are bound to get. and hopefully many more years of filmmaking to come!
Michael LaPointe
Sep 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Damn, I enjoyed this book. Just two guys talking about movies. I wish it could have gone on forever.
Judy Kemp
Mar 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
Very interesting. Lots of insight into Scorsese's life, and a lot of information in regard to his film making process.
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Richard Schickel is an important American film historian, journalist, author, filmmaker, screenwriter, documentarian, and film and literary critic.

Mr.Schickel is featured in For the Love of Movies: The Story of American Film Criticism. In this 2009 documentary film he discusses early film critics in the 1960s, and how he and other young critics, rejected the moralizing opposition of Bosley Crowth
“Epictetus, I think, said not to be concerned with death, because life is the presence of feeling and emotion and awareness, and death is the absence of all of that, which means you won't have any awareness. So why worry about it ?” 1 likes
“Minhas primeiras experiências com amor, basicamente, foram com meus pais. Então o conceito de amor em si veio através da doutrinação da igreja no começo dos anos 50.
Passei por uma porção de mudanças desde então. Mas olhando para quem nós somos como espécie, o amor parece realmente ser a única resposta. Então como alimentar isso? Como isso se desenvolve nos seres humanos? Em nossas ações, particularmente.
Muitas vezes, eu penso em 'A ponte de San Luis Rey [The Bridge of San Luis Rey - cinco pessoas numa ponte, todas são mortas por um terremoto. O romance de Thornton Wilder e o filme de Mary McGuckian, de 2004, perguntam se suas mortes foram parte de algum plano cósmico ou meros acidentes]. Parece não haver nenhuma razão particular para elas estarem lá. A enfermeira, no final - creio eu que era uma freira -, esta cuidando de todas as outras vítimas e de repente pensa: E se não existir Deus? Então ela olha em torno e diz para si mesma: Eles precisam de sua ajuda de um jeito ou de outro, e volta diretamente para o trabalho. Essa é a beleza da coisa.”
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