Top 10 Martin Scorsese Films

Top 10 Martin Scorsese Films

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.


4. GoodFellas

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.



Review- Movies Are My Life (1977)

Review- Movies Are My Life (1977)

My early teenage years were when I discovered my three favourite living film directors- John Waters, William Friedkin and Martin Scorsese.

It was whilst I was frantically hunting down all of the movies made by Scorsese after first watching Taxi Driver when I was 14 that I read of a documentary made in 1977 called Movies Are My Life. I had a friend who was lucky enough to have Sky TV on which there was a one-off screening of this and so I gave him a blank videotape and begged him to record it for me. He obliged.

DeNiro And Scorsese

It didn’t disappoint. Over the years the tape it was on disappeared but it was just the other day that I was thinking about this documentary when I had the lightbulb moment that involved looking for it on the internet. And after a quick Google search, I found it!

It’s great watching it again. It was made in 1977 after Scorsese had finished shooting New York, New York and was editing The Last Waltz. This was an iconic time for Scorsese when he had made so many classic movies and was yet to make even more.


Not only is the maestro interviewed about his career so far but his contributors and collaborators are also interviewed and it’s great to see such luminaries as De Niro, Jodie Foster, Steven Prince and Liza Minelli speaking about what’s like to work with such a visionary.

The film is also noteworthy as it shows the friendship that Scorsese had/has with Robbie Robertson. These were Scorsese’s wild years when he took certain substances to excess and ended up hospitalised because of it. The interviews with Robinson here capture this very vividly indeed (you’ll know what I mean when you watch the film!) A choice moment is when he looks out of the window into the night sky and says ‘It isn’t even dawn yet!’


It’s great that this peeks into such a thrilling era of Scorsese’s filmmaking life was chronicled, not so great that this film was unavailable for so long. It’s fantastic that someone has uploaded it onto the internet but how long it stays up before it’s pulled down is unknown. If I was you I’d finish reading this, do a Google search and watch it now. Just to be sure. Note- the version on YouTube is cut. Go the Google route to watch the full version on the net.

Can we get a proper release of this gem, please?

Grade- A-

31 Days of Halloween 2020- Day 2- The Honeymoon Killers (1970) ****

31 Days of Halloween 2020- Day 2- The Honeymoon Killers (1970) ****

Fat nurse Martha Beck is joined into a lonely hearts club by her best friend Bunny. Almost instantly she starts to correspond with a man called Raymond Fernandez. Their correspondence grows more intense with the bond between them being so strong that Martha invites him to her home in Mobile, Alabama. After a night of wild passion he leaves her to go back home but not before he has secured a loan from her.

She then receives a letter from Ray breaking up with her which causes Bunny to ring him to say that Martha is suicidal because of this. When Ray is relieved to find out that neither of them have involved the police, he invites Martha to New York to visit him. When she gets there he lets the cat out of the bag- he is a professional hustler who cons lonely women out of their money and moves onto his next target. Martha is so in love with Ray that she stays by his side and even becomes his accomplice as he commits his next crimes.


This movie is based on the true life crimes of a couple dubbed The Lonely Hearts Killers with the film using their real names. The film was also originally to be directed by a young director named Martin Scorsese (wonder what happened to him) but he was fired several days into the shoot as he was just taking so much time getting master shots set up whilst not shooting any coverage shots (according to himself. He even went on to say that it wasn’t probably for the best for the film that he was fired as the film was made on a low budget and needed to be shot quite quickly). Leonard Kastle stepped into the breach instead and does a phenomenal job. The film looks gorgeous and is framed to perfection. It’s almost like any frame from the film could be hung in an art gallery and admired. The monochrome look of the film is also astounding and reminds me (as does the film as a whole) of Brian De Palma’s masterpiece Sisters.

The cast are exceptional also with Shirley Stoler utterly iconic in her role as Martha and Tony Lo Bianco also iconic and perfect casting as the money-hungry lothario Ray.


This movie is on The Criterion Collection as it deserves to be. In fact, when I rewatched the film for this review I was getting strong John Waters’ vibes from it. It was almost like a lost Waters film from around the time of Multiple Maniacs (also deservedly on Criterion) and I could imagine either Divine or Edith Massey playing Martha and Tab Hunter playing Ray. Maybe in a parallel universe this movie was made.

Apparently Francois Truffaut named this movie was his favourite American film. And if that doesn’t act as a high enough recommendation for you to see the film then I don’t know what will.

When the film first played in the UK it was as part of this double bill

**** out of *****

Poster of the Week- Taxi Driver (1976)

Poster of the Week- Taxi Driver (1976)

I was 14 and the exact right age to watch Taxi Driver for the first time. The perfect movie about alienation being watched by a moody teenager who felt completely alienated.

I would regularly venture from my hometown of York to the bustling neighbouring city of Leeds and it was on my next excursion after seeing Taxi Driver that I sought out the UK quad poster in a film memorabilia shop called Movie Boulevard (unfortunately long gone). The perfect movie (it’s still my favourite film to this day followed by John Carpenter’s Halloween and John Waters’ Female Trouble) had to have the perfect poster. And it did.


Lead character Travis Bickle walking down a New York street, completely alone in one of the biggest and busiest cities in the world. The tagline ‘On every street in every city there’s a nobody who dreams of being a somebody’ is one of the poignant and apt in film history.

It’s strange how a film and it’s iconography can take on a life of it’s own. The ‘You talkin’ to me?’ line is one of the most quoted amongst cineastes and the general public alike but is also misunderstood and misinterpreted when taken out of context. Stills from Taxi Driver have also been taken out of context and made into posters to be hung on teenager’s walls. Strangely they seem to dwell solely on Travis holding guns which is alarming. I’m glad the studio made UK quad emphasised the loneliness aspect rather than the macho/firearms angle.

31 Days of Halloween- Day 9- Plague of the Zombies (1966)

31 Days of Halloween- Day 9- Plague of the Zombies (1966)

This has one of the most crazy plots of any Hammer film I’ve ever seen. I won’t give away everything that happens though.

A Cornish village is suffering from some sort of plague that is bumping people off at such a rate that the local doctor asks an expert friend to investigate what is happening. When opening up the graves of the recently deceased they discover that all of the coffins are empty. Could the answer to this mystery be connected with the tin mine which is on the land of Squire Clive Hamilton? Is it also relevant that he used to live in Haiti and the fact that he practiced voodoo and the black arts whilst he was there?

I remember seeing this in the 80s as my local television station used to show a double-bill of Hammer films every Thursday night (a blessing!) It was scary then and it’s retained it’s ability to shock. The zombies themselves are the stuff of nightmares.


But unfortunately the film drags every now and again. But on the whole it’s worth seeing, even if it’s not the best of the studio’s output.

Fun fact- Martin Scorsese thinks highly of this film.

2/5 out of 5 stars