Top Tens

Top Ten Films of Martin Scorsese

From the 1960s to the Aughts, ranking Scorsese is a daunting task

Top Ten Martin Scorsese Films

I hate to pull out this cliche, but, yes, Martin Scorsese is a living legend. He's the rare filmmaker of such stature that almost all actors dream of working with him someday. Even if it's just a credit card commercial. He's the most passionate of directors -- an artist as much a film historian. Plus he's just a likable, chatty guy.

He imbues his films with such energy they practically pulsate. And after 40 years of filmmaking, the man is still creating interesting, important works of cinema that find the humanity within insanity, obsession, guilt, redemption, and the dark side of human nature. And with this week's release of Shutter Island I felt it was only just to take a look back at my favorite films from the master director with what I consider to be the ten best from Scorsese's impressive filmography.

You are likely to agree with some choices, certain to disagree with others and I hope it all stimulates debate in the comments. However, no matter what side of the line we land on, I assume the majority of us can agree Scorsese's films and his contribution to the art form is something to be treasured. Let's begin...

Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974)
Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore carries all the Lego blocks to build a cloying Lifetime movie. Ellen Burstyn plays a recent widow who sells the house and starts afresh in a new town as a lounge singer -- her childhood dream job. She meets a psychotic love interest in Harvey Keitel and a good, simple man played by Kris Kristofferson. And hey, we get a smart-ass kid tossed in for good measure (two if you count little Jodie Foster who shows up as the kid's Tom-boy pal). It's through Scorsese's refusal to hit the expected beats and Burstyn's charismatic -- and Oscar winning -- performance, the film transcends cliche and delivers a funny, poignant slice of life.
Casino (1995)
Movie grumps dismiss Casino as "Goodfellas goes to Vegas." Bah. No doubt the two films are companion pieces (although I think Casino compliments Barry Levinson's Bugsy as much as Goodfellas), as both give an inside glimpse of the mafia and Joe Pesci practically plays the same crazy bastard. However, while Goodfellas looks at mob life through the enamored eyes of Henry Hill, Casino feels more pragmatic and weary as Robert De Niro's number-crunching Sam Rothstein details the ins-and-outs of mob-owned Las Vegas.

Yet, who cares about these comparisons? Scorsese injects his story with such dynamism you can't help but admire Casino for its sheer energy, even if it feels a tad familiar.

The Aviator (2004)
Considering The Aviator chronicles the sad, pathetic life of Howard Hughes, it's surprising how enjoyable the film is (although the story does focus on Hughes before his hopeless recluse days). Hughes produced and directed several films of early Hollywood -- not to mentioned bed many of the starlets of his time -- and it's obvious the film historian in Scorsese relished shooting several sequences. That enthusiasm resonates throughout the film and overcomes the traditional biopic structure the screenplay burdens itself with.

While Hughes's mental illness and Scorsese's attraction toward the human mind's frailty would seem to concoct a perfect storm, it's surprisingly treated in rather superficial terms when compared to Scorsese's other films.

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  • Aakash

    Seen many Scorsese films and truly is my all time Fav. Director.
    5.Taxi Driver
    4.Raging Bull
    3.Casino
    2.The Departed
    1.Goodfellas

    Seen Goodfellas maybe about 40-50 times and really dont mind seeing it another 50 times more

    • annie

      im a 25 year old female and i can say that Goodfellas is my absolute number one favorite movie ever. all the wanna be great films are nothing compared to goodfellas. Im gonna watch it right now.

      • Wesley

        True. Goodfellas is amazing. Its one of those rare films which are 100% perfect. Nothing can be done to make it any better than it is. I'm also 25.

  • http://joker93.livejournal.com Nick

    Great article, as pretty much usual. I can't disagree with any of your picks (haven't seen Bringing Out the Dead, and you've definitely intrigued me more than I had ever been).

    My favourite of MS is easily Goodfellas, for all the reasons you've listed, and then some. Entertaining and energetic beyond words, yet deep and thoughtful at the same time, and with great sequence coming after great sequence. The best mob film ever and one of my all-time favourites. I just love the hell out of that movie.

    Then come Taxi Driver, a disturbing and amazing urban nightmare with one of the best performances ever; The Departed, which I think was MS's best since Goodfellas, an absolutely terrific and excellently written, acted and directed film, which totally deserved Scorsese the Oscar; and Casino, which may be repetitive, but the great Vegas atmosphere missing from GF, the energy, the soundtrack and Sharon Stone's best ever performance are something that I'm unable to deny and look past at.

    The Color of Money is a pretty good movie with Newman doing a flawless job, but overall I felt I was watching a film which a director of Scorsese's level is above of... He just has nothing to do here, as a director. Cape Fear is a very well-made thriller, but no masterpiece or anything. Gangs of New York and Aviator are great epics, but like you said about Raging Bull, those are films that are easy to admire and respect - for a lot of reasons - but are harder to simply love.

    And speaking of Raging Bull, no, unfortunately I haven't seen it yet. Same with Last Temptation, Alice, The Age of Innocence, After Hours, Kundun and Bringing Out the Dead.

    And in conclusion... are any of you guys going to do a similar write-up on Polanski's best films? Either now or when Ghost Writer goes wide?

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/article/stay-inside-and-watch-more-tv#comments David Frank

      I can't speak for Brad on whether he planning a Polanski list. However, in a little over a month I plan on doing a Werner Herzog top 10 in time for the Bad Lieutenant DVD.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/ Brad Brevet

      Man, I would love to do a Polanski list, but at the moment I haven't seen nearly enough of his films. Perhaps I'll have to take a closer look and see what I can do because that would be an interesting one.

  • Irf

    Where's GANGS OF NEW YORK? That movies was one of his 3 best.

    • http://joker93.livejournal.com Nick

      To you maybe.

      • Fan

        The Gangs of New York is MY FAVORITE MOVIE OF ALL TIME!!!! The Gangs of New York is a powerful movie, it has so many themes racism, pride, respect, revenge, corruption, love and at the end of the movie forgiveness. This movie shows a nation torn apart by the civil war and then it shows a war on the streets. The Gangs of New York is also about a nation coming together because during this time America just got over the Revolutionary War. But has not yet become a nation that accepts change, during this time America has change but not all the way. This movie shows the changing of a nation and at the end of the movie instead of that big fight between the Natives and the Dead Rabbits they help each other when the soldiers came. Of course not Leonardo DiCaprio character and Daniel Day-Lewis character. And Daniel Day-Lewis is also my favorite actor and his performance was so powerful and convincing I wasn’t watching Daniel Day-Lewis I was watching Bill the Butcher!!! I think that was one of his best performances!!! Ever after not acting for a couple of years he came back and delivered!!! And was nominated for best actor that year I thought he should have won. By the way the Gangs of New York was nominated for ten Oscars, being Martin Scorsese 2nd highest nominated film and of course his next film The Aviator had eleven being his highest. But I think the Gangs of New York is his most epic film he’d made!!!!

      • Wesley

        Lol

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/article/stay-inside-and-watch-more-tv#comments David Frank

      I find the only thing that holds Gangs of New York together is Daniel Day-Lewis' monumental performance. I enjoy the film, but it's a messy movie with some really clumsy patch work in the second half of the narrative. Scorsese has always said this version was his approved cut. However, there have been rumors ever since its release that there was a battle between Scorsese and Harvey Weinstein over the final cut and somewhere exists a much longer and much better version of the film. Yet, as the current version stands, it's not Scorsese's best directorial work.

      • Central Ohio

        I agree 100%. The best thing about Gangs of New York is Lord Daniel doing his thing. Cameron Diaz has no business being in the same movie as that guy...and for as good as DiCaprio can be, that is not his best performance.

      • http://www.fixfilms.com Paul L.

        Totally agree - Daniel Day-Lewis was frighteningly good in GANGS OF NEW YORK. The other actors didn't stand a chance with him on that kind of form. He was even better in THERE WILL BE BLOOD!

        I think the main problem with GANGS OF NEW YORK is the sudden lurches in time - especially in the 2nd half of the movie. It definitely feels like an abridged version that loses focus.

        I remember watching GANGS OF NEW YORK and really getting into the rhythm of the movie when suddenly we are thrown forward quite violently into the riotous scenes at the end.

        While nowhere near as good, Ridley Scott's film KINGDOM OF HEAVEN has similarly been butchered down to suit a popcorn-munching audience. Interestingly, Liam Neeson plays a murdered father in both films. I think that's where the comparisons end.

        • Wesley

          So true that Daniel Day-Lewis F*cking amazing in Gangs of New York.

    • Drew

      I feel that, though flawed, Gangs of New York isn't as much of a miss for Scorcese as everyone makes it out to be. I think he wanted to kick off the new millenium with a film of grander scale than anything he'd done before and bit off more than he could chew. I really ejoyed it, but I'm not sure if it would make top 10 for me. Maybe #10 if that. Definetly not top 3.

    • Phil

      Nah no...

  • maja

    I totally agree about raging bull. I think it's one of the most beautifully shot films i have ever seen and admire and respect it for it, but it's not a movie which I love.

    I would actually place Casino as my favorite MS movie, followed by Goodfellas an the King of Comedy (how did that not make your list?)

    I have only seen bringing out the dead once and that was 10 years ago so I may need to revisit it. And have never seen temptation of Christ. Agreed with all the others though!

  • Central Ohio

    Wow! Bringing out the Dead at #2? I agree it's an underated Scorsese vehicle but #2 all time Scorsese? I think that's pushing it a just a tad.

    I know not everyone loves 'Raging Bull' the way I do but I'm glad everyone seems to respect it for it's craftsmanship. I also think anyone who doesn't have 'Mean Streets' in their top ten Scorsese films needs a slap upside the head.

    Ones I haven't seen: Alice doesn't live here anymore, The Age of Innocence, Boxcar Bertha, New York New York, After Hours.

    Here' my top ten:

    10)The Color of Money
    9) The Last Waltz
    8) Mean Streets
    7) The Last Temptation of Christ
    6) The Aviator
    5) The Departed
    4) Casino
    3) Taxi Driver
    2) Raging Bull
    1) Goodfellas

    • Wesley

      Good List. Personally I'd have Raging Bull at number 1, but the top 3 are so freaken good, I can't complain. Dunno how this article could place Bringing out the Dead so high.

  • Arjuna

    you know it really says something that each one of those movies could possibly make it to individual top 10 movies of all time

    • Andy Sims

      ha i would totally agree

  • http://www.fixfilms.com Paul L.

    Indeed, one of the great great filmmakers! TAXI DRIVER, GOODFELLAS, RAGING BULL could quite easily be on the top ten movies of all time!

    Agree with most of the choices but I would definitely have KING OF COMEDY in Scorcese's top ten. The levels of tragedy and drama as well as comic embarrassment in that film, had not been surpassed until CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM and THE OFFICE (UK) hit our TV screens. De Niro is incredible as Ruper Pupkin; as he is in all of his collaborations with Scorcese.

    For all it's over-the-top-gothic-B-movie-sensibility I really loved his CAPE FEAR remake too. AFTER HOURS is also an excellent and very original comedy!

    The maker of so many great films in different genres! Even with films like THE AVIATOR and KUNDUN - which I didn't enjoy - you know every shot, sound, cut is carefully thought out and there is real passion for the subject matter.

    Absolute genius!

    • jeannie Santabene

      The King of Comedy is an underrated gem giving De Niro a very superb performance. Embarrassing?? I think not!!
      Taxi Driver
      Raging Bull
      Goodfellas
      Casino
      Shutter Island
      Mean Streets
      King of Comedy
      New York New York(another underrated gem!)
      Cape Fear
      Departed
      I have not seen some of his earlier work that is mentioned here, so can't comment.
      I feel Gangs of New York is NOT in the top ten,
      And Really the more I think about it King of Comedy really should be in my top 3! Incredible, original, showing none other than De Niro being the greatest screen actor of all time, HANDS DOWN..................

  • Colin Aldridge

    I'd say:

    1. Raging Bull
    2. The Age of Innocence
    3. The Last Temptation of Christ
    4. Kundun
    5. Mean Streets
    6. Taxi Driver
    7. Bringing Out the Dead
    8. Goodfellas
    9. The Aviator
    10. Gangs of New York

    And so forth:

    11. After Hours
    12. The King of Comedy
    13. Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore
    14. Casino
    15. Who's That Knocking at My Door
    16. The Departed
    17. Cape Fear
    18. New York, New York
    19. Boxcar Bertha
    20. The Color of Money

  • Conor

    1. Raging Bull
    2. Taxi Driver
    3. Gangs of New York
    4. The Last Temptation of Christ
    5. The Departed
    6. Mean Streets
    7. The Last Waltz
    8. Goodfellas
    9. The King of Comedy
    10. Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore

  • http://geekyruminations.blogspot.com tony d

    gotta be Goodfellas

  • Jack

    I'm sorry but The Last Temptation of Christ is definetely not the best religious movie.

    The best religious film is The Passion of the Christ.

    • Garrett

      Nope.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/article/where-in-the-world-is-the-road davidfrank

      The Passion of the Christ is a fine "You are There" film. But it doesn't have anything interesting to say other than Jesus got the crapped kicked out of him for our sins. It's a rather superficial movie.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/ Brad Brevet

      I agree with David on this one and I really liked The Passion of the Christ, but having seen The Last Temptation of Christ for the first time recently I was floored. It actually has something to say rather than just telling the story. I would say Temptation is a thesis statement compared to Passion's one paragraph synopsis. And like I said, I really like The Passion.

  • Brian

    GoodFellas is one of the best movies of all time. There is not a single part in that movie you don't enjoy. Only a couple other movies are like that, like Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Godfather.

  • JM

    OH GOD, thank you SO MUCH for ranking "The Last Temptation of the Christ" above "Raging Bull"!! I know exactly what you're saying about Raging Bull--it is so well-made and so realistic, but it has nothing in it that is possible to actually like. Jake LaMotta's character is one of the worst and most insufferable characters ever put to screen. You thought it was painful watching Amy Adams' character in "Leap Year"? Well, far worse than that, and all other horrid, self-centered characters, is Jake LaMotta in "Raging Bull." He is thoughtless and is willing to hurt others to fulfill his petty desires, and yet he is too stupid to realize this, and too stupid to realize why he's so sad when he ends up losing everything. I can't believe anyone would ever want to do a biopic on him, but apparently Scorsese did, and everyone pitched in to portray Jake LaMotta's life as exactly as they could. And that's why that movie is so horrid. I hate that shit.

    Meanwhile, "The Last Temptation of Christ" is, as you said, the best Jesus film ever. After being completely turned off by "Raging Bull" and a little underwhelmed by "Goodfellas," I thought I didn't want to watch any more Scorsese. But I decided to give him one more chance with "Last Temptation," since it had been on my list for a while. Boy, am I glad I did! God fucking DAMN, what a film! And what an ending! I now feel invigorated and ready to watch more Scorsese films. I'm highly interested in "The Departed" and "Shutter Island" and "The Age of Innocence" and "Cape Fear." I'm much more wary about "Casino" and "The Aviator," though, because Casino sounds like Goodfellas (which I wasn't that impressed by), and the way you described The Aviator made it sound like Raging Bull except with an aviator instead of a boxer. And while I was originally wary about "Taxi Driver," I'm now interested because last spring's "Observe and Report" was apparently heavily influenced by Taxi Driver, and I loved that film.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/article/stay-inside-and-watch-more-tv#comments David Frank

      The Aviator and Raging Bull are nothing alike in tone. The Aviator is an enjoyable film.

    • Central Ohio

      Are you kidding me?
      Do yourself a favor and don't watch anymore Scorsese movies because you won't like them. It sounds like you are just not ready for Scorsese. Try and educate yourself a little bit and then go back to Raging Bull and Goodfellas. I've never heard anyone hate on those two movies like that in my life.

      • maja

        I don't think it's right telling someone to not watch any Scorcese. He is a really diverse director and has made a lot of ligher movies as well, like After Hours and King of Comedy. So it may be worth trying to start with these ones if you don't like his more serious films.

  • aj

    lol brad everyone you chose was the exact order of my top 10 scorsese films EXCEPT switch the departed and bringing out the dead
    the departed is my favorite film btw

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/ Brad Brevet

      This is actually David's list, but glad you liked it.

  • owen

    I'm glad to see bringing out the dead in the top 5...i've always thought it was underappreciated.

  • Austin

    1. Raging Bull
    2. Goodfellas
    3. Taxi Driver
    4. The Departed
    5. Mean Streets
    6. The King of Comedy
    7. Gangs of New York
    8. After Hours
    9. The Aviator
    10. Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore

    • Central Ohio

      Austin, I like your list better than mine.

  • Helgi

    Well, I´m pleased and surprised how many honor the work of a man who was going into priesthood but swayed on the way into the holy ground of filmmaking. Martin Scorsese is without doubt the most interesting American director for the last 335 years. There have been great ones since the early 70s to this day, but only Martin has the stamina to go the distance. Coppola dropped out early, Ashby died, Spielberg is still a child and can´t decide on a course (really), Munich being his only notable movie the last ten years, DePalma is his older brother sadly making more mistakes than masterpieces. The most underrated director who goes the distance is Mike Nichols; Virginia Wolf, The Graduate, Primary Colors, Angels in America anyone? Maybe the Coen brothers fit the bill. Most of the others are lucky guys with only one great title to their credit: Does anyone remember Peter Bogdanovich? Foreigners of great fortune in Hollywood, Polanski and Forman, are fast fading away. Oh, the most overrated director of recent times: James Cameron. Co-billed with Clint Eastwood.

    • maja

      I agree with you that once Scorcese is long gone he will be remembered as one of the top 25 directors of all time along with the likes of Hitchcock, Kubrick, Chaplin and Sergio Leone.

  • John

    THE BIG THREE
    1. Goodfellas
    2. Taxi Driver
    3. Raging Bull

    THE EARLY AND LATER CAREER RUNNERS-UP
    4. Mean Streets
    5. The Departed

    HIS MOST ENTERTAINING, ENDURINGLY POPULAR MOVIE THAT NO ONE REMEMBERS HE MADE
    6. The Color of Money

    HIS RUN OF "GIMME AN OSCAR, PLEASE!" MOVIES THAT WERE ACTUALLY PRETTY GOOD
    7. The Aviator
    8. Gangs of New York

    THE MOVIE WAS GOOD, THE CONTROVERSY SURROUNDING IT TOO MUCH FUN TO LEAVE IT OFF
    9. The Last Temptation of Christ

    ALONG WITH SPIELBERG, RIDLEY SCOTT, and EASTWOOD, HE'S AN AGING DIRECTOR WHO HAS ALREADY HAD HIS ICONIC ERA, BUT HIS NEW STUFF IS NOT AGED AND OLD, AS HAS HAPPENED TO SO MANY DIRECTORS THROUGH THE YEARS...
    10. Shutter Island

  • Helgi

    Martin Scorsese made Mean Streets as a means to express the torment of his soul; go and see the priest turn hoodlum. It made DeNiro a star so we can thank Martin for Godfather Part II. Two years later came Taxi Driver, his greatest movie in all terms. Raging Bull is really not as good as most people think, we jump to the conclusion that it´s a masterpieces just because who made it, and DeNiro his Oscar. The script is just not clicking but the filmmaker is firing on all cylinders; the direction and the bl/wh camerawork is outstanding. Then came a very tiring period, beginning with King of Comedy, an awful comedy, really embarrassing; but he fights back with Goodfellas, one of the best movies of recent years, an overpowering performance in every department lead by our man. I hated his version of Cape Fear. The Departed was a noble try, really intriguing. For all his work he got no medals, but he was striving for commercial acceptance. When he finally won a medal and won commercial acceptance his work went south; his big movies like Gangs of New York and Aviator are without character, without feeling, they simply don´t have the touch. They click as huge canvases on mountains you don´t want to climb again. Let´s hope the small giant rises again. I´m going to see Shutter Island, hoping for a lightning, but at the same time I´m dreading it´s only a desperate pass at boxoffice Himalya.
    By the way: Stanley Kubrick did go the distance. All the way. I want to honor his memory. He was a master. For your information, he is my favorite director of the last 3(35) years!

    • Central Ohio

      Gangs of New York and the Aviator were made before he won any medals so I'm not sure what you are talking about.

      p.s. Raging Bull is as good as most people think

  • http://thekingbulletin.blogspot.com Danny King

    I wanted so bad to do a list of my own like this, but there were one or two films of his that I haven't seen, so I decided to hold off. Here are some of my reactions/comments:

    1. Glad to see Gangs of New York left off. I thought the performances were good, but the story was sloppy. It was probably the least entertaining Scorsese film for me.

    2. Raging Bull is far and away my #1 at this point.

    3. Rounding out my top five would be Goodfellas, The Aviator, The Departed, and Taxi Driver.

    4. I didn't really like Mean Streets at all. Another sloppy, uninteresting narrative in my opinion.

  • Helgi

    I hate lists. People, please don´t make lists which include movies you haven´t seen. What´s the purpose?

  • Helgi

    I´m ashamed. Sergio Leone. The least pretentious but an absolute master filmmaker co-billed with Kubrick. Maybe Tarantino understands why.
    Did you know that THE GOOD, THE BAD and THE UGLY has no dialogue until the 15th minute?
    The past is not always last.

  • Helgi

    Well, sorry for the error, the 10th.

    • Fan

      What are you talking about that classic film making. And in the movie There Will Be Blood it start like that no dialogue for about 10 mins or so. And it was a great movie and it work just fine so I don't know what you are talking about.

  • Helgi

    But then, there is night. Even though there´s always hope in the dark.
    Cinema-dark. Even stark-night-dark.
    There´s hope for the young to capture the magic of the movies.
    Let´s close the eyes and wander ...
    And you begin hearing voices: You talkin´ to me?
    Then you begin to wonder where and when you heard those voices?
    In the dead if the night.
    Not bad. For a movie.

  • Zack Solomon

    1. Raging Bull
    2. Goodfellas
    3. Taxi Driver
    4. Mean Streets
    5. The Departed
    6. The Last temptation of Christ
    7. Gangs of New York
    8. Casino
    9. After Hours
    10. Kundun
    11. The Age Of Innocence
    12. The Aviator
    13. King of Comedy
    14. The Last Waltz
    15. Alice Doesn't Live Here

  • Sara Magalski

    "Alice doesn't live here anymore", and "Mean streets" were really awful films. "Taxi driver", and "Goodfellas" were his best. But he gets some great performances in his films. Here are the five best performances in Scorsese films:
    1. Daniel Day-Lewis- Gangs of New York
    2. Joe Pesci- Casino
    3. Robert De Niro- Taxi Driver
    4. Robert De Niro- Raging Bull
    5. Leonardo Di Caprio- The Aviator

    • Central Ohio

      Hey Sara, if you're going to say that Mean Streets is an awful film you better state your reasoning why.

      • Sara Magalski

        "Mean Streets" is incredibly stupid and pretentious. The ridiculous catholic guilt shit, the creepy sibling, loyalty to friend shit, the horrible dialogue about nothing, how can someone give a damn about these knuckleheaded, pointless characters and situations that are just idiotic, simple, and absurd. To compare the "mean streets" to animalistic behavior is an insult to the depth of animal behavior in comparison with the retarded freaks that Scorsese thought was a good idea to put on film. The only thing worse than the stupid religious confusion of "Mean Streets", is the dumb, confused praise of it.

      • http://www.fixfilms.com Paul L.

        Sara, I think ALL the reasons you hate MEAN STREETS are the reasons I like it so much.

        It is confused, raw and chaotic; centring on small-time Italian hoodlums who are misogynistic, crass, violent thugs.

        Bearing in mind it's one of Scorcese's early movies it's clearly a filmmaker finding his directorial voice with a very personal film. He shows us the kind of 'mean streets' and 'mean' men he grew up around. Or at least experienced at some point in his early life.

        I disagree it's stupid and pretentious but I do agree it's pretty much about 'nothing'! Because ultimately life means nothing to many of the characters in this film and nothing is all they have.

        (Actually, that last bit is quite pretentious :-)

    • Central Ohio

      You don't think that movie represented any sort of real life in that part of New York during that time? You don't think that there were people who actually lived like that and maybe others beside yourself could identify with those characters?

      I respect the fact that you gave your reasons but obviously you were no where near those New York neighborhoods during the late sixties or early seventies.

      • Sara Magalski

        Paul L., when you say; "...life means nothing to many of the characters in this film and nothing is all they have.", I don't see the point. Lets take "Last days", a film based on Kurt Cobain's last days. The 'who gives a shit' factor is the same as "Mean Streets": Idiotic characters and their stupid, pathetic lives. So!? Is "Mean Streets" interesting to anyone but a sociopath? "...nothing is all they have.", is not like the existential profundity that you see in Antonioni films, where the characters confront and reflect on the meaning of their choices in life. Scorsese's characters are just retarded thugs. And the ridiculous catholic guilt is so shallow that it's completely silly.
        Central Ohio, how you know where I grew up is a curious assumption on your part. But "Mean Streets" is not a documentary, and the film is stupid. I'll let the prisoners on death row "identify with those characters".

    • Central Ohio

      I never said I knew where you grew up. All I know is that you didn't grow up in the same neighborhood as Martin Scorsese...that, and the fact that you really have a hateful opinion of Mean Streets that seems to get under your skin. You've made that point crystal clear.

      • http://www.fixfilms.com Paul L.

        Fair enough Sara - you don't like the movie. I'm not saying you should. Life and art are subjective. There is no real truth - only different versions of it.

        BUT MEAN STREETS - and many of Scorcese's movies - deserve credit because they creates polar-diverse emotions in the audience. Scorcese doesn't ask you to like these characters. Sure, they are "retarded thugs" who communicate through violence. Scorcese's showing that these people exist(ed); and perhaps asking himself the question WHY am I so different?

        I don't believe Scorcese glorifies these characters but reflects the lives they lead. I can see any humanist reading of this film will find it repugnant, with little hope in humanity. But, from my experience it's better to read films from various different approaches.

        As for Antonioni - Scorcese is a cinephile and no doubt influenced by his work. Although, personally I find Antonioni's films existentially fascinating they are very difficult to watch; let alone actually enjoy. Give me a Scorcese directed film, any day of the week.

  • Peyton

    I have to completely agree with David's opinion on Raging Bull. But as for my top ten (of what I've seen), they go:

    1) The Departed
    2) Goodfellas
    3) Taxi Driver
    4) King of Comedy
    5) Casino
    6) Raging Bull
    7) The Aviator
    8) Gangs of New York
    9) Mean Streets
    10) Cape Fear

  • Fan

    The Gangs of New York is MY FAVORITE MOVIE OF ALL TIME!!!! The Gangs of New York is a powerful movie, it has so many themes racism, pride, respect, revenge, corruption, love and at the end of the movie forgiveness. This movie shows a nation torn apart by the civil war and then it shows a war on the streets. The Gangs of New York is also about a nation coming together because during this time America just got over the Revolutionary War. But has not yet become a nation that accepts change, during this time America has change but not all the way. This movie shows the changing of a nation and at the end of the movie instead of that big fight between the Natives and the Dead Rabbits they help each other when the soldiers came. Of course not Leonardo DiCaprio character and Daniel Day-Lewis character. And Daniel Day-Lewis is also my favorite actor and his performance was so powerful and convincing I wasn’t watching Daniel Day-Lewis I was watching Bill the Butcher!!! I think that was one of his best performances!!! Even after not acting for a couple of years he came back and delivered!!! And was nominated for best actor that year I thought he should have won. By the way the Gangs of New York was nominated for ten Oscars, being Martin Scorsese 2nd highest nominated film and of course his next film The Aviator had eleven being his highest. But I think the Gangs of New York is his most epic film he’d made!!!!

    My List
    1.Gangs of New York
    2.Goodfellas
    3.The Departed
    4.Taxi Driver
    5.Raging Bull
    6.Casnio
    7.The Aviator
    8.The Color of Money
    9.Bring Out the Dead
    10.Mean Streets

  • Drew

    Goodfellas is #1, no question. Raging Bull is number 2. Is it a sin that I liked The Departed more than Taxi Driver? And why doesn't anyone see that Aviator as a standout? Everyone keeps lumping it in with Gangs of New York. I don't know. Lists like this become personal rather than objective I suppose. Especially when we're talking about someone like Scorcese.

  • The Jackal

    HERE ARE SOME OF MY INITIAL REACTIONS:
    Aviator is #8 and Casino is #9, are you kidding me? WTF David Frank!?!

    Raging Bull: Still can't see him topping this one. Only #5: starting to question your credibility Mr. Frank

    @David Frank: You lost me at "Bringing." Sorry man, a true Scorsese critic you are not. Bringing Out the Dead shouldn't have been anywhere near the top 10. You think this film & The Last Temptation & The Aviator are better than The Color of Money, The King of Comedy & the phenomenal doc. No Direction Home? Judging by some of your choices, I'm surprised Kundun didn't beat out Goodfellas for #1 Marty Film.

    MY TOP-5
    1. Raging Bull
    2. Casino
    3. The Departed
    4. Goodfellas
    5. Mean Streets

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/ Brad Brevet

      Sorry Jackal, but to question someone's credibility based on their opinion is silly. Also, to say someone is not "a true Scorsese critic" is a bit of a falsity if you are judging his ability to critique Scorsese's work on the basis that he doesn't fall lock step in with the majority. I would actually argue the exact opposite.

      It's far more indicative of a worthwhile critic to stick by their opinion rather than to rattle off just another list that mimics everyone else's simply because it's easier to like what everyone else does rather than have an opinion of your own.

      • Central Ohio

        Right on Brad! I give D. Frank credit for having balls enough to put 'Bringing out the Dead' at number two...and even though I don't agree, he's got me curious enough to go check out that movie again. I know my list probably mimics a lot of others but I still feel like I've been defending Raging Bull all day. What do you think? Is your list on here?

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/ Brad Brevet

        That's a good point, I was not at all insinuating anyone that has posted here is falling in line with others if they don't have something like Bringing Out the Dead in their top five. I have actually never seen that film which is the reason I asked David to make this list and not me and like you, I am also very curious in checking it out now as well.

        So to answer your other question, no, I don't have a full list, but Raging Bull would have a hard time making my top five as my opinion of it is almost exactly the same as David's, however I was just recently telling someone how much I love the shot of the blood dripping off the ropes. I just lent my copy out to a friend making sure they also focus on the editing. From almost every perspective Raging Bull is superb, just not a high-ranking personal favorite of mine. Respect is one thing, love is another.

      • Central Ohio

        Fair enough...but I'm still itching to know what your favorite Scorsese film is...or at least top three.

  • Michelle

    A living legend indeed!!!

    1. The Departed
    2. Taxi Driver
    3. Goodfellas
    4. The Aviator
    5. The Last Temptation of Christ
    6. Casino
    7. Raging Bull
    8. Age of Innocence
    9. Cape Fear
    10. The Color of Money

  • The Jackal

    @Brad Brevet: In the immortal words of Tony Soprano - "take it easy!"

    Never realized my one little comment could garner such a response. This reminds me of the Oscars when Sean Penn felt he had to "defend" Jude Law's honor when the latter was accused of being in too many movies in 2004.

    Also, how do you know what my criteria is for an accurate assessment of Scorsese's work. However, a good starting point might be Scorsese himself, wouldn't you agree? In the excellent documentary "Scorsese on Scorsese" (which came with the 2-Disc Edition of The Departed), the master himself discusses in some detail his greatest works: Surprise Suprise - Bringing Out the Dead isn't even mentioned.

    And I don't think you have to judge Scorsese based on which films the majority of people like. Most people loved The Last Temptation of the Christ, Taxi Driver & Gangs of NY; I myself wasn't a big fan of these films.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/ Brad Brevet

      No, Scorsese is not the best starting point when it comes to what I, David, you or anyone else thinks of his films. However, if you want his opinion on his films he would certainly be the man to ask.

  • PinstripedJon

    1. Taxi Driver
    2. Raging Bull
    3. GoodFellas
    4. The Departed
    5. Mean Streets

  • Charlie

    10. After Hours(1985)- A decent comedy and a very interesting story about a crazy night in New York.

    9. Cape Fear(1991)-An exciting thriller and much better than the original with a chilling performance from DeNiro.

    8. Taxi Driver(1976)- Interesting story about a sociopath. Ahead of it's time.

    7. Mean Streets(1973)- A classic another film ahead of it's time and one of the first street dramas or "hood" films.

    6. Who's That Knocking at My Door?(1967)-A very rare gem, Scorsese's debut, timeless, and only foreshadowed of what was to come of him.

    5. Raging Bull(1980)-Took me time to appreciate it. I was 13 when I saw but I gave it a few months year and watched it again and now I really truly appreciate it.

    4. Casino(1995)-One of the best mob movies ever!!

    3. GoodFellas(1990)-Again same as Raging Bull but I can now watch it over and over again.

    2. Gangs of New York(2002)-One of the first Scorsese films I saw and I am amazed by it. The story, the score, the epic scope but lots of people older than me do not like it. I myself love it, love the story and the action.

    1. The Departed(2006)-I saw it on the big screen and my first and only Scorsese movie so far in theaters and I was completely blown away by it. I may be one of the few but this movie just amazes me. I love everything about it. Scorsese's crime film for my generation.

    • Central Ohio

      That's an interesting point about different generations discovering Scorsese in different points of his career. The first Scorsese I must've seen in the Theater was 'The Color of Money'. But the next one was 'Goodfellas' and I ended up seeing it six times in the theater...that's the one for my generation.

  • The Jackal

    @Brad Brevet: I said, consulting Marty might be a good "starting point" not the end-all-be-all final analysis on his films.

  • http://moviesfilmsmotionpictures.wordpress.com The Biggest Joker Fan

    The Departed is my favorite followed closely by Goodfellas. I can't get enough of either of those movies. They are both perfect movies, but their both amazing for many different reasons. Also, I love Gangs of New York, fantastic performances all around including one from the greatest actor I've ever seen, Daniel Day-Lewis. Also, not gonna stretch the truth here, I just saw Shutter Island and I loved it, everything about it worked, Scorsese has not and will never lose his touch. I would put that in my top ten list, if not top 5.

  • K-Whoa

    *1*- Goodfellas
    2- The Departed
    3- Casino
    4- Gangs of New York
    5- Raging Bull
    6- The Aviator
    7- Taxi Driver
    8- Shutter Island
    9- The King of Comedy
    10- Cape Fear

  • Sara

    Scorsese hasn't made ten good films. But he has made some incredibly bad ones. Here are his worst films:
    Cape Fear
    King of Comedy
    Mean Streets
    New York, New York
    Alice doesn't live here anymore

    But he has made about five good films, which are five more than Spielberg, and Lucas.

  • Gavi

    why does scorsese keep giving dicaprio boston accents? FAIL.

  • Duderino

    Hey, "Alice (...)" has Kris Kristofferson, and so it has my vote.

  • http://youtube.com/videoclerks Videoclerk

    So what were your thoughts on Shutter Island? I thought the plot was rather predictable and contrived but the over all craft both in directing and acting made up for it. Honestly, if it weren't for a couple scene towards the end I think the movie could have been much better.

  • KQ

    1. The Departed
    2. Good Fellas
    3. Taxi Driver
    4. Shutter Island
    5. Ragging Bull

  • Jack

    The Age of Innocence

  • Andy Sims

    Scorsese never disappoints when it comes to characters, its the one thing about all of his movies....CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT. I'm excited about this month because I'm trying to watch all of his films, I have dubbed it "September o' Scorsese" or "Scorsember" haha

    Also I don't think it is possible to pick a favorite Scorsese film, even if I make a top ten you could easily replace number 1 with number 10. (by the way Bringing Out the Dead would be on that list for sure, glad you had it on yours)

    He is truly a legend and in my humble opinion, the greatest filmmaker of all time.

  • Jack

    I like this list, although I heavily disagree with Bringing out the Dead, it was good but not THAT good. Better than Taxi Driver, The Departed, Casino, Raging Bull etc? Sorry.

    Also, I'd have put The Colour of Money in there.

  • Forrest Gump

    10.Mean Streets
    9.Raging Bull
    8.Casino
    7.The Aviator
    6.The Last Temptation of Christ
    5.The King of Comedy
    4.Taxi Driver
    3.After Hours
    2.Goodfellas
    1.The Departed

    The Age of Innocence would've been great without the narration and Gangs of New York would've been high on this list if it wouldn't have that annoying music at the beginning.
    Cape Fear and Shutter Island are okay.

  • Brandon DeLaurentiis

    1. RAGING BULL
    2. TAXI DRIVER
    3. GOODFELLAS
    4. THE DEPARTED
    5. CASINO

  • RAY

    I was just looking at all ur comments n the thing is everyone has a different 10 to 2 on this
    Ist but everyone agrees that GOODFELLas is the best this chap has made ......so glad to hear that

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  • Wesley

    1: Raging Bull (Obviously)
    2: Taxi Driver
    3: Goodfellas
    4: The Departed
    5: The Aviator
    6: Casino

  • behnaz

    Taxi Driver is the best movie i've ever watched. goodfellas-- raging bull-- gangs of New York--are really perfect
    and 'Hugo' is terrific...!

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/MichaelM./ Michael M.

    Let's get one thing straight: to actually place Bringing out the dead before Taxi Driver or any of Scorsese's other innumerable greats is, to me, a blasphemous decision.

    1. Goodfellas
    2. Taxi Driver
    3. Raging Bull

    Have at the rest!

  • C.J. Garrett

    22. The Age of Innocence
    21. Boxcar Bertha
    20. Kundun
    19. After Hours
    18. Who's That Knocking At My Door?
    17. The Last Temptation of Christ
    16. Bringing Out the Dead
    15. Hugo
    14. The King of Comedy
    13. Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore
    12. Cape Fear
    11. The Color of Money
    10. Shutter Island
    9. Mean Streets
    8. Gangs of New York
    7. The Aviator
    6. Raging Bull
    5. New York, New York
    4. Taxi Driver
    3. Casino
    2. GoodFellas
    1. The Departed

    Has your opinion changed at all since the releases of Shutter Island and Hugo?

  • brendan soliwoda

    Wow, Bringing out the Dead at number 2? It is easily one of his worst, if not his worst film. Sloppily acted, the editing was poor and it had a story that was neither compelling or enjoyable. Any of his other films would have been a better choice than that.

  • Akash Vijay

    The Departed is so ridiculously overrated. It doesn't even belong in the top 10.
    And Raging Bull at 5??? This list is a joke.