10. The Irishman
A fantastic study on ageing, psychopathy and the passage of time aided by the use of age-defying CGI. This was made by Netflix for people to watch on Netflix. I actually watched it on the big screen in the opulent surroundings of Leeds Town Hall on a wooden seat. An uncomfortable experience with this very long movie. Please watch this fantastic film on a sofa.
9. Last Temptation of Christ
There was so much faux outrage generated by public figures who hadn’t even seen this amazing film at the time of it’s release. One of Scorsese’s most beautiful movies. It takes a great filmmaker to make a religious film that is even loved by gold-star atheists such as myself.
8. After Hours
A surreal account of a surreal night in New York. Seriously underrated. Tim Burton was set to direct this film but graciously gave the project over to Scorsese when he heard he was keen to direct it.
7. New York, New York
Made in the heady days of the late 70s and seen as a flop, both artistically and commercially. But when the dust (or should that be cocaine) had settled, it could be reappraised as a brilliant study into a dysfunctional relationship. One of the best musicals ever made.
6. The King of Comedy
The other side of the same coin inhabited by Taxi Driver. A film about celebrity obsession, fan culture and stalking that was years ahead of its time. Bonus points for Sandra Bernhard’s manic, genius performance. The Clash appear in a cameo.
5. Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore
Ellen Burstyn had seen Mean Streets and thought Scorsese might direct her pet project. ‘What do you know about women?’ she asked him. He replied ‘Not much. But I’d like to learn’. He got the job. And it’s an incredible film. Bonus points for having the then-new music of T Rex, Mott the Hoople and Elton John on the soundtrack. A gorgeous and often overlooked film.
Marty and Bob are reunited. They make an out-and-out masterpiece. From the very first scene involving the car, the film is firing on all cylinders. Whenever anyone talks about ‘perfect’ films I instantly think of two films- Jaws and GoodFellas. The piano refrain from Layla by Derek and the Dominos will never be the same for you again.
3. Mean Streets
Mean Streets crackles with electricity. Charlie (Harvey Keitel) tries to keep his crazy friend Johnny Boy (De Niro) on the straight and narrow in Little Italy. Mean Streets is stunning. Watch out for the apocalyptic ending. I love the fact that when he was trying to get Mean Streets funded, Scorsese went to Roger Corman who said he would fund it if it was made as a Blaxploitation film with an all-black cast.
2. Raging Bull
The best boxing movie ever made. One of the best movies ever made full stop. Jake La Motta loses everything materially but regains everything spiritually. This film is poetry even though it contains some of the most potty-mouthed characters in film history (which makes me love it even more). Bizarrely, the ending always makes me cry. Filmmaking doesn’t get any better than this.
1. Taxi Driver
The ultimate film about alienation was first seen by myself at the perfect age for feeling alienated. I saw this as a pissed off 14 year old and it changed my life. I’m still absolutely stunned that this genuinely edgy piece of art was made within the Hollywood studio system. This film also contains my favourite film score of all time courtesy of Bernard Herrman. Taxi Driver is my favourite film and a towering achievement.