Here Are The 165 Films Recommended By World-Famous Director Martin Scorsese

The director runs the World Cinema Foundation to preserve cinema heritage around the world. Here are some of his favorites...

Stanley Kubrick, Orson Welles, Michael Powell, Bernardo Bertolucci, Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut… More than one hundred classic movies have been carefully chosen by director Martin Scorsese for a special cycle on French VOD platform LaCinetek. Not only did the films listed profoundly mark the director and influence his own creations, including Taxi Driver and Casino, they are also considered to be masterpieces more broadly. 

With his World Cinema Foundation, the director aims to preserve global cinema heritage. When he was asked to select his films by LaCinetek, Martin Scorsese explained that he was unable to fully comply with the requirements, submitting two lists and an explanatory letter: 

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"What is a preference when we talk about cinema? What does that mean? Our preferences evolve over time and depend largely on our experiences in life. Is it fair, or even appropriate, to distinguish the films which blew you away with their beauty and power in your childhood from those which marked you at 30? At 50? Or at 72? The films which shook me and drew me in during my younger years were formative because they unsettled my consciousness. They became sources of inspiration and formed a sort of grammar underpinning the films I went on to make later. When I look back, many of these films remain an infinite source of inspiration for me, and I return to them over and over again. 

Is it really about providing a selection of films which shaped me? In any case, that was the requirement which I have tried to fulfil. But what about the films and directors which have enriched my career and the works I have sought to produce as I grow older? 

I have therefore attempted to draw up a list of 'formative films' but also a second list of films as an 'alternative' list, featuring titles which I like perhaps even more than some of the ones on the first 'formative' list. It's all very unfair…"

The List Of Formative Films Provided By Martin Scorsese: 

  • 2001: A Space Odyssey by Stanley Kubrick
  • 8 ½ by Federico Fellini 
  • 9 Variations on a Dance Theme by Hilary Harris
  • A Star is Born by George Cukor
  • Accattone by Pier Paolo Pasolini
  • America America by Elia Kazan
  • Antonio das Mortes by Glauber Rocha
  • Ashes and Diamonds by Andrzej Wajda
  • Barry Lyndon by Stanley Kubrick
  • Prima della rivoluzione by Bernardo Bertolucci
  • Bigger than Life by Nicholas Ray
  • Caught by Max Ophüls
  • Citizen Kane by Orson Welles 
  • The Diary of a Country Priest by Robert Bresson
  • East of Eden by Elia Kazan 
  • Europe 51 by Roberto Rossellini
  • Force of Evil by Abraham Polonsky
  • Gertrud by Carl Theodor Dreyer
  • Giant by George Stevens 
  • The Fiancés by Ermanno Olmi 
  • To Live by Akira Kurosawa
  • Intolerance by D.W Griffith 
  • Jazz on a Summer’s Day by Bert Stern
  • Jules and Jim by François Truffaut
  • Kind Hearts and Coronets by Robert Hamer
  • L’avventura by Michelangelo Antonioni
  • La Grande Illusion by Jean Renoir
  • Last Year at Marienbad by Alain Resnais
  • Lawrence of Arabia by David Lean 
  • Leave Her to Heaven by John M. Stahl
  • Lolita by Stanley Kubrick
  • Murder by Contract by Irving Lerner 
  • Nazarín by Luis Buñuel 
  • The Night of the Hunter by Charles Laughton 
  • October: Ten Days That Shook the World by Sergeueï Einsentein and Aleksandrov Grigori
  • On the Waterfront by Elia Kazan 
  • Once Upon a Time in the West by Sergio Leone
  • Ordet by Carl Theodor Dreyer 
  • Paisan by Roberto Rossellini
  • Park Row by Samuel Fuller 
  • Peeping Tom by Michael Powell
  • Playtime by Jacques Tati
  • Red River by Howard Hawks and Arthur Rosson
  • Salvatore Giuliano by Francesco Rosi
  • Scorpio Rising by Kenneth Anger
  • Shadows by John Cassavetes
  • Solaris by Andreï Tarkovski 
  • Come Came Running by Vincente Minnelli 
  • Sweet Smell of Success by Alexanbyr Mackendrick 
  • Pather Panchali by Satyajit Ray 
  • Aparajito by Satyajit Ray 
  • The World of Apu by Satyajit Ray
  • The Big Knife by Robert Aldrich
  • The Cranes Are Flying by Mikhaïl Kalatozov 
  • The Flowers of St. Francis by Roberto Rossellini
  • The Gospel According to St. Matthew by Pier Paolo Pasolini
  • The Insect Woman by Shohei Imamura 
  • The Leopard by Luchino Visconti
  • Colonel Blimp by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger
  • The Public Enemy by William A. Wellman
  • The Red Shoes by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger
  • The Taking of Power by Louis XIV by Roberto Rossellini
  • The River by Jean Renoir
  • The Roaring Twenties by Raoul Walsh
  • The Round-Up by Miklos Jancso
  • The Searchers by John Ford
  • The Seventh Seal by Ingmar Bergman 
  • The Tales of Hoffmann by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger
  • The Third Man by Carol Reed
  • The Wrong Man by Alfred Hitchcock
  • Touch of Evil by Orson Welles
  • Ugetsu by Kenji Mizoguchi
  • Vertigo byAlfred Hitchcock
  • My Life to Live by Jean-Luc Godard

The List Of Alternative Films: 

  • Point Blank by Don Siegel
  • L’Atalante by Jean Vigo
  • The Nun’s Story by Fred Zinnemann
  • Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans by Friedrich W. Murnau
  • Beauty and the Beast by Jean Cocteau
  • Berlin Alexanderplatz by Rainer Werner Fassbinder
  • Station Six-Sahara by Seth Holt
  • The Magic Box by John Boulting
  • Les Bonnes femmes by Claude Chabrol
  • Sunset Boulevard by Billy Wilder
  • The Golden Coach by Jean Renoir
  • The Day of the Jackal by Fred Zinnemann 
  • The Thing from Another World by Howard Hawks and Christian Nyby
  • Blood on the Moon by Robert Wise 
  • Close-Up by Abbas Kiarostami
  • Winter Light by Ingmar Bergman 
  • Dial M for Murder by Alfred Hitchcock
  • Battle of Culloden by Peter Watkins
  • The Lady of Shanghai by Orson Welles
  • The Horse Thief by Tian Zhuangzhuang
  • The Horse’s Mouth by Ronald Neame 
  • Detour by Edgar George Ulmer 
  • Second Breath by Jean-Pierre Melville
  • Divorce Italian Style by Pietro Germi
  • Dodsworth by William Wyler
  • Le Doulos by Jean-Pierre Melville
  • Duel au soleil by King Vidor
  • Children of Paradise by Marcel Carné
  • Ride the Pink Horse by Robert Montgoméry
  • Faces by John Cassavetes
  • Falstaff by Orson Welles
  • Night and the City by Jules Dassin
  • The Crazy Stranger by Tony Gatlif
  • The Big Knife by Robert Aldrich
  • The Great War by Mario Monicelli
  • Out of the Past by Jacques Tourneur
  • The Sound of the Mountain by Mikio Naruse
  • Man with a Movie Camera by Dziga Vertov
  • Shane by George Stevens
  • Sansho the Bailiff by Kenji Mizoguchi
  • I Vitelloni by Federico Fellini
  • I Know Where I'm Going! by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger 
  • I've Always Loved You by Frank Borzage 
  • To Be or Not To Be by Ernst Lubitsch
  • Diary of a Chambermaid by Jean Renoir
  • Judex by Georges Franju
  • Khrustalyov, My Car! by Alexeï Guerman
  • He Who Gets Slapped by Victor Sjöström
  • Letter from an Unknown Woman by Max Ophüls 
  • Lucky Luciano by Rosi Francesco
  • Yeleen by Souleymane Cissé
  • The Merchant of Four Seasons by R.W. Fassbinder 
  • Fort Apache by John Ford
  • Contempt by Jean-Luc Godard
  • The Facts of Murder by Pietro Germi 
  • Mickey One by Arthur Penn
  • Nosferatu by F.W. Murnau
  • Floating Clouds by Mikio Naruse
  • People Will Talk by Joseph L. Mankiewicz
  • The Threepenny Opera by Wolfgang Staudte 
  • Othello by Orson Welles
  • Paris Belongs to Us by Jacques Rivette
  • Marnie by Alfred Hitchcock
  • Canyon Passage by Jacques Tourneur 
  • Pete Kelly's Blues by Jack Webb
  • Pharaoh by Jerzy Kawalerowicz
  • Pickpocket by Robert Bresson
  • The Bridges at Toko-Ri by Mark Robson 
  • Pickup on South Street by Samuel Fuller
  • Psycho by Alfred Hitchcock
  • Forty Guns by Samuel Fuller
  • The Long Good Friday by John Mackenzie
  • Rio Bravo by Howard Hawks
  • River of Death by Charles Warren Marquis
  • Rocco and His Brothers by Luchino Visconti
  • Jalsaghar by Satyajit Ray
  • Vagabond by Agnès Varda
  • Satan by Wallace Worsley 
  • Satyricon by Federico Fellini
  • Shock Corridor by Samuel Fuller
  • Living on Velvet by Frank Borzage 
  • Earth by Alexandre Dovjenko
  • Testament of Orpheus by Jean Cocteau
  • The Phenix City Story by Phil Karlson 
  • The Shanghai Gesture by Josef Von Sternberg
  • Hands Off the Loot by Jacques Becker
  • The Band Wagon by Vincente Minnelli 
  • City That Never Sleeps by John H. Auer
  • The Treasure of the Sierra Madre by John Huston
  • The Manchurian Candidate by John Frankenheimer 
  • One-Eyed Jacks by Marlon Brando
  • Tokyo Story by Yasujirõ Ozu

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Article translated by: Eleanor Staniforth

By Lucille Bion, published on 21/06/2019

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