Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio

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Director Martin Scorsese (left) and actor Leonardo DiCaprio (right).

Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio are frequent collaborators in cinema, with Dicaprio appearing in five feature films and one short film made by Scorsese since 2002. The films explore a variety of genres, including crime, thriller, biopic and comedy. Several have been listed on many critics' year-end top ten and best-of-decade lists.

The duo's films have been nominated for thirty-one Academy Awards, winning nine. In 2013, the duo was awarded National Board of Review Spotlight award for career collaboration. Scorsese's work with DiCaprio is considered to be as vital as his work with Robert De Niro.[1][2]


The pair's relationship is one of the most financially successful collaborations in film industry, bringing a total of $1.3 billion earnings from their five feature films. DiCaprio considered Taxi Driver and Mean Streets as his inspiration of Scorsese's work. Discussing his collaboration he said, "I am almost about to turn 40, and I am looking back at some of the stuff I’ve gotten to do, and at the center of it is this amazing accidental collaboration that I’ve gotten to have with Marty."[3] Scorsese heard about DiCaprio from De Niro, who worked with then 19-year-old DiCaprio in This Boy's Life, and suggested his work to Scorsese as "impressive." Describing his first collaboration with Scorsese on Gangs of New York, he said, "It was an incredible undertaking."[4]

DiCaprio thanked Scorsese in his acceptance speech at 88th Academy Awards while accepting the Academy Award for Best Actor, saying "I have to thank everyone from the very onset of my Mr. Jones for casting me in my first film to Mr. Scorsese for teaching me so much about the cinematic art form."[5]

Collaboration chart[edit]

Title Release date Studio Budget Gross Rotten Tomatoes
Gangs of New York December 20, 2002 Miramax and Touchstone Pictures $97 million $193 million 75%[6]
The Aviator December 25, 2004 Warner Bros. and Miramax $110 million $213 million 87%[7]
The Departed October 6, 2006 Warner Bros. $90 million $289 million 91%[8]
Shutter Island February 19, 2010 Paramount Pictures $80 million $294 million 69%[9]
The Wolf of Wall Street December 25, 2013 $100 million $392 million 77%[10]
The Audition October 27, 2015 Melco Crown Entertainment Limited $70 million - -
Killers of the Flower Moon TBA Paramount/Apple - - -


Gangs of New York[edit]

Scorsese and DiCaprio at the Gangs of New York screening at the Cannes Film Festival with Cameron Diaz

In 1999 Scorsese produced a documentary on Italian filmmakers titled Il Mio Viaggio in Italia, also known as My Voyage to Italy. The documentary foreshadowed the director's next project, the epic Gangs of New York (2002), which was influenced by (amongst many others) major Italian directors such as Luchino Visconti and filmed in its entirety at Rome's famous Cinecittà film studios.

With a production budget said to be in excess of $100 million, Gangs of New York was Scorsese's biggest and arguably most mainstream venture to date. The film marked the first collaboration between Scorsese and DiCaprio. Scorsese initially struggled selling his idea of the film until DiCaprio became interested in playing protagonist Amsterdam Vallon, a young leader of the Irish faction. Once DiCaprio was cast, Miramax Films agreed to finance the project.[11] The film received positive reviews and was a box office success, bolstering DiCaprio's reputation as one of Hollywood's preeminent talents. DiCaprio's acting was well-received, although it was somewhat overshadowed by co-star Daniel Day-Lewis' performance.[12][13]

The Aviator[edit]

After Gangs of New York, the duo worked on the 2004 biopic The Aviator, with DiCaprio starring as aviation pioneer and filmmaker Howard Hughes. The film portrays Hughes’ life between the late 1920s and late 1940s, during which time he became a successful film producer and an aviation magnate while simultaneously growing more unstable due to severe obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD).

The film was a huge commercial and critical success, earning 11 Oscar nominations at the 77th Academy Awards (the most for the ceremony that year).[14][15] This included a Best Picture nomination, a Best Director nomination for Scorsese, and a Best Actor nomination for DiCaprio, his first in the lead actor category.

Roger Ebert of Chicago Sun-Times gave the film four stars out of four and described the film and its subject, Howard Hughes, in these terms: "What a sad man. What brief glory. What an enthralling film...There's a match here between Scorsese and his subject, perhaps because the director's own life journey allows him to see Howard Hughes with insight, sympathy – and, up to a point, with admiration. This is one of the year's best films."[16]

The Departed[edit]

The duo's next collaboration, the 2006 crime drama The Departed, emerged as one of the most successful films in their respective careers. DiCaprio played the role of Billy Costigan, a state trooper working undercover in the Irish Mob in Boston. Highly anticipated after the pair's previous success, the film was released to overwhelmingly positive reviews and became one of the highest-rated wide release films of 2006.[17] Budgeted at US$90 million, it also emerged as DiCaprio and Scorsese's highest-grossing collaboration to date, easily beating The Aviator´s previous record of US$213.7 million.[18]

DiCaprio's performance in The Departed was applauded by critics and earned him a Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor.[19] The same year, both the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild nominated DiCaprio twice in the Best Actor category (he was also nominated for Blood Diamond), however as Academy Award rules do not allow a person to be nominated twice in the same category, he was nominated only for Blood Diamond.[20][21][22] Scorsese won his first Best Director Oscar for The Departed, after six previous losses in the category; the film also took home Best Picture.[23] In 2008, The Departed was nominated for AFI's Top 10 Gangster Films list.[24]


Shutter Island[edit]

2010's Shutter Island sees DiCaprio as U.S. Marshal Edward "Teddy" Daniels, who is investigating a psychiatric facility located on an island and comes to question his own sanity. Shutter Island originally received mixed to positive reviews, but was a financial success, and throughout the years became a cult classic.

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 3½ stars out of 4 and wrote "the movie is about: atmosphere, ominous portents, the erosion of Teddy's confidence and even his identity. It's all done with flawless directorial command. Scorsese has fear to evoke, and he does it with many notes."[25]

The Wolf of Wall Street[edit]

In 2013, DiCaprio reunited with Scorsese for The Wolf of Wall Street. The film was based on the memoir of the same name by Jordan Belfort and recounts Belfort's career as a stockbroker and the rampant corruption and fraud on Wall Street that led to his downfall. The film was listed on many critics' Top Ten lists for both the year and the decade[26] and became Scorsese's highest-grossing film worldwide.[27] The film received five Academy Awards nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director for Scorsese.[28] DiCaprio won a Golden Globe Award For Best Actor - Musical or Comedy for his performance as Belfort and received his third Best Actor Oscar nomination; however, he lost to Matthew McConaughey.


Killers of the Flower Moon[edit]

In October 2018, it was announced that DiCaprio and Scorsese were re-teaming for a film adaptation of David Grann's Killers of the Flower Moon, about the Osage Indian murders. In summer 2019, it was confirmed that Robert De Niro will star alongside DiCaprio. Shooting was postponed from its original start date due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but ultimately began in April 2021.[29]


  1. ^ Hassenger, Jesse (November 3, 2015). "Martin Scorsese's work with DiCaprio is just as vital as his work with De Niro". The A.V. Club. Retrieved July 2, 2016.
  2. ^ EW Staff (November 30, 2007). "Successful Hollywood Duos". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved April 1, 2017.
  3. ^ Suskind, Alex (February 14, 2014). "Leonardo DiCaprio Talks His Work With Martin Scorsese, Says He Wants More Movies Like 'Wolf Of Wall Street' & More". Indiewire. Retrieved July 2, 2016.
  4. ^ Tapley, Kristopher (February 7, 2014). "Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio look back on a fruitful collaboration". Hitflix. Retrieved July 2, 2016.
  5. ^ Bier, Molly (February 29, 2016). "Watch Leonardo Dicaprio's 2016 Oscar Acceptance Speech for Best Actor". Retrieved July 2, 2016.
  6. ^ "Gangs of New York". December 20, 2002. Retrieved September 12, 2015.
  7. ^ " 'The Aviator'." Rotten Tomatoes via Flixster. Retrieved: November 17, 2009.
  8. ^ "The Departed Movie Reviews". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixter. Retrieved October 17, 2009.
  9. ^ "Shutter Island". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixter. Retrieved October 12, 2013.
  10. ^ "The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved June 30, 2014.
  11. ^ "Scorsese's Gang Of Acting Heavyweights". The Age. Melbourne. February 10, 2003. Retrieved August 3, 2010.
  12. ^ "Leonardo DiCaprio: Ranking His Movie Roles". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 11, 2015.
  13. ^ Thompson, Anne (December 22, 2002). "How Do You Like Your Leonardo DiCaprio? Butch Or Boyish? The Choice Is Yours". The Guardian. Retrieved August 3, 2010.
  14. ^ "The 77th Academy Awards (2005) Nominees and Winners". Archived from the original on 2014-06-10. Retrieved 2011-11-20.
  15. ^ "'Baby' stages late-round Oscar rally :: :: Oscars". 2005-02-27. Retrieved 2012-03-10.
  16. ^ Ebert, Roger (December 23, 2004). "The Aviator Movie Review". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved January 11, 2011.
  17. ^ "The Departed (2006)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 17, 2009.
  18. ^ "The Departed (2006)". The-Numbers. Retrieved August 4, 2010.
  19. ^ "2006 Winners". International Press Academy. Retrieved August 3, 2015.
  20. ^ "The 13th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards". Screen Actors Guild Awards. Retrieved July 8, 2015.
  21. ^ "64th Golden Globe Awards Facts and Figures". Hollywood Foreign Press Association. December 14, 2006. Retrieved July 8, 2015.
  22. ^ Cashin, Rory (June 18, 2013). "Opinion: Why has Leonardo DiCaprio never won an Oscar?". The Irish Times. Retrieved July 8, 2015.
  23. ^ "Martin Scorsese - Awards". IMDB.
  24. ^ "AFI's 10 Top 10 Ballot" (PDF).
  25. ^ Ebert, Roger (February 17, 2010). "Shutter Island Review". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved October 12, 2013. 3.5/4 stars
  26. ^ "2013 Critics Top ten Lists". Metacritc. Archived from the original on January 2, 2014. Retrieved July 2, 2016.
  27. ^ "The Wolf of Wall Street is Martin". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 2, 2016.
  28. ^ "2014 Oscar Nominees". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. January 16, 2014. Retrieved January 16, 2014.
  29. ^ Kroll, Justin (2018-10-24). "Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese to Reteam on 'Killers of the Flower Moon'". Variety. Retrieved 2018-10-25.

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