Top 10 Martin Scorsese movies

Posted on 24 January 2017
By James Hunter
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This January marks the beginning of the British Film Institutes Scorsese season. With a number of cinemas across the country showing some of the directors most iconic works we thought we’d rank some of his best. Expect a lot of gangsters, a lot of De Nero and a bit of Leo.

10. The Departed

Whilst The Departed was the movie that won Scorsese his much delayed Oscar for best director, it’s often sighted as a ‘life-time achieving’ Oscar rather than for The Departed alone. With that being said, it’s still an outstanding piece of cinema which flaunts an accomplished cast. Adapted from Hong Kong’s Infernal Affairs, it’s another worthy film to add to Scorsese’s morality lead gangster catalogue.

9. Casino

Despite Scorsese not stepping out of his comfort zone for 1995’s Casino, with a FAMILIAR narrative, there’s no denying it’s powerhouse performances. From a killer soundtrack and beautiful tracking shots, this is signature stuff from the director and his cast. A true vehicle for the brace of Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci.

8. The Wolf of Wall Street

Based on the book of the same name, The Wolf of Wall Street has become a transcendent and iconic picture for a new wave of Scorsese-swains. Leo’s infamous “I’m not leaving” speech has been fully embraced by the meme-mafia (for better or worse) and it’s down to the movies hilarious script. Despite it’s protagonists questionable moral compass, it’s impossible not to get on board for this hilariously decadent picture.

7. Mean Streets

Announcing Marty as a true powerhouse in the world of film, Mean Streets is the director at his most raw. Scintillating performances from Harvey Keitel and Robert De Niro insured both cast and crew would be propelled into the limelight after the powerful tale of crooked metropolitan morality hit the silver-screen.

6. The Aviator

Confident direction steers The Aviator into a true period success. Charting Howard Hughes’ descent from eccentric billionaire to reclusive madman, Leonardo DiCaprio gives a mature performance in a movie with incredible historic detail. The movie also garnered huge attention from The Academy Awards with eleven nominations, winning five.

5. Cape Fear

Scorsese leans in the direction of mainstream horror with his remake of 1962’s Cape Fear. Lead by a terrifying performance from – an incredibly ripped – Robert De Nero. Scorsese experiments with frenetic visual techniques often used by Alfred Hitchcock accentuated by Thelma Schoonmaker’s rabid editing style.

4. King of Comedy

Often overlooked and criminally underrated, King of Comedy is now just being rediscovered thanks to it’s gripping pop-culture critique. Both Scorsese and De Niro tread new waters here, in a black comedy helmed by a sympathetic psychopath, scrambling to make his dreams a reality. Think Scorsese’s version of The Cable Guy.

3. Raging Bull

A true epic in every sense of the word. Raging Bull spans numerous different themes taking place over two decades. Infamous for De Nero’s weight loss/gain, it signalled Scorsese cementing himself as a true directorial great. Iconic cinematography seals Raging Bull as one of the greatest movies of the 21st Century, searing and powerful.

2. Goodfellas

“As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster”, Scorsese announces Goodfellas as a gangster classic right out the gate with an iconic overture. At first glamouring the lives of serene psychopaths, only to fall a sobering third act exposing the downward spirals of a violent life.

1. Taxi Driver

Scorsese’s magnum opus, hailed by legendary film-critic Rodger Ebert as one of the greatest movies he had ever seen. Taxi Driver is a poignant and terrifying exploration of anti-hero Travis Bickle’s mind. Nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor (De Niro). Also ranking in Times 100 Best Films of all Time.