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On Martin Scorsese's 80th Birthday, His Best 5 Films

This is sure to upset some people, but I picked the ones I thought were the cream of his crop.

Martin Scorsese is 80 years old today. Scorsese has been making films for 55 years and has an incredible list of cinematic accomplishments. As the world grows, Scorsese films have changed in the eye of society. A lot of movies that should be on this list will not make it. If your favorite isn't, I apologize. Normally—I would make some cocky remark that if your favorite movie isn't on here just enjoy being wrong, but Scorsese movies are so vast and there are so many good ones, I am inevitably going to upset someone. Here we go!

*Content warning*

A few of the clips here feature some NSFW content. This is Scorsese we're talking about here!

5. The Departed

A remake of a 2002 Hong Kong film called "Internal Affairs," "The Departed" has one of the most all-star casts of any film ever made. Jack Nicholson is at his most absurd in this role, and he is perfect in it. Leonardo Dicaprio is, in my opinion, in his best role. He plays the tortured soul so well, and Matt Damon's rat role so matches his pain. The ending scene may be overbearing in its driving home of symbolism, but this movie is basically perfect. This is probably the most controversial of his films to be in my top 5, but I would argue it could be even higher up the list, now lower. Also, I feel like I could quote Mark Wahlberg's lines at any point in my day.

4. Casino

Six years after Scorsese made "Goodfellas" with Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci, he reunited with them and made "Casino." The film is a three-hour epic that follows Sam “Ace” Rothstein (De Niro), a casino operator. It is about greed, crime, and betrayal. I could probably copy and paste that description for many Scorsese movies, but the man does well with what he knows. Some of Scorsese's best directorial scenes are in this one, and Sharon Stone also gives a terrific performance next to De Niro and Pesci.

3. Taxi Driver

Before "Joker" Taxi Driver was the very template for the desperate, unhinged 'every white man' story. De Niro's performance here is shocking whether it is the first time you have seen it or the 10th. It is his most dynamic performance. The frightening rage and despair felt by Travis Bickle are intense. Under the lens of 2022, this movie has not aged well as this kind of character has become an unfortunate trope, but the movie still stands as a masterpiece.

2. Raging Bull

This movie is damn near perfect. Robert De Niro gives perhaps his best performance. It is certainly his most physical performance. This movie also gives us Pesci's first famous performance, and he is the Pesci-est Pesci has ever Pesci'd. The cinematography in this one is breathtaking. You feel every punch. This movie pulls no punches, and the pun is intended.

1. Goodfellas

With respect to "The Godfather" (one and the sequel), this is the most "mob movie" to ever mob. "Goodfellas" follows the rise and fall of mafioso Henry Hill, played by the late, great, Ray Liotta. It is a seriously intense movie that also manages to be laugh-out-loud funny (check the internet memes) while also featuring Scorsese at his best. The one-take restaurant scene is gorgeous. The voice-overs feel necessary and not in the slightest bit contrived. Pesci and De Niro are perfect, and Lorraine Bracco gives the most underrated performance perhaps in any Scorsese film. It is as good as advertised, and you can watch it over and over.

Honorable Mentions

There are films on the honorable mention list that would be another director's magnum opus. "Mean Streets," "The Last Temptation of Christ," "The Aviator," "Cape Fear," "Silence," "Gangs of New York," and perhaps his most overlooked, "Hugo."

Hot Take And Last Thought

Here is another hot take: "The Irishman" was a slog. Great performances, but I kept waiting for it to be over. "Wolf of Wall Street" is a good movie, but in my opinion, it does not sniff Scorsese's best work. What movies missed the list? I am sure some of you are mad. Let us know on Twitter at @EnFuegoNow or @AJontheguitar.