Martin Scorsese turns 70

Nov. 17, 2012 at 10:23 AM ET

"You talkin' to me?" "I'm funny how? I mean funny like I'm a clown. I amuse you? I make you laugh?" "When I was growing up, they would say you could become cops or criminals. Today, what I'm saying is this: When you're facing a loaded gun, what's the difference?"

(Note: video clips may contain profanity or violent imagery.)

Millions know Martin Scorsese as one of America's premiere film directors, and for the past 40-odd years, he's been giving them exactly what they want: Cops, criminals and guns in the face. In both scenes and quotes from his dozens of films (above: "Taxi Driver," "Goodfellas" and the film that finally won him the director Oscar, "The Departed"), Scorsese has been both a crowd-pleaser and an auteur unlike almost anyone else in Hollywood. And on Saturday, he turns 70.

Scorsese has long incorporated elements of his own life and experiences -- Catholicism, New York, his Italian heritage -- into his films, all while exploring wide-ranging subjects including boxing ("Raging Bull"), media satire ("The King of Comedy"), madness ("Taxi Driver") and even period pieces ("The Age of Innocence").

He's made comedies ("After Hours"), controversial religious films ("The Last Temptation of Christ"), animated breakthroughs ("Hugo"), biopics ("The Aviator") and even a Michael Jackson video ("Bad"), but he'll always be best known for his unstinting, stylized looks into gangster life -- from "Mean Streets" to "Goodfellas" to "Casino," "Gangs of New York," and "The Departed." And while he didn't invent the idea of a long tracking shot all done in one take, he did make it part of his regular repertoire, along with perfectly on-point use of classic rock music as part of the soundtrack (it's hard for many "Goodfellas" fans to hear the coda from "Layla" any more without thinking of dead, frozen bodies). 

But don't think that Scorsese -- who loves watching and immersing himself in films almost as much as he does making them -- is slowing down any time soon: The director/producer/writer (who has even appeared in a few movies as an actor over the years, including "Quiz Show" and films of his own like "Raging Bull" and "The King of Comedy") is currently filming "The Wolf of Wall Street" for release next year, with more to come.

So here's to Martin Scorsese -- and yes, the answer is: We are talkin' to you.

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