Ranking Martin Scorsese’s 27 Feature Films

WITH 10 OSCAR NOMINATIONS, MARTIN SCORSESE IS ONLY TWO NOMINATIONS AWAY FROM WILLIAM WYLER’S RECORD OF 12 WHICH HAS STOOD SINCE 1965.

One masterpiece:

Taxi Driver

SEVEN near masterpieces:

Mean Streets | Raging Bull | Goodfellas | The Age of Innocence | The Wolf of Wall Street | The Irishman | Killers of the Flower Moon

Seven solidly entertaining movies:

Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore | King of Comedy | After Hours | New York Stories (segment) | 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

NEW YORK, NEW YORK

And then, there is “New York, New York” (1977): Rated as a failure on its original release, its reputation has grown over the years, and it is now regarded as one of Scorsese’s better films. It’s also filled with those beautiful 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 title song and closing number. Overall, I give it a B+

BOXCAR BERTHA

And “Boxcar Bertha” (1972) is as much Roger Corman as Scorsese but does have Barbara Hershey! Let’s give it a C+.

DOCUMENTARY FEATURES: THE LAST WALTZ

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.

YearMy
Rating
FilmScreenplayCinematographerOriginal ScoreDistributorOscar
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.
1974B+Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore
Robert Getchell
(Original)
Keny L. WakefordN/A*Warner Bros.
1976A+Taxi DriverPaul Schrader
(Original)
Michael ChapmanBernard HerrmannColumbia Pictures
1977B+New York, New YorkMardik Martin
and
Earl Mac Rauch
(Original)
Laszlo KovacsJohn Kander
Fred Ebb
United
Artists
1978AThe Last WaltzN/A*Michael 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

Number
One
1983BKing Of ComedyPaul D. Zimmerman
(Original)
Fred SchulerRobbie Robertson20th Century Fox
1985B+After HoursJoseph Minion
(Original)
Michael BallhausHoward ShoreWarner Bros.
1986C+The Color of MoneyRichard Price
(Adapted)
Michael BallhausRobbie Robertson
1988C+The Last Temptation of ChristPaul Schrader
(Adapted)
Michael BallhausPeter Gabriel Universal PicturesBest Director
Nomination

Number
Two
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

Number
Three
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
1995BCasinoNicholas 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

Number
Four
2004B+The AviatorJohn Logan
(Original)
Robert RichardsonHoward ShoreWarner Bros.Best Director
Nomination Number

Five
2006B+The DepartedWilliam Monahan
(Adapted)
Michael BallhausHoward ShoreWarner BrosBest Director
Nomination
Number
Six
(ONLY WIN)
2010D+Shutter IslandLaeta Kalogridis
(Adapted)
Robert RichardsonN/A*Paramount Pictures
2011BHugoJohn Logan
(Adapted)
Robert RichardsonHoward ShoreParamount PicturesBest Director
Nomination Number

Seven
2013A-The Wolf of Wall StreetTerence Winter
(Adapted)
Rodrigo PrietoN/A*Paramount PicturesBest Director
Nomination Number

Eight
2016C+SilenceJay Cocks
and
Martin Scorsese
(Adapted)
Rodrigo PrietoKim Allen Kluge
Kathryn Kluge
Paramount Pictures
2019A-The IrishmanSteven Zaillian
(Adapted)
Rodrigo PrietoRobbie RobertsonNetflixBest Director
Nomination Number Nine
2023A-Killers of the Flower MoonEric Roth and Martin Scorsese
(Adapted)
Rodrigo PrietoRobbie RobertsonParamount Pictures
Apple Original Films and Apple TV+
Best Director Nomination Number Ten.

Cinematography.

Scorsese has worked with some of the world’s greatest cinematographers:

Michael Ballhaus on seven (1985-2006)

Robert Richardson on five (1995-2011)

Rodrigo Prieto on four (2013-2023)

Michael Chapman on three (1976-1980)

Laszlo Kovacs on two (1977/1978)

Vilmos Zsigmond (1), Nestor Almendros (1), Freddie Francis (1) and Roger Deakins (1).

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 seven Oscar nominations and won three times, exclusively for her work on Scorsese films.

Thelma Schoonmaker’s Nine Oscar Nominations for Best EditingA Record. All, with the exception of Michael Wadleigh’s “Woodstock,” are for Scorsese films.

1970; Woodstock (with Martin Scorsese)

1980: The Raging Bull (Win)

1990: Goodfellas

2002: Gangs of New York

2004: The Aviator (Win)

2006: The Departed (Win)

2011: Hugo

2019: The Irishman

2023: Killers of the Flower Moon

With nine Academy Award nominations, Schoonmaker has now surpassed Michael Kahn as the most nominated editor in Academy Awards history. With Daniel Mandell and Ralph Dawson, she also holds the record for the most wins in the category of Best Editing, with three.

Schoonmaker married legendary British director Michael Powell (“Black Narcissus”) from 1984 until he died 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 chooses to use incidental music or underscoring, Scorsese’s most trusted composer is Canadian Howard Shore, who scored five of his movies and snuck in an Oscar nomination for “Hugo” in 2012. Following Shore is fellow Canadian and former member of The Band Robbie Robertson with four. Robertson won a posthumous nomination for “Killers of the Flower Moon” and looks like the favorite to win the Oscar as of this writing. Also Oscar-nominated was Elmer Bernstein’s gorgeous score for “The Age of Innocence,” Philip Glass for “Kundun,” and Bernard Herrmann’s final masterpiece, “Taxi Driver,” which turned out to be his final score.

Screenplays, Adapted, and Original.

18 of the 27 features listed are from Adapted Screenplays, with Nine Original Screenplays.

Scorsese receives writing credits on five 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), “Silence” and “Killers of the Flower Moon.”

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 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 Zaillian, 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)

Scorsese Scores Again With Killers of the Flower Moon (2023) A- TheBrownees

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