Filmmakers are visual artists who can transform the mundane into movie magic. The highly-acclaimed and multi-awarded filmmaker, Martin Scorsese, is the genius behind iconic films that have been a huge part of out cinematic awakening. Scorsese has every right to be called one of the most important filmmakers of the late 20th and 21st centuries. Choosing a favorite film by Scorsese is an impossible task. It almost feels like being forced to choose a favorite child. His gripping movies are always meticulously tied together with his attention for detail and out-of-the-box storylines. He is unafraid to venture into different territories each time he tells a story. He continues to find ways to reinvent his craft, and surprise us with unforgettable material, which are always worth looking forward to. Here are five scenes from Scorsese’s films that still bother us up to this day:
5. Taxi Driver
The classic film was the perfect example of quality over quantity. It featured a simple storyline that became meaningful because of skillful direction, acting, and cinematography. The plot was set in post-Vietnam War New York City and followed Travis Bickle, portrayed by Robert De Niro (The Deer Hunter), a war veteran turned taxi driver who is seen struggling with his mental state while working night shifts. The scene where Travis finally loses it and went on a shooting rampage was worthy of the build-up leading to it. Travis was a man with a mission, as he was able to save Iris, a child prostitute portrayed by Jodie Foster (TheSilence of the Lambs), by shooting her pimp, among other people. It was a symbolic scene that showed Travis’ detachment to society and how he stuck to his beliefs until the very end.
4. Raging Bull
Robert De Niro (The Deer Hunter) was one of the actors whom Scorsese loved collaborating with. In this sports drama, De Niro portrayed the role of Jake LaMotta, an Italian-American middleweight boxer with an obsessive rage problem. His violent tendencies caused him to self-destruct, while injuring the people around him in the process. The film was also entirely shot in black-and-white, making it a unique visual experience. The scene where Jake got badly beaten up by his boxing opponent, Sugar Ray Robinson, portrayed by Johnny Barnes (Short Eyes) was so intense and powerful. Jake may have been beaten to a pulp, but relished in the fact that he did not allow himself to be knocked down. This moral victory already spoke volumes, and is just one of the iconic moments that made the film the cinematic masterpiece it is today.
The film has easily become a cult classic for crime drama fanatics over the years. It followed the rise and fall of a notorious mob associate, Henry Hill, portrayed by Ray Liotta (Blow), and told the story of his colorful life he lived surrounded by his family and close circle of friends. The scene where Henry’s friend and fellow mobster, Tommy De Vito, portrayed by Joe Pesci (The Irishman) was violently assassinated was a disturbing and heartbreaking moment in the film. Tommy was known for his temper problem, which caused him to act impulsively. His unpredictability became a liability for the mafia, who decided to gun him down in the moment he least expected. The worst kind of betrayal often times come from the people closest to you.
One of Scorsese’s well-loved crime dramas and another collaboration with De Niro followed the story of Sam Rothstein, portrayed by De Niro, a gambling expert turned shrewd casino and hotel operator. Aside from De Niro, Scorsese also loved collaborating with Joe Pesci, especially when it comes to his crime dramas. Pesci portrayed the role of Nicky Santoro in the film, a close friend of Sam. The scene where Nicky tragically met his end was bothersome in many ways. Nicky got entangled in some controversial activities involving the illegal pre-tax diversion of the casino proceedings and was made to pay for his mistake in the harshest of ways. It was a painful goodbye to a memorable character.
1. Shutter Island
The psychological thriller was set in the eerie psychiatric facility based on Shutter Island after one of its patients go missing. Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant) portrayed the lead role of Deputy U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels, who was tasked to lead the investigation. The scene where Teddy’s real identity was revealed served as the major plot twist in the film. It was an explosive moment that left us all blown away. It turns out that Teddy’s real name was Andrew Laeddis, a highly dangerous patient of the island, who was brought in for murdering his manic-depressive wife after she drowned their three children. This shifted the whole narrative of the film, and made us realize that it was Teddy who needed saving all along.