Today marks the 72nd birthday of one of the most celebrated filmmakers of our time: Martin Scorsese. What makes Scorsese so brilliant is the fearless way in which he depicts many taboo subjects like physical and verbal violence, racism, and misogyny.
So why don’t we hate him for this very reason? Well, because he is a true artist; his depictions are not to further a specific agenda. The realism of all his characters and scenarios is always discernible, even when the actual narrative is eccentric as hell. To celebrate this legend, I’ve compiled a short list of 5 of my favourite Scorsese films. In no particular order, here they are.
Loosely based on the true story of Henry Hill, an ex-mobster turned FBI informant, this film tells Hill’s story from a first person perspective, growing up in the mob. Scorsese used voice over extensively, and got away with it.
Usually this kind of technique would put audiences to sleep, but the dialogue was on point, and the story was an absolutely exhilarating mix of family, drugs, and mob violence.
Robert De Niro stars as a crazed, insomniac Vietnam vet turned taxi driver. This anti-hero is a shocking kaleidescope of violence, punk, and heroism.
This legendary film saw Robert De Niro return to collaborate with Scorsese, and as a result won him the Academy Award for best actor.
The hot-tempered protagonist rises to fame in the ring while losing his mind and any chance at a stable life outside of it.
The Wolf of Wall Street
Debauchery. Pure, unadulterated debauchery. That’s the way most people were describing WOWS when it graced our screens in 2013.
Lengthy voice overs were used once again to tell Belfort’s shocking story, which seemed to fit the douche bag character quite well.
Okay, so I said this list was in no particular order, but this is my favourite Scorsese film. It’s one of the few films ever to be rated higher (on IMDb) than the original film on which it was based (Infernal Affairs), and also produced Scorsese’s much-anticipated nod from The Academy for Best Directing.
It has everything: amazing dialogue, raw human interaction, flawless cinematography, and a score that’s out of this world.
Which one of these Scorsese films is your favourite? Did I miss one that you think should be on this list? Let me know in the comments below.
As a bonus, here’s one of my favourite songs from The Departed, I’m Shipping up to Boston by The Dropkick Murphy’s.
About the Author: Stephen is an avid filmmaker and critic. Marketer and co-founder of the filmmaking collective, BTG Productions, he’d love to make a film as epic as one of Scorsese’s one day.