Any mafia movie lover will know who director Martin Scorsese is. In fact, any regular movie lover will know who Martin Scorsese is. With his unrestrained dialogue, engaging stories, great casts, and provoking themes Scorsese always produces something worth watching. He's best known for his friendship with Robert De Niro, and his inclusion of a flawed protagonist in almost every one of his films.
Winning Best Picture for "The Departed" and being a nominee and victor of various other Hollywood titles, he has not gone unnoticed. Martin Scorsese's works are the most enjoyable to me. After watching "Goodfellas," I decided to try his other films and he instantly became my favorite director. Since he is one of my favorites, I decided to compile my top five Scorsese movies. You may or may not agree with it, but without further ado, here it is. Warning, spoilers ahead.
5. "Goodfellas" (1990)
Goodfellas, starring Ray Liotta, is a Scorsese classic. Based off a true story, Goodfellas follows the mafia driven life of Henry Hill. Henry, acquiring his wealth from gang involvement, is eventually caught by the F.B.I., forcing him to snitch on his other mafia friends. This position lands him a spot in the Witness Protection Program. Scorsese ends the film with Henry Hill saying "I'm an average nobody. I get to live the rest of my life like a schnook."
In the middle of this ending, it shows Joe Pesci's volatile character, Tommy De Vito, shooting a revolver at the camera. Scorsese put this detail in as a homage to outlaws in classic movies and the 1903 silent film The Great Train Robbery. I put this movie on the list because when people think Scorsese, they think Goodfellas. The film's engaging story and awesome cast are what make this movie so memorable.
4. "Hugo" (2011)
Having a 93% score on Rotten Tomatoes, this movie shows that Martin Scorsese can make a good movie without profanity and violence. Originally a book by Brian Selznick, Hugo is about a boy, Hugo Cabret, played by Asa Butterfield, who lives in poverty and maintains the clocks at a French railway station. In the course of the story, he meets an old silent filmmaker and repairs an automaton. One of the movie's central points is the birth of film making. It highlights the character George Melies, the old silent filmmaker. Scorsese takes his storytelling skills and love of movies and incorporates it into this character and the film as a whole.
3. "Mean Streets" (1973)
This movie marks the first Scorsese and De Niro film. This duo came together to make a mafia movie that inspired many more similar films. Mean Streets focuses on Charlie, played by Harvey Keitel, who struggles between his personal life and his business/mafia life. Scorsese expresses this conflict by having Charlie put his hands against candles, testing himself against the gates of hell. In some scenes, Charlie is shrouded in red light, the color of sin. The opening lines, narrated by Martin Scorsese, encompass the dark theme of the movie, "You don't make up for your sins in church. You do it in the streets. You do it at home. All the rest is BS and you know it." The fun yet disturbing character Johnny Boy is performed by Robert De Niro. Johnny Boy causes the most trouble in the film. Given that this movie was the first Scorsese/De Niro film, I had to include it.
2. "King of Comedy" (1982)
This movie not only has a fun and clever story, but it also hosts a completely different role for De Niro, especially at the time of its release. The film centers on De Niro's character, Rupert Pupkin. Rupert is a washed-up New Yorker who still lives with his mother. He aspires to be a stand-up comedian like his idol Jerry Langford, who is played by Jerry Lewis. Failing at his deranged attempts at success, he kidnaps Langford and uses him as leverage against the F.B.I. and T.V. company to have him perform on the Jerry Langford Show. Rupert does his comedy routine on the show and is then arrested. A theme of this movie is celebrity worship and how we would do anything to know and be just like celebrities. Not only is this dramedy witty, but it is also insightful.
1. "Raging Bull" (1980)
Raging Bull, personally one of my favorite movies, is an ominous and rough story about a real boxer named Jake La Motta. Jake, played by De Niro, is a champion at his profession. His brother and his wife are always by his side. He has everything great set up for him, but he throws it all away due to his egotistical narcissism, bitterness, over-control, and unprecedented anger. These unsettling themes run throughout the film. After being thrown into solitary confinement, Jake is faced with his worst enemy, himself, and is forced to examine everything he did wrong. Not only did De Niro win Best Actor for his performance, but Joe Pesci, playing Jake's brother, was brought to rise by this film. This is my favorite Scorsese movie because it is a warning against bitterness, jealousy, and anger.
The art of film is something everyone enjoys. Whether we are watching movies to relax or learn, we all partake in their entertainment. Martin Scorsese has contributed a great deal to this art, bringing movies many people enjoy.