Martin Scorsese: 25 Feature Films and One Documentary Rated.

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 with

One masterpiece:

Taxi Driver

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 Thansgiving 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.

YearMy
Rating
FilmScreenplayCinematographerOriginal ScoreDistributerOscar
1972C+Boxcar BerthaJoyce H. Corrington
and

John William Corrington
(Adapted)
John StephensGib Guilbeau
Thad Maxwell
American International Pictures
1973A-Mean StreetsMartin Scorsese
and

Mardik Martin

(Original)
Keny L. WakefordN/A*Warner Bros.
1974BAlice Doesn’t Live Here AnymoreRobert Getchell
(Original)
Keny L. WakefordN/A*Warner Bros.
1976A+Taxi DriverPaul Schrader
(Original)
Michael ChapmanBernard HerrmannColumbia Pictures
1977C+New York, New YorkMardik Martin
and

Earl Mac Rauch
(Original)
Laszlo KovacsJohn Kander
Fred Ebb
United
Artists
1978AThe Last WaltzN/AMichael Chapman
Vilmos Zsigmond
Laszlo Kovacs

The Band (and others)
United
Artists
1980ARaging BullPaul Schrader
and

Mardik Martin

(Adapted)
Michael ChapmanN/A*United ArtistsBest Director
Nomination 1
1983B-King Of ComedyPaul D. Zimmerman
(Original)
Fred SchulerRobbie Robertson20th Century Fox
1985BAfter HoursJoseph Minion
(Original)
Michael BallhausHoward ShoreWarner Bros.
1986CThe Color of MoneyRichard Price
(Adapted)
Michael BallhausRobbie Robertson
1988CThe Last Temptation of ChristPaul Schrader
(Adapted)
Michael BallhausPeter Gabriel Universal PicturesBest Director
Nomination 2
1989(B+)New York StoriesRichard Price
(Original)
Nestor AlmendrosN/A*Buena Vista
1990AGoodfellasNicholas Pileggi
and

Martin Scorsese

(Adapted)
Michael BallhausN/A*Warner Bros.Best Director
Nomination 3
1991D+Cape FearWesley Strick
(Adapted)
Freddie Francis
(Adapted and conducted by Elmer Bernstein from Bernard Herrmann’s Original Score for the 1962 movie)
Universal Pictures
1993AThe Age of InnocenceJay Cocks
and
Martin
Scorsese
(Adapted)
Michael BallhausElmer BernsteinColumbia
1995B-CasinoNicholas Pileggi
(Adapted)
Robert RichardsonN/A*Universal Pictures
1997D+KundunMelissa Mathison
(Original)
Roger DeakinsPhilip GlassBuena Vista
1999DBringing Out The DeadPaul Schrader
(Adapted)
Robert RichardsonElmer BernsteinParamount Pictures
2002C+Gangs of New YorkJay Cocks
and
Steven Zallian
and

Kenneth Lonergan
(Original)
Michael BallhausHoward ShoreMiramax FilmsBest Director
Nomination 4
2004BThe AviatorJohn Logan
(Original)
Robert RichardsonHoward ShoreWarner Bros.Best Director
Nomination 5
2006B-The DepartedWilliam Monahan
(Adapted)
Michael BallhausHoward ShoreBest Director
Nomination 6 (ONLY WIN)
2010D+Shutter IslandLaeta Kalogridis
(Adapted)
Robert RichardsonN/A*Paramount Pictures
2011BHugoJohn Logan
(Adaptation)
Robert RichardsonHoward ShoreParamount PicturesBest Director
Nomination 7
2013B+The Wolf of Wall StreetTerence Winter
(Adapted)
Rodrigo PrietoN/A*Paramount PicturesBest Director
Nomination 8
2016C+SilenceJay Cocks
and

Martin Scorsese
(Adaptation)
Rodrigo PrietoKim Allen Kluge
Kathryn Kluge
Paramount Pictures
2019AThe IrishmanSteven Zaillian
(Adaptation)
Rodrigo PrietoRobbie RobertsonBest Director
Nomination 9

Cinematography.

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)

Editing

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)

1990: Goodfellas

2002: Gangs of New York

2004: The Aviator (Win)

2006: The Departed (Win)

2011: Hugo

2020: The Irishman

Her eight Oscar nomination for Best Editing is for the Michael Wadleigh documentary “Woodstock” in 1970. Her coeditor 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.

Shoonmaker 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 a writing credit 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 have nominated a Scorsese film a total of 10 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 Zaillian 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)

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