I have yet to see Mr. Scorsese’s 1967 debut feature: “Who’s That Knocking at My Door”. So, we have a total of 25 Feature Films rated with
Seven near masterpieces:
Mean Streets | Raging Bull | New York Stories (segment) | Goodfellas | The Age of Innocence | The Wolf of Wall Street | The Irishman
Seven solidly entertaining movies:
Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore | King of Comedy | After Hours | Casino | The Aviator | The Departed | Hugo
Four Below-Average Movies:
The Color of Money | The Last Temptation of Christ | Gangs of New York | Silence
Four outright failures:
Cape Fear (1991 remake) | Kundun | Bringing Out the Dead | Shutters Island
And then, there is “New York, New York“: An abject failure as a movie but filled with those wonderful songs by Fred Ebb and John Kander, belted out with great style and in great voice by Miss Liza Minnelli. And, of course, that immortal closing number. Overall, I give it a C+.
And “Boxcar Bertha” (1972), which is as much Roger Corman as Scorsese but does have Barbara Hershey! Let’s give it a C+.
Mr. Scorsese has, in addition, directed a whole batch of Documentary Features of which I have only seen ONE: “The Last Waltz” a document of The Band’s last concert at the Winterland Ballroom, San Francisco on Thanksgiving Day, November 25, 1976. Released to great acclaim in 1978, the lineup of superstars like Joni, Eric, Neil, and Van the man helped make it both a hit and a staple at midnight screenings. I give it an A.
|1972||C+||Boxcar Bertha||Joyce H. Corrington|
John William Corrington
|John Stephens||Gib Guilbeau|
|American International Pictures|
|1973||A-||Mean Streets||Martin Scorsese|
|Keny L. Wakeford||N/A*||Warner Bros.|
|1974||B||Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore||Robert Getchell|
|Keny L. Wakeford||N/A*||Warner Bros.|
|1976||A+||Taxi Driver||Paul Schrader|
|Michael Chapman||Bernard Herrmann||Columbia Pictures|
|1977||C+||New York, New York||Mardik Martin|
Earl Mac Rauch
|Laszlo Kovacs||John Kander|
|1978||A||The Last Waltz||N/A||Michael Chapman|
The Band (and others)
|1980||A||Raging Bull||Paul Schrader |
|Michael Chapman||N/A*||United Artists||Best Director|
|1983||B-||King Of Comedy||Paul D. Zimmerman|
|Fred Schuler||Robbie Robertson||20th Century Fox|
|1985||B||After Hours||Joseph Minion|
|Michael Ballhaus||Howard Shore||Warner Bros.|
|1986||C||The Color of Money||Richard Price|
|Michael Ballhaus||Robbie Robertson|
|1988||C||The Last Temptation of Christ||Paul Schrader|
|Michael Ballhaus||Peter Gabriel||Universal Pictures||Best Director|
|1989||(B+)||New York Stories||Richard Price|
|Nestor Almendros||N/A*||Buena Vista|
|Michael Ballhaus||N/A*||Warner Bros.||Best Director|
|1991||D+||Cape Fear||Wesley Strick|
(Adapted and conducted by Elmer Bernstein from Bernard Herrmann’s Original Score for the 1962 movie)
|1993||A||The Age of Innocence||Jay Cocks|
|Michael Ballhaus||Elmer Bernstein||Columbia|
|Robert Richardson||N/A*||Universal Pictures|
|Roger Deakins||Philip Glass||Buena Vista|
|1999||D||Bringing Out the Dead||Paul Schrader|
|Robert Richardson||Elmer Bernstein||Paramount Pictures|
|2002||C+||Gangs of New York||Jay Cocks|
|Michael Ballhaus||Howard Shore||Miramax Films||Best Director|
|2004||B||The Aviator||John Logan|
|Robert Richardson||Howard Shore||Warner Bros.||Best Director|
|2006||B-||The Departed||William Monahan|
|Michael Ballhaus||Howard Shore||Best Director|
|2010||D+||Shutter Island||Laeta Kalogridis|
|Robert Richardson||N/A*||Paramount Pictures|
|Robert Richardson||Howard Shore||Paramount Pictures||Best Director|
|2013||B+||The Wolf of Wall Street||Terence Winter|
|Rodrigo Prieto||N/A*||Paramount Pictures||Best Director|
|Rodrigo Prieto||Kim Allen Kluge|
|2019||A||The Irishman||Steven Zaillian|
|Rodrigo Prieto||Robbie Robertson||Best Director|
Scorsese has worked with some of the world’s greatest cinematographers:
Michael Chapman on three (1976-1980)
Laszlo Kovacs on two (1977/1978)
Michael Ballhaus on seven (1985-2006)
Robert Richardson on five (1995-2011)
Rodrigo Prieto on three (2013-2022)
American editor Thelma Schoonmaker started working with Scorsese on his debut feature film “Who’s That Knocking at My Door (1967) and has edited all of Scorsese’s films since “Raging Bull”. She has received a total of seven Oscar nominations and has won three times, exclusively, for her work on Scorsese films.
Thelma Schoonmaker’s Oscar Nominations for Best Editing:
1980: The Raging Bull (Win)
2002: Gangs of New York
2004: The Aviator (Win)
2006: The Departed (Win)
2020: The Irishman
Her eighth Oscar nomination for Best Editing is for the Michael Wadleigh documentary “Woodstock” in 1970. Her co-editor was none other than Scorsese himself who has his own Oscar nomination for Best Editing in addition to his nine nominations for Best Director.
With eight Academy Award nominations, Schoonmaker is tied with Michael Kahn for being the most nominated editor in Academy Awards history. Tied with Daniel Mandell and Ralph Dawson, she also holds the record for the most wins in the category of Best Editing, with three.
Schoonmaker was married to legendary British director Michael Powell (“Black Narcissus”) from 1984 until his death in 1990.
Diegetic or Source Music vs. Incidental Music or Underscoring
Like Sidney Lumet, Scorsese often uses diegetic sounds and music for his films, dispensing with an original score. However, when he does choose to use incidental music or underscoring, Scorsese’s most trusted composer is Canadian Howard Shore who has scored five of his movies, snagging an Oscar nomination for “Hugo” in 2012. Also, Oscar nominated were Elmer Bernstein’s gorgeous score for “The Age of Innocence” and Philip Glass for “Kundun”.
Screenplays, Adapted, and Original.
Of the 25 Features listed, sixteen are from Adapted Screenplays with nine Original Screenplays.
Scorsese receives writing credits on four of his films: “Mean Streets”, “Goodfellas” (his first Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay), “The Age of Innocence “ (his second Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay), and “Silence”.
His most trusted collaborator is Paul Schrader with one Original (“Taxi Driver”) and three Adapted Screenplays (“Raging Bull”, ” The Last Temptation of Christ” and “Bringing Out the Dead”
The Writers Branch of the Academy has nominated a Scorsese film a total of ten times with NO Win.
John Logan has the distinction of being nominated for both an Original (“The Aviator”) and an Adapted (“Hugo”) screenplay as does Steven Zailan with “Gangs of “New York” and “The Irishman”, respectively. Jay Cocks and Scorsese himself have been nominated twice for Best Adapted Screenplay.
Scorsese movies which have been honored with Oscar Nominations for Best Screenplay
Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (Robert Getchell: Original)
The Color of Money (Richard Price: Adapted)
Goodfellas (Martin Scorsese and Nicholas Pileggi: Adapted)
The Age of Innocence (Jay Cocks and Martin Scorsese: Adapted)
Gangs of New York (Jay Cocks, Steven Zallian, and Kenneth Lonergan: Original)
The Aviator (John Logan: Original)
The Departed (William Monahan: Adapted)
Hugo (John Logan: Adapted)
The Wolf of Wall Street (Terence Winter: Adapted)
The Irishman (Steven Zaillian: Adapted)