It is interesting how we sometime don’t know names of people who have been working on some very famous movies, maybe even on the ones that we like.One of them is Mardik Martin, whose name maybe you haven’t heard before. He was born on September 16, 1936. He is an American screenwriter of Armenian descent. He was born in Iran and raised in Iraq. Mardik Martin is in the elite group of screenwriters on WGA’s list of 101 Greatest Screenplays ever written. He immigrated to the United States from Iraq to attend New York University. Although his family in Iraq was wealthy, he fled the country to avoid the draft and arrived in New York in a penniless state. In his book on the New Hollywood, Peter Biskind states that Martin had to wash dishes to pay his way through NYU, where he met fellow student Martin Scorsese in 1961. The two formed a close friendship and worked together on Scorsese’s early projects such as It’s Not Just You, Murray! and the semi-autobiographical Season of the Witch which ultimately became Mean Streets, starring Harvey Keitel and Robert De Niro. According to Biskind, “The two young men sat in Martin’s Valiant and wrote. In the winter, in the cold and snow.”
Mardik won the Mahler award and graduated with a Master’s degree in 1968 and then went on to teach screen-writing at NYU from 1968 to 1973. Mardik moved to Hollywood that year (1973) after Mean Streets (1973), which he co-wrote with Martin Scorsese, became a huge hit. He worked for Chartoff-Winkler Productions in the years following, writing screenplays like Valentino (1977) and collaborating with Scorcese, again, on The Last Waltz (1978), before writing the first three drafts of Raging Bull (1980). Now semi-retired, Martin works as a Senior Lecturer at the prestigious USC film school, having mentored and taught thousands of the brightest young luminaries in the movie business.