Learn About the Impact of Martin Scorsese on Pop Culture

Scorsese is one of the greatest names in the filmmaking industry. He has helped shape the history of this industry through numerous well-acclaimed and award-winning films of his time. He has won two Academy Awards and been nominated six times for different categories.

Besides the Academy Awards, Martin Scorsese’s work has earned him four Golden Globe Awards out of eleven nominations. However, these awards are not the only thing that remains a legacy of Scorsese’s career. His films made bold statements about various socio-political topics that stirred quite a bit of rage in the viewers and fans.

Who was Martin Scorsese? 

Martin Scorsese was born in 1942 in New York to Charles and Catherine Scorsese. Scorsese took after his father’s passion for films. Charles was an underground film distributor, and Martin’s mother was an elementary school teacher.

Most of his early films were based on Martin’s exposure to the experiences of the neighborhood of Little Italy, where he grew up. Also, some of the themes of his movies can be related to his family’s steadfast spiritual Christian faith. Martin grew up attending Mass every week.

Martin Scorsese’s Early Life Influenced his Filmmaking 

During the 1950s, when Scorsese was a teenager, he associated with a gang on the streets of Little Italy named The Rampers. After growing out of it, he started working for his father’s film distribution company. It was the time when Scorsese got interested in film projection, and it dragged him to watch classic works of Ben-Hur.

Scorsese’s love for filmmaking forced him to switch from theology to philosophy, literature, and cinema studies in college.

Martin Scorsese’s Impact on Pop Culture 

A great deal of Martin Scorsese’s work is related to basing movies on violence. One of the main themes of his films was portraying Italian-American identity. His movies also significantly had concepts of religion infused throughout.

His movies portrayed guilt, redemption, modern crime, machismo, and other themes related to Roman Catholic core concepts. Overall, one can overview the work of Martin Scorsese and say that his work was mainly based on and derived from his early life and childhood experiences.

It is a well-known fact in the film industry that Martin Scorsese was very clear in his vision of a movie. He knew what he wanted in his film and took precise measures to do the same. His specific filming style and technique made his movies as stimulating as possible.

His work drew in the audience like none other filmmakers could as his characters came to life in the cinema, and every person could relate to it. The religious references and points in Martin Scorsese’s movies were also rated as most relatable due to his strong religious background. He grew up in an Italian neighborhood with churches and Roman Catholic Mass weekly.

Martin Scorsese’s filming style was also relatively uncommon. He was so involved in his movie scripts and cinematography that he liked to control everything. One of the most important themes of Martin Scorsese’s work was legitimizing profanity and violence in the movies.

Due to his record-breaking movies entailing organized mafia, crimes, gang culture, redemption, and extreme violence, filmmakers following in the footsteps of Martin Scorsese felt compelled to include violence and profanity. His work made it common and acceptable to unveil the crimes of society instead of showcasing feel-good movies.

Before Martin Scorsese stepped into the cinema industry, most movies followed the feel-good pattern – never showing anything that disrupted society or its morals. Movies preceding Martin Scorsese’s works were made to hide the vices and highlight the virtues.

With the vision of Martin Scorsese, the film industry broke the boundaries of only showing what the elite or the politically influential people approved of. As a result, pop culture became more tolerant of change and vices. It was when top influential artists of the 80s and 90s also started following the trend of being different and open about their lives and opinions. There was also backlash when the movies showed organized crime and spoke against the Vietnam War in one of the appearances.

However, it served as an indication for the rest of the people to start speaking their minds. Martin Scorsese openly stated what he strongly advocated and felt for in his movies. It significantly impacted pop culture as movie makers, singers, artists, and the general public started to find themselves sharing their opinions quickly.

Martin Scorsese also changed the course of filmmaking and direction for good. His level of involvement in the movie making, his dedication, and his integrity to his profession were all the things that made him and his work stand out. He often stated in interviews that film direction is the closest depiction of the director’s nature. Viewers should see and understand what the director envisions for the movie.

Martin Scorsese also significantly impacted how directors should work and take their projects seriously. His statement about MCU movies lacking real cinematic experience stirred much anger among MCU fans. His take was how these movies keep lacking the feeling that viewers always feel the need to connect to. It also shows how Martin Scorsese is a personality of his own. Only a big personality like him could come onto attack one of the biggest movie franchises in the industry right now.

More about Martin Scorsese 

Martin Scorsese founded The Film Foundation in 1990, which he dedicated to film preservation. He also founded another foundation in 2007 known as World Cinema Foundation. His love for filmmaking is evident in his dedication to preserving the old classics and taking the cinema further.

Martin Scorsese has been nominated for Best Director Oscar about eight times – making him the most nominated living director, tied with Billy Wilder. He has also won six Golden Globe Awards, marking him the most successful and legendary director in the industry.

Besides this, Martin Scorsese is awarded an Honorary Oscar for his achievements in the industry and the way he has left a mark on cinema history forever. His lifetime achievements also made him win the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival.

Royal College of Art in London also recognized the efforts of Martin Scorsese and awarded him an honorary doctorate. His movies have grossed over $1 billion in North America by the end of 2013.

Top Movies by Martin Scorsese that Had a Great Impact on the Pop Culture 


Based on an adaptation of the nonfiction book Wiseguy written by Nicholas Pileggi, this movie was one of the most recognized movies of the 1990s. It starred a big name who also casted an immense impact on pop culture – Robert De Niro, portraying the role with unmatched brilliance.

This movie changed how viewers liked gang portrayals in the film – especially gang crime and their involvement in running the society.

The Color of Money 

Also persistent with the theme of direction by Martin Scorsese, this movie also entailed high-stakes pool hustler. Derived from a Walter Tevis’ novel bearing the same title as the film, this 1986 sports drama featured Tom Cruise and Pau Newman along with John Turturro and Forest Whittaker.


Casino was the closest to Martin Scorsese’s heart, and it is easily noticeable in how the film turned out. In this movie, viewers also witnessed Nichola Pileggi and Martin Scorsese team up to create the most iconic crime drama ever.


Hugo is one of the most influential movies directed by Martin Scorsese. It is an adventure film featuring an orphan boy in the 1930s. Hugo goes through many experiences that keep the viewers glued to their screens, only to watch a happy and satisfying ending for young Hugo.

Gangs of New York

It is one of the most riveting historical dramas ever. Leonardo DiCaprio, who regularly stars in Martin Scorsese’s movies, played the role of an Irish immigrant Amsterdam Vallon. The film was a masterpiece and raised the level of movie production viewers want to see in the cinema.

The Aviator 

This movie somewhat encapsulates the philosophy of work by Martin Scorsese. It tells a story of a director that touches everybody’s heart. People relate to the character and the troubles of life he is going through. Also starring Leonardo DiCaprio, this movie portrays him as Howard Hughes, an aviation specialist and a director trying to find balance in both worlds.

The Departed 

The Departed is one of the top-achieving movies by Martin Scorsese. It won him the first Academy Award for Best Director, and all the fan-favorite cast a nomination for their performances. It starred Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Wahlberg, and Jack Nicholson. The movie is a remake of the original Hong Kong film, ‘Internal Affairs.

If Martin Scorsese had all the recognition in the industry for his work, this movie added significantly to his accolade and made him climb onto the top of the best directors’ list. In 2006, The Departed made it to the top fifteen top-grossing movies of the time, earning over $289,660,619 overall.

In Summation 

It’s hard to argue that Martin Scorsese isn’t one of the best, if not the best, filmmakers alive. By taking a look at his films over the course of his career, it is clear that he has had a significant influence on pop culture and continues to do so. He has revolutionized the idea of what a crime film can be.

The impact of Scorsese can be seen in the crime films of today, which are no longer simple revenge tales or gangster films.