Are You Talkin’ To Me? A Look At Martin Scorsese’s Films

As far back as I can remember, I’ve been a fan of Martin Scorsese films. Some of you might get that as a Goodfellas reference! That’s actually not true, since I really only became a fan of Scorsese films after seeing Goodfellas, and I would have been about 18 when that one was released! I can remember seeing movies a lot farther back than 1990, but that’s not important right now.

What’s really, really important is that Italian-American film director Martin Scorsese is a a major player in the movie biz. He’s famous for making films that don’t hold back when it comes to violence, films that take an unflinching look at the inner workings of crime and organized crime, and for making films with frequent uses of the word “f—” (more about that later). I’ve kind of followed his career for quite some time, especially when he was making more “gimme an Oscar” movies than boxer Jake LaMotta’s total wins by knockout. Maybe that’s an exaggeration, since LaMotta had 30 career wins by knockout!

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Scorsese and DeNiro on the set of Raging Bull, which  received eight Oscar nominations. DeNiro, playing boxer Jake LaMotta, won for best leading actor, and the film also won an Oscar for best film editing. Film editor Thelma Schoonmaker won three Oscars for her work on Scorsese films, including Raging Bull, The Aviator and The Departed.

For a while there, Scorsese really seemed to be really gunning for the Oscars. All of his regular fare aside (aka crime/gangster pieces), he was also at the helm of many, many films that just seemed to BEG for Oscars with more desperation than a virgin guy on prom night. Let’s see… a 1993 “period piece” starring Daniel Day-Lewis (The Age of Innocence),  a 1997 biopic about the Dalai Lama (Kundun), a 2002 historical drama starring Daniel Day-Lewis (Gangs of New York), and his final “gimme an Oscar” film (IMHO) was The Aviator, which was a biopic about eccentric rich recluse Howard Hughes. You really can’t blame him for thinking that putting Daniel Day-Lewis in his films would make them shoo-ins for Oscars! But no…The Age Of Innocence only received five nominations (including a win for best costume design) and Gangs of New York received a whopping 10 nominations with zero wins, which probably gave him plenty to talk about with Steven Spielberg, whose 1985 film The Color Purple received 11 Oscar nominations and no wins. Misery loves company?

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Daniel Day-Lewis and Winona Ryder in The Age of Innocence, which was adapted from an Edith Wharton novel. Check out those Oscar winning costumes! Ryder was nominated as best supporting actress. Though Day-Lewis’ “Newland” character is engaged to Ryder’s character “May” in the film, he is more interested in May’s cousin Ellen (whom is played by Michelle Pfeiffer). I have not seen this one, and have no plans to (bleah, I could barely stand having to read Wharton’s Ethan Frome in high school, LOL)!

And finally…finally…in 2007, after being nominated for six Oscars, Scorsese received his first Oscar for best director for the 2006 film The Departed. Ironically enough, he didn’t win this Oscar for a period piece, a biopic, or a historical drama. He went back to his roots and did a film about criminals. As writers like to say, “Write what you know,” same is true with film making. If you’re good at making movies about gangsters, crime, big city life, and to top it all off – you’re known for making movies which make frequent use of the “f” word? Well, f—! Make that f—ing movie already! Yeah, I’m talkin’ to you, Martin Scorsese!

A side note, four Scorsese films appear on this list of films featuring the most instances of the word “f—.” in order from least to most uses:

  • The Departed, 237
  • Goodfellas, 300
  • Casino, 422
  • The Wolf of Wall Street, 569

If you’re into learning more “stats” and fun facts about Scorsese’s film, here’s a few…

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Actors Joe Pesci, Frank Vincent and Robert DeNiro have appeared on screen together in three films directed by Martin Scorsese. Here they are exchanging a moment of brotherly love in Goodfellas.
  • Robert DeNiro has appeared in eight of his films
  • Harvey Keitel has appeared in five of his films
  • Robert DeNiro, Joe Pesci and Frank Vincent, as a trio; have appeared in three of his films – Raging Bull, Goodfellas, and Casino. Vincent and Pesci die on screen in two of these films (Goodfellas and Casino).
  • Martin Scorsese’s mother Catherine appeared in nine of his films before dying in 1997. His father, Charles, appeared in eight of his films before dying in 1993.

So now that I’ve established that Martin Scorsese has made some really f—ing good films (most of which you wouldn’t let your young children watch) and liked casting his own family members in them, why don’t I get into a list of his full-length films that he has directed since 1967? F— yeah! Entries with double asterisks denote films that won Oscars of any kind. Entries in bold indicate Oscar winners.

Who’s That Knocking On My Door, 1967

Boxcar Bertha, 1972

Mean Streets, 1973

Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, 1974

Oscar Nominations (3)

  • Best leading actress, Ellen Burstyn
  • Nominee, best supporting actress, Diane ladd
  • Nominee, best original screenplay

Taxi Driver, 1976

Oscar Nominations (4)

  • Nominee, best picture
  • Nominee, best leading actor, Robert DeNiro
  • Nominee, best supporting actor, Jodie Foster
  • Nominee, best original score, Bernard Hermann (posthumous)

New York, New York, 1977

**Raging Bull, 1980

Oscar Nominations (8)

  • Winner, best leading actor, Robert DeNiro
  • Winner, best film editing, Thelma Schoonmaker
  • Nominee, best picture
  • Nominee, best supporting actor, Joe Pesci
  • Nominee, best supporting actress, Cathy Moriarty
  • Nominee, best director, Martin Scorsese
  • Nominee, best cinematography
  • Nominee, best sound

The King of Comedy, 1982

After Hours, 1985

**The Color of Money, 1986

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Actor Paul Newman received the Oscar for best actor as “Fast Eddie” in Scorsese’s 1986 film The Color of Money. This was his only Oscar win for acting out of nine nominations. His highest-grossing film to date is Cars, which grossed $244 million at the domestic box office.

Oscar Nominations – (4)

  • Winner, best leading actor, Paul Newman
  • Nominee, best supporting actress, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio
  • Nominee, adapted screenplay
  • Nominee, set direction/art direction

The Last Temptation of Christ, 1988

Oscar Nominations (1)

  • Nominee, best director, Martin Scorsese

**Goodfellas, 1990

Oscar Nominations (6)

  • Winner, best supporting actor, Joe Pesci
  • Nominee, best picture
  • Nominee, best supporting actress, Lorraine Bracco
  • Nominee, best director, Martin Scorsese
  • Nominee, best adapted screenplay
  • Nominee, film editing

Cape Fear, 1991

Oscar Nominations (2)

  • Best leading actor, Robert DeNiro
  • Best supporting actress, Juliette Lewis

The Age of Innocence, 1993

Oscar Nominations (5)

  • Winner, best costume design
  • Nominee, best supporting actress, Winona Ryder
  • Nominee, best adapted screenplay
  • Nominee, art direction/set direction
  • Nominee, original score

Casino, 1995

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Sharon Stone as “Ginger” in the 1995 film Casino, which is probably my favorite of all of the films directed by Scorsese. Here she is in bed with some of her favorite things. Can’t say that I blame her, after having worked as a prostitute, the company of jewelry and baubles might be preferable by comparison! She received an Oscar nod for lead actress. If you really want to watch this one, do not watch the “made for TV” version. The edits for profanity are terrible. “Freak you, Sam Rothstein” just doesn’t compare to the original line!

 

Oscar Nominations (1)

  • Nominee, best leading actress, Sharon Stone

Kundun, 1997

Oscar Nominations (4)

  • Nominee, best cinematography
  • Nominee, set direction/art direction
  • Nominee, costume design
  • Nominee, original score

Bringing Out The Dead, 1999

Gangs of New York, 2002

Oscar Nominations (10)

  • Nominee, best picture
  • Nominee, best leading actor, Daniel Day-Lewis
  • Nominee, best director, Martin Scorsese
  • Nominee, best original screenplay
  • Nominee, best cinematography
  • Nominee, best art direction/set direction
  • Nominee, best costume design
  • Nominee, best film editing
  • Nominee, best sound
  • Nominee, best original song, The Hands that Built America (U2)

**The Aviator, 2004

Oscar Nominations (11)

  • Winner – best supporting actress, Cate Blanchett
  • Winner, best cinematography
  • Winner, best film editing
  • Winner, best art direction
  • Winner, best costume design
  • Nominee, best picture
  • Nominee, best leading actor, Leonardo DiCaprio
  • Nominee, best supporting actor, Alan Alda
  • Nominee, best director, Martin Scorsese
  • Nominee, best original screenplay
  • Nominee, best sound mixing

**The Departed, 2006

Oscar Nominations (5)

  • Winner, best picture
  • Winner, best director, Martin Scorsese
  • Winner, best adapted screenplay
  • Winner, best film editing
  • Nominee, best supporting actor, Mark Wahlberg

Shutter Island, 2010

Hugo, 2011

Oscar Nominations (11)

  • Winner, best cinematography
  • Winner, best sound mixing
  • Winner, best sound editing
  • Winner, best visual effects
  • Winner, best art direction
  • Nominee, best picture
  • Nominee, best director, Martin Scorsese
  • Nominee, best adapted screenplay
  • Nominee, best film editing
  • Nominee, best costume design
  • Nominee, best original score

The Wolf of Wall Street, 2013

Oscar Nominations (5)

  • Nominee, best leading actor, Leonardo DiCaprio
  • Nominee, best supporting actor, Jonah Hill
  • Nominee, best director, Martin Scorsese
  • Nominee, best adapted screenplay
  • Nominee, best picture

Silence, 2016

Oscar Nominations (1)

  • Best cinematography

Future Scorsese “joints…”

The Irishman, 2019; Killers of the Flower Moon, Roosevelt, Untitled Martin Scorsese Sharon Stone Project.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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