Martin Scorsese has defended his decision to partner with Netflix on his new movie 'The Irishman'.

Martin Scorsese and Al Pacino

Martin Scorsese and Al Pacino

The streaming service financed Scorsese's new Mafia drama, which seems him reunited with long-time collaborators Robert DeNiro and Joe Pesci and also stars Al Pacino, Anna Pacquin, Harvey Keitel and Stephen Graham.

Netflix acquired the rights to the film after traditional studios refused to back it. It is thought that several studios were put off by the high cost of the 'de-ageing' CGI, which is used in the film to make the actors appear younger in some key flashback scenes. The technology is believed to have pushed the budget to the $200 million mark.

Scorsese, 76, values the "communal experience" that audiences get in the cinema but he insists if it wasn't for Netflix nobody would be watching his film because they were brave enough to take a risk on his project.

Speaking at a press conference before the international premiere of 'The Irishman', the 'Taxi Driver' filmmaker said: "There's no doubt that seeing a movie with an audience is really important. There is a problem though: we have to make the film. We've run out of room, in a sense, there was no room for us to make this picture, for many reasons.

"Having the backing of a company that says you will have no interference, you can make the picture as you want - the trade-off being: it streams, with theatrical distribution prior to that. I figure, that's a chance we take, on this particular project."

Cinema chains on both sides of the Atlantic, such as Vue and AMC may refuse to screen the film as part of a long-running boycott of Netflix and its failure to respect cinemas' 90-day window of exclusivity.

Netflix has been repeatedly criticised by the movie industry for harming cinema and it's exclusive movies have been excluded from the Cannes Film Festival whilst Hollywood legend Steven Spielberg has said that their films should not be eligible for Oscars.

However, Scorsese believes that the industry should have an "open mind" to the changing viewing habits of audiences.

He said: "Homes are becoming theatres too but it's a major change and I think one has to keep an open mind."

'The Irishman' tells the story of real-life Mafia hitman Frank 'The Irishman' Sheeran (De Niro) who is suspected of befriending and killing celebrated union boss Jimmy Hoffa (Pacino) in 1975.

It is based on an adaptation of the book 'I Heard You Paint Houses' and it is the ninth feature film that Scorsese and De Niro have made together, whilst it is the fourth Scorsese movie that Pesci has appeared in following roles in 'Raging Bull', Goodfellas' and 'Casino'.

'The Irishman' is the first time that Scorsese as has directed Hollywood legend Pacino, 79.