Martin Scorsese's List of 85 Films You Must See

by Col Needham | created - 25 Feb 2012 | updated - 25 Feb 2012 | Public

This comes via an article from Anne Thompson. Which points at Martin Scorsese's 85 films you must see. How many have you seen? I am at 62/85, mostly missing the early and/or Italian titles, no doubt like many others.

Scorsese has excellent taste in the UK and US titles, especially the noirs, so I am definitely going to catch-up on the ones I am missing.

Finally, yes, there's a bit of a debate over whether Scorsese labelled the list as such, but whatever, it looks like a great set of titles to catch.

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1. Ace in the Hole (1951)

Not Rated | 111 min | Drama, Film-Noir

72 Metascore

A frustrated former big-city journalist now stuck working for an Albuquerque newspaper exploits a story about a man trapped in a cave to re-jump start his career, but the situation quickly escalates into an out-of-control circus.

Director: Billy Wilder | Stars: Kirk Douglas, Jan Sterling, Robert Arthur, Porter Hall

Votes: 23,396 | Gross: $3.97M

2. All That Heaven Allows (1955)

Not Rated | 89 min | Drama, Romance

An upper-class widow falls in love with a much younger, down-to-earth nurseryman, much to the disapproval of her children and criticism of her country club peers.

Director: Douglas Sirk | Stars: Jane Wyman, Rock Hudson, Agnes Moorehead, Conrad Nagel

Votes: 11,288

3. America America (1963)

Not Rated | 174 min | Drama

A young Anatolian Greek, entrusted with his family's fortune, loses it en route to Istanbul and dreams of going to the United States.

Director: Elia Kazan | Stars: Stathis Giallelis, Frank Wolff, Elena Karam, Harry Davis

Votes: 4,188

4. An American in Paris (1951)

Not Rated | 114 min | Drama, Musical, Romance

Three friends struggle to find work in Paris. Things become more complicated when two of them fall in love with the same woman.

Director: Vincente Minnelli | Stars: Gene Kelly, Leslie Caron, Oscar Levant, Georges Guétary

Votes: 26,429 | Gross: $4.50M

5. Apocalypse Now (1979)

R | 147 min | Drama, War

94 Metascore

During the Vietnam War, Captain Willard is sent on a dangerous mission into Cambodia to assassinate a renegade Colonel who has set himself up as a god among a local tribe.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola | Stars: Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Frederic Forrest

Votes: 528,467 | Gross: $83.47M

6. Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)

Not Rated | 118 min | Comedy, Crime, Thriller

A drama critic learns on his wedding day that his beloved maiden aunts are homicidal maniacs, and that insanity runs in his family.

Director: Frank Capra | Stars: Cary Grant, Priscilla Lane, Raymond Massey, Jack Carson

Votes: 60,247

7. The Bad and the Beautiful (1952)

Passed | 118 min | Drama, Romance

An unscrupulous movie producer uses an actress, a director and a writer to achieve success.

Director: Vincente Minnelli | Stars: Lana Turner, Kirk Douglas, Walter Pidgeon, Dick Powell

Votes: 11,338

8. The Band Wagon (1953)

Passed | 112 min | Comedy, Musical, Romance

A pretentiously artistic director is hired for a new Broadway musical and changes it beyond recognition.

Director: Vincente Minnelli | Stars: Fred Astaire, Cyd Charisse, Oscar Levant, Nanette Fabray

Votes: 8,709

9. Born on the Fourth of July (1989)

R | 145 min | Biography, Drama, War

75 Metascore

The biography of Ron Kovic. Paralyzed in the Vietnam war, he becomes an anti-war and pro-human rights political activist after feeling betrayed by the country he fought for.

Director: Oliver Stone | Stars: Tom Cruise, Raymond J. Barry, Caroline Kava, Josh Evans

Votes: 87,679 | Gross: $70.00M

10. Cape Fear (1962)

Not Rated | 106 min | Drama, Thriller

76 Metascore

A lawyer's family is stalked by a man he once helped put in jail.

Director: J. Lee Thompson | Stars: Gregory Peck, Robert Mitchum, Polly Bergen, Lori Martin

Votes: 23,218

11. Cat People (1942)

Not Rated | 73 min | Fantasy, Horror, Thriller

An American man marries a Serbian immigrant who fears that she will turn into the cat person of her homeland's fables if they are intimate together.

Director: Jacques Tourneur | Stars: Simone Simon, Tom Conway, Kent Smith, Jane Randolph

Votes: 16,599 | Gross: $4.00M

12. Wild Calendar (1949)

Not Rated | 88 min | Drama, Film-Noir, Thriller

An L.A. department store ambitious young model gets her wish of marrying a millionaire but she eventually discovers that rich life isn't always a happy one.

Director: Max Ophüls | Stars: James Mason, Barbara Bel Geddes, Robert Ryan, Frank Ferguson

Votes: 2,699

13. Citizen Kane (1941)

PG | 119 min | Drama, Mystery

100 Metascore

Following the death of a publishing tycoon, news reporters scramble to discover the meaning of his final utterance.

Director: Orson Welles | Stars: Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Dorothy Comingore, Agnes Moorehead

Votes: 351,882 | Gross: $1.59M

14. The Conversation (1974)

PG | 113 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

85 Metascore

A paranoid, secretive surveillance expert has a crisis of conscience when he suspects that a couple, on whom he is spying, will be murdered.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola | Stars: Gene Hackman, John Cazale, Allen Garfield, Frederic Forrest

Votes: 84,958 | Gross: $4.42M

15. Dial M for Murder (1954)

PG | 105 min | Crime, Thriller

A tennis player frames his unfaithful wife for first-degree murder after she inadvertently hinders his plan to kill her.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Ray Milland, Grace Kelly, Robert Cummings, John Williams

Votes: 135,099 | Gross: $0.01M

16. Do the Right Thing (1989)

R | 120 min | Comedy, Drama

91 Metascore

On the hottest day of the year on a street in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, everyone's hate and bigotry smolders and builds until it explodes into violence.

Director: Spike Lee | Stars: Danny Aiello, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Richard Edson

Votes: 71,282 | Gross: $27.55M

17. Duel in the Sun (1946)

Passed | 129 min | Drama, Romance, Western

Beautiful half-breed Pearl Chavez becomes the ward of her dead father's first love and finds herself torn between her sons, one good and the other bad.

Directors: King Vidor, Otto Brower, William Dieterle, Sidney Franklin, William Cameron Menzies, David O. Selznick, Josef von Sternberg | Stars: Jennifer Jones, Joseph Cotten, Gregory Peck, Lionel Barrymore

Votes: 7,247 | Gross: $20.41M

18. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921)

Passed | 150 min | Drama, Romance, War

An extended family split up in France and Germany find themselves on opposing sides of the battlefield during World War I.

Director: Rex Ingram | Stars: Rudolph Valentino, Alice Terry, Pomeroy Cannon, Josef Swickard

Votes: 2,841 | Gross: $9.20M

19. Europe '51 (1952)

Not Rated | 118 min | Drama

A wealthy woman becomes obsessed with humanitarianism when her young son dies after attempting suicide.

Director: Roberto Rossellini | Stars: Ingrid Bergman, Alexander Knox, Ettore Giannini, Giulietta Masina

Votes: 2,561

(original title: Europa ’51)

20. Faces (I) (1968)

R | 130 min | Drama

A middle-aged man leaves his wife for a younger woman. Shortly after, his ex-wife also begins a relationship with a younger partner. The film follows their struggles to find love amongst each other.

Director: John Cassavetes | Stars: John Marley, Gena Rowlands, Lynn Carlin, Seymour Cassel

Votes: 8,085

21. The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964)

Approved | 188 min | Drama, History, War

The death of Marcus Aurelius leads to a succession crisis, in which the deceased emperor's son, Commodus, demonstrates that he is unwilling to let anything undermine his claim to the Roman Empire.

Director: Anthony Mann | Stars: Sophia Loren, Stephen Boyd, Alec Guinness, James Mason

Votes: 7,168 | Gross: $4.75M

22. Francesco, giullare di Dio (1950)

Not Rated | 85 min | Biography, Drama, History

A series of vignettes depicting the lives of the original Franciscan monks, including their leader and the bumbling Ginepro.

Director: Roberto Rossellini | Stars: Aldo Fabrizi, Gianfranco Bellini, Peparuolo, Severino Pisacane

Votes: 2,778

23. Force of Evil (1948)

Approved | 79 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

An unethical lawyer, with an older brother he wants to help, becomes a partner with a client in the numbers racket.

Director: Abraham Polonsky | Stars: John Garfield, Thomas Gomez, Marie Windsor, Howland Chamberlain

Votes: 4,946

24. Forty Guns (1957)

Not Rated | 80 min | Romance, Western

Showdown in Arizona between the Bonnell brothers, U.S.Marshals, and Jessica Drummond, the iron-fist rancher who controls the territory.

Director: Samuel Fuller | Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Barry Sullivan, Dean Jagger, John Ericson

Votes: 3,804

25. Germany Year Zero (1948)

Not Rated | 78 min | Drama, War

A young German boy faces the problems of the tough life in the immediate post WWII Berlin.

Director: Roberto Rossellini | Stars: Edmund Moeschke, Ernst Pittschau, Ingetraud Hinze, Franz-Otto Krüger

Votes: 8,456

26. Gilda (1946)

Not Rated | 110 min | Drama, Film-Noir, Romance

A small-time gambler hired to work in a Buenos Aires casino learns that his ex-lover is married to his employer.

Director: Charles Vidor | Stars: Rita Hayworth, Glenn Ford, George Macready, Joseph Calleia

Votes: 23,953

27. The Godfather (1972)

R | 175 min | Crime, Drama

100 Metascore

The aging patriarch of an organized crime dynasty transfers control of his clandestine empire to his reluctant son.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola | Stars: Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Diane Keaton

Votes: 1,381,295 | Gross: $134.97M

28. Gun Crazy (1950)

Passed | 87 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

A well meaning crack shot husband is pressured by his beautiful marksman wife to go on an interstate robbery spree, where he finds out just how depraved and deadly she really is.

Director: Joseph H. Lewis | Stars: John Dall, Peggy Cummins, Berry Kroeger, Morris Carnovsky

Votes: 9,779

29. HealtH (1980)

PG | 105 min | Comedy

A parody and satire of the U.S. political scene of the time, HealtH is set at a health food convention at a Florida luxury hotel, where a powerful political organization is deciding on a new president.

Director: Robert Altman | Stars: Carol Burnett, Glenda Jackson, James Garner, Lauren Bacall

Votes: 597

30. Heaven's Gate (1980)

R | 325 min | Adventure, Drama, Western

57 Metascore

A dramatization of the real-life Johnson County War in 1890 Wyoming, in which a Sheriff born into wealth, attempts to protect immigrant farmers from rich cattle interests.

Director: Michael Cimino | Stars: Kris Kristofferson, Christopher Walken, John Hurt, Sam Waterston

Votes: 11,745 | Gross: $3.48M

31. House of Wax (1953)

GP | 88 min | Horror

An associate burns down a wax museum with the owner inside, but he survives only to become vengeful and murderous.

Director: André De Toth | Stars: Vincent Price, Frank Lovejoy, Phyllis Kirk, Carolyn Jones

Votes: 13,962 | Gross: $23.75M

32. How Green Was My Valley (1941)

Not Rated | 118 min | Drama, Family

At the turn of the century in a Welsh mining village, the Morgans, he stern, she gentle, raise coal-mining sons and hope their youngest will find a better life.

Director: John Ford | Stars: Walter Pidgeon, Maureen O'Hara, Anna Lee, Donald Crisp

Votes: 18,414

33. The Hustler (1961)

Not Rated | 134 min | Drama, Sport

An up-and-coming pool player plays a long-time champion in a single high-stakes match.

Director: Robert Rossen | Stars: Paul Newman, Jackie Gleason, Piper Laurie, George C. Scott

Votes: 69,181

34. I Walk Alone (1947)

Approved | 97 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

Frankie Madison leaves prison expecting a share from his ex-partner. But Prohibition bootlegging didn't prepare Frankie for Big Business.

Director: Byron Haskin | Stars: Burt Lancaster, Lizabeth Scott, Kirk Douglas, Wendell Corey

Votes: 1,705

35. The Cake-Walk Infernal (1903)

5 min | Short, Fantasy, Horror

Deep into a vast cavern of the pitch-black inferno, a couple of professional dancers demonstrate the cakewalk that is currently so much in vogue, and now, everyone in the once-gloomy underworld is doing the crazy dance. Who is the best?

Director: Georges Méliès | Star: Georges Méliès

Votes: 783

36. It Happened One Night (1934)

Not Rated | 105 min | Comedy, Romance

87 Metascore

A spoiled heiress running away from her family is helped by a man who is actually a reporter in need of a story.

Director: Frank Capra | Stars: Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert, Walter Connolly, Roscoe Karns

Votes: 81,857

37. Jason and the Argonauts (1963)

G | 104 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy

The legendary Greek hero leads a team of intrepid adventurers in a perilous quest for the legendary Golden Fleece.

Director: Don Chaffey | Stars: Todd Armstrong, Nancy Kovack, Gary Raymond, Laurence Naismith

Votes: 20,270

38. Journey to Italy (1954)

Not Rated | 97 min | Drama, Romance

100 Metascore

An unhappily married couple attempts to find direction and insight while vacationing in Naples.

Director: Roberto Rossellini | Stars: Ingrid Bergman, George Sanders, Maria Mauban, Anna Proclemer

Votes: 7,123

39. Julius Caesar (1953)

Not Rated | 120 min | Biography, Drama, History

The growing ambition of Julius Caesar is a source of major concern to his close friend Brutus. Cassius persuades him to participate in his plot to assassinate Caesar, but they have both sorely underestimated Mark Antony.

Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz | Stars: Louis Calhern, Marlon Brando, James Mason, John Gielgud

Votes: 9,108

40. Kansas City (1996)

R | 116 min | Crime, Drama, Music

57 Metascore

A pair of kidnappings expose the complex power dynamics within the corrupt and unpredictable workings of 1930s Kansas City.

Director: Robert Altman | Stars: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Miranda Richardson, Harry Belafonte, Michael Murphy

Votes: 3,879 | Gross: $1.35M

41. Kiss Me Deadly (1955)

Not Rated | 106 min | Crime, Film-Noir, Mystery

A doomed female hitchhiker pulls Mike Hammer into a deadly whirlpool of intrigue, revolving around a mysterious "great whatsit".

Director: Robert Aldrich | Stars: Ralph Meeker, Albert Dekker, Paul Stewart, Juano Hernandez

Votes: 16,161

42. Klute (1971)

R | 114 min | Crime, Mystery, Thriller

A small-town detective searching for a missing man has only one lead: a connection with a New York prostitute.

Director: Alan J. Pakula | Stars: Jane Fonda, Donald Sutherland, Charles Cioffi, Roy Scheider

Votes: 18,388

43. La Terra Trema (1948)

Not Rated | 160 min | Drama

In rural Sicily, the fishermen live at the mercy of the greedy wholesalers. One family risks everything to buy their own boat and operate independently.

Director: Luchino Visconti | Stars: Luchino Visconti, Antonio Pietrangeli, Antonio Arcidiacono, Giuseppe Arcidiacono

Votes: 3,618

44. The Lady from Shanghai (1947)

Not Rated | 87 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

Fascinated by gorgeous Mrs. Bannister, seaman Michael O'Hara joins a bizarre yachting cruise, and ends up mired in a complex murder plot.

Director: Orson Welles | Stars: Rita Hayworth, Orson Welles, Everett Sloane, Glenn Anders

Votes: 22,624 | Gross: $0.01M

45. The Leopard (1963)

PG | 186 min | Drama, History

100 Metascore

The Prince of Salina, a noble aristocrat of impeccable integrity, tries to preserve his family and class amid the tumultuous social upheavals of 1860's Sicily.

Director: Luchino Visconti | Stars: Burt Lancaster, Alain Delon, Claudia Cardinale, Paolo Stoppa

Votes: 19,395

46. Macbeth (1948)

Passed | 92 min | Drama, History, War

Macbeth, the Thane of Glamis, receives a prophecy from a trio of witches that one day he will become King of Scotland. Consumed by ambition and spurred to action by his wife, Macbeth murders his king and takes the throne for himself.

Director: Orson Welles | Stars: Orson Welles, Jeanette Nolan, Dan O'Herlihy, Roddy McDowall

Votes: 5,532

47. The Magic Box (1951)

Approved | 118 min | Biography, Drama

A chronicle of the life of William Friese-Greene, a British inventor and early pioneer in cinema.

Director: John Boulting | Stars: Robert Donat, Maria Schell, Renée Asherson, Richard Attenborough

Votes: 989

48. MASH (1970)

R | 116 min | Comedy, Drama, War

80 Metascore

The staff of a Korean War field hospital use humor and high jinks to keep their sanity in the face of the horror of war.

Director: Robert Altman | Stars: Donald Sutherland, Elliott Gould, Tom Skerritt, Sally Kellerman

Votes: 61,902 | Gross: $81.60M