Martin Scorsese Explains Why The Blockbusters Of The '70s Are Different Than Those Of Today

Recently, SFFILM premiered Martin Scorsese‘s Netflix original film, “The Irishman,” with the filmmaker in attendance. The screening was a success, with Scorsese presenting his latest film to a sold-out crowd, taking in the beauty of the cathedral-like setting of the Castro Theatre, a place that many consider hallowed ground in San Francisco.

“I remember being at the Castro in 1971,” said the filmmaker before he spoke about his reunification with longtime collaborator Robert De Niro.

READ MORE: ‘The Irishman’: Martin Scorsese Crafts A New Gangster Epic, With A Deeper Sense Of Soul & Morality [NYFF Review]

“It’s a picture that took a number of years to pull together,” said Scorsese. “De Niro and I hadn’t made a film since ‘Casino‘ in 1995, and we were looking for another project for many years. And finally something happened nine years ago, or ten, and this came out of it. And while we were waiting to make it, we became, actually, almost different people, in a sense. And I think that’s reflected, somewhat, in the picture.”

“The Irishman” may be considered a film in the “gangster” genre, a genre that Scorsese indeed helped mold, but the Steve Zaillian-penned picture is “about life, only the backdrop happens to be that milieu of the gangster,” according to the director. In fact, in many senses, “The Irishman” is more thematically related to “Boxcar Bertha” and “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore” than it is to Scorsese’s classic gangster epics such as “Mean Streets” and “Goodfellas.”

READ MORE: Martin Scorsese Attempts To Put The Marvel Situation To Bed With An Essay About The Current State Of Film

Before the screening, I had an opportunity to speak with Scorsese about his thoughts on the validity of “The Irishman” being a true biopic as well as whether or not he views the era of the blockbuster in the late-1970s as an extension of the franchise films of today that he’s recently gone on record citing as “not cinema.”

He further examined the philosophical conversation of defining cinematic bounds with me, explaining that the films ushered in by industry giants during the ’70s, such as Steven Spielberg (“Jaws“) and George Lucas (“Star Wars“), come “right out of the tradition of post-war sci-fi films” and, therefore, have a place in cinema.

“The Irishman” is currently in theaters for a limited theatrical run. It will be released on Netflix on November 27. Watch the brief interview below.