Today, the 17th of November, Martin Scorsese completes no less than eight decades of life. One of the most important and influential directors of all time, still praised as the best director in activity by critics and cinephiles alike, Scorsese was one of the filmmakers responsible for the revolutionary wave that took over the USA in the 1970s, and alongside people like Francis Ford Coppola, Steven Spielberg, Brian De Palma and George Lucas, was part of the movement known as New Hollywood. This movement consisted of implementing new ideas that deviated from the pattern of the period, both with regard to more realistic narratives and more subversive themes. Despite the great prestige that has always surrounded him and being the favorite director of many renowned critics, in addition to his filmography containing some of the greatest cinema masterpieces of the last 45 years (at least), his maximum recognition with the Oscar came halfway through to stumbles, making Scorsese one of the great wronged by the Academy award.
Today, tribute could not be missing from this true living legend, mandatory for all those who say they like cinema, and necessary to continue opening minds. As a way to celebrate the director, we decided, with the help of critics and the general public, to choose his 10 best films as a director. Check it out below.
Nominated for 5 Oscars, including best picture, screenplay, direction, lead and supporting actor for Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill respectively, we start the list in tenth position in the opinion of critics and fans with the wolf of Wall Street, which currently ranks at number 133 of the top 250 of all time in the general public’s opinion on the largest movie database on the internet, IMDB. Personal favourite, if it depended solely on this one who writes to you, the feature film that portrays the real rise and fall of Jordan Belfort would be in a higher position. The film about the Wall Street speculator still served to introduce the world to the talent and beauty of a certain Margot Robbie. On Poster in the HBO Max collection.
Art is alive, and it is constantly changing. If you were to say that almost 40 years after launch, after hours would be ranking among Scorsese’s top 10 in the opinion of fans and critics, not even the director would believe it. This just goes to show that many feature films find their audience years and even decades after their release, working better for a new audience, part of a future generation. Even more so if we think that his classification here eliminated much loved and commented works by the director, such as Ilha do Fear, The Aviator, Casino, The Age of Innocence, Cape Fear and Gangs of New York. This shows the strength that After Hours currently has with critics and moviegoers, even though it is a cult film. Considered one of the few comedies in Scorsese’s filmography, even a very dark one, the plot presents the misadventures of a single guy trying to find a flirt in New York night.
It is reported by IMDB that the first viewing of The King of Comedy it would have been in Iceland on December 18, 1982, and thus the film would have been completing 40 years of its premiere in 2022. But the truth is that for the rest of the world, including the USA and Brazil, the film only arrived in 1983 – the which includes his visit to the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. And if you notice similarities with the phenomenon joker (2019) is not a mere coincidence, as The King of Comedy served as a model and inspiration for the DC thriller starring Joaquin Phoenix – even featuring Robert De Niro and an initial production by Scorsese, who later disappeared. Here, De Niro lives an aspiring comedian who does not receive support from his idol, the legendary Jerry Lewis, freaks out and kidnaps him. It also became one of the cult hits of the director’s career. On display in the Star+ collection.
Speaking of cult works, Dangerous Paths is one of the first feature films of Martin Scorsese’s career, and which was rediscovered after his name was raised to one of the most popular in the industry. The truth is that the film, the third feature of his career, was successful at the time in the circles of moviegoers and critics, despite being a very small and low-budget production, shown in some festivals, such as New York. Dangerous Paths also served to reveal names like Robert De Niro and Harvey Keitel, and would begin Scorsese’s trajectory through criminal and mafia cinema. According to the director, much of the film, with his own script, relates his experiences and what he saw in the neighborhood where he grew up, in the poor part of New York.
Although he was especially known for mafia films, violence and more subversive themes, Martin Scorsese he also dedicated part of his career to works that deviate from what is thought and expected of him, demonstrating the versatility of a master. This is perhaps one of the films, perhaps “the” most different film in his filmography. This is an almost childish story, which makes use of many visual effects and was even released in 3D theaters – leading the director to experience such a boom in technology. The story shows an orphan boy living in a famous train station in Paris in 1931. But as Scorsese’s cinema always needs to have more depth, he transforms this innocent plot into a beautiful tribute to cinema itself, its beginnings and to some very emblematic personalities for the advent of the seventh art. Nominated for 11 Oscars, including best film and director, and winner of 5 technical awards, the film is part of the Telecine Play collection.
The last film released under the direction of Martin Scorsese so far (while we don’t win Killers of the Flower Moon, delayed from this year to 2023), the irish broke another paradigm in the filmmaker’s career: it was his first project in partnership with a streaming platform: Netflix. The feature film (and put a long one in this) was even shown in theaters around the world, in order to be eligible for an Oscar, but it was only on display for a short time – with everyone knowing that it was a Netflix production (exclusive). Scorsese’s dream project, announced a long time ago, the director went to find financing far from the big studios and with a company that translates the new times and the new way the public relates to films. In the plot, the account of what happened to the American unionist leader Jimmy Hoffa, one of the great mysteries of the USA. Nominated for 10 Oscars, including best film and direction, the feature served to reunite Scorsese with Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci, in addition to establishing the first partnership with the monster Al Pacino. On Netflix, of course.
After much delay, this was the film responsible for finally giving Martin Scorsese with the statuette for best director of the year. In addition to being his first film to take the Oscar for production of the year at the Academy Awards. Well, and is it Scorsese’s best film and direction? Most would say no. But it’s worth it. The feeling of a consolation prize was present, but the saying “better late than never” prevailed and no one complained, not even himself. Don’t get me wrong, nobody wants to take credit for The Departed, a great film that now arrives in fourth position – that is, almost taking the podium of the best in the general opinion of critics and the general public. A first-rate team in front of the screens, at the level of Jack Nicholson (in his first partnership with Scorsese), Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon, helps a lot to tell the story of police infiltrated in Boston’s Irish mafia, and criminals infiltrated in the police working as informants. It is number 39 on the list of all-time bests on IMDB, and took 4 of the 5 Oscars for which it was nominated – including those cited for best picture and direction.
The film that knocked The Departed off the podium to win the bronze medal in third place was raging bullstill today, 42 years after its launch, praised as one of the great masterpieces of the career of Martin Scorsese🇧🇷 At the time of its release, the film was hugely successful on the festival and awards circuit, quickly gaining a cult aura – but it began to reach mainstream audiences over the years and decades. Today, when we talk about Scorsese, most fans immediately remember this boxing production, which tells about the tempestuous Jake La Motta (played by a “taken” Robert De Niro, who got in shape to play the fighter and then gained a lot of weight to the same role), an aggressive and problematic guy inside and outside the ring. All in black and white, which gives it an even more cult air, the film is among the 157 best of all time in the opinion of fans and was nominated for 8 Oscars, including best picture and director, and took the best actor for DeNiro. Currently in the Amazon Prime Video collection.
In second position on the podium, winning the silver medal, Taxi Driver perhaps it is still to this day the film that fans, critics and moviegoers immediately come to mind when we talk about Martin Scorsese🇧🇷 That’s because it was his first major critical and public success, at a time when blockbusters had just opened and were just in their infancy. Other than that, Taxi Driver represents a lot of the time mentioned at the beginning of the text, of the New Hollywood movement, being one of its symbols and banners. That’s because it delves deep into the psyche of a US wound, still very raw at the time: the Vietnam War. The film is not about war, but about the reflections of war, as it portrays the inadequate way in which a clearly disturbed citizen returns from such a conflict, unable to fit in with the society of the period. He takes a job as a taxi driver at night because he can’t sleep, and when he thinks he’s doing good, he always ends up making things worse. Taxi Driver is number 114 among the greatest films of all time, and received 4 Oscar nominations, including best picture, actor for Robert De Niro (the protagonist) and supporting role for Jodie Foster (then 14 years old). Part of Netflix’s current collection and unmissable.
A perhaps obvious choice, but a very sincere one. Among all the productions of excellence signed by Martin Scorsesemost agree (and I include myself in this majority percentage) that Goodfellas it is the best among his masterpieces. That’s because in the genre in which he was best known, criminal and mafia cinema, he manages to give a modern and never before presented vision of this underworld – somewhat glamorized, but without ever losing sight of the very real danger. And he did it in a way that not even the iconic The Godfather (1972) could. Incidentally, the only film in history to stand up to Francis Ford Coppola’s mafioso epic and its sequels is, most definitely say, Goodfellas. It’s no coincidence that it’s number 17 among the greatest films of all time, and was nominated for 6 Oscars, including best picture and director, and taking the best supporting role for Joe Pesci’s visceral performance as Tommy DeVito. Part of the current HBO Max collection and, needless to say, a must see.