The latest from legendary director, producer writer and sometimes actor Martin Scorsese hits cinemas today. 'The Irishman' stars Scorsese regulars Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci.
Martin Scorsese began making films as a 17 year old in 1959 and directed his first feature, 'Who's That Knocking at My Door', in 1967. Since then he's made over 30 feature films including 'Taxi Driver', 'Raging Bull', 'The Departed', 'Gangs of New York' and 'The King of Comedy'. It's been an incredibly prolific career and he's showing no signs of slowing down with his latest, which is in cinemas now and is scheduled for release on Netflix later this month.
Here's our pick for the five most iconic scenes in Martin Scorsese's career.
5. 'Casino' - The Desert Meeting
It's no surprise that DeNiro features heavily in this list or indeed in any conversation concerning Scorsese. Their working relationship produced some of the greatest films ever made. 'Casino' is a sprawling masterpiece that spans an entire city and has a running time to match. It's all shimmering neon, incredible set design but the film boils down to one scene. This marks the half-way point in the film in one simple little scene. The beginning of the end. DeNiro is brought out to the desert to talk to Joe Pesci's crazed gangster and settle their differences as amicably as they can. How does it go? Not good, as you'd expect. But what works in this scene is that Scorsese takes himself out of the equation completely. It's a simple, over-the-shoulder setup with minimal fuss or work, instead allowing two actors to work and breathe.
4. 'Shutter Island' – "Congratulations, no more normal for her."
Martin Scorsese, to us anyway, seemed like an odd choice to direct the adaptation of Dennis Lehane's 'Shutter Island'. For one, Scorsese's work has tended to be more linear and grounded. Shutter Island was a psychological horror set on an enclosed island in the '50s – not exactly within his wheelhouse, either. Nevertheless, his work on the film was incredible. 'Shutter Island' was visually stunning and had some of DiCaprio's finest work to date. For our money, it is a better film that 'Wolf Of Wall Street'. This scene is particularly disturbing, but it catches how smart Scorsese is with both editing and use of lenses. DiCaprio is just interviewing and shows, in one small little scene, just how sinister DiCaprio's character is.
3. 'Goodfellas' - "Where's my drink?"
'Goodfellas' is loaded with quotable scenes and lines. Here's our favourite, however. Very few directors can walk the line between comedy and human horror, but Scorsese manages to thread it perfectly. 'Goodfellas' is sometimes described as a black comedy and it doesn't come with much more gallows humour than this scene. It's a perfect encapsulation of Scorsese's talent in this regard. You've got a young teenager – played by 'The Sopranos' alum Michael Imperioli – and Joe Pesci's maniac gangster. What's interesting, as well, is that how everyone around him reacts to it. You initially think Pesci's the psychopath, but what's more horrifying is how people view it as inconvenience.
2. 'Taxi Driver' - "You talkin' to me?"
They don't come more iconic than this. Scorsese's bleak portrayal of city life and one man “who would not take it anymore” is as chilling then in 1976 as it is today. Scorsese's trust in his actors is never more evident than here. The scene was famously improvised by DeNiro on set. The cameras were rolling, Scorsese had the sense to stand back and let him work.
1. 'Raging Bull' - "I never went down, Ray."
Scorsese's finest work, 'Raging Bull' is a violent film filled with haunting imagery. None more beautiful and disgusting than this scene. His title fight with Sugar Ray Robinson shows LaMotta's inability to kneel before an enemy. He allows Robinson to beat him into a meaty pulp, but as he famously remarks, he never went down. Scorsese's talented use of editing, sound effects and imagery is on full display here and throughout the film.