Martin Scorsese is one of the greatest American filmmakers of all time and one of the only ones that started during the American New Wave and is still operating at the peak of his abilities. He’s one of my absolute favourite directors and with the release of The Irishman/I heard You Paint Houses, it’s time to give you my top ten Scorsese movies. I’ve seen most of his work but I still have some to check out.
A very different Martin Scorsese movie, Hugo is an absolute delight. It’s widely known that Scorsese is a massive fan of cinema and this was his love letter to the art form.
9. The Aviator
One of the greatest biopics ever made. Well edited, acted and directed The Aviator never feels its runtime. The MPAA scene has one of the best cuts I’ve seen in any of his films.
8. The Wolf of Wall Street
A classic Scorsese tale that tackles themes of toxic masculinity, this time in Wall Street. He manages to get the best out of every member of the ensemble and has that same energy that made Goodfellas so special. DiCaprio at his peak in my opinion.
Criminally under appreciated. Silence is a beautiful examination on religion and faith and is carried by breathtaking cinematography and powerful performances from Andrew Garfield and Liam Neeson. It tanked at the box office but is an absolute must watch.
6. The Irishman
The Irishman is a very different Scorsese gangster film. While it tackles familiar themes and has a similar structure to his other ones, the film is deliberately slower paced and doesn’t have that sense of energy the others do. It’s slow paced in the best way possible. The final hour is some of best acting De Niro has ever put in and is a much more heartfelt ending than I expected. One of the best films of 2019.
While the first 20 minutes can be a bit of a chore, this film just goes to prove how pivotal Thelma Schoonmaker is to Scorsese’s films. The editing makes the three hours fly by. Sharon Stone puts in the best performance of her career and the best female performance in any Scorsese film. Also has the best production design in any Scorsese movie and top tier performances from Pesci and De Niro.
4. The King of Comedy
A story that’s equal parts funny and disturbing. De Niro puts in arguably his greatest performance as Rupert Pupkin. Scorsese crafts a story that manages to make us care about the character yet at the same time be absolutely terrified by the obsessive nature of this character. An absolute must watch.
Goodfellas is right up there as one of the greatest crime movies ever made. Scorsese does a fantastic job putting us in the shoes of Henry Hill and glorifying the lifestyle until, like most of his films, it all comes crashing down. Fantastic filmmaking from top to bottom.
2. Raging Bull
Raging Bull is the greatest boxing film ever made. The sound design in those boxing scenes is phenomenal and De Niro’s performance is the best of his many collaborations with Scorsese. A fantastic character study on toxic masculinity and the impact it has on everyone involved.
1. Taxi Driver
This film is Martin Scorsese’s magnum opus and will probably always be. It was original in the 70s and has influenced several films since. This is an example of a movie where everything comes together perfectly. Bernard Hermann’s beautiful score, the performances, the screenplay and Martin Scorsese’s confident direction. He knew exactly what movie he wanted to make and executed it to perfection.
Speaking of Taxi Driver, check out my review for the Scorsese inspired Joker here. Rating has dropped by one over the last two months.