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Counting down our 10 favorite Martin Scorsese films

With the release of "The Wolf of Wall Street," let's take a moment to honor one of Hollywood's finest directors. He's the master of the American crime story, but he's also tried his hand at sports movies, comedies and even family films. So which of Martin Scorsese's creations make our top 10 list? And which film is his best? (Warning: some of these clips have explicit language -- this is Scorsese, after all.)

10. "The Aviator" (2004)


Welcome to the world of Howard Hughes, the eccentric business magnate who fills his schedule with high-budget film productions, actresses, obsessive hand-washing and of course, aviation. Leonardo DiCaprio stars as the famed millionaire who loves flying planes but may not know when he's soaring too high. And Cate Blanchett won the Oscar for her role as Katherine Hepburn, marking the first time an actress won an Oscar for portraying an actress who also won an Oscar. Did we mention "Oscar?"

9. "Shutter Island" (2010)

Paramount Pictures

Scorsese meets Hitchcock in the psychological thriller that polarized critics and fans alike, but hey, every list needs a dark horse. "Shutter Island" takes place in an asylum, a bold departure for this director, but the film is a hell of a ride and it boasts a twist ending you'll never see coming. But your friend will, because he perused the IMDB discussion boards before watching so that he could impress you by correctly predicting it. The point is, "Shutter Island" is a lot of fun, and it helped you realize you need some new friends.

8. "The King of Comedy" (1982)

20th Century Fox

Robert De Niro stars as a man bent on making it in the comedy biz, so much so that he stalks his idol, Jerry Langford, played by Jerry Lewis. This sometimes unsettling but always hilarious media satire didn't take with the box office, but it's a bizarrely great film.

7. "Hugo" (2011)

Paramount Pictures

A family film from a guy known for anything but, "Hugo" tells the story of an orphan in 1930s Paris who unravels a mystery involving a key, an automaton, and a world of lost early films. "Hugo" is Scorsese’s foray into fantasy and 3D technology and a tribute to the early days of cinema. Bring the kids!

6. "Mean Streets" (1973)

Warner Brothers Pictures

In "Mean Streets," we're introduced to small time thugs Charlie (Harvey Keitel) and Johnny Boy (De Niro) trying to make their mark in the world of New York City crime. This is Marty's first acclaimed film, one that hints at a director on the verge of greatness. Perhaps inspired by his own upbringing in Little Italy, this is the one that firmly put him on the map.

5. "Casino" (1995)

Casterock Pictures

"Casino" takes the action out west, telling the story of two mobsters and one female hustler, played by the sinful Sharon Stone, as they navigate the cruel world of Las Vegas. Because it came after "Goodfellas" (which we will get to later) this film seemed like covered ground, almost the Vegas-set "Godfather 2" equivalent. But "Casino" is much more than an unofficial sequel. It's a sprawling masterpiece and one of this director's finest.

4. "The Departed" (2007)

Warner Brothers Pictures

In this crime epic set in south Boston, the lines are blurred between crime and justice. But, "When you're facing a loaded gun, what’s the difference?" With a killer ensemble cast that includes Jack Nicholson, Matt Damon, Alec Baldwin and Mark Wahlberg, "The Departed" rightfully won the academy award for best picture in 2007, but more importantly, Scorsese took home his only Oscar for best director. (He may have the chance to win another at next year's ceremony -- nominations will be announced on Jan. 16).

3. "Raging Bull" (1980)

United Artists

De Niro plays a prize-winning boxer who has trouble keeping his rage inside the ring. The actor actually learned how to box for this role and won the Oscar for it. This film is a must for sports fans and Scorsese junkies.

2. "Taxi Driver" (1976)

Warner Brothers Pictures

De Niro plays a tortured Vietnam veteran who drives the night shift, slowly becoming more appalled by the city surrounding him -- so much so that he takes matters into his own hands. If not Scorsese's best film, this is definitely his most unique. "Taxi Driver" truly stands in a class of its own. It's a dark portrayal of the gritty, unforgiving underworld that New York City once was. But that was long ago. Now the closest thing to a strip club in Times Square is the Naked Cowboy.

1. "Goodfellas" (1990)

Goodfellas_movie_image (1).jpg
Goodfellas_movie_image Warner Brothers Pictures

And finally, Scorsese's greatest achievement, "Goodfellas." Chronicling the rise and fall of real-life Brooklyn mobster Henry Hill (Ray Liotta), it may be the best American crime film to date. With some of the most quotable scenes in movie history and some of Hollywood's most memorable death scenes and montages over classic rock, what's not to love? If you haven't seen a Scorsese film yet, which is sad in its own right, start with "Goodfellas." Then work your way up the list because they are truly great films complete with crime, power, and Italian people, from one of the finest directors in Hollywood history.

Also, an honorable mention to "The Last Waltz" (1978) and "Shine a Light" (2008), which are both terrific concert films. But what do you think, any Scorsese movies that we may have missed? Disagree with our rankings? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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