1 Through 39: Let's Rank the Films of Martin Scorsese

What's Martin Scorsese's best film? His worst? And where do the rest -- excluding his music video for "Bad," his episode of Amazing Stories and the collaborative documentary Street Scenes -- fall in between? The answers are obvious:

39. The Aviator
38. Boxcar Bertha
37. Kundun
36. New York, New York
35. What's a Nice Girl Like You Doing in a Place Like This?
34. My Voyage to Italy
33. A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies
32. Bringing Out the Dead
31. Made in Milan
30. Feel Like Going Home
29. The Last Temptation of Christ
28. Shutter Island
27. The Age of Innocence
26. Shine a Light
25. Who's That Knocking at My Door
24. Hugo
23. Casino
22. Boardwalk Empire
21. A Letter to Elia
20. The Departed
19. George Harrison: Living in the Material World
18. Italianamerican
17. Cape Fear
16. Life Lessons
15. Public Speaking
14. It's Not Just You, Murray!
13. The Color of Money
12. Gangs of New York
11. Mean Streets
10. The King of Comedy
9. American Boy: A Profile of Steven Prince
8. Taxi Driver
7. The Big Shave
6. After Hours
5. Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore
4. Raging Bull
3. No Direction Home: Bob Dylan
2. Goodfellas
1. The Last Waltz

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Comments

  • AS says:

    Surely you can't be serious? The Last Waltz? Ok..... my top 5:

    1. Casino
    2. The Departed
    3. The King of Comedy
    4. Raging Bull
    5. Shutter Island

    P.S. There's no way The Aviator, Kundun and Bringing Out the Dead are worse than Who's That Knocking at My Door? THAT was truly terrible.

    • S.T. VanAirsdale says:

      The Last Waltz is a masterpiece for the interview segments alone. What Levon Helm does with a lit match is more impressive than anything DiCaprio does in all his Scorsese collaborations combined.

      • AS says:

        Those are fighting words!

      • stuffrocks says:

        Aviator is a great film and should be higher on that list. Casino not in top 10 is a shame. Goodfellas definitely #1.

      • blizzard bound says:

        ST, if you are macking on Levon Helm, you should come up to my neck of the woods and check out one of his Midnight Rambles -- they are legendary! (And only $100 a pop! Maybe you can interview him all over again!)

        • S.T. VanAirsdale says:

          I almost came up for the NYE one! But yes -- that scene where he's talking about the Midnight Rambles and the dancers and the way he shifts left to right when he talks about the "duckwalk steps and moves," and the way he answers Scorsese's question about what the music's called... "Rock and Roll!" Oh, boy. He's just the most genuine man, and Scorsese's so keenly aware of him foiling Robertson. I mean, just the long close-up when he lights Robertson's cigarette! A slow, cinematic, completely unplanned moment where a guy lights his mortal enemy's cigarette. It looks like something out of Grand Illusion.

          • blizzard bound says:

            I had a last minute invite a few weeks ago to go to one featuring the music of Sly Stone. But I already had plans! ARGH.

    • coolidge says:

      Yeah that official list is a joke, this top 5 is much more accurate, replacing Raging Bull with Goodfellas of course.

  • Jan Kubicki says:

    Surely RAGING BULL should be at the top with GOODFELLAS close behind. I think NY,NY , LAST TEMPTATION and CASINO should be much higher

  • Brian says:

    Nothing like a list with no commentary to go with it.

  • HV says:

    Casino should be higher on the list, higher at least than Gangs of New York.

  • Alan says:

    I've long felt that Scorsese peaked with Mean Streets, which isn't meant to knock the guy at all; it's hard to improve on a masterpiece, and very few directors have even one. His just happened to come early.

    • Capote99 says:

      I happen to agree with you, Alan. Although I also agree with Stu that "The Last Waltz" is a terrific movie.

      And as long as everyone is throwing in their two cents: "After Hours" at 6? REALLY?

  • TheContext says:

    Having only seen like 6 Scorsese movies, I feel FULLY QUALIFIED to judge his entire filmography. That said, Taxi Driver really changed my life; the others were all just pretty good movies. Goodfellas in particular is totally overrated (but after Taxi Driver I have trouble seeing DeNiro as anything but Travis Bickle).

  • The Cantankerist says:

    No commentary with this because it's transparent trollbait - and who can resist? After Hours better than Taxi Driver?

    I was not a big advocate of Casino; I thought it was a tired rehashing of plotlines he'd done better elsewhere. (Felt the same about Boardwalk Empire ep 1, come to that.)

    And I love this sequence: 13 Color Of Money; 12 Gangs Of New York; 11 Mean Streets; 10 King Of Comedy. To paraphrase the late Bill Hicks, "Yeah, but after number 11 there's a REAL big fuckin' drop-off."

  • Charles says:

    That is one terrible list.

  • Phil says:

    This is one of the worst lists ever compiled. Wow. CAPE FEAR, CASINO, NY NY and THE AVIATOR are all masterpieces. To have those films at 17, 23, 36 and 39, respectively, is an absolute joke!

  • giacomo says:

    Author's Note: Dear reading audience, this compilation of Scorsese's work was written after my intense bender on hallucinogens and psychotropics, that commenced some time between xmas day and ended the day that i came up with this magnificent opus. . . .ehmm, list. Word.

  • blizzard bound says:

    Nothing beats Raging Bull and Mean Streets in my book. I loved The Last Waltz, but not at # 1.

    Also, The Age of Innocence is a gorgeous film.

    And finally, Fran Liebowitz not withstanding, Public Speaking is a slight film. Not worthy of the #15 spot.

    ps - I saw my first car of the season with SNOW on it. Sigh. We were doing so well................ Happy New Year.

  • 2+2=5 says:

    This is a perfect example how the writer in magazine can troll the readers. After all, there is absolutely no chance in hell we can all agree on any list that includes 39 movies, especially made by someone like Scorsese. I don't think we can agree on even 5 of his movies. All you can do is to provoke heated argument with no apparent purpose or meaning. Journalist troll is successful troll.

    But since I can't hold myself:

    5. After Hours
    4. The Departed
    3. Aviator
    2. Taxi Driver
    1. Raging Bull

    I know that Goodfellas deserve more, but after Sopranos it looks dull and outdated, sorry. Raging Bull is his best film, hands down. People that say otherwise have absolutely no brain. True story.

  • boethius says:

    Writers/columnists seriously need to stop making stupid "best of" lists and trying to rank them, especially when they're so clearly incompetent. We'll all argue and bicker endlessly about the rankings, about what SHOULD have been #1, 2, 3, etc.

    CLEARLY, it SHOULD have been: #1 Raging Bull, #2 GoodFellas, #3 Casino, #4 Tax Driver, #5 just about anything else (I'd go with The Aviator or Cape Fear or , where nos. 1-4 are interchangeable and fully open to one's personal preferences but those are all clearly his best work.

  • Louis Virtel says:

    YES to The Last Waltz. Joni and "Coyote" are un-listably superior.

    • S.T. VanAirsdale says:

      Holler. That whole stretch from "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" to "Mannish Boy" -- where Helm goes from possessed to playing like, "Who the fuck is Neil Diamond?" and the lights blow out during Butterfield's song and then Muddy Waters comes out and just OWNS -- is almost impossibly great.

      And Van Morrison! That downstage tracking shot during the horn bit! Chills! Now I gotta watch it again.

  • Mark says:

    Life Lessons at No. 16?! Ahead of Last Temptation? The internet sure is a wacky place.

  • Constantin says:

    Raging Bull, Goodfellas, Casino and Tax Driver are not only Scorsese's best films, but belong probably to the 20 best films in film history!!! I don't care which of this title number 1 is... And I probably don't know which one should deserve top position! The Big Shave should come next and also the last 30 minutes of Kundun... The Departed (Nicholson over acting makes his scenes ridiculous) and Shutter Island are propably Scorsese's most overrated movies...

  • josh says:

    This list is terrible for one reason not based on opinion, the boardwalk empire is not a film. It being higher then his movies and especially the aviator are ridiculous.(i like boardwalk empire)

    My personal top 5
    -The departed (my favorite movie)
    -Goodfellas (its better than the departed but not the same impact
    -Taxi Driver
    -Raging Bull
    -The Aviator

  • josh says:

    not the same impact on me***

  • Charles says:

    Rather than list all the things I think are wrong with the list, I came up with one example that sums up the scope of the wrongness. For me, the two movies at opposite ends of the list, The Last Waltz and The Aviator, are just about equally good. On my list, they would be no more than 3 movies apart, and both would be in the upper third (top 13).

    But then, I don't have the negative feelings about DiCaprio others do.

  • frippfan says:

    Is this list some sort of joke?

  • [...] it went so well the last time we tried this: What's David Lynch's best feature-length film? His worst? And where do the rest fall [...]

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