ByJon Miller, writer at
A caffeinated commentator obsessed with political pop culture and then writing about it. "Don't talk unless you can improve the silence."
Jon Miller

Well it’s been a long three years since the last time we were graced with a Martin Scorsese picture, that of course being The Wolf of Wall Street. With the trailer drop of his new film Silence, we finally have the first look at his project that's been 30 years in the making. The sneak peek certainly offers those familiar -esque tropes we've long been infatuated with, including swift and sweeping camera movements, beautifully illuminated yet somehow dark lighting, and enough Catholic iconography to make anyone think of confessing their sins.

Based on Shūsaku Endō’s 1966 novel of the same name — which had already been adapted into a film in the 1970s — Silence follows the journey of two Jesuit missionaries, played by and , who travel to Japan in search of their mentor. That mentor is a Jesuit priest played by Liam Neeson who, going against type, is the one being searched for this time. Silence is pegged to have quite the calling card come season.

Scorsese is a name synonymous with film literature and celluloid conservation. His movies are drenched in surrealism and immaculate storytelling, with an uncorrupted depiction of corrupted characters. The filmmaker is responsible for some of the best characters, dialogue and movies since the inception of his filmography in the 1960s. In appreciation of the grand career of Martin Scorsese, as well as the intense anticipation for , let us take a look at some of the best movies he has blessed us with.

But first, check out the trailer for Silence below.

10. Casino (1995)

Wrongfully considered a sequel to his previous mob classic GoodFellas, yet rightfully remembered for Sharon Stone’s masterful performance, Casino is a three-hour epic of monstrous proportions.

Simply put, Casino is a crime drama, a flawed masterpiece about the questionable choices made by unquestionably compelling characters who are surrounded by brutal and abrupt violence, manipulation, jealously and drugs. Bolstered by a frenetic soundtrack of rock and classical music — and of course enough profanity to make us blush — it’s a powerful film that cemented Scorsese has the king of the genre.

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9. The Last Temptation Of Christ (1988)

In the same vein of his new film Silence, The Last Temptation of Christ was not without its controversies. I’ll admit that I’m not entirely up on my Christian ideologies, but from what I’ve heard, if you plan on diverting from the Gospel narrative (Mary Magdalene being a prostitute, Jesus the son of a virgin, the torment of God) you should also plan on receiving some backlash. Protests, attacks and cross burning ensued upon the film's release, and it's still banned in many Catholic-leaning countries today. On the bright side, it did earn Scorsese his second directing Oscar nomination, and much credit has to go to the guy for his ballsy approach to this inevitably controversial subject matter.

8. The Last Waltz (1978)

Not only a renowned filmmaker on the movie spectrum, Scorsese has also built a solid reputation as a documentary auteur. Although never nominated for one of his documentary features, film schools are still studying this Scorsese medium as part of their curriculums.

The Last Waltz is widely considered one of the greatest ever accounts of rock 'n' roll ever made. It follows the Band (who really should get credit for the most creative band name ever) as well as a variety of other artists including Bob Dylan and Van Morrison as they play their Day concert to a jovial bunch of drug-induced punters. Corybantic in its editing, sewing together behind-the-scenes footage with harmonious pop music, The Last Waltz is reminiscent of its crazy time period.

7. The Wolf Of Wall Street (2013)

Scorsese’s last film release was a three-hour cautionary tale with, somehow, more F-bombs than Casino (four of Scorsese’s movies make the top 20 of the F-bomb list), more drug use than a Hunter S. Thompson novel, and more boobs than Caligula could even imagine. Following the real-life episodic adventures of one Jordan Belfort, it is no easy feat to make such an unlikable character so likable, but Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio, in their fifth film collaboration, somehow manage to make it work.

While the film has been criticized for what many see as its glorification of a fraudulent firm, while never depicting the people these criminals victimized, it was never meant to be that kind of morality tale. Instead, we get Scorsese’s funniest movie to date, and enough entertainment that one has to wonder how someone aged in their 70s has the vigor to direct a movie as frenetic as this.

6. The Departed (2006)

The movie that finally earned Scorsese his first Oscar. It carries over every Scorsese mafia characteristic (F-bombs that exceed the 300 count, drugs, deplorable characters, and bullets to the head galore). This time, of course, we follow the Irish mob as opposed to Scorsese’s familiar Italian gangsters, but this feature no less exemplifies the filmmaker's work. Jack Nicholson and Mark Wahlberg steal the show, while Scorsese’s frequent editor Thelma Schoonmaker creates visceral work. The Departed is one of the rare film remakes that exceeds its predecessor.

5. Raging Bull (1980)

Now this one is perhaps best known for Robert De Niro’s Oscar-winning performance that featured the committed actor losing and gaining weight, facial prosthetics, and an overall raw performance. Ever the sympathetic auteur, Scorsese does the proper thing by making the film in black and white, reminiscent of the old sports films of the '40s and '50s era in which it predominantly takes place, while also giving the characters little redemption, which was reminiscent of '70s and '80s films.

is a sort of collision of old and new Hollywood filmmaking. It earned Scorsese his very first directing Oscar nomination and provided cinema fans with a haunting portrayal of both ascent and descent.

4. Mean Streets (1973)

After his less-than-favorable Roger Corman-produced B movie Boxcar Bertha, Scorsese was encouraged to make a personal film about what he knew best — the neighborhood he grew up in. Mean Streets follows Harvey Keitel's Charlie, a small-time crook in New York's Little Italy. Charlie is conflicted by his religious faith, the temptations that come with a life of crime, his mean-spirited epileptic girlfriend (Amy Robinson) — and all while trying to keep his best friend Johnny Boy (De Niro) on the straight and narrow.

It's classic Scorsese that kicked off those Scorsese-esque tropes we have grown accustomed to (Christ, rock 'n' roll, cruel but comical violence) and is clearly a personal film for the early filmmaker.

3. Gangs Of New York (2002)

This one may be a bit polarizing for its high placement on this list, but I'll admit I’m biased, seeing as I'm both a film and history buff. Gangs of New York should be a film worthy of grand remembrance. It started the Scorsese and collaboration, what I believe to be the best director-and-actor coupling of the 21st century. Daniel Day-Lewis gives one of the greatest performances ever committed to the big screen, while the art and costume design drops you right in that world. Inspired by several real-life events like 1863 New York City Draft Riots, this is a sprawling masterpiece that offers American history as seen through the Scorsese lens.

2. GoodFellas (1990)

Satirical, violent, unapologetic — GoodFellas ranks alongside The Godfather as one of the greatest gangster movies of all-time. Perhaps, dare I say, even exceeding The Godfather in terms of being the most realistic. Its use of voice-over narration carries the story along; it's a big no-no in screenwriting classes, but is always utilized immaculately by Scorsese.

Ray Liotta and Lorraine Bracco are the stronghold of the film, acting as the audience's conduit into the world of the mafia. But it's Joe Pesci who will always remain the MVP. Five feet, four inches never looked so menacing as when Pesci, dressed in a gray suit, commits his unflinching acts of violence. While we appreciate Scorsese spreading his wings to a variety of other genres like musicals, sports and romance, we certainly would not have any qualms with him only doing gangster movies from now on.

1. Taxi Driver (1976)

The movie that put the Scorsese and De Niro collaboration on the map. It is a brilliant post-Vietnam War film about the significance of alienation, connection, and the preconceived notion that using violence as a means of problem solving is perfectly fine if you know how to do it. Travis Bickle has become an iconic figure of 1970s intrigue — a character filled to the brim with peril and turmoil. It is miraculous how, 40 years later, Taxi Driver is still stunning and relevant — even if New York City looks so different.

Scorsese's Silence will be coming to cinemas on limited release for December 23, before wide release in January 2017. Tell us who your favorite director is and why in the comments section below.


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