It's the demand of all demands to do a car chase that's unique because there are so many... really since the beginning of film, even in the silent era, 'The Keystone Cops.'

Sean Penn has announced his retirement from acting about 72 times.

There are very few movies in English about romantic obsession told with a seriousness of purpose.

My wife thinks I have an obsession with social class. So I guess I have an obsession with social class. It probably stems from feeling like an outcast.

'Apocalypse Now' poses questions without any attempt to provide definitive answers, and the film's profound ambiguities are integral to its enduring magic.

I began to see cinema as the perfect combination of so many wonderful art forms - painting, photography, music, dance, theater.

I was going to Studio 54 when I was 12 years old. It's true. It's crazy.

I think true economic class unhappiness comes from when across the street someone has a new Cadillac and you can't get that.

If you read about the astronauts who went to the moon - the 12 who walked on it, and the others who orbited - all suffered serious mental trauma of one kind or another.

It's very difficult to put your finger on why a certain actor or actress will capture your attention, and you'll think they're right for a role. There's an essence to a person.

I have three young children, and I kind of stopped going to movies in 2006. I go to see some, but I'm a little bit out of touch, and I didn't know who Marion Cotillard was.

All I can say is sometimes home gets burned into your occipital lobe, and it can't leave you, and there's always that longing.

The films I grew up loving, and the art that I love, is not generally the kind of postmodern ironic winking stuff. What lasts is the stuff in which the artists are totally in league with the subject.

Melodrama is one of the most stunning art forms. These are stories where the emotions are big, and the situations are big, and the artists believe in the situation dramatically. There's no irony or distance.

There's never really been a tradition of making films about Jewish themes or using Judaism as a constant.

There's virtually nothing made up in 'The Immigrant.' So much of the film came from somewhere in my family's past. All the details are from my own family.

I've learned that you can never predict what will happen to a film. You can never predict if people will love it, if they'll hate it. It's an act of ego if you're hoping for everyone to love the film and tell you how great you are.

I think to be a movie critic is troubling from one major respect. If you are forced to watch ten movies a week, it's really only something you can do for a few years. After a while, it's a bit too much.

I continually marvel at people who can make films that reach five hundred million people. How do you do that? Everybody's different - I don't know how that works.

I am an Ashkenazi Jew, and there are a whole host of genetic disorders that only Ashkenazi Jews have. I don't know if you know this, but 16 or 17 disorders that we carry the gene for.

It's weird, because American films in the 1930s and '40s, particularly melodramas, were made for woman, from Bette Davis to Joan Crawford to Barbara Stanwyck to Katherine Hepburn, and for some reason we've taken a step backward in this sense.

What a director really does is set the emotional temperature and the mood and the level, amount, or lack of, distance between the action and the character, and the character and the audience.

To the extent that independent means you're willing to attempt to put your own ideas, personality, and commitment to the material on screen, then of course I hope I'm independent until the day I die.

What I do have to get across is the truth of the moment within the given scene. It's my job, as a director and screenwriter, to create the environment in which all those moments will come together eventually.

The corporate system dictates what gets made, and the movies are so bad because of the economic structure of Hollywood. The big business takeover of Hollywood is at fault rather than American storytellers - it's what keeps textured movies from getting made.

If everybody loves you, you must be doing something wrong. It means there's no button being pushed... The only way that everybody loves you is toward the end of your career.

The sad truth for American actors is that they really have no control whatsoever over the material that they get, or can do, particularly actresses. And if you're over 40 and you're an actress, forget it.

The life of a film is very strange. Once the film is done, you wish you could forget about it and move on.

As ugly an admission as this is, I met my wife at a party, and if I had been to the same party and she were dressed in different clothes, I might never have talked to her. She might have projected something that I found distasteful, even if she otherwise looked exactly the same - a beautiful woman to me.

I feel like it's a real shame that my generation doesn't make an appearance at the opera.

Most people don't watch a movie four or five times; they watch it once.

My grandparents used to tell me stories about their trip to Ellis Island from Russia and life on the Lower East Side of New York.

At least in America, the narrative is I'm a Cannes favorite. But, in fact, I've had my best experience in Venice, both with the audience and the jury.

I know this sounds phony, but I don't start out on a project going, 'I'm going to make an emotional work,' you know what I mean? You try to tell the story directly and honestly and with passion.

'Apocalypse Now' does not alienate us or deconstruct itself. In fact, it welcomes us in.

At Ellis Island, I mean, you didn't go there if you arrived in first class. It was only the poorest, the people in the worst shape.

The conventional wisdom is that people come to the United States, and immigration is so great, and they say, 'America, what a great country.' And a lot of that is true.

If everybody lives in the same way, there's something almost narcotizing about it, but the true misery of economic class difference is knowing that you can't have what somebody else does.

Time can be very good or very cruel to films.

The ending shot of 'Queen Christina' with Greta Garbo is amazing. She's at the head of the ship, and she's been through so much, and the camera gets so close to her face. That really sticks out for me.

The word 'operatic' is often misused to mean over the top, where someone is over-emoting. And that does a terrible disservice because 'operatic' to me means a commitment and a belief to the emotion of the moment that is sincere.

Film is better than digital in every way. It has better contrast ratio, better blacks, and better color reproduction. It's a more organic image, which is more the way your eyes see.

I don't envy the job of people who have to watch five movies a day - that's insane.

The idea that the family is this locus of support but can also hold you back and keep you down makes for good drama.

My grandparents, they came through Ellis Island in 1923, and you know, I'd heard all the stories.

I'm just not willing to give up on myself. If I'm going to fail, then I want to fail to the limits of my talent.

Melodrama and melodramatic are not the same thing, and often people make the mistake of confusing the two.

I had written 'Two Lovers' before we started shooting 'We Own the Night.'

The key to humor is often self-loathing or sarcasm. In a sense, that's how self-loathing is made palatable.