Check out 9 Blockbusters That Make Martin Scorsese one of Hollywood's Most Bankable Directors

Check out 9 Blockbusters That Make Martin Scorsese one of Hollywood's Most Bankable Directors
Cover Image Source: Martin Scorsese | Photo by Noam Galai | Getty Images

Martin Scorsese attends
Martin Scorsese attends "The Irishman" International Premiere and Closing Gala | Mike Marsland | Getty Images

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Martin Scorsese, the renowned director with a diverse filmography, crafts narratives ranging from beloved gangster tales to bold religious trilogies. Ranking his top 10 films is a challenging task as it is difficult to choose between his 1970s breakthroughs and contemporary hits. This list emphasizes Scorsese's brilliance when blending masterful technique with compelling characters and gripping storytelling.

Robert de Niro, Lily Gladstone, Leonardo DiCaprio, Martin Scorsese attend the
Robert de Niro, Lily Gladstone, Leonardo DiCaprio, Martin Scorsese attend the "Killers Of The Flower Moon" photocall | Samir Hussein | Getty Images

 

In Martin Scorsese's latest cinematic venture, "Killers of the Flower Moon" (2023), we find a meticulously crafted film that's not just a clear Oscar contender but also a compelling storyteller. It delves into the harrowing history of the Osage tribe, systematically preyed upon for their oil-rich property rights. However, be prepared for a cinematic marathon; the three-and-a-half-hour runtime explores the dark sides of humanity with unflinching realism.

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Three men in a scene from the film 'After Hours', 1985. | The Geffen Company | Getty Images
Three men in a scene from the film "After Hours," 1985. | The Geffen Company | Getty Images

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"The King of Comedy" introduces us to Robert De Niro as an obsessive stand-up comic, adding a twist with his kidnapping and tormenting of his favorite comedian, Jerry Lewis. It is a gem that has grown in reverence over time, influencing even Todd Phillips' iconic "Joker."

Cape Fear (1991) | Getty Images
A scene from "Cape Fear" (1991) | Getty Images

 

In the 1991 thriller "Cape Fear," Martin Scorsese takes a playful detour into suspense, steering away from his usual territory. Starring Robert De Niro as the obsessive ex-con Max Cady, the film follows his menacing pursuit of former attorney Nick Nolte and his family. It's a thrilling ride that feels like the Coen brothers putting their spin on Hitchcock with occasional cringe-worthy moments, including Cady's unsettling advances.

Actress Illeana Douglas, director Martin Scorsese and Scorsese's daughter Domenica pose for a photo in September 1993 at the premiere of the film
Actress Illeana Douglas, director Martin Scorsese and Scorsese's daughter Domenica at the premiere of the film "The Age of Innocence" | Catherine McGann | Getty Images

 

In "Age of Innocence" (1993), Scorsese showcases a different side, earning praise for exploring new territory. This romantic drama adapted from Edith Wharton's novel unfolds in early 20th century New York. The plot revolves around the courtship and marriage of Newland Archer (played by Daniel Day-Lewis) to May Welland (played by Winona Ryder), weaving through various complications. It's a lavish period piece, transporting audiences to a bygone era with its sumptuous portrayal of love and societal intricacies.

Taxi Driver (1976) | Getty Images
A scene from "Taxi Driver" (1976) | Getty Images

 

In the movie "Taxi Driver" from 1976, Robert De Niro plays Travis Bickle, a lonely and angry Vietnam veteran. According to Scorsese, Bickle's character has sadly become a common personality nowadays. In this film, a 12-year-old Jodie Foster has her breakthrough role as a young woman Bickle tries to protect, working as a prostitute. The movie, written by Paul Schrader, portrays Bickle as a ticking time bomb, both destructive and self-destructive.

Robert De Niro in 'Casino' (1995) | Getty Images
Robert De Niro in "Casino" (1995) | Getty Images

 

In "Casino" (1995), often considered not quite as good as "Goodfellas," the story unfolds from a true account by Nicholas Pileggi. Robert De Niro plays a powerful casino boss, Joe Pesci his unpredictable gang partner, and Sharon Stone delivers what some call her best performance as De Niro's hustling, drug-addicted wife.

Actor Leonardo DiCaprio, director Martin Scorsese and actor Jean Dujardin attend the photocall before the movie 'The Wolf of Wall Street' World Premiere | Bertrand Rindoff Petroff | Getty Images
Actor Leonardo DiCaprio, director Martin Scorsese and actor Jean Dujardin attend the photocall before "The Wolf of Wall Street" World Premiere | Bertrand Rindoff Petroff | Getty Images

 

"The Wolf of Wall Street" (2013) stars Leonardo DiCaprio in Martin Scorsese's most successful film. It loosely adapts the 1990s story of stockbroker Jordan Belfort's rise and fall, featuring Margot Robbie in her breakout role as Belfort's alluring wife. Chronicling Wall Street's excess, the film is a three-hour burst of vulgarity, drugs, sex, and money, penned by Terence Winter of "The Sopranos." Despite its excessiveness, Scorsese's talent shines, turning it into a wildly enjoyable experience. Fun fact: DiCaprio stars in Scorsese's top five highest-grossing films, including "Wolf," "Shutter Island," "The Departed," "The Aviator," and "Gangs of New York."

 

Actors Mark Wahlberg, Alec Baldwin, director Martin Scorsese, actors Vera Farmiga, Matt Damon and Leonardo DiCaprio attend the Warner Bros. Pictures premiere of
Mark Wahlberg, Alec Baldwin, Martin Scorsese, Vera Farmiga, Matt Damon and Leonardo DiCaprio attend the premiere of "The Departed" | Evan Agostini | Getty Images

 

In 2006, Martin Scorsese directed "The Departed," a standout movie despite Jack Nicholson's not-so-great performance. A remake of a 2002 Hong Kong film, it's like a Scorsese take on a Shakespearean tragedy, complete with a Hamlet quote. Written by William Monahan, it blends Scorsese's unique storytelling with a suspenseful plot. Starring DiCaprio and Matt Damon as undercover cops with double lives, the film also features Martin Sheen, Vera Farmiga, Mark Wahlberg, and Alec Baldwin, creating a gripping crime drama.

Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, Paul Sorvino, and Joe Pesci publicity portrait for the film 'Goodfellas', 1990. | Warner Brothers | Getty Images
Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, Paul Sorvino, and Joe Pesci publicity portrait for the film "Goodfellas," 1990. | Warner Brothers | Getty Images

"Goodfellas" (1990) often competes with "The Godfather" series for the title of the greatest mob drama. Initially undervalued, the film grossed less than "The Color of Money." Yet, it encapsulates all of Scorsese's crime drama elements–the rise and fall of wiseguys, voiceover narration, a vintage rock soundtrack, graphic violence, and a vibrant ensemble cast. In "Goodfellas," Scorsese transforms these components into a symphonic crime masterpiece, a memorable and dramatic story. Clocking in at under two and a half hours, it features De Niro, Pesci, Ray Liotta, and Lorraine Bracco. Pesci earned an Oscar for his role although the film lost Best Picture to "Dances with Wolves" and Kevin Costner for Best Director.

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