If you love gripping movies, Martin Scorsese is the master. With larger-than-life characters, deep plotlines, and cinema-defining moments, these 10 movies are some of the best ever made.
10. The Wolf of Wall Street (Amazon Prime Video and Paramount Plus)
I love business movies. From Wall Street, The Founder, or even Moneyball, business movies are my jam. And let’s call The Wolf of Wall Street what it is: the greatest business movie of all time and one of the best Martin Scorsese movies streaming this month. As much as I can rewatch the movie, it’s the Wolf that is the habit I can’t break.
Scorsese’s direction of Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, and Margot Robbie explodes off the screen with the gargantuan candle power of a searchlight. And it’s the many unfortunate moments that turn into pure comedy gold. If you love movies like Fargo and Reservoir Dogs and their twisted sense of humor, you’ll love The Wolf of Wall Street.
Best The Wolf of Wall Street quote: Let’s run like we’re f**king lions and tigers and bears!
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9. The Irishman (Netflix)
It’s almost impossible to summarize The Irishman in a super succinct way. The good news is, it lives up to the hype. This will go down as one of Scorsese’s best films, and that’s saying something considering his body of work.
Best quote: When I was young, I thought house painters painted houses.
8. The Aviator (Rent or Buy on Amazon Prime)
The rise and fall of Howard Hughes have Scorsese and DiCaprio teaming up to tell the story of the original Elon Musk. One part brilliant, one part crazy, and one part ladies’ man (Elon, is this part true of you?), Hughes’ story may be the greatest biopic in cinema history.
It’s one of those movies you must experience. Can you watch it over and over? Lord knows I have tried, and it’s always great. It won’t etch itself into your being like Goodfellas does, yet there are so many moments that will have an effect. Now show me all the blueprints, Odie!
Best The Aviator quote: I sweat, and you’re deaf. Aren’t we a fine pair of misfits?
7. Cape Fear (Fubo TV and Showtime)
The Mrs. can’t stand it when I start watching this movie, yet I love it. In fact, it may be my fourth favorite Scorsese movie after Goodfellas, The Wolf of Wall Street, and The Aviator. Right up there with The Departed. Wait, now that about it more, it might be third ahead of The Aviator. Prove me wrong and do your best, Mr. Hughes!
Nick Nolte, Jessica Lange, and Jack Brynes from Meet The Parents star in this remake. I’ve never taken the time to go back and watch the original because… Scorsese. I’m a bit of a fanboy, can’t you tell? The film is brilliant until the ending which gets a little sketchy. If the end doesn’t please, watch The Simpsons episode titled Cape Feare instead. What never? NO NEVER! What never? Hardly ever!
Best Cape Fear quote: Come out, come out wherever you are.
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6. The Departed (HBO Max)
This is the only time Martin Scorsese has the pleasure of working with the greatest actor ever. And who was that actor? That’s right, Mark Wahlberg. You mean you haven’t seen Pain & Gain? Great movie.
I’m serious, Pain & Gain is great. Yet it’s Jack I’m talking about. If you need to know his last name, get the f’ out of here. You’re no movie buff. Turn in your cinema card and go watch the Murphy Brown reboot. You deserve to suffer through that crapfest of crap. My apologies, the Ritalin is wearing off. I digress.
DiCaprio, Nicholson (see, you got it out of me), Wahlberg, Matt Damon, Ray Winstone (he’ll play me in the movie), and even wannabes like Martin Sheen and Alec Baldwin are all great in this movie. Proves a great director can make anyone not suck. As for the movie itself, it’s great. Not Goodfellas, The Aviator, or The Wolf of Wall Street great, yet damn good.
Best The Departed quote: Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe f**k yourself.
5. Casino (Hulu and Peacock Premium)
I talked the Mrs. into watching Casino with me. I didn’t think she’d like it. SHE LOVED IT. Go figure.
Sharon Stone is great in this movie because of Scorsese. She actually steals the movie in a lot of ways. And I love Pesci in this as well. Joe is my man. From Home Alone to Goodfellas, Joe can do no wrong in my mind. I’d take Pesci over Bobby De Niro every day of the week.
Best Casino quote: For two days and two f***in’ nights, we beat the shit out of this guy. I mean, we even stuck ice-picks in his balls.
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4. Taxi Driver (Fubo TV and Showtime)
It was the mid-90s when I rented the VHS tape of Taxi Driver. Or it was on Cinemax. Seems like that movie was always on Cinemax back in the day. I’ve only seen Taxi Driver once from beginning to end. Though I’m sure I caught the end of it many times waiting for Cinemax After Dark to start. Should we talk about Masseuse 3? If you haven’t seen it, well then you’ve proven you weren’t as desperate as I was back in the ’90s.
As for Taxi Driver, it’s De Niro (instructed by Scorsese – the only genius on the set) at his best. Taxi Driver is the one movie of Scorsese’s where Bobby gets most of the spotlight to himself. I like the movie, yet beyond that, it’s about the quote that everyone and their hamster have uttered.
Best Taxi Driver quote: You talking to me? You talking to me!?
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3. Raging Bull (HBO Max)
I saw this movie once. “Once,” to quote Joe Piscopo as Danny Vermin in Johnny Dangerously. Unlike so many other Scorsese films, this one didn’t get me hot and bothered. Is it good? Yes, it is. Is it his best work? No.
De Niro and Joe Pesci star in this biopic about the life of boxer Jake LaMotta. The famous thing here is that De Niro put on a ton of weight to play a later-in-life LaMotta. Great, yet when it comes to packing on the pounds for a film role, he’s no Gomer Pyle in my book. Seven-six-two millimeter. Full metal jacket.
Best Raging Bull quote: I got these small hands. I got a little girl’s hands.
2. Mean Streets (Fubo TV and Showtime)
Like Taxi Driver, I saw it once back in the mid-’90s. I fell asleep during it. Now that’s not meant to be an insult. Any movie with Harvey Keitel tickles my nether regions. And if you’re wondering, I’m not a big Lee Marvin fan. That’s right, the original Mr. White in the house.
This is the movie where Scorsese lost his cinema virginity. So what needs to happen is that I need to go back and watch it. And I need to realize it’s not The Crown on Netflix, which puts me to sleep. Great show, yet I can’t stay awake during it no matter what I try. Oh, and by the way, Scorsese is right about all these crappy superhero movies – they all suck. Except for The Dark Knight. And Joker. I haven’t seen the latter yet.
Best Mean Streets quote: (I don’t know, I fell asleep I told you.)
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1. GoodFellas (HBO Max)
Does anything need to be said about GoodFellas? It is not only Scorsese’s best, but it is also the best gangster movie ever made, with the exception of The Godfather Part II.
Best GoodFellas quote: “As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster.”