Who's That Knocking at My Door (1968)

Originally titled I Called First, Martin Scorseses debut feature was made while he was an instructor at the NYU’s film school. Like all of Scorsese’s films, this small-scale drama, about an Italian-American youth, has strong autobiographical elements. It also shows what would become the directors forte: Strong, complex characterization rather than conventional plot.

In his first screen role, Harvey Keitel plays J.R., a street rough caught between an affair with an upper-crust blonde and the lure of gang life. The films milieu and characters would reappear in Mean Street, a better film, and other future works.

However, several of Scorseses signature thematic and stylistic elements are evident: the Catholic themes of guilt, salvation, and redemption; the critique of masculinity; the use of dynamic, restless camera; the depiction of sudden, brutal violence in slow motion; meticulous tracking shots.