Martin Scorsese Says He’s Going To Die Before Making All Of His Movies

Martin Scorsese says that, at 80, he doesn't have time left to make all the movies he wants to make.

By Zack Zagranis | Updated

martin scorsese

Life, like a movie, tends to reveal all the answers right before it ends. That’s Martin Scorsese’s thinking, according to a new interview with Deadline. The legendary director of such classics as Goodfellas, Taxi Driver, and Casino told the magazine that he has so many stories that he wants to tell now that he has the wisdom that comes with age, but “there’s no more time.”

The 80-year-old compared his mindset to that of famed auteur Akira Kurosawa at the end of his career. Martin Scorsese went on to describe what the Japanese director said when he received a Lifetime Achievement Oscar from George Lucas and Steven Spielberg at the 1990 Academy Awards, which still heavily affects him to this day.

“He said, ‘I am only now beginning to see the possibility of what cinema could be, and it’s too late.’ He was 83. At the time, I said, ‘What does he mean? Now I know what he means.”

While Martin Scorsese would love to take a break and relax in his old age, he feels compelled to keep chugging along while he still can. When asked if he still has the “fire” that drives him to start a new project the second he finishes working on the first one, Scorsese answered in the affirmative. “Got to. Got to,” said the director before lamenting, “I want to tell stories, and there’s no more time.”

Scorsese has always been big on utilizing the short time he’s been given on Earth as best as he can. Unlike some directors, who can take years—or in the case of the director’s friend George Lucas, decades—between projects, Martin Scorsese has been pretty much working non-stop ever since directing his first feature film Who’s That Knocking at My Door in 1967. Altogether the director has 72 directing credits and 94 producing credits under his belt, according to his IMDb page.

martin scorsese
Joe Pesci, Ray Liotta, and Robert De Niro in Goodfellas (1990)

It’s a filmography most directors would kill for. Goodfellas and Taxi Driver alone would have been enough to cement the director’s place in the cinema Hall of Fame, and yet, for Martin Scorsese, it’s still not enough. Not only does the director have a new movie, Killers of the Flower Moon, coming out later this year, but he’s already in pre-production on his next feature, The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny, and Murder.

Killers of the Flower Moon stars Scorsese mainstays Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio and takes place during a time in the 1920s when the indigenous Osage tribe was the wealthiest group in America until members of the tribe start mysteriously dying, leading to a major F.B.I investigation. The experience left him with a different opinion on the Westerns of his youth and their depiction of indigenous peoples.

 “I think one of the problems in the genre is that none of the Native Americans are played by Native Americans,” said Martin Scorsese. The director sought to make sure Killers of the Flower Moon didn’t repeat the mistakes of Westerns past by casting an actor of indigenous descent to play Mollie Burkhart, the Osage wife of DiCaprio’s Ernest Burkhart.

With any luck, the still-energetic Scorsese will get a chance to tell many more stories before he passes on from this life.