For a man that gave the world Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and Goodfellas, this seems fair praise. At 67 his movies are still stunning audiences. His latest – Shutter Island – has just taken £26m at US box offices, a personal best.
Dressed in sharp suit, light blue shirt and thick-rimmed specs he sits down in a grand ballroom at the Dorchester Hotel with a giggle.
So how does he feel about the introduction he’s just been given?
“I didn’t say it! All I can do is try and do the best work I can. I need to work, I like to work – though I complain about it, I do like it – and I just need to make the best film I can.”
“Once you’re in the thick of battle you just try and get through it and try to make something of it. I can say ‘yes, I directed that film’ years from now, and be happy with that film.”
Like few others, he has a lot of films to be happy about and they have inspired a legion of film-makers. In his latest, gothic noir thriller Shutter Island, Scorsese’s own idols are channelled and he’s not ashamed to admit it.
Sam Fuller’s 1963 classic Shock Corridor is an obvious influence. It too is set in a mental hospital and the seemingly sane protagonist’s mind is called into question.
Scorsese, his big black eyebrows raised with childlike excitement, says: “Shock Corridor can only be conjured as a mantra. It is a classic work of art.
“And yes there’s always that shadow of Shock Corridor hovering round the picture. But I never specifically screened because it’s in us. It’s in me anyway.”
Other films though, were screened. Plenty of them.