As an iconic film director, Martin Scorsese has had a hand in shaping the way we watch movies. He is renowned for numerous classic films, from “Taxi Driver” and “Raging Bull” to “The Irishman” and “Goodfellas”. He has cited a variety of sources for his influence, from Italian Neorealism to German Expressionism, but he has also made his mark on the world of gangster films. The films he has crafted make up an important part of film history and have left an indelible mark on the cinema as a whole.
Gangster films are films that have been set in the criminal underworld, where often the protagonists are Mobsters, gang leaders or law enforcers. These films portray organized crime, violence and lawlessness in their narrative and often provide a gritty and realistic depiction of the criminal underworld. This genre of films usually feature crime stories, complex characters, and moral ambiguity and it is clear that director Martin Scorsese has become synonymous with the gangster genre.
Scorsese’s Gangster films
Martin Scorsese has made a total of eight gangster films in his lifetime. “Mean Streets” was his first foray into the genre, a semi-autobiographical film that aimed to show the society that had pillared his own upbringing. It added a personal touch to Scorsese’s gangster films. It was followed by the Oscar-winning “Taxi Driver” and “Raging Bull” in 1976 and 1980 respectively. These films cemented Scorsese’s vision and inspired generations of filmmakers after him.
Scorsese also helmed “Goodfellas” in 1990, which is often cited as one of the greatest films ever made. The film earned him a second Oscar with its visceral and energetic presentation, delving deep into the lives of the real-life mobsters that the film is based on. Of the cast, Joe Pesci won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his roles in this and “Raging Bull”, making him only the seventh actor of all time to receive a double Oscar.
The 2000s saw a resurgence in Scorsese’s gangster films. He released “The Departed” in 2006, another incredibly acclaimed film from the director. “The Departed” won multiple Oscars, including a posthumous Best Picture statue for Scorsese and Best Director for himself. He also directed “The Wolf of Wall Street” in 2013, an even more modern take on the gangster film that was a hit with critics.
Scorsese’s latest addition to the genre was “The Irishman” in 2019, a highly anticipated film that was one of the year’s most talked-about movies. It was his second collaboration with Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Al Pacino, this time blending the gangster genre with the true crime sub-genre. It received glowing reviews and was nominated for several Oscars, though it failed to win.
The films that Scorsese has crafted over the years have continued to influence generations of filmmakers and viewers, from the Coen Brothers to Quentin Tarantino. His films have been seen as pushing the boundaries of the cinema, creating films that employ complex characters and a moral ambiguity to illustrate the effects of the real-world criminal underworld. He has also become a figure of inspiration for many aspiring filmmakers, as well as creating a blueprint for gangster films for years to come.
Scorsese’s films have helped to shape the way we view the genre and many of them are considered timeless classics. While some films were more successful than others, they have all had an impact on both the industry and the audience alike. His films have often pushed the boundaries of the genre, introducing complex characters, realistic scenes and moral ambiguity to provide us with an honest and moving reflection of the criminal underworld.
Scorsese’s technical style and approach to the gangster genre has also been influential. He often creates films with minimalistic sets and employed quick cuts and sound design, to effectively create a feeling of chaotic energy. His films often feature tracking shots and impressive cinematography, which are often imitated by other directors. His realism and attention to detail are unmatched in the genre and his films often feature gritty, detailed visuals and powerful performances from his actors.
Martin Scorsese has had an immense impact on the gangster film genre and his eight films have established him as a master of the craft. His films, from “Mean Streets” to “The Irishman” have left a lasting mark on the industry and continues to inspire a new generation of filmmakers. Scorsese’s technical style and realism has been praised for pushing the boundaries of the genre and his films remain timeless classics of the silver screen.