Leonardo DiCaprio, Martin Scorsese attend the "Killers Of The Flower Moon" red carpet during the 76th annual Cannes film festival.

The Best Martin Scorsese Movie Isn’t What You Think

The conversation about Martin Scorsese’s body of work often leads to a debate over which movie is the best. As someone who watched Goodfellas at a young age and keeps it on the television set every time it is on cable simply because that’s how my Italian mother raised me, I think it is safe to say that I have a deeply ingrained perspective on Scorsese films. For me, there is no greater collaboration than that of Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio.

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The now-six collaborations between the two are the films that I find to be the most enjoyable to revisit time and time again from Scorsese’s filmography, but the film that really continues to have a hold on me is The Departed. The 2006 film brings us to Boston as Billy Costigan (DiCaprio) goes undercover to try to bring down the biggest mob boss around, Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson). It’s a tale of betrayal and corruption, and it does have a scene that changed the fabric of my being when I saw it a month before my 15th birthday.

Through moments like Billy and Dr. Madolyn Madden (Vera Farmiga) being together set to “Comfortably Numb” or the last moments of the film that will leave you with your mouth hanging open, it just felt so different from what I had already seen of Scorsese’s work.

Rewatching it on a plane recently, it does hold up, especially in Leonardo DiCaprio’s filmography, and it is still the number one movie in my Martin Scorsese ranking. What’s fascinating, though, is my second place film is another Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese team-up.

There are great ones but The Departed just stands out

leo dicaprio in wolf of wallstreet with wine
(Paramount Pictures)

I obviously love movies like Goodfellas and The King of Comedy. Taxi Driver is a classic for a reason. But movies like The Departed and my second favorite Scorsese film, The Wolf of Wall Street, show the skill that Scorsese has as a director to change even his own style. All of this has raised my excitement for Killers of the Flower Moon just that much higher. Scorsese does a great job with historical pieces, however fictionalized they may be.

It comes from Scorsese’s ability to adapt the genre of his film to the story he’s telling. While The Departed was loosely based on a true story, he had more freedom to darken its theme, but The Wolf of Wall Street was bright, loud, and as aggressive as Wall Street itself, which is why the twisted trailer for Killers of the Flower Moon shows us again how Scorsese brings these real stories to life.

His classics, like Goodfellas and Raging Bull, stem from real-life events (much like The Wolf of Wall Street), but hearing the work put into Killers of the Flower Moon to honor Osage Indigenous community and the real-life murders that took place makes this one of his most important films and falls as his sixth collaboration with DiCaprio. So all this to say that while The Departed and The Wolf of Wall Street are my favorite Scorsese movies, they have some competition if Killers of the Flower Moon is even half as good as the initial reviews from Cannes were.

(featured image: Samir Hussein/WireImage, main image: Warner Bros.)


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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.