Search ETDs:
The films of Martin Scorsese: A critical study
Connelly, Marie Katheryn

1991, Doctor of Philosophy, Case Western Reserve University, English.
Critics have recognized Martin Scorsese as one of the finest contemporary American directors. Because there is no book-length critical study, I have attempted to write an overview of his work. I have confined my study to Scorsese's feature films, beginning with Mean Streets. I have left out his short student films, his TV commercial, and his music films. The first part of each chapter includes a plot summary, description of major characters, and a thematic interpretation of the film. The second part of the chapter is a stylistic analysis, consisting of an examination of the film's major technical elements, including camera work, script, music, humor, and acting. Scorsese typically focuses on protagonists who are outside the mainstream. Other qualities typical of a Martin Scorsese film include the following: Most of his works are character studies, and plot is often subordinated to this primary end. A second quality is attention to period detail. Scorsese is skillful at creating the look and feel of a particular time and place. A third quality is superior acting. He works well with actors and has a gift for eliciting fine performances. A fourth quality is Scorsese's technical expertise. A New York University film school graduate, Scorsese is well informed about the possibilities of his medium, and he has e xperimented widely in his work. A fifth quality is that a Scorsese film typically features an interesting selection of music. His musical choices for each film are a significant artistic feature. A sixth quality is that a Scorsese film includes humor. Even in his most serious films, there are funny scenes. A seventh quality is that Scorsese's films contain violence, physical and often psychological as well. Finally, a Scorsese film is more often than not a version of a revisionist genre. The humanity Scorsese brings to his films is compelling. We see how his protagonists often suffer for who they are. He also suggests that perhaps those objectionable traits are often not of their own choosing. Scorsese thus transcends their superficial traits to concentrate on their spiritual condition, their inner anguish and humanity.
Louis Giannetti (Advisor)
267 p.

Recommended Citations

Hide/Show APA Citation

Connelly, M. (1991). The films of Martin Scorsese: A critical study. (Electronic Thesis or Dissertation). Retrieved from

Hide/Show MLA Citation

Connelly, Marie. "The films of Martin Scorsese: A critical study." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Case Western Reserve University, 1991. OhioLINK Electronic Theses and Dissertations Center. 17 Oct 2017.

Hide/Show Chicago Citation

Connelly, Marie "The films of Martin Scorsese: A critical study." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Case Western Reserve University, 1991.


case1055439576.pdf (7.52 MB) View|Download