In terms of American cinematic history, there are very few names that resonate like that of Martin Scorsese. He is one of very few directors who use the camera lens with such distinctive style that one can pick out his films from just a few seconds of a clip. He's widely regarded as one of the top filmmakers of all time, though strangely for all the critical acclaim, box office success and admiration within the industry, he's only taken home one Academy Award. But all that didn't matter this past Saturday when the director passed a major milestone, turning 70 years old.
As it turns out, the class of 1942 contains quite a few titans of Tinseltown. There's everyone's favorite swashbuckling space pirate and archaeologist Harrison Ford, who turned 70 in July. One of showbiz's favorite songstresses, Barbara Streisand hit the seven decade mark in April. Though he's not a celebrity by trade, Stephen Hawking, the world's most famous theoretical physicist and occasional guest star on shows like "The Simpsons" and "The Big Bang Theory" turned 70 years old in January.
We thought in honor of Martin's 70th birthday we'd take a look at a few of his most memorable career milestones. It was hard to choose from his illustrious catalog of work, but here are just three we think are essential pieces of his canon of work.
"The Last Waltz" (1978) - Widely considered one of, if not the best live concert documentary film, Scorsese directed this movie, taped at the Thanksgiving farewell concert of The Band. A star-studded affair, the concert featured performances by Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, The Staples Sisters, Neil Young and many more. Scorsese's camera placement and direction created motifs that are still used to this day when video taping a band's life performance.
"Goodfellas" (1990) - Based on a true story, this film is regarded by many critics as Martin's finest. Starring Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Sharon Stone and Joe Pesci, it's a detailed and gritty account of mob life in the 1950s through the 1970s. It was nominated for six Oscars, including one for Scorsese's directing, but in the end Pesci was the only one to take home the award for Best Supporting Actor.
"The Departed" (2006) - After more than five decades in the industry, Scorsese finally took home Oscar gold for himself in 2007 when he won the Best Director award for this film that is also about life in organized crime, though this time the added element of the law enforcement perspective was central to the plot. True to form, the cast is filled with several of the finest actors and actresses of our time from Leonardo DiCaprio to Matt Damon.
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