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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


Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
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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Format:DVD
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 Bull, GoodFellas and The Last Waltz, but he also has an eye for film that matches (and dare I say tops) the knowledge posessed by most film critics. If Scorsese hadn't chosen to be a film-maker, it's evident here in this 3-tape (or 2 DVD) set that he would've rivaled Ebert, especially considering he has a good friend and sometimes co-screenwriter who is a film critic named Jay Cocks.
This is a long, boring (to those who aren't truly aren't interested) film that can at the least give some insight to famous movies from certain genres and times of film, and at the best, which is what I feel, give the best modern look at the films that shaped the industry and maybe some of society as well. It is a daring, informative film anywhich way you look at it. Also incuded are interviews with Clint Eastwood, Gregory Peck, Billy Wilder, Frank Capra, and even a frank look at John Ford by Peter Bogdanovich (Directed By John Ford).
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Format:DVD
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 hold a special significance to him - Martin Scorsese makes not only these subjects live and breathe, but captures the entire history of American film in a manner that informs, excites and even inflames the viewer with a measure of Scorsese's own archivist passion for the medium. His refusal to tout his own body of work, soft-pedaling as impressive a filmography as anyone's assembled, in order to keep the focus on the men and women who sculpted and built the artform that first seduced him as a wide-eyed four-year-old is both touching and typical of Scorsese's reverence for his forebears. The many lesser-known and neglected films sampled here serve a dual purpose: one, as dowsing rods pointing to worthwhile movies left off of the general-consensus, AFI-type lists; and secondly, as reminders that we've ALL seen extraordinary films dismissed or ignored by critics, the public, even ourselves at earlier points. You'll finish watching this great doc champing at the bit to go rent THE ROARING 20s and THE PHENIX CITY STORY for sure, but you'll also want to begin your OWN voyage of rediscovery through 100 years of movie history with wide eyes seeing the new and exotic in the old and once-familiar. Can't ask for more than that from any historical documentary - well, I'd've loved this even more at twice the length, but let's not get greedy...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Ridiculously Essential Dec 13 2001
Format:DVD
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 hold a special significance to him - Martin Scorsese makes not only these subjects live and breathe, but captures the entire history of American film in a manner that informs, excites and even inflames the viewer with a measure of Scorsese's own archivist passion for the medium. His refusal to tout his own body of work, soft-pedaling as impressive a filmography as anyone's assembled, in order to keep the focus on the men and women who sculpted and built the artform that first seduced him as a wide-eyed four-year-old is both touching and typical of Scorsese's reverence for his forebears. The many lesser-known and neglected films sampled here serve a dual purpose: one, as dowsing rods pointing to worthwhile movies left off of the general-consensus, AFI-type lists; and secondly, as reminders that we've ALL seen extraordinary films dismissed or ignored by critics, the public, even ourselves at earlier points. You'll finish watching this great doc champing at the bit to go rent THE ROARING 20s and THE PHENIX CITY STORY for sure, but you'll also want to begin your OWN voyage of rediscovery through 100 years of movie history with wide eyes seeing the new and exotic in the old and once-familiar. Can't ask for more than that from any historical documentary - well, I'd've loved this even more at twice the length, but let's not get greedy...
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars "I can't really be objective here"
"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... Read more
Published on Oct. 10 2007 by M. B. Alcat
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificient View
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. Read more
Published on Feb. 12 2003 by "razumarx"
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
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. 10 2002 by GLENN WHELAN
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best History Of American Cinema To Date.
Scorcese is one of the few directors who understands where he came from. More significantly, he can make us undertsand why this is important. Read more
Published on Oct. 25 2001 by Mad Dog
5.0 out of 5 stars A Love for Cinema
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. Read more
Published on Aug. 12 2001 by Stacey Cochran
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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