1. Goodfellas (1990)

IMDB Rating: 8.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 96%

Storyline: This film covers the life of mobster Henry Hill, portrayed by Ray Liotta, from his dream to be a mob member from his childhood days, to the pinnacle of his career, when he cannot go down any further due to drug addiction and becomes an informant for the FBI. The film not only offers insight into his life but also provides a very gritty yet realistic depiction of the mob life in the 70s.

Why it’s a Major Movie – Part 1: This Scorsese film stands out because of its stark realism, unique taut screenplay, and exceptional performance by the leads and supporting cast. The film was successful in capturing the true essence of the mafia world, providing a thorough understanding of their operations and lifestyles.

Why it’s a Major Movie – Part 2: Goodfellas is widely considered a classic in the gangster genre because of Scorsese’s masterful storytelling and commendable performances. The film is applauded for its brutal honesty and gritty dialogue, making it an influential cinematic production.

2. Taxi Driver (1976)

IMDB Rating: 8.3/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 96%

Storyline: Robert De Niro plays Travis Bickle, an insane taxi driver suffering from insomnia who is pushed to the edge by the imbalances and social indifferences of society. His perspective towards life changes drastically when he attempts to save a preadolescent prostitute played by Jodie Foster.

Why it’s a Major Movie – Part 1: Taxi Driver is considered one of Scorsese’s greatest films because of its wonderful exploration of a character stifled by his isolation and disgusted by societal degradation. It was a deeply philosophical look on human nature and society while keeping the viewers gripped.

Why it’s a Major Movie – Part 2: The film stands out because of its highly charged emotional content, fantastic cinematography, and amazing acting. All these make Taxi Driver a chilling character study and an enduring masterpiece along with a visually immersive journey of a tortured soul.

3. Raging Bull (1980)

IMDB Rating: 8.2/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 93%

Storyline: The movie, based on the life of Jake LaMotta, follows his journey from a young middleweight champion boxer to a washed-up nightclub owner. The movie criticises the masculine psyche, showing LaMotta performing horrific actions out of jealousy and rage while making the audience empathise with his self-destructive tendencies.

Why it’s a Major Movie – Part 1: Raging Bull is considered one of the greatest films of all time for its wonderful screenplay and empathetic storytelling. It is a hard-hitting commentary on the character and machismo of a man who has seen vulnerability and the heights of success, making it a highly gripping drama.

Why it’s a Major Movie – Part 2: The movie stands out for its bold narrative which delves deep into the psyche of an individual. Its realistic portrayal of a man going through the motions of life is combined with raw acting by De Niro which makes this a masterpiece in Scorsese’s filmography.

4. The Departed (2006)

IMDB Rating: 8.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 91%

Storyline: The Departed is a tale of an undercover cop and a mole in the police department as they try to identify each other while infiltrating an Irish gang in South Boston. With lives at stake, alliances are questioned, loyalties are betrayed, and revenge rules each action of the characters.

Why it’s a Major Movie – Part 1: The Departed stands out due to its intricately plotted narrative, masterful directing, and stellar performances by the cast. This movie provides Scorsese his first Oscar for Best Director and solidified his place as one of the finest directors of cinema.

Why it’s a Major Movie – Part 2: The movie is a riveting tale that keeps you on the edge of your seat with its twists and turns. Scorsese’s ability to handle multiple character arcs while keeping the narrative cohesive is yet another testament to his brilliance as a director.

5. Casino (1995)

IMDB Rating: 8.2/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 80%

Storyline: Casino is the story of two mobster best friends who rule over a gambling empire. Their real challenge starts when a beautiful and ambitious woman enters their life causing their strong tie to spread thin, ultimately leading to their downfall.

Why it’s a Major Movie – Part 1: Casino stands out with its visual grandeur of the gambling world and engaging characters. The film features excellent performances, an absorbing narrative, and an insightful view of the mob’s control over Las Vegas casinos during the 70s and the 80s.

Why it’s a Major Movie – Part 2: Casino is a powerful and kaleidoscopic depiction of Las Vegas, involving gambling, mob, power, love, and betrayal which further solidifies Scorsese’s expertise in making hard-hitting, gripping, and visually opulent crime films.

6. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

IMDB Rating: 8.2/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 79%

Storyline: This film portrays the extravagant, drug-fueled life of Jordan Belfort, a stockbroker who conned his way to a fortune on Wallstreet. As Belfort’s wealth and power increase, he treads a dangerous path of law evasion, corruption, and inevitable collapse.

Why it’s a Major Movie – Part 1: The Wolf of Wall Street stands out for its indulgent exploration of corporate greed. The outrageous bacchanalian antics combined with Scorsese’s deft storytelling skills made it a satirical masterpiece.

Why it’s a Major Movie – Part 2: The incredible depth of the characters, the fast paced narrative and an unforgettable performance by Leonardo DiCaprio makes this film a truly immersive cinematic experience that offers a controversial yet intriguing look at the hedonistic excess of Wall Street’s dark sides.

7. Gangs of New York (2002)

IMDB Rating: 7.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 75%

Storyline: In the heart of the Five Points, young Amsterdam Vallon is seeking revenge against Bill the Butcher, his father’s killer. As he becomes part of the criminal underworld of 1860’s New York, he learns about loyalty, fear, and the struggles for power.

Why it’s a Major Movie – Part 1: Gangs of New York is an historical epic that debuted Scorsese’s collaboration with Leonardo DiCaprio. Its engrossing narrative of vengeance, fine performances and meticulously detailed depiction of the era garnered wide acclaim.

Why it’s a Major Movie – Part 2: The film stands out for its treatment of the diverse and dangerous street gangs of the nineteenth century. Magnificent production design, a sweeping score and storytelling on a grand scale ensure the movie’s place as a major one in Scorsese’s career.

8. Mean Streets (1973)

IMDB Rating: 7.3/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 97%

Storyline: The film is a personal look at the streets where Scorsese grew up, following Charlie, who is torn between his devout Catholicism and his Mafia-related work, in his journey through the dark heart of New York, struggling to reconcile his conflict and moving towards salvation or damnation.

Why it’s a Major Movie – Part 1: Mean Streets marked Scorsese’s first notable foray into the crime genre, which later became his forte. His exploration of the gritty streets of New York and his authentic visual style exhibited Scorsese’s potential.

Why it’s a Major Movie – Part 2: This film stands as a testament to Scorsese’s roots. Relatively smaller in scale and budget than Scorsese’s later films, Mean Streets is still highly respected for its intense storytelling, raw power, and the start of Scorsese and De Niro’s remarkable creative partnership.