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Film

Martin Scorsese named his 125 favourite films of all time

Martin Scorsese was a part of the new wave in American filmmaking which redefined the country’s cinema for the better, pushing new boundaries and exploring the potential of the cinematic medium. Through his masterpieces such as Taxi Driver and Raging Bull, Scorsese managed to weave together glimpses of an America that was overflowing with the filth of modernity.

Scorsese’s films have grappled with various issues, ranging from comparative studies between the institution of crime and the corruption of the government to questions of spirituality and faith. He was mentored by none other than John Cassavetes, another pioneer of the American New Wave whose improvisational style bled into the artistic sensibilities of a young Scorsese.

A vocal advocate of world cinema, very few filmmakers have done as much as Scorsese to spread awareness about the cinematic masterpieces that are being produced in the remotest corners of the world. He has consistently reminded everyone of the need of visual literacy, claiming that the history of cinema is far too important to be ignored and forgotten.

For this, he has been vilified by many younger audiences because they do not understand why Scorsese cannot appreciate Marvel films instead of going on and on about John Ford westerns. However, the ageing auteur warns against the direction in which the market is heading because it only signifies the slow death of modern independent filmmaking.

An avid cinephile who immersed himself in the world of films from a very young age, Scorsese’s knowledge about film history is unparalleled. That is why he ended up selecting 125 of his favourite films when other directors satisfied themselves with a top 10 pick.

Check out an extensive list of Martin Scorsese’s film recommendations below.

Martin Scorsese’s 125 favourite movies:

  1. The Infernal Cakewalk (1903)
  2. Secrets of the Soul (1912)
  3. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921)
  4. Nosferatu (1922)
  5. Dr. Mabuse the Gambler (1922)
  6. Metropolis (1927)
  7. Napoleon (1927)
  8. The Power and the Glory (1933)
  9. It Happened One Night (1934)
  10. Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936)
  11. La Grande Illusion (1937)
  12. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
  13. Stagecoach (1939)
  14. The Roaring Twenties (1939)
  15. The Rules Of The Game (1939)
  16. Citizen Kane (1941)
  17. How Green Was My Valley (1941)
  18. Sullivan’s Travels (1941)
  19. Cat People (1942)
  20. Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)
  21. Rome, Open City (1945)
  22. Children Of Paradise (1945)
  23. Duel in the Sun (1946)
  24. Gilda (1946)
  25. A Matter of Life and Death (1946)
  26. Paisan (1946)
  27. Beauty & The Beast (1946)
  28. The Lady From Shanghai (1947)
  29. T-Men (1947)
  30. I Walk Alone (1947)
  31. The Red Shoes (1948)
  32. Germany Year Zero (1948)
  33. Force of Evil (1948)
  34. La Terra Trema (1948)
  35. Macbeth (1948)
  36. Raw Deal (1948)
  37. Bicycle Thieves (1948)
  38. Caught (1949)
  39. The Third Man (1949)
  40. Stromboli (1950)
  41. The Flowers of St. Francis (1950)
  42. Gun Crazy (1950)
  43. Night and the City (1950)
  44. An American in Paris (1951)
  45. The River (1951)
  46. Ace in the Hole (1951)
  47. The Magic Box (1951)
  48. The Bad and the Beautiful (1952)
  49. Europa ’51 (1952)
  50. Othello (1952)
  51. Umberto D. (1952)
  52. Ikiru (1952)
  53. The Band Wagon (1953)
  54. House of Wax (1953)
  55. Julius Caesar (1953)
  56. Pickup on South Street (1953)
  57. Ugetsu (1953)
  58. Tokyo Story (1953)
  59. Dial M for Murder (1954)
  60. Journey to Italy (1954)
  61. Senso (1954)
  62. Seven Samurai (1954)
  63. Sansho the Bailiff (1954)
  64. All that Heaven Allows (1955)
  65. Kiss Me Deadly (1955)
  66. The Searchers (1956)
  67. Forty Guns (1957)
  68. Sweet Smell of Success (1957)
  69. Some Came Running (1958)
  70. Touch of Evil (1958)
  71. Vertigo (1958)
  72. Ashes and Diamonds (1958)
  73. Big Deal On Madonna Street (1958)
  74. Shadows (1959)
  75. The 400 Blows (1959)
  76. Peeping Tom (1960)
  77. Rocco and His Brothers (1960)
  78. Shoot the Piano Player (1960)
  79. Breathless (1960)
  80. L’Avventura (1960)
  81. The Hustler (1961)
  82. One, Two, Three (1961)
  83. Cape Fear (1962)
  84. The Trial (1962)
  85. Two Weeks in Another Town (1962)
  86. Salvatore Giuliano (1962)
  87. Il Sorpasso (1962)
  88. America, America (1963)
  89. Jason and the Argonauts (1963)
  90. The Leopard (1963)
  91. Shock Corridor (1963)
  92. High and Low (1963)
  93. 8½ (1963)
  94. The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964)
  95. Band of Outsiders (1964)
  96. Before the Revolution (1964)
  97. The Rise of Louis XIV (1966)
  98. Blow-Up (1966)
  99. Weekend (1967)
  100. Faces (1968)
  101. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
  102. Death by Hanging (1968)
  103. Midnight Cowboy (1969)
  104. The Butcher (1970)
  105. M*A*S*H (1970)
  106. The American Friend (1970)
  107. Klute (1971)
  108. McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
  109. The Merchant of Four Seasons (1971)
  110. The Godfather (1972)
  111. Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972)
  112. The Conversation (1974)
  113. Ali: Fear Eats The Soul (1974)
  114. The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (1974)
  115. The Messiah (1975)
  116. Nashville (1975)
  117. Kings of the Road (1976)
  118. Apocalypse Now (1979)
  119. The Marriage of Maria Braun (1979)
  120. Health (1980)
  121. Heaven’s Gate (1980)
  122. Mishima (1985)
  123. Born on the Fourth of July (1989)
  124. Do the Right Thing (1989)
  125. The Player (1992)

If you have made it to the end of this list, it is probably evident that Scorsese’s mental library of films is extremely intimidating. An eclectic mixture of some of the definitive masterpieces of the 20th century, Scorsese has managed to single out the essential films you need to watch in order to get a more comprehensive understanding of the history of cinema.

Despite this huge list, Scorsese does have a few favourites out of all these brilliant and important works. When asked to select just five, the auteur reluctantly picked The Searchers and Citizen Kane before adding The Red Shoes, Federico Fellini’s and The Leopard by Luchino Visconti to his personal top five.