Martin Scorsese on why he takes issue with the label “indie film”

Martin Scorsese has explained why he doesn’t like the label “indie film”.

The director, who on Wednesday (September 27) was promoting the release of his new movie Killers Of The Flower Moon at its New York City premiere, said in an interview that the term is unhelpful because it “pigeonholes” people’s work.

“The thing about it is, it would be great to see not only blockbusters on a big screen, franchises on a big screen, but also what they consider now ‘indie films’. I don’t like that title,” Scorsese told IndieWire.


“I think that categorises, pigeonholes. I think they’re films for everyone, and I would love to see a support from theatres, particularly, which would make it possible for people to want to come to a theatre to see a film that isn’t necessarily a blockbuster that needs a giant screen.”

Martin Scorsese
Martin Scorsese. CREDIT: James Devaney/GC Images

He continued: “I’m glad that it’s on a giant screen, but otherwise the theatres will only become for films that are action films. That’s all I’m concerned about.”

The screenwriter and director, who has helmed award-winning films including Taxi Driver (1976), Goodfellas and The Irishman (2019), has been vocal about his worries for the future of cinema and corporate strangulation of creativity.

In 2019 he sparked debate when he said that he doesn’t think Marvel films are “cinema”.

The legendary filmmaker conceded in an interview with Empire that the comic book movies, which include the Avengers and the Spider-Man series, are “well made”. But he added that he isn’t a fan: “I don’t see them. I tried, you know? But that’s not cinema.”


More recently, Scorsese discussed the impact of comic book films and franchises on cinema culture, encouraging filmmakers and audiences to “fight back” against it.

“The danger there is what it’s doing to our culture,” Scorsese told GQ about the glut of comic book movies in cinemas. “Because there are going to be generations now that think movies are only those – that’s what movies are.”

When the interviewer proposed many people already think that way, Scorsese agreed, adding: “They already think that. Which means that we have to then fight back stronger. And it’s got to come from the grassroots level.”