Martin Scorsese's Favorite Movies

Martin Scorsese loves movies. He’s like a walking, talking encyclopedia of film, and he’s always happy to rattle off lists of the movies that inspired or wowed him. As a result of Scorsese’s years of praising various films, the folks over at MUBI have put together an exhaustive list featuring 893 of Martin Scorsese’s favorite movies. It’s a bit overwhelming, as the list starts in 1903, and works all the way up to 2018. So buckle up.

This list is so big it’s overwhelming. Several folks at MUBI, most notably Sam DiSalle, have put this massive list together, and a fun game is to try to see how many of these 893 movies you’ve actually seen. I haven’t even begun to count, and I’ll probably be embarrassed with the end result. But the beautiful thing about this list is that it might introduce you to movies you’ve never even heard about.

It also illustrates how eclectic Scorsese’s tastes are. There are the obvious choices – Citizen KaneNosferatu, 2001: A Space Odyssey, several Alfred Hitchcock films. And then there are titles that come out of left field – mother!Problem ChildExorcist II: The Heretic. Overall, this is a great example of how taste is subjective, and there’s nothing wrong with liking a wide variety of films. I know that might sound obvious to some people, but over the years I’ve encountered many cinephiles who seem to think you can only like one type of movie, and everything else is trash. It’s a particularly boring way to approach film, and I’m glad I never succumbed to it

The list is organized by year, so it’s impossible to say “here is Scorsese’s top 10.” But the earliest film on the list is the 1903 silent movie The Great Train Robbery, a film Scorsese borrowed from for the ending of GoodFellas. One of the final shots in that movie features Joe Pesci firing a gun at the screen, an iconic image that originated in Train Robbery with a cowboy performing the same exact action.

As for the most recent film on the list, that would be Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman. Regarding that film, Scorsese previously said: “The picture takes you to a safe place — we’re watching a movie, it’s up on a screen — and suddenly we’re catapulted into now. Right next to you. Because it’s not only real, what you’re seeing up there on the screen — it’s happening. It is happening. And it’s sanctioned by government…It transcends the medium, what he did there in the last 10 minutes. It’s cinema and it’s beautiful.”

Check out the full list here.

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