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A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies

Martin Scorsese , Kathryn Bigelow , Martin Scorsese , Michael Henry Wilson    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
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"I can only talk about what has moved me or intrigued me," says filmmaker Martin Scorsese (Raging Bull) at the beginning of this four-hour documentary about his passion for U.S. cinema. "I can't really be objective here." Hallelujah! A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies is the perfect antidote to the forced and artificial doctrine of the American Film Institute's so-called 100 best films. The AFI's English cousin, the British Film Institute, did a brilliant thing in enlisting Scorsese--probably the most famous student of cinema in the U.S.--to open up and speak at length for this project about the history of artistic survival among Hollywood directors. Working with cowriter and codirector Michael Henry Wilson, Scorsese takes a highly intuitive and heartfelt approach in describing how a number of filmmakers--some famous and some forgotten--carefully layered their visions into their work, often against the great resistance or eccentric whims of powerful producers. Film clips are plentiful, but they are also more than window dressing for nostalgia buffs. For instance, it's not unusual for Scorsese to return repeatedly to the same film (such as Vincente Minnelli's The Bad and the Beautiful) in order to make a series of connecting, deepening points. In the end, this work is truly one of Scorsese's most direct bridges to his imagination and personality, and it has the sort of restorative properties that can make a cinephile wearied by today's junk culture fall in love with movies again. A companion book is also available. --Tom Keogh

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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best History Of American Cinema To Date. Oct. 25 2001
By Mad Dog
Format:DVD
Scorcese is one of the few directors who understands where he came from. More significantly, he can make us undertsand why this is important. "A Personal Jourey" is the most concise, insightful, intelligent and informed appraisal of American Cinema I have ever seen seen. And I learn more with every viewing.
What Scorcese does, with an awareness that eludes most "professional" critics, is use himself as an example of the process: how did Scorcese get to where he is? He stood on the shoulders of giants. And with typical Scorcese modesty, he's happy to give them all the credit.
But best of all, not only is this about great film making -- it IS great film making. This is great entertainment. Just make sure you have pen and paper handy so you can write down the names of the films he exerpts. I guarantee you'll be renting and buying within hours of seeing this series.
All three parts total about 220 minutes -- a bargain at twice the price. But having seen it all four times by now, I wish it were longer.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Love for Cinema Aug. 12 2001
Format:VHS Tape
This may be the single-best tool you could ever study to understand how one great cinematic mind realized its vision. Scorsese is selfless; he shows us how his vision came to be. Most directors would rather us not see how their illusions are created; Scorsese's purpose is the complete opposite.
This set includes three video cassettes (75 minutes apiece). He begins by focusing on the American Western, an understandable starting place as the American Western is arguably the most indigenous genre Americans can lay claim to. The most enlightening section from this section was his analysis of three John Ford movies, starring John Wayne. Scorsese's purpose was to show how the Western, along with Ford, grew more complex in three decades. As he says, "Same Director, Ford. Same star, John Wayne. Same setting, Monument Valley." However the image of the black-and-white cowboy-and-Indian hero of "Stagecoach" is a contrast between Ford's later "The Searchers," where Wayne's character Ethan Allen is "richer, more complex," Scorsese says. He IS richer and more complex -- a frightening hero. Scorsese's point is made: that cinema is ever expanding, the pallete becoming ever more complex, that filmmakers grow themselves. The second half of tape-1 focuses on gangster films; Scorsese was in territory he loved here. His study of the gangster film's development from "The Musketeers of Pig Alley" through Howard Hawkes's "Scarface," to Francis Ford Coppola's "Godfather" epic is an education in the development of American cinema itself.
The second tape is my favorite. Scorsese focuses on films you might not have heard of, but films that are achievements in American cinema: films that touched him.
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5.0 out of 5 stars "I can't really be objective here" Oct. 10 2007
By M. B. Alcat TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
"A personal journey with Martin Scorsese through American movies" (1995) is the kind of documentary I love, one that entertains but also manages to teach me something new at the same time.

Scorsese, a great director, shows that he is also a good teacher, telling the spectator about American movies that made an impression on him when he was growing up. Martin Scorsese talks about classic American movies, but also about the directors that made them. He doesn't pretend to be objective, pointing out that "I can only talk about what has moved me or intrigued me". That is probably the reason why Scorsese talks not only about classics like "Stagecoach", but also about little known movies like "Cat people", highlighting the reason why each one is special.

I can sincerely say that the only fault that I can find with this dvd is the fact that it doesn't include movies made after 1969, as I would love to know what Scorsese thinks about many of them. Highly recommended...

Belen Alcat
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5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificient View Feb. 12 2003
Format:DVD
This is an incredible look at the history of American Cinema through the eyes of the greatest American Filmmaker. Martin Scorsese's ability to tell story is moving. The man loves movies and shares this love through his extensive knowledge of the subject, but somehow manages to remain humble and lets you know that this is of course his view, His Personal Journey. It is amazing to think that if a younger filmmaker were to be asked what his influences were they would surely include Scorsese among their greater influences and give praise to such a master. In watching this DVD you can see the same admiration any young filmmaker would have for Scorsese coming from Scorsese himself towards the Greats that came before him and shaped his View.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Master Directors Vision Oct. 17 2002
Format:DVD
For those of us who admire and study one of the true maestros of American film, this set is priceless! Going through Martin Scorsese's own chronologic recollections of the films, directors, cinematographers etc., that influenced his thinking and sensibilities, one is left with a sense of having been with him thorough this development. What a treat!
Understand that, just like his films, Scorsese covers a topic from his own, now recognizable perspective. He says, "I can't be objective here ...", right off the bat. The very title denotes the vision is "Personal...". It's Scorsese's vantage point. He makes no bones about that. I love that he doesn't even try to be global and universal on any of it. Isn't that what we love about a Scorsese film? He has a personal vision on what he experiences and shares it honestly, openly and candidly. And isn't that what a director does? Nobody does it like Scorsese.
I say: Thanks for sharing those thoughts with us Maestro Scorsese. What a personal pleasure it is having your notes on all those great films, on the era, on the cinematic technology, on the concurrent cinematic history that runs throughout, for another exposure to the Scorsese views and visions. Bravo, Maestro!
Leon Rodriguez
Filmmaker
Leon Rodriguez
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and disappointing
Listening to Martin Scorsese talk about movies is always a pleasure, and the depth of his knowledge never fails to astound. Read more
Published on June 12 2002 by Ken Broomfield
5.0 out of 5 stars Long, but presented in a non-stop, fascinating fashion
Martin Scorsese shows here why he is the master. Not only can he be recognized before the documentary begins as an accomplished craftsman of such works as Taxi Driver, Raging... Read more
Published on Feb. 21 2002 by J. Christal
4.0 out of 5 stars The Mind behind Taxi Driver
Martin Scorcese is one of America's greatest filmmakers. His often-intelligent filmmaking shows his constant study of the art of film. Read more
Published on Feb. 11 2002 by GLENN WHELAN
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential: The Single Finest Movie Documentary Yet Made
Poster Owen Coughlan pretty much said it all, but it warrants being seconded. By taking a purely subjective approach - concentrating on those genres, films & filmmakers which... Read more
Published on Dec 14 2001 by Tarantula One
5.0 out of 5 stars Ridiculously Essential
Poster Owen Coughlan pretty much said it all, but it warrants being seconded. By taking a purely subjective approach - concentrating on those genres, films & filmmakers which... Read more
Published on Dec 14 2001 by Tarantula One
5.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant, Unpretentious Film Teacher
I don't know if Marty Scorsese teaches at New York University's Film School anymore. If he doesn't, it is a huge loss to the school. Read more
Published on May 13 2001 by carol irvin
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant mind for film
Scorsese dazzles you with his knowledge of film. I've heard of most of these flicks, but Martin has actually watched them and decoded them scene by scene. Read more
Published on April 4 2001 by Dale Tegtman
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, But Gives Too Much Away
Some people think I've seen a lot of movies, but I haven't seen anywhere near as many as Marty has. I wish I had seen all of the ones documented in this film before watching... Read more
Published on Dec 30 2000
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