The 5th Best Director of All-Time: Martin Scorsese

I went with Scorsese for my #5 director of all-time. He’s the highest rated living (and active) director on the list! In some ways Scorsese is the easiest to discuss (I’ve seen each of his fiction films twice (aside from silence) and I’ve written about him and discussed him so often. On the other hand, in some ways, he’s one of the toughest because he is still working and therefore hasn’t been a lot of time to reflect. I have Scorsese with 4 masterpieces and a whopping 5 must-see films. He’s made 24 feature fiction films by my count and the last 22 have been archievable- prolific and consistent. Remarkable.

Best film: raging bull. I’ve really never wavered here. I think it’s a top 10 all-time film and might even have it closer to the top 5 the next time I do my list. It’s the best film really since apocalypse now (of the 80’s, 90’s and 21st century). It’s masterful and features some of the best editing of all-time, one of the most beautiful films of all-time, and one of the best single performances of all-time. Tough to op that.

Most overrated:  I’m not going to say king of comedy because it’s the one Scorsese movie I’m overdue seeing again (this also made the ranking of it a little problematic).  I think hugo and wolf are overrated by many but they don’t have lofty status on TSPDT yet so I won’t go there either).  I’ll say the last temptation of Christ and new york, new york are overrated by TSPDT- they are his 8th and 9th best films according to the list and as you’ll see from mine below I don’t have them in the top 10.

most underrated:  how about the Dicaprio collaborations in general? Are they as good as the de niro films (which pesci had a big hand in 3 of)? No. But they are officially underrated at this point. Shutter island and the departed (still not in TSPDT top 1000) are certainly underrated by any measure.

gem I want to spotlight:  Again, tough to pick just one- I’ll cheat and pick two. When I first saw casino I thought it was derivative of goodfellas and entertaining but not much else. I couldn’t have been more wrong. It grows on me every time I see it. Also, I know many worship Scorsese like I do so it’s tough to find a hidden gem now but if you haven’t it, check out after hours. It’s 97 minutes, super stylish, and made by Scorsese purely for fun as he was frustrated with the ongoing saga of getting the last temptation of Christ made. Check it out.

stylistic innovations/traits: This feels really dumb to try to put into a sentence or two here.  Scorsese is a brilliant stylist as I said and is also a great student of film so he not only has his own voice but borrows from some of the best of cinema. In goodfellas alone he has one of the greatest single uses of freeze-frame, amongst the great tracking shots of all-time and a musical soundtrack use that is second to none.  His films are directed with stylistically driven energy. I could keep going.

Additional notes: I’m fascinated to see how history will treat the 21st century Scorsese. I think time will be kind to him (and leo) here. I think leo will probably go down as the best actor of his era and Scorsese is/was a big part of that (even if I think you could argue the three best leo films now have been directed by other people). Also, I don’t personally believe it, but I could see someone making a strong case that Scorsese has made the best film of the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. Wow.

top 10

  1. Raging bull
  2. Goodfellas
  3. Taxi Driver
  4. The Departed
  5. Casino
  6. Mean Streets
  7. The Age of Innocence
  8. The Aviator
  9. Shutter Island
  10. The King of Comedy

Top 100 directors running list

100) Fuller– 3 must-see, 1 HR, 12 archiveable films

99) Cukor– 1 masterpiece, 2 must-see, 1 HR, 18 archiveable

98) Demy- 1 masterpiece, 1 must-see, 1 HR, 5 archiveable

97) Jackson– 1 masterpiece, 1 HR, 3 archiveable

96) Miller– 1 masterpiece, 1 must-see, 1 HR, 5 archiveable

95) Kazan- 1 masterpiece, 1 must-see, 3 HR, 12 archiveable

94) Sofia Coppola- 1 masterpiece, 3 HR, 5 archiveable

93) Zemeckis- 1 masterpiece, 2 must-see, 1 HR, 7 archiveable

92) Preminger– 4 must-see, 15 archiveable

91) Miyazaki– 2 must-see, 4 HR, 10 archiveable

90) Lubitsch- 4 must-see, 2 HR, 11 archiveable

89) Tati– 3 must-see, 1 HR, 5 archiveable

88) von Stroheim- 1 masterpiece, 1 MS, 2 HR, 6 archiveable

87) Dardenne- 3 must-see, 3HR, 7 archiveable

86) Nicholas Ray- 1 masterpiece, 2 must-see, 2 HR, 11 archiveable

85) Iñárritu- 1 masterpiece, 2 must-see, 1 HR, 4 archiveable

84) De Palma- 3 must-see, 3 HR, 11 archiveable

83) Minnelli- 2 must-see, 6 HR, 10 archiveable

82) Curitz- 1 masterpiece, 6 HR, 17 archiveable

81) Aronofsky- 2 masterpieces, 1 must-see, 1.5 HR, 5 archiveable

80) Preston Sturges- 4 must-see, 1 HR, 8 archiveable

79) Walsh- 1 masterpiece, 1 must-see, 5 HR, 9 archiveable

78) Gilliam- 1 masterpiece, 2 must-see, 1 HR, 6 archiveable

77) Tarr- 2 masterpieces, 1 must-see, 4 archiveable

76) Nichols- 2 masterpieces, 1 must-see, 12 archiveable

75) Melville- 3 must-see, 4 HR, 9 archiveable

74) Sirk- 2 masterpieces, 1 must-see, 1 HR, 9 archiveable

73) Stone- 1 masterpiece, 2 must-see, 2.5 HR, 9 archiveable

72) Almodóvar- 1 masterpiece, 2 must-see 4 HR, 12 archiveable

71) Roeg- 2 masterpieces, 1 must-see, 2 HR 5 archiveable

70) Mizoguchi- 5 must-see, 3 HR, 8 archiveable

69) Wyler- 4 must-see, 8 HR, 18 archiveable

68) Jarmusch– 2 masterpieces, 2 MS, 1 HR 9 archiveable

67) Michael Mann– 1 masterpiece, 2 must-see, 2.5 HR 8 archiveable

66) Visconti- 2 masterpieces, 3 HR 10 archiveable

65) Haneke- 3 masterpieces, 3 HR, 9 archiveable

64) Linklater– 3 masterpieces, 5 HR, 12 archiveable

63) Satyajit Ray– 1 masterpiece, 3 must-see, 1 HR, 8 archiveable

62) Cuaron- 3 masterpieces, 6 archiveable

61) Cassavetes– 2 masterpieces, 4 HR, 9 archiveable

60) Cameron– 5 must-see, 7 archiveable

59) Huston- 2 masterpieces, 2 must-see, 5 HR, 17 archiveable

58) Bertolucci- 1 masterpieces, 2 must-see, 1 HR, 9 archiveable

57) Eastwood– 3 masterpieces, 2 must-see, 1 HR, 15 archiveable

56) Fincher- 3 masterpieces, 2 must-see, 9 archiveable

55) Ozu- 1 masterpiece, 5 HR, 9 archiveable

54) Capra- 3 masterpieces, 4 HR, 11 archiveable

53) Keaton– 2 masterpieces, 1 must-see, 4 HR, 9 archiveable

52) Peckinpah– 2 masterpieces, 2 HR, 8 archiveable

51) Chaplin– 3 masterpieces, 2 must-see, 1 HR, 10 archiveable

50) Spike Lee– 3 masterpieces, 1 HR, 9 archiveable

49) Kiewslowski– 3 masterpieces, 3 HR, 10 archiveable

48) Dreyer– 1 masterpiece, 3 must-see, 5 archiveable

47) Von Sternberg- 2 masterpieces, 1 must-see, 3 HR, 10 archiveable

46) Fassbinder- 5 must-see, 4 HR 11 archiveable

45) Nolan- 3 masterpieces, 2 must-see, 1 HR 8 archivable

44) WKW- 2 masterpieces, 1-2 must-see, 1 HR 8 archiveable

43) Herzog– 2 masterpieces, 1 must-see, 2 HR, 9 archiveable

42) Ridley Scott– 2 masterpieces, 3 HR, 11 archiveable

41) Wes Anderson- 4 masterpieces, 1 must-see, 1 HR, 8 archiveable

40) Lumet- 3 masterpieces, 2 must-see, 4 HR, 17 archiveable

39) Polanski- 3 masterpieces, 1 must-see, 3 HR, 12 archiveable

38) Griffith- 2 masterpieces, 3 HR, 6 archiveable

37) Von Trier- 3 masterpieces, 1 HR, 8 archiveable

36) Bresson- 2 masterpieces, 6 HR, 10 archiveable

35) Wilder -4 masterpieces, 4-5 HR, 20 archiveable

34) Powell- 3 masterpieces, 2 must-see, 2 HR, 10 archiveable

33) Rossellini- 2 masterpieces, 2 must-see, 3 HR, 10 archiveable

32) Spielberg- 4 masterpieces, 3 must-see, 2 HR, 18 archiveable

31) Cronenberg- 3 masterpieces, 3 must-see, 2 HR, 14 archiveable

30) De Sica- 2 masterpieces, 2 must-see, 1 HR, 9 archiveable

29) Altman- 3 masterpieces, 4 must-see, 2 HR, 16 archiveable

28) Lean 4 masterpieces, 1 must-see, 2 HR, 13 archiveable

27) Antonioni– 1 masterpieces, 5 must-see, 9 archiveable

26) PT Anderson- 3 masterpieces, 2 must-see, 7 archiveable

25) Coen- 4 masterpieces, 5 must-see, 1 HR, 16 archiveable

24) Eisenstein- 1 masterpiece, 4 must-see, 5 archiveable

23) Allen– 4 masterpieces, 5-6 must-see, 4-5 HR, 29 archiveable

22) Tarantino– 4 masterpieces, 1 must-see, 1 HR, 7 archiveable

21) Murnau– 2 masterpieces, 2 must-see, 7 archiveable.

20) Leone– 3 masterpieces, 2 must-see, 6 archiveable

19) Bunuel– 3 masterpieces, 3 must-see, 2 HR, 13 archiveable

18) Ophüls- 5 masterpieces, 1 must-see, 1 HR, 8 archivaeble

17) Malick– 4 masterpieces, 1 must-see, 6 archivaeble

16) Lynch– 2 masterpieces, 4 must-see, 9 archiveable

15) Renoir- 2 masterpieces, 3 must-see, 3 HR’s, 14 archiveable

14) Hawks- 5 masterpieces, 2 must-see, 3.5 HR’s, 19 archiveable

13) Godard- 3 masterpieces, 1 must-see, 3 HR’s, 12 archiveable

12) Lang- 2 masterpieces, 3 must-see, 4 HR’s, 22 archiveable

11) Truffaut- 3 masterpieces, 3 must-see, 2 HR’s, 19 archiveable

10) Tarkovsky 2 masterpieces, 4 must-see, 7 archiveable

9) Welles- 3 masterpieces, 2 must-see, 1 HR’s, 10 archiveable

8) Kurosawa- 4 masterpieces, 2 must-see, 3 HR’S, 16 archiveable

7) Coppola- 5 Masterpieces, 1 HR, 9 archiveable

6) Fellini- 5 Masterpieces, 2 must-see, 3 HR’s, 14 archiveable

5) Scorsese- 4 masterpieces, 5 must-see, 2-3 HR’s, 21 archiveable total