English 329P/Film 359P : the Films of Martin Scorsese

English 329P/Film 359P : the Films of Martin Scorsese

English 329P/Film 359P: The Films of Martin Scorsese

Fall 2016

Tu and Th 9:30-10:45

0214 Tawes

Instructor: Dr. Marianne Conroy


Office: 3229 Tawes; phone: (301) 405-9651

Hours: Tu and Th by appointment; go to to book an appointment.


Few film directors have been as prolific or as varied in their output as Martin Scorsese, whose career encompasses genres ranging from documentary to comedy, from biopic to musical, from gangster film to Biblical epic. This course examines the visual style and worldview developed in Scorsese’s films and situates his work in its historical and cultural contexts. Topics to be discussed include formative influences on Scorsese’s career; masculinity and violence; collaborations with actors; technical experimentation; homages to film history; and the development of the Scorsese “brand.”


To be able to complete the requirements for this course, students must already be familiar with the basic vocabulary of film analysis and must also have experience in writing about film. Students who have not taken FILM 245 or ENGL 245 will not be permitted to remain enrolled in the course—no exceptions.


This course aims to familiarize students with the iconography, narrative conventions, ideological frameworks, and changing historical meanings associated with the films of Martin Scorsese. By the end of the course, students should be able to analyze specific examples of Scorsese’s films in relation to developments in film style and technology and in relation to developments in American culture and society.


Richard Schickel, Conversations with Scorsese, updated and expanded edition (New York: Knopf, 2013).


Students can access the syllabus, course notes and assignments, presentation groups, additional required readings, and films by logging onto Please check the course space regularly--at least weekly--for announcements and assignments.


Students are responsible for viewing all the assigned films on their own, outside of class time. Each assigned film will be available for viewing online through the ELMS portal for a two-week period, beginning on Monday the week before the film is scheduled for discussion and continuing through the following Sunday. You can access the films by clicking the Modules button on the ELMS course menu, then going to the Library Video Reserves module. In addition, all films will be available for viewing on a first-come, first-served basis in the Non-Print Media facility in Hornbake Library. Many of the course films are available through subscription services, such as Netflix or Amazon Video. Expect about three hours of viewing per week, plus reading assignments.


During this semester, we will see and discuss films that some students may find disturbing or offensive because the films contain violent or sexually explicit imagery; profane, racist, sexist, homophobic, or blasphemous language; and/or politically controversial ideas. If you ever feel the need to step outside during class discussions, either for a short time or for the rest of the class session, you may always do so without academic penalty. (You will, however, be responsible for any material you miss. If you do leave the room for a significant time, please make arrangements to get notes from another student.)

If you ever want to discuss your personal reactions to the film, either with the class or with me individually, I welcome such discussion as an appropriate part of our coursework.


Paper 1 (4-5 pp.): 20%

Paper 2 (8-10 pp.): 50%

Group presentation: 10%

Final Exam: 20%


A+ = 100-98%; A = 97-94%; A- = 93-90%

B+ = 89-87%; B = 86-84%; B- = 83-80%

C+ = 79-77%; C =76-74%; C- = 73-70%

D+ = 69-67%; D =66-64%; D- = 63-60%; F= 59% and below.



Week 1

Tu August 30

Introduction to the class; Scorsese commercials

Th September 1

In class: It’s Not Just You, Murray! (USA, dir. Martin Scorsese, 1964, 15 mins.)

Week 2

Tu September 6

Films: Hugo (USA, dir. Martin Scorsese, 2011, 126 mins.)

Th September 8

Schickel: 385-387

Week 3

Tu September 13

Films: Who’s That Knocking at My Door? (USA, Martin Scorsese, 1969, 90 mins.)

Th September 15

Schickel: 52-75


Week 4

Tu September 20

No class meeting

Th September 22

Film: Mean Streets (USA, dir. Martin Scorsese, 1973, 112 mins.)

Schickel: 97-107

Week 5

Tu September 27

Films: Taxi Driver (USA, dir. Martin Scorsese, 1976, 113 mins.)

Th September 29

Schickel: 112-121

F September 30


Week 6

Tu October 4

Films: The Last Temptation of Christ (USA, dir. Martin Scorsese, 1988, 164 mins.)

Th October 6

Schickel: 167-178


Week 7

Tu October 11

Films: New York, New York (USA, dir. Martin Scorsese, 1977, 155 mins.)

Schickel: 122-130; 304-308

Th October 13

No class meeting

Week 8

Tu October 18

Film:Raging Bull (USA, dir. Martin Scorsese, 1980, 129 mins.)

Th October 20

Schickel: 137-149; 293-303


Week 9

Tu October 25

Film: The King of Comedy (USA, dir. Martin Scorsese, 1982, 109 mins.)

Th October 27

Schickel: 150-160

Week 10

Tu November 1

Film: The Aviator (USA, dir. Martin Scorsese, 2004, 170 mins.)

Th November 3

Schickel: 238-250; 281-292



Week 11

Tu November 8

Film: After Hours (USA, dir. Martin Scorsese, 1985, 97 mins.)

Th November 10

Schickel: 150-160


Week 12

Tu November 15

Film: Goodfellas (USA, dir. Martin Scorsese, 1990, 146 mins.)

Th November 17

Schickel: 187-192; 202-210; 339-352


Week 13

Tu November 22

Writing Day: No class meeting


Th November 24

Thanksgiving Break: No class meeting

Week 14

Tu November 29

Film: The Age of Innocence (USA, dir. Martin Scorsese, 1993, 139 mins.)

Th December 1

Schickel: 198-201


F December 2


Week 15

Tu December 6

Films:The Departed (USA, dir. Martin Scorsese, 2006, 151 mins.)

Recommended: Infernal Affairs[Wu jian dao](Hong Kong, dir. Alan Mak and Wai-keung Lau, 2002, 101 mins.)

Th December 8

Schickel: 261-273; 318-328



Th December 15

Final examination, 8-10 AM


PREPARATION: In order to be prepared for the lectures and discussion, you are responsible for completingall readings and film viewings by the day they are listed in the syllabus. You should try to read the textbook and to view the films carefully, critically, and in depth.

PARTICIPATION: For your own intellectual growth and for the success of the class as a whole, it is essential that each of you contribute your ideas and questions. As a matter of course, everyone is expected to participate regularly and actively in the discussion.

PRESENTATION: As part of the requirements for the course, students will work in teams of four to create a fifteen to twenty minute presentation on a specific scene from one of that week's assigned films. The presentation should be organized around issues concerning Scorsese’s style and worldview as a filmmaker. The presentation must include a PowerPoint to be distributed to the class and to the instructor as part of the assignment. Detailed instructions will be given in the presentation assignment, to be posted on ELMS.

PAPERS: This course aims to teach you how to interpret filmand how to articulate your ideas about film in both oral and written form. To that end, there will be two required papers in this course, due on September 30 and December 2. Detailed assignments will be posted on ELMS.

EXTENSIONS: I will grant reasonable extensions on deadlines, provided that students ask before the paper or assignment comes due. Papers or assignments that students submit after the due date without getting an extension are considered late, and are subject to a grade penalty of 5 points per calendar day.

EXAMINATION: In keeping with university and departmental policy, there will be a final examination for this course, scheduled for 8 AM on December 15. The final exam will be comprehensive in scope, covering material from the entire semester.

MAKE-UP EXAMINATIONS: If a student must be absent when a test is scheduled,he or she is required to notify the instructor before the start of class. Make-up exams will only be scheduled if the absence falls under the excused absence policies of the university.

COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Class lectures, PowerPoint notes, and other materials are copyrighted. They may not be reproduced for anything other than personal use without written permission. Do not sell them. Do not post them on a website. Copyright infringements may be referred to the Office of Student Conduct.

ELECTRONICS: Turn off all cell phones during class. Students are permitted to use laptops during class to take notes or follow along with the lecture notes. Be prepared for spot checks to insure that you are using your computers for purposes related to this class.

UNDERGRADUATE RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES: For details about university policies relating to undergraduate academic work, including policies regarding attendance and absences, academic integrity, accessibility, and student conduct, go to

DISCLAIMER: This syllabus is subject to change. Students will be notified in advance of any changes that might affect assignments, due dates, and grading.