Born November 17, 1942 Martin Scorsese is one of the best known directors in the world with over 50 years in the movie business not only as a director but also acting in a large amount of films . He has directed a total of 25 full length films, many of which have won awards and set the bar high for the film industry. With so many great movies directed by this man and the movie The Irishman set to be released soon, there’s no denying he’s a legend in his industry . I wanted to go through some of his better works here , this is by no means a definitive list and is purely my personal opinions.
Although he did direct 4 great movies before Taxi Driver in my personal opinion this is the one that put him on the map. Released in 1976 Taxi Driver takes place in New York right after the Vietnam War and revolves around a taxi driver named Travis Bickle(Robert De Niro) who is a troubled veteran slowly losing his mind due to the corruption he sees in the city around him. The movie was nominated for 4 Academy Awards and also starred a young Jodi Foster, Harvey Keitel ,Cybill Shepherd and was Albert Brooks first big role.
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In 1980 he would once again work with Robert De Niro while directing Raging Bull which was adapted from Jake Lamotta’s memoir Raging Bull: My Story. The movie is about a boxer and how his self destructive behavior affects his life in and out of the ring. It also stars Joe Pesci and won 2 Oscars and is widely considered to be Scorsese’s best work.
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The Last Temptation of Christ
A Scorsese movie without Robert De Niro The Last Temptation of Christ still held its own, released in 1988 and starring such great actors as Willem Dafoe, Harvey Keitel, Barbara Hershey and even David Bowie the film was adapted from the 1955 novel of the same name. The movie like the novel depicts the life of Jesus Christ but more from a point of view that he was a flawed human just like most of us and wrought with temptation. It didn’t do great at the box office but did end up nominated for an Academy Award and Golden Globes.
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Released in 1990 Goodfellas is probably my favorite Scorsese film and I’m sure I’m not alone there as it is an amazing movie with an amazing cast. The film is adapted from the book Wiseguy by Nicholas Pileggi. The film centers on a mobster named Henry Hill(Ray Liotta) and how he maneuvered through the mob underground from a teenager all the way through his life. The film grossed $46 million and is certainly a contender for Scorsese’s best work. The cast is amazing with such stars as Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Paul Sorvino and the movie was nominated for countless awards and won most of them.
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Once again starring Robert De Niro(I’m starting to see a pattern here) Cape Fear was released in 1991 and is actually a remake of the 1962 film of the same name. It depicts the life of a criminal defense attorney named Sam Bowden(Nick Nolte) and an ex client of his that ends up terrorizing him and his family. It was Gregory Peck’s final theatrical role and also starred Jessica Lange and Juliette Lewis. The movie received multiple award nominations.
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Yet another gangster movie Casino was released in 1995 and yes, once again stars Robert De Niro(What a shocker huh?). It’s based on the book Casino: Love & Honor in Las Vegas by Nicholas Pileggi and revolves around the life of a Jewish gambling handicapper named Sam Rothstein(Robert De Niro) who is hired by the Chicago mob to help run a casino in Las Vegas and all the problems that arise from him trying to maneuver through mafia life. It is based on real people and true stories and stars the like sof Joe Pesci, Sharon Stone, James Woods and Don Rickle. Sharon Stone won a Golden Globe award for best actress as well as being nominated for an Academy Award for her role in the movie.
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Gangs of New York
A different kind of gangster movie Gangs of New York was released in 2002 and revolves around Irish and Italian gangs fighting over territory in the slums of New York. It is inspired by the book of the same name by Herbert Asbury. It takes place in the mid 1800’s and does an amazing job of transporting you back to that time. Starring such greats as Daniel Day Lewis, Leonardo Dicaprio, John C. Reilly and Cameron Diaz the film grossed over $190 million and was nominated for 10 Oscars.
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No one does gangster movies better than Scorsese and The Departed would convince any non believer, released in 2006 it is a remake of the 2002 Hong Kong movie Infernal Affairs and delves into the lives of different people in Boston affected by or part of the Irish Mafia. The cast alone is jaw dropping with such legends as Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Alec Baldwin and Mark Wahlberg and the plot has so many twists and turns it keeps you guessing the whole way through. The film is loosely based on the life of Whitey Bulger and was a critical success winning various awards.
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The Wolf of Wall Street
Focusing on a different breed of criminals The Wolf of Wall Street is based on the memoir of the same name by Jordan Belfort and tells the story of his life as a stockbroker and how overrun with corruption that whole industry really is. Released in 2013 the movie critical success and is probably what skyrocketed Margot Robbie’s career, it also stars Leonardo Dicaprio as Jordan Belfort as well as Matthew McConaughey, Jon Bernthal and Jon Favreau and was a major hit grossing $392 million worldwide. The movie broke the Guiness World Record for the most swearing in a movie. The move garnered many award nominations and Dicaprio won an award for best actor.
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