Best Martin Scorsese Movies

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With so many incredible Martin Scorsese movies to choose from, which pictures are the legend’s best?

It’s a difficult ranking to call. When it comes to filmmaking, no other director in history has been as consistently transcendent as Scorsese. He’s churned out must-see, art-forward bangers since the early seventies, and his ability to build authentic worlds is unmatched.

Marty crafts uniquely human characters you can’t help but root for (even if, on paper, they’re murderous human garbage).

With iconic scenes, perfectly paired scores, and adventurous range, Scorsese has sling-shot himself into film lore. Here are some of the best Martin Scorsese movies of all time.

 

Cape Fear

Cast: Robert De Niro, Nick Nolte, Juliette Lewis, Jessic Lange

Available on: Netflix, Amazon Prime (for rent)

Rotten Tomatoes: 75%

When rooting for the bad guy, Max Cady is the most morally challenging. A rough and rugged con man played by Robert De Niro, Cady is, somehow, simultaneously one of the worst people on earth, yet relatable.

One reason De Niro can pull off this near-impossible feat? He stars opposite a deliciously flawed every-man, Sam Bowden (Nick Nolte).

Their rivalry, coupled with a constant sense of impending doom thanks to Cady, make this thriller superb.

Find it on IMDb here.

 

The Wolf of Wall Street

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Matthew McConaughey, Kyle Chandler

Available on: Amazon Prime, YouTube (for rent), Vudu (for rent), iTunes (for rent)

Rotten Tomatoes: 80%

Leave it to Scorsese to make you actually want the life of a criminal.

The Wolf of Wall Street is a brilliant story of degenerate WS animals, running wild with an endless supply of ill-gotten money.

Leonardo DiCaprio expertly (and hilariously) plays Jordan Belfort. His undeniable charisma and lavish lifestyle make it hard not to root for one of the biggest douchebags in film history.

Find it on IMDb here.

 

Bringing out the Dead

Cast: Nicholas Cage, Patricia Arquette, John Goodman, Ving Rhames, Tom Sizemore

Available on: Amazon Prime, YouTube (for rent), Vudu (for rent), iTunes (for rent)

Rotten Tomatoes: 72%

Though it is slightly derivative of Taxi Driver, Bringing out the Dead is a chaotic masterpiece.

Frank Pierce (played by Nicolas Cage) is an EMT driver cracking under the pressure of the horrors he sees on his runs. His fraying mental health comes to a head, and he must decide whether to accept his faults or let them become his downfall.

Bringing out the Dead is a beautiful articulation of the descent into madness, and an excellent commentary on self-forgiveness.

Find it on IMDb here.

 

The Departed

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Vera Farmiga

Available on: Amazon Prime, YouTube (for rent), Vudu (for rent), iTunes (for rent)

Rotten Tomatoes: 91%

The Departed was Scorsese’s most successful film at the Oscars. The film (insanely) locked up Scorsese’s first nod for Best Director. It also raked in nods for Best Film and Best Adapted Screenplay.

The Departed is anxiety personified. The tension between two rats (played by Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon) chasing each other through their maze of false lives and deceit is enough to make your jaw clench for the entire runtime. All of this while surrounded by an all-star cast, each masterfully playing their roles.

Find it on IMDb here.

 

The Last Temptation of Christ

Cast: Willem Dafoe, Harvey Keitel, Barbara Hershey, Paul Greco

Available on: Amazon Prime (for rent), YouTube (for rent), Vudu (for rent), iTunes (for rent)

Rotten Tomatoes: 84%

While it may be among the lesser known Martin Scorsese movies, The Last Temptation of Christ is film artistry that need not be ignored.

The film is, by far, Scorsese’s most brave undertaking as a director. As such, The Last Temptation of Christ earned him a best director nomination.

Its portrayal of Willem DeFoe as a Christ that is struggling mightily with the temptations of Satan made this film too controversial in its time. It sparked much revolt and protest upon its release.

Scorsese’s unflinching need to make his art exactly as he envisions it, criticism be damned, makes this film something to behold.

Find it on IMDb here.

 

Casino

Cast: Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone, Joe Pesci, James Woods

Available on: Amazon Prime (for rent), YouTube (for rent), Vudu (for rent), iTunes (for rent)

Rotten Tomatoes: 80%

If you’re looking for Martin Scorsese movies that perfectly capture his generational talent as a director, start with Casino.

The juggling of two narrative voices is an insane feat to pull off cleanly. Scorsese did it seemingly effortlessly, however, all while making a two hour and fifty-eight minute runtime feel like a coffee break.

Casino is a tight progression of two friends (Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci) turned enemies. Scorsese’s first departure from his usual New York backdrop was a smash hit. He used Vegas almost as a character to express the essential themes. The house always wins, and what goes around comes around.

Find it on IMDb here.

 

The King of Comedy

Cast: Robert De Niro, Jerry Lewis, Diahnne Abbott, Sandra Bernhard

Available on: Amazon Prime (for rent), YouTube (for rent), Vudu (for rent), iTunes (for rent)

Rotten Tomatoes: 89%

Simply put, King of Comedy walked so Joker could run. A symphonic blend of dark tension and upbeat comedy makes this film an absurdly uplifting feel-good story.

A low-end comedian becomes obsessed with getting on the Jerry Lewis Showl. His obsession eventually takes him into some very murky water, which threatens to ruin his life completely.

The light-hearted nature of Rupert Pupkin, portrayed by Robert De Niro, makes his hijinks impossible not to love.

Find it on IMDb here.

 

Taxi Driver

Cast: Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Cybill Shepherd, Albert Brooks, Harvey Keitel

Available on: Netflix, Amazon Prime (for rent), YouTube (for rent), Vudu (for rent) iTunes (for rent)

Rotten Tomatoes: 96%

Truly one of the most iconic Martin Scorsese movies of all time—and one of the most iconic movies in history, period—Taxi Driver should be on everyone’s bucket list of must-see movies.

Travis Bickle is a Vietnam war veteran feeling useless to society now that he’s back on American soil.

His inability to understand social norms, while desperately seeking existential meaning, crushes him into a chiseled diamond of retribution. His obsession over fixing the scum of the crime-ridden underbelly in New York assures his descent into madness.

Scorsese’s willingness to take his hands off the reigns and let actors explore their characters makes Taxi Driver the legendary film it is. It also led to one of the most memorable lines in history: “Are you talkin’ to me?”

Find it on IMDb here.

 

Raging Bull

Cast: Robert De Niro, Cathay Moriarty, Joe Pesci, Frank Vincent

Available on: Hulu, EPIX NOW, Sling TV, Amazon Prime, YouTube (for rent), Vudu (for rent), iTunes (for rent)

Rotten Tomatoes: 93%

Aptly-named Raging Bull chronicles the life of a hard-nosed boxer with an extreme personality disorder.

Jake LaMotta is a middleweight brawling contender making his way through the ranks of his division like a wildfire. Obsessed with getting his hands on the belt, he lets his relationships deteriorate.

This story is an incredible depiction of someone who makes it to the top of the mountain and realizes that, ultimately, it won’t fill the hole in his heart.

Shot in black-and-white, the film highlights Scorsese’s insane eye for memorable shots: even in the absence of color, the director captures incredible details as vivid and brilliant as they’d be in color—perhaps even more so.

Raging Bull is far and away, the greatest sports movie of all time.

Find it on IMDb here.

 

Goodfellas

Cast: Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Lorraine Bracco, Paul Sorvino

Available on: fuboTV, Philo, Amazon Prime (for rent), YouTube (for rent), Vudu (for rent), YouTube

Rotten Tomatoes: 96%

Widely considered one of the greatest movies (if not the greatest) of all time, Goodfellas is more than just a tough guy mob movie. It provides compelling drama, searing anxiety, and side-splitting laughter, and perfectly portrays the desperate want to be a gangster. When combined, these elements make Goodfellas more Shakespearean than anything else.

Henry Hill (played by Ray Liotta) is an Irish Italian young gun trying to navigate his way through the treacherous waters of the Lucchese crime family. Along the way, he befriends many psychopaths that you (surprise, surprise) end up rooting for, despite their absolute disregard for the law.

Whether it be beautiful 3-course meals in prison, or restaurants foregoing the waitlist to personally sit you front-row during a Henny Youngman set, the life of a gangster is transformed in Marty’s lens.

Audiences are made perfectly aware of the constant worry and threat, yet Scorsese manages to make it look lavish and ideal.

Find it on IMDb here.

 

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While these films showcase the heights of his abilities, fans of all Martin Scorsese movies can attest that venturing outside the top 10 will still guarantee a mind-blowing, wholly engrossing experience. His creativity, attention to detail, and flawless execution make the director’s entire resume worth the watch.

Check out the best David Fincher movies, films featuring and starring Sid Haig, or the best Nicolas Cage movies now streaming for a movie night to top all others.