Martin Scorsese – The Art of Silence

December 7, 2019 posted by

Hi my name is Tony and this is Every
Frame a Painting. Let’s take a drive. Today’s subject is Martin Scorsese
and the art of silence. Even though Scorsese is famous for his
use of music, one of his best traits is actually his deliberate and
powerful use of silence. In interviews he’s credited Frank Warner
for helping him do this on Raging Bull. –After a while, we had so many sound
effects, we always talked about pulling them out of the track and
letting things go silent. Again, like a numbing effect as if you
were hit in the ear too many times. Here’s a famous moment where
Jake LaMotta sets himself up almost a religious slaughter. If you go through Scorsese’s filmography
there are lots of interesting variations on this concept. And you can actually
compare him directly to others. For instance, in the original
Infernal Affairs, this crucial story moment
plays with music. But for the remake Regardless of which one you prefer,
there’s a full course of study material if you watch and compare these two films Sometimes, Scorsese builds the
entire film to a climax of sound and then silence. This example is
actually kinda extreme because the loudest moment in the entire movie
is immediately followed by the quietest. Other times the silence is the central
dramatic beat of the scene. Famously: –How the fuck am I funny? What the fuck
is so funny about me? Tell me. Tell me what’s funny. –Get the fuck outta here, Tommy.
If you go back through fifty years of his career, you’ll actually find a lot
of fascinating ways of using silence to heighten the subjectivity of a moment
to make a creepy scene even creepier to show us love at first sight and to bring our happiness
to a screeching halt. Well, maybe not a total halt. –I’m not leaving –I’m not fucking leaving I think best of all, these sound design
choices derive from character. The characters are all making important
choices that will have consequences: choosing to take the money
choosing not to fight back, choosing to hide their emotions
choosing not to trust someone, choosing to wait out the discomfort choosing to get back in the game
choosing to ignore that they aren’t wanted. And because these moments are repeated
sparingly and deliberately in each movie the silence feels different
and it’s tied to a different theme. It also lets Scorsese build a cinematic
structure around the use of sound. For instance, in Raging Bull, almost
every fight scene is actually preceded by a quieter domestic moment. This lets him do certain things
like harsh cuts into punches. But it also underscores the theme of
the film, which is that the violence in the ring is just an extension
of the violence at home. By the time he’s attacking his brother,
you actually hear the same sounds that you heard in the ring. And it’s not just Scorsese who does
this kind of cinematic structure. For instance, Saving Private Ryan is
bookended by two long battles. And in each battle,
we get moment like this. At the beginning, we don’t know
any of these people. At the end, we know all of them. Now, you might disagree
with my interpretation here, but I’m convinced this character knows
he’s going to die, and in both moments, he’s accepting that and
continuing to fight. And I think it’s a great example using
sound as an overall cinematic structure for the whole film. I do want to point out, this stuff isn’t
just a matter of good sound mixing though there is that. The sound mixers
can’t do this stuff if you design the movie with wall-to-wall
dialogue, effects and music. –I don’t have anything
against a film being loud for a moment or two or a short period of
time. I think that’s appropriate but if you have a sequence that’s loud
for 20 or 30 minutes you’ve forgotten what it’s like
to be quiet and so nothing really seems loud because
everything is loud. In popular cinema, writers and directors
have moved away from having any silence at all, or misusing
the silence they do have. And this is something that gets
appreciably worse each year. Consider. 1978. You might find that a bit cheesy,
but at least this movie is willing to use silence to make us
feel the character’s loss. And it’s willing to stay with him
through that entire silence. Meanwhile, in 2013 This might seem silent but
there’s always music underneath. More importantly the “not-quite-silence”
is used to reward the character: he murders someone and gets a hug.
But if you watch the whole movie literally ever time there’s silence,
he gets a hug. So consider your silences
and deploy them deliberately. Don’t cheapen them by overusing
them for any dramatic scene. If you can build the film, structure it,
so that the silence derives from your characters and what
they’re feeling, then you get something better than just
silence: an emotional reaction –Which would be worse? To live as a monster or
to die as a good man? –Teddy? Subtitles by the community


100 Replies to “Martin Scorsese – The Art of Silence”

  1. bikefixer says:

    Excellent tutorial. The only things missing are William Friedkin films. THE FRENCH CONNECTION, THE EXORCIST and SORCERER use silence as profoundly as anything I've seen in modern American films.

  2. Yunus Aydin says:

    Çeviren Arkadaştan Allah Razı Olsun

  3. Momento Aleatório says:

    Would be very cool if now you analyzed Silence.

  4. shirish kulkarni says:

    He learned that from bergman

  5. Manuel Rota says:

    Masterclass – Thumbs Up : )

  6. Ivar B says:

    He said scorsezzy

  7. Nicholas Jim says:

    I heard the scene in goodfellas where Tommy is asking how he's funny in improv. So i dont know if that clip should have been an example

  8. Kamal Khoury says:

    thanks a lot mate!! that's stuff we look for online..

  9. Inherent Void says:

    You kinda sound like a young Steve Buscemi

  10. Esteban Espejel says:

    The Godfather, i think, has good silence moments.

  11. I T says:

    Scorcese loves silence so much he made movie called silence

  12. Natasha Narushev says:


  13. BubblewrapHighway says:

    Begotten has no score, no dialogue. It's nauseating and striking.

  14. Lilly says:

    I just saw this video and it immediately reminded me of the 'silent' scene in star wars 8. Such a powerfull moment ! You can think what you want of the movie, but that precise moment, when everything stops in silence… This was a bold move from the director, and a truly memorable scene in cinematic history in my opinion.

  15. Kuru Sutinen says:

    video ends with a dramatic silence, and a sad one at that.
    literally like 1 second later
    "behold, a fun calculator!"
    -standup maths

  16. Tay Kitten Diaz says:


  17. Emi Garo says:

    One of the reasons why I love Breking Bad.

  18. brandowag3 says:

    The sound is not the same.

  19. brandowag3 says:

    That silence is built on character development and relationships you cant get to silence without it. But good point. A good friend once said, you tell when you care for someone when you are comfortable with not talking.

  20. Bruce Gomez Milano says:

    I remember people saying the Russo Bros had surpassed Scorsese with that comic book movie. Yeah, that comic book movie with more plot-holes than heroes.🤣😂🤣

  21. Nick Pritchard says:

    I really miss your videos

  22. handsomebrick says:

    I had the definite feeling watching Man of Steel that it was trying to rewrite the rulebook a little bit, and wasn't doing a very good job.

  23. Noobmaster 69 says:


  24. leonardo h says:

    What's that film at 0:10?

  25. s sagar says:

    I didn't know "The departed" was a remake…What about Oscar's policy of not giving awards to a remake movie?

  26. ZeeTheEditor says:

    silence can be understood by all

  27. Samuel Raji says:

    Infernal Affairs is better. People who like The Departed are people who hate Asian cinema or just think Merica is the best. I like Martin Scorsese Goodfellas and Taxi Driver are one of the best movies ever made.

  28. Adam Coyne says:

    That silent moment between Matt and Leo in The Departed is one of my favorite Scorsese moments. I remember being in the theater just like, "whoa." Thank God that they finally gave him an Oscar. He also deserved to win for Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, King of Comedy and well, I could go on. But still, at he has one at last…

  29. kc huntinghawk says:

    To live as a monster

  30. Richard says:

    No country for old men has the silence game locked down

  31. Christian Dusina says:

    Man I wish he kept making videos but he is still one of the best YouTubers in a my opinion

  32. Gabriel McGuoirk says:

    Here that James Cameron? Your movie can be silent at times.

  33. Guy Person says:

    Tony, did you quit? I work in your market and tell new kids to look at your stuff to understand movies.

  34. Eli Egbert says:

    I had my speakers on mute when I watched this and I thought it was some sort of opening, went on for 0:40 seconds before I realized it

  35. Sanchita Ghosh says:

    *Scorsese uses silence in films*
    Audience: Ooooo!
    *Scorsese makes a film called Silence*
    Audience: *dead*

  36. jabberw0k says:

    I just realized one of the things I loved about Bringing Out the Dead is how most of the silence is loaded near the end of the movie, when the character's bout of insomnia is passing its peak, and he sort of heads into this dream-like frame of mind before finally falling asleep. Really mirrored my own experience with it…

  37. mithilesh reddy says:

    This is why I hate transformers

  38. mackk123 says:

    i like how the snare drum sounded like the door of the car closing

  39. The smaller half says:

    Great video! Powerful!

  40. Asa Yagami says:

    I miss you bro!!!

  41. Colin Renteria says:

    The film makers of tomorrow are watching this. Sorry if it's been stated before, I just started watching your videos. You are doing a great thing for movies and id bet you will be credited in the future.

  42. Kin Hamid says:

    Martin loved this video so much he name his next mivie Silence

  43. Kin Hamid says:

    Martin loved this video so much he name his next movie Silence

  44. KandaPanda says:

    the Saving Private Ryan silence…..when i was a kid, there was a car crash that happened just in front of my house while i was in the backyard. it wasnt a tragic day for me or anything but at that moment, everything felt like it was slow motion except the sound. the sound was fast, then there was just silence while reality seemed to nearly freeze…….then everything rushed back.

    i think that kind of feeling…that 'your brain needs time to actually process the information its receiving' feeling…..must be something a lot of us have experienced in the past.

  45. nikita pleskachev says:


  46. Everyone wears a mask says:

    The silence preceding and therefore predicting or in the midst of action is the most useful. Like that in The Dark Knight when the Jokers semi was being flipped during the chase scene.

  47. Chris Dokino says:

    I am working on a comic book series that I hope can be adapted into an animated film and so much of what I am trying to translate from motion into my head into stills for the book are the weighted moments, many of which are built around building around the silence. I want the viewer or reader to feel the pressure building and for the release to be either terrific or horrible depending on the moment. Where she is trying to save a baby in a burning building and she gets the baby out, but the baby isn’t making a sound. The focus pulls in on trying to get that baby to make a sound and you want that baby to make a sound. I want you to feel that desperation and for you to feel the elation of a baby crying out or the finality of the baby not crying. I am hoping that I can translate that into a comic book form, where you are trying to will that baby to cry.

  48. Gautier says:

    the best silence i remember was in First Man, when he opens the door of the moon-lander

  49. Matt G says:

    A sound engineer’s dream… Find a way to Watch “No Country for Old Men”, get a decent set of Bose headphones… just some form of decent over ear headphones or a great surround sound environment turn it up and close your eyes…. NO Music. No unnecessary sensory overloading noises. Just pure natural everyday noise.

  50. Matias Marek says:

    Awesome video guys! I know you're not doing more videos for the channel this days so thanks for all the years of effort you putted into this.
    I'm an animator and this essays blow me away, I would love to see what you're up to, your work is outstanding.

  51. David Rojas says:

    these days needs some of that silence

  52. Filthy Concertgoer says:

    The Pianist has no music except for music played by characters. It works beautifully.

  53. calvan candy says:

    “There will be Blood” starts with a near 20 minute silence. That phone call between di Caprio and Matt Damon was brilliant as well.

  54. ghassan alabdulatif says:

    you should have made Superman

  55. ashwater skydust says:

    It’s interesting to think about what sounds and visuals punctuate the quiet. All the examples used, the same combination is not done twice. Quiet can be punctuated by noise and noise by quiet, but either can be punctuated by an image and I suppose on a grander scale, story. The whole medium is as malleable as any other.

  56. Данияр says:

    0:00, how do that zoom ? Is that done in post production?

  57. Frano Petrusa says:

    American version of Iternal af. are disaster. Original is one of the best movies ever. Oscar for american version was disaster also.

  58. Valerio Domenici says:

    Non condivido

  59. Josh Granillo says:

    Hello darkness, my old friend
    I've come to talk with you again

  60. Nishit Singh says:

    There was this film, No Country For Old Men, without any music, but there was this one scene, where the protagonist was sitting in a dark room, with a gun pointed towards the door, which he was observing as he knew the antagonist (a psychopathic killer) was about to open it and kill him. That silence is the most terrific in all of film history.

  61. melting pot meme says:

    It's the eye of the storm personified.

  62. Veaceslav VOLCOV says:

    why you just don’t shut up ??let me enjoy the fucking silence !

  63. Patryk says:

    Art of silence… and you can't stop fcking talking mr. Every Frame … just show it and just stfu.

  64. David Matine says:

    Pitiful narration

  65. Halpert Erik says:

    I see what you did there at the end. Love your videos by the way.

  66. Bball Eva says:

    Hereditary does a great job using silence to build the creepiness

  67. Steven Dalloesingh says:

    Imagine Martin having done Django but without music… bone chilling😏🙌🏾

  68. strom says:

    the fart of silence

  69. isaac sobey says:

    Imagine watching a silent movie in the cinema eating snacks

  70. Nathan DRAKE says:

    And then there are MCU cunts bitching about him.

  71. Mr. Blunt says:

    Funny I find the older movies to have more authentic and natural acting.. the new ones not so much.

  72. SpockBoy says:

    The Reeve scene was NOT cheesy. It was beautifully acted. The Man of Steel yell? Cheesy. Sounded like "KHAN!!!!!" (Plus the fact that his fight just killed thousands of people by toppling occupied buildings which apparently meant nothing to him)

  73. Andrew Ruegsegger says:

    man you really like dicaprio

  74. Keanu Reeves says:

    The silence in The Godfather III when Mary died

  75. HotFrost says:

    What’s the movie at 2:08 ?

  76. Jon Targaryen says:

    That’s Cinema. Kids.

  77. WAG says:

    “Score says he”

  78. proxiiview says:

    film at 4:12?

  79. Agent Music says:

    Another person who does this very well is Alfred Hitchcock. Especially as a horror movie director, it is usual that as scenes intensify, intense music also goes into the scene, but Alfred did the opposite in movies like 'The Birds' where the climax of a scene was happening in just silence and it made the scene much more intimidating.

  80. Stiven says:

    I have an example: In The Last Jedi there's loud music y effects all the way, yet probably the only scene that stands out for me was that silent one when they destroy the ship. Audience were totally not expecting that and even people online thought it was an error or something, lmao

  81. Bishal Thakuri says:

    Martin Scorsese is one of my favourites alongside Stanley Kubrick and Alfred Hitchcock.

  82. Major Kong says:

    There could be a channel entirely dedicated to Scorsese films

  83. Daniel Wylie-Eggert says:


  84. This Is Anfield says:

    The departed movie made me a Scorsese fan…then I watch his whole movie expect the irishman…

  85. bb_Bruno_bb says:

    Superman got me dying😂😂😂😂

  86. Somnath Bhattacharjee says:

    Show this to marvel fangirls

  87. Tim Nike says:

    Can anyone tell me the meaning of the phrase religious slaughter, commentary b/w 0:40–0:42

  88. Vashon Watson says:

    2:24 silence appears when characters are making important decisions that will have consequences

  89. Pablo Chelía says:

    And this was made a couple of years before Scorsese directed a film with the same name. How insightful and they were. I miss this channel.

  90. Ivar II says:

    Gracias por esos subtitulos!

  91. Adity Dev says:

    The credits are silent

  92. ddf5 112 says:

    Y'all's remember that quiet scene on creed

  93. Mark says:

    fuck we miss you tony.

  94. Victor Van Dawt Hnin says:

    The silences in Joker are one of the greatest cinematic experience that capture my attention. Todd Phillips mastered it to the max

  95. Sideways Luke says:

    “A bit cheesy?” Are you kidding me?
    That’s one of the best scenes in any Superman movie ever.

  96. Saskia Viking says:

    This also appears in his newest film the Irishman when Hoffa's wife is in the car to make us believe there's a bomb inside.

  97. TheEddy797 says:

    It's not Scorses-i it's Scorses-e!!!

  98. oneoneup says:

    This is ironic given the Anna paquin controversy

  99. JackOnTits says:

    The Departed is a remake?!?!

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