Winning streak: Who’s That Knocking at My Door (1968), Boxcar Bertha (1972), Mean Streets (1973), Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (1974), Taxi Driver (1976), New York, New York (1977), Raging Bull (1980), The King of Comedy (1983), After Hours (1985), The Color of Money (1986), The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), Goodfellas (1990), Cape Fear (1991), The Age of Innocence (1993), Casino (1995), Kundun (1997), Bringing Out the Dead (1999), Gangs of New York (2002), The Aviator (2004), The Departed (2006), Shutter Island (2010), Hugo (2011)
We can hear the haters already: "Martin Scorsese has made a bunch of underwhelming movies—what are you thinking?" In the case of Scorsese more than any other filmmaker included in this countdown, it's a matter of opinion, and, if you ask us, the NYC native's weakest movies are not only better than most other directors' best ones, they're also good in their own right as long as they're not constantly measured against his undeniable classics.
Let's focus on the man's potential missteps here. Of course Boxcar Bertha, Scorsese's Roger Corman-produced train robbery flick from 1972, looks inferior when placed alongside movies like Raging Bull and Taxi Driver, but on its own, free from any unfair comparisons, Boxcar Bertha is an exhibition of the attention to detail and stirring violence that exemplify his later, improved work. The same combination saves 2002's uneven, messy, yet powerfully staggering Gangs of New York from itself, leaving its impact more on the "awe-inspiring" side, nowhere near "awful."
And heavy respect is also due to Scorsese's slept-on gems, the ones die-hard fans appreciate while others either ignore or underestimate, pictures like The King of Comedy and After Hours. And, since too many people frustratingly attack its big twist without recognizing the skillful ways in which he and screenwriter Laeta Kaligridis unspool its mysteries and fill in all holes, 2010's $125 million-earning hit Shutter Island.
Nope, we can't find a deal-breaking weak spot anywhere in his catalog.