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File:Silence (2016 film).png
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMartin Scorsese
Screenplay by
  • Jay Cocks
  • Martin Scorsese
Produced by
  • Barbara De Fina
  • Randall Emmett
  • Vittorio Cecchi Gori
  • Emma Tillinger Koskoff
  • Gaston Pavlovich
  • Martin Scorsese
  • Irwin Winkler
  • Andrew Garfield
  • Adam Driver
  • Tadanobu Asano
  • Ciarán Hinds
  • Liam Neeson
CinematographyRodrigo Prieto
Edited byThelma Schoonmaker
Music by
  • Kim Allen Kluge
  • Kathryn Kluge
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • November 29, 2016 (2016-11-29) (Rome)
  • December 23, 2016 (2016-12-23) (U.S. limited release)
  • January 13, 2017 (2017-01-13) (United States)
Running time
161 minutes[1]
  • United States
  • Italy
  • Mexico
  • Japan[2]
  • English
  • Japanese
Budget$50 million[3]
Box office$355,070[4]

Silence is a 2016 American epic historical drama film directed by Martin Scorsese and written by Jay Cocks and Scorsese, based upon the 1966 novel of the same name by Shūsaku Endō. While the story is set in Nagasaki, Japan, the film was shot entirely in Taipei, Taiwan. The film stars Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, Liam Neeson, Tadanobu Asano and Ciarán Hinds.[5] The plot follows two 17th century Jesuit priests who travel from Portugal to Japan in order to locate their missing mentor and spread Catholicism.

A long-time passion project of Scorsese's, which he had developed for over 25 years, the film premiered in Rome on November 29, 2016,[6] and was released in the United States on December 23, 2016. The film was chosen by American Film Institute as one of the Top Ten Films of 2016.[7]


In the seventeenth century, two Portuguese Jesuit priests (Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver) face violence and persecution when they travel to Japan to locate their mentor (Liam Neeson), who had committed apostasy after being tortured. The story takes place in the time of Kakure Kirishitan ("Hidden Christians") that followed the defeat of the Shimabara Rebellion (1637–1638) of Japanese Roman Catholics against the Tokugawa shogunate.


  • Andrew Garfield as Sebastião Rodrigues (based on Giuseppe Chiara)[8]
  • Adam Driver as Francisco Garupe[9]
  • Liam Neeson as Father Cristóvão Ferreira[10]
  • Tadanobu Asano as an interpreter for the priests[11]
  • Ciarán Hinds as Father Alessandro Valignano[12]
  • Shinya Tsukamoto as Mokichi[13]
  • Yōsuke Kubozuka as Kichijiro[14]
  • Issey Ogata as Inoue Masashige[15]
  • Nana Komatsu as Monica (Haru)[16]
  • Shinya Tsukamoto as Mokichi
  • Yoshi Oida as Ichizo
  • Yōsuke Kubozuka as Kichijirio



This film marks the second adaptation of Shūsaku Endō's novel, which was previously adapted by Masahiro Shinoda into the 1971 film of the same name.

The film is considered a "passion project" of Scorsese's and has been in development since 1990, two years after the release of Scorsese's most controversial film, also with strongly religious themes, The Last Temptation of Christ. When asked why he retained interest in the project for over 20 years, Scorsese stated: "As you get older, ideas go and come. Questions, answers, loss of the answer again and more questions, and this is what really interests me. Yes, the cinema and the people in my life and my family are most important, but ultimately as you get older, there's got to be more. Much, much more. The very nature of secularism right now is really fascinating to me, but at the same time do you wipe away what could be more enriching in your life, which is an appreciation or some sort of search for that which is spiritual and transcends? That's one of the reasons why I made the George Harrison documentary. Silence is just something that I'm drawn to in that way. It's been an obsession, it has to be done... it's a strong, wonderful true story, a thriller in a way, but it deals with those questions."[17]

In 2009, Scorsese and the production crew went to Nagasaki, Japan, to visit the original sites Endo's novel was based on.[18] The production had begun to coalesce, with Daniel Day-Lewis, Benicio del Toro, and Gael García Bernal in negotiations to star.[19] However, Silence entered a state of development hell soon afterwards, with Scorsese deciding to work on Shutter Island and Hugo instead. In 2010, del Toro partially distanced himself from the project during promotion for The Wolfman, stating, "It would be a dream to work with Scorsese. Silence, the film we were going to do, has been pushed back but that's definitely something that I'm really looking forward to."[20]

In December 2011, Scorsese stated that Silence would be his next film. He also cast uncertainty on the involvements of Day-Lewis, del Toro, and Bernal.[21] In January 2012, Scorsese discussed the possibility of utilizing 3D for both Silence and a Frank Sinatra biopic he was developing.[22]

In March, though he had originally put it on the back burner and consequently dropped out, Scorsese signed back on to The Wolf of Wall Street and opted to direct it ahead of Silence.[23] However, at the time, Scorsese's publicist stated that Silence would come first.[24]

In May, the film picked up another producer in the recently revived Cecchi Gori Pictures, which placed the project first on its slate of upcoming films. Cecchi Gori was involved in pre-production for Silence, but years of unrelated legal disputes had interrupted its association to the film.[25]

In August 2012, Cecchi Gori Pictures sued Scorsese over an alleged breach of contract agreements related to Silence. According to the company, in 1990 Scorsese signed a written agreement to direct Silence. Scorsese was supposed to shoot the film following 1997's Kundun, and Cecchi Gori Pictures had apparently invested more than $750,000 for this purpose.[26] However, Scorsese chose to make Bringing Out the Dead, Gangs of New York, and The Aviator first.[27] Then, in 2004, Scorsese purportedly signed deals to postpone the film further in order to direct The Departed and Shutter Island. In 2011, Scorsese ostensibly agreed to one more deal, delaying Silence to direct Hugo. Cecchi Gori Pictures asserted that Scorsese agreed to pay "substantial compensation and other valuable benefits" to direct The Departed, Shutter Island, and Hugo. The company said the fees were "$1 million to $1.5 million per film plus up to 20 percent of Scorsese's backend compensation." The complaint was centered around the company's allegation that Scorsese failed to pay the fees agreed upon for Hugo, and that he breached the contract's terms by filming The Wolf of Wall Street ahead of Silence. Scorsese, via his representatives, responded, "The claims asserted are completely contradicted by, inconsistent with, and contrary to the express terms of an agreement entered into by the parties last year." He also denounced the lawsuit as a "media stunt" and a "meritless action."[28] The lawsuit was settled on January 17, 2014. The terms of the settlement were undisclosed.[26]

On April 19, 2013, it was announced that Scorsese would begin production on Silence in 2014, after a reputed 23-year wait. Irwin Winkler was announced as a producer the same day, as were Randall Emmett and George Furla, who would also finance the production through their company Emmett/Furla Films. Paul Breuls' Corsan Films was also reportedly funding the project.[17] Additionally, it was announced that the film would be shot in Taiwan.[29]

By February 2014, Scorsese had begun scouting locations in Taiwan,[30] with filming set for the summer.[31] Producer Irwin Winkler stated the choice to film in Taiwan was due to lower costs. "[The movie] was very, very expensive, and it was budgeted, because it takes place in 1670 in Japan. We got lucky and found out about Taipei, and in and around Taipei and Taiwan, we found great, great locations. The prices were very cheap, and we were able to make it for a price." Winkler also disclosed that the tight budget forced many of the cast and crew, including himself, to work for minimum pay: "And all the actors, Liam Neeson, Adam Driver, everybody worked for scale. Marty worked for scale, I worked for under scale. We gave back money."[32]

Endō's official translator Professor Van C. Gessel, who has translated eight of his novels, assisted as a consultant on the film.[33]

Father James Martin worked closely with the filmmakers to ensure an accurate portrayal of the Jesuits.[34]


In May 2013, Andrew Garfield and Ken Watanabe joined the cast.[35] Garfield was cast as Father Rodrigues, one of the Jesuit priests, and Watanabe as the priests' translator.[36] In January 2014, Adam Driver and Liam Neeson joined the film, with Driver as Father Francisco Garrpe, the second Jesuit priest, and Neeson as the priests' mentor, Father Cristóvão Ferreira.[37][38] In January 2015, Watanabe left the project due to schedule issues and was replaced by Tadanobu Asano.[39]


Principal photography took place in Taiwan from January 30 to May 15, 2015.[5][40]

On January 28, 2015, the production experienced an accident at Taiwan's CMPC Studios. According to a spokesperson for the film, "An existing structure on the CMPC backlot had been deemed unsafe by the production, and accordingly a third-party contractor was hired to reinforce and make it safe prior to any production-related work commencing in this building. During this process, the ceiling collapsed, resulting in the death of one of the contractor's employees and injuries to two others."[41]


Scorsese brokered several distribution deals when he attended the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.[42] In July 2014, Paramount Pictures acquired distribution rights for the United States and eyed a late 2015 release.[43] Discussing the film in March 2016, Winkler revealed the film was in the editing process and that the film would release "at the end of the year," confirming a 2016 release date. In August 2016, Scorsese stated the film would be completed in October, and the 2016 release of the film depended on Paramount.[44][45] Paramount Pictures released the first trailer for the film on November 22, 2016.[46]

The world premiere of the film was held at the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome on November 29, followed by a special screening the next day in Vatican City.[47][48] It received a limited release on December 23, 2016, and is set to expand on January 13, 2017.[49]


Critical response[]

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 89% based on 93 reviews, and an average rating of 8/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Silence ends Martin Scorsese's decades-long creative quest with a thoughtful, emotionally resonant look at spirituality and human nature that stands among the director's finest works."[50] On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating, the film has a score 82 out of 100, based on 33 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[51]

Matt Zoller Seitz of gave the film four out of four stars, stating that "Silence is a monumental work, and a punishing one. It puts you through hell with no promise of enlightenment, only a set of questions and propositions, sensations and experiences.... This is not the sort of film you 'like' or 'don't like.' It's a film that you experience and then live with."[52]


Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) and nominee(s) Result Ref.
AARP Annual Movies for Grownups Awards February 6, 2017 Best Picture Silence Pending [53]
Best Director Martin Scorsese Pending
Best Screenwriter Jay Cocks and Martin Scorsese Pending
Best Supporting Actor Issey Ogata Pending
American Film Institute December 8, 2016 Top Ten Films of the Year Silence Won [7]
Chicago Film Critics Association December 15, 2016 Best Adapted Screenplay Jay Cocks and Martin Scorsese Nominated [54]
Best Cinematography Rodrigo Prieto Nominated
IndieWire Critics Poll December 19, 2016 Best Director Martin Scorsese 10th Place [55]
London Film Critics Circle January 22, 2017 British/Irish Actor of the Year Andrew Garfield (also for Hacksaw Ridge) Pending [56]
Los Angeles Film Critics Association December 4, 2016 Best Supporting Actor Issey Ogata Runner-up [57]
National Board of Review January 4, 2017 Top 10 Films Silence Won [58]
Best Adapted Screenplay Jay Cocks and Martin Scorsese Won
San Francisco Film Critics Circle December 11, 2016 Best Cinematography Rodrigo Prieto Nominated [59]


  1. "Silence (15)". British Board of Film Classification. December 12, 2016. Retrieved December 12, 2016.
  2. "Silence". British Film Institute. Retrieved January 5, 2017.
  3. Denham, Jess (September 27, 2016). "Silence release date sets Martin Scorsese's passion project up for Oscars". Independent. Retrieved December 9, 2016.
  4. "Silence (2016)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved January 3, 2017.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Martin Scorsese Locks Funding for 'Silence'". Variety. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
  6. Nick Vivarelli (November 30, 2016). "Martin Scorsese Meets Pope Francis and Talks Jesuit History Prior to 'Silence' Screening". Variety. On Tuesday, “Silence” screened for roughly 300 Jesuit priests at the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome, in what amounted to the film’s de facto world premiere. Attendees were able to discuss the film with Scorsese afterwards.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Hipes, Patrick (December 8, 2016). "AFI Awards: Best Of 2016 Film List Includes 'Silence', 'Hacksaw Ridge' & More". Retrieved December 8, 2016.
  8. "Martin Scorsese Casts Andrew Garfield and Ken Watanabe in ‘Silence’". /Film. Retrieved March 2, 2014.
  9. "Adam Driver Joins Martin Scorsese's 'Silence'". /Film. Retrieved March 2, 2014.
  10. "Liam Neeson to Star in Martin Scorsese Movie 'Silence'". Deadline. Retrieved March 2, 2014.
  11. "'Mongol's Tadanobu Asano to Replace Ken Watanabe in Martin Scorsese's 'Silence'". Deadline. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
  12. "Silence". Metacritic. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
  13. "First Picture of Andrew Garfield in Martin Scorsese's 'Silence' as Production Wraps in Taiwan". Retrieved November 14, 2015.
  14. "Psycho Drama". Twitter. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
  15. "Martin Scorsese's 'Silence' Wraps Production; First Image with Andrew Garfield Released". Screen Rant. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
  16. Bull, Brett (May 12, 2016). "Nana Komatsu making herself seen in Martin Scorsese's 'Silence'". Variety. Retrieved November 23, 2016. Cite has empty unknown parameter: |accesdate= (help)
  17. 17.0 17.1 "Martin Scorsese to Make Noise on 'Silence' at Cannes; Emmett/Furla Funding The Film". Deadline. Retrieved January 16, 2016.
  18. "Visit Nagasaki, Silence Feature". Nagasaki Prefecture Official Visitor Guide. Nagasaki Prefecture Tourism Association. Retrieved December 22, 2016.
  19. "Day-Lewis in talks for Scorsese's 'Silence'". Digital Spy. Retrieved March 2, 2014.
  20. "Del Toro: 'Scorsese is like my Yoda'". Digital Spy. Retrieved March 2, 2014.
  21. "Martin Scorsese Revives Adaptation of 'Silence' for His Next Project". Retrieved March 2, 2014.
  22. "Martin Scorsese's 3D Plans for ‘Silence’ and ‘Sinatra’ Still Alive". The Film Stage. Retrieved March 2, 2014.
  23. "Martin Scorsese Gets Back on 'The Wolf of Wall Street' with Leonardo DiCaprio; Shooting Stars in August". IndieWire. Retrieved March 2, 2014.
  24. "Scorsese Opts For "Silence" Over "Wolf"". Dark Horizons. Retrieved March 2, 2014.
  25. "Martin Scorsese's Long Developing 'Silence' Finds Backer in Cecchi Gori Pictures, to Be Produced First on Company's Slate". IndieWire. Retrieved March 2, 2014.
  26. 26.0 26.1 "Martin Scorsese Settles 'Silence' Suit". Deadline. Retrieved September 30, 2016.
  27. "Martin Scorsese Settles 'Silence' Lawsuit, Casts Liam Neeson". IndieWire. Retrieved September 30, 2016.
  28. "Martin Scorsese Sued by Producer Cecchi Gori over Alleged Deal to Direct 'Silence'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 2, 2014.
  29. "Martin Scorsese's SILENCE Gets Financing; Poised to Start Filming July 2014 in Taiwan". Collider. Retrieved March 2, 2014.
  30. "Martin Scorsese Scouts Locations for 'Silence' in Taiwan". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 2, 2014.
  31. "Martin Scorsese's Silence To Film In Taiwan This Summer". Cinema Blend. Retrieved March 2, 2014.
  32. Jagernauth, Kevin (March 4, 2016). "Everyone, Including Martin Scorsese, Worked for Scale to Get 'Silence' Made; Film Will Be Released by End of 2016". IndieWire. Retrieved March 4, 2016.
  33. "Fall 2015". BYU College of Humanities Alumni Magazine. Retrieved December 7, 2016.
  34. "Jesuit James Martin says new Scorsese movie is 'like a prayer'". Crux. During the past two years, Jesuit Father James Martin, author of The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything, was heavily involved in the process, working as a consultant on the script to make sure its portrayal of the members of the Society of Jesus, as the order founded by St. Ignatius of Loyola is named, was accurate.
  35. "Andrew Garfield Set to Headline Silence". Retrieved March 2, 2014.
  36. "Andrew Garfield to Star in Martin Scorsese’s ‘Silence’ (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved March 2, 2014.
  37. "Adam Driver Joins Martin Scorsese's 'Silence'; Kristen Wiig & Alexander Skarsgård to Star in 'The Diary of a Teenage Girl' & More". IndieWire. Retrieved March 2, 2014.
  38. "Liam Neeson Joins Martin Scorsese’s ‘Silence’". Variety. Retrieved March 2, 2014.
  39. "Asano Replaces Watanabe in Scorsese's SILENCE". Screen Anarchy. Retrieved January 16, 2016.
  40. Shackleton, Liz (May 5, 2015). "Martin Scorsese's 'Silence' to wrap in Taiwan". Screen Daily. Retrieved September 9, 2016.
  41. "Tragic Death on Taiwan Set of Martin Scorsese-Directed 'Silence'". Deadline. Retrieved February 20, 2015.
  42. "Martin Scorsese's 'Silence' Lands Key Foreign Territory Deals". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 2, 2014.
  43. "Paramount Acquiring Martin Scorsese's 'Silence' For 2015 Oscar Season". Deadline. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
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  45. Friedman, Roger (August 4, 2016). "Oscars: Martin Scorsese Says "Silence" Will Be Golden for End of Year Release". Showbiz411. Retrieved August 19, 2016.
  46. "Watch the first trailer for Martin Scorsese's Silence". Variety. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  47. Nick Vivarelli (November 30, 2016). "Martin Scorsese Meets Pope Francis and Talks Jesuit History Prior to 'Silence' Screening". Variety. Retrieved January 4, 2017. On Tuesday, “Silence” screened for roughly 300 Jesuit priests at the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome, in what amounted to the film’s de facto world premiere. Attendees were able to discuss the film with Scorsese afterwards.
  48. "Martin Scorsese on Screening of Christian Persecution Film 'Silence' on Vatican's Giant Crucifix". The Christian Post. December 6, 2016.
  49. D'Alessandro, Anthony (December 5, 2016). "Martin Scorsese's 'Silence' Plots January Expansion". Retrieved December 5, 2016.
  50. "Silence (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved January 1, 2017.
  51. "Silence reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved December 28, 2016.
  52. Seitz, Matt Zoller (December 23, 2016). "Silence Movie Review & Film Summary (2016)". Ebert Digital LLC. Retrieved December 23, 2016.
  53. Rahman, Abid (December 15, 2016). "Denzel Washington's 'Fences' Leads Nominations for AARP's Movies for Grownups Awards". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 26, 2016. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  54. "The 2016 Chicago Film Critics Association Award Nominees". Chicago Film Critics Association. December 11, 2016. Retrieved December 12, 2016. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  55. Greene, Steve (December 19, 2016). "2016 IndieWire Critics Poll: Full List of Results". IndieWire. Retrieved December 27, 2016. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  56. "'Moonlight' and 'Love and Friendship' Lead London Film Critics' Circle Nominations". Variety. December 20, 2016. Retrieved December 20, 2016. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  57. "42nd Annual Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards 2016 Winners". Los Angeles Film Critics Association. December 4, 2016. Retrieved December 5, 2016. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  58. "National Board of Review Announces 2016 Award Winners". National Board of Review. November 29, 2016. Retrieved November 29, 2016.
  59. Flores, Marshall (December 9, 2016). "San Francisco Film Critics Circle Nominations!". Retrieved December 10, 2016.
  60. Nordyke, Kimberly (December 12, 2016). "'Moonlight' Named Best Picture by San Francisco Film Critics Circle". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 12, 2016. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)

External links[]

Template:Martin Scorsese