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Top Martin Scorsese films, from 'Taxi Driver' to 'Goodfellas'

You could argue that Martin Scorsese is the greatest filmmaker of all time, the one with a body of work that’s most painstakingly alive to the promise and purpose of this most extraordinary medium.

But whether he’s your favorite director or just high on your list, the Museum of the Moving Image offers quite a jewel in its newly opened retrospective exhibition and film series that showcases what has shaped Scorsese into one of the business’ enduring icons. The exhibition runs through April 23.

Here, in honor of the museum’s tribute, is our ranking of the best movies in a one-of-a-kind career.

10. 'Mean Streets'

The movie that catapulted Scorsese to prominence --
Photo Credit: Courtesy of the American Museum of the Moving Image

The movie that catapulted Scorsese to prominence -- a small-scale and autobiographically-inspired portrait of the friendship between a low-level mob member (Harvey Keitel) and his hothead friend (Robert De Niro) -- "Mean Streets" showcases a filmmaker finding his authentic voice.

9. 'Gangs of New York'

A thrilling New York City period piece with
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Sikelia Productions

A thrilling New York City period piece with Daniel Day-Lewis at his finest, this movie centers on life in the notorious Five Points during the 19th century. It's an engaging portrait of revenge that culminates with one of the finest cinematic spectacles Scorsese has crafted -- an extended depiction of the city's Civil War draft riots.

8. 'No Direction Home'

This great music documentary offers an exhaustive approach
Photo Credit: PBS / Daniel Kramer

This great music documentary offers an exhaustive approach to Bob Dylan's legendary early career (from 1961 through the 1966 motorcycle crash) in an attempt to understand the riddle that is the Nobel Prize winner.

7. 'The Wolf of Wall Street'

Scorsese's most misunderstood movie utilizes a propulsive, hedonistic
Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures

Scorsese's most misunderstood movie utilizes a propulsive, hedonistic approach to capture the manic threat of Wall Street at its greediest. It's the finest of his collaborations with Leonardo DiCaprio.

6. 'The Age of Innocence'

Scorsese dramatically shifted gears to make this Edith
Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures

Scorsese dramatically shifted gears to make this Edith Wharton adaptation, an evocative portrait of illicit love in Gilded Age New York with a triumvirate of great performances from Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer and Winona Ryder.

5. 'The King of Comedy'

A dark comedy that epitomizes the art of
Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox Film

A dark comedy that epitomizes the art of uncomfortable humor, and so truthfully predicts the self-obsessed social media age despite being released in 1983 that it's scary. Robert De Niro and Jerry Lewis are remarkable.

4. 'The Last Waltz'

The prototype for the concert movie connects the
Photo Credit: United Artists Films

The prototype for the concert movie connects the final performance of the original iteration of The Band with exquisitely rendered larger ideas about the passage of time.

3. 'Raging Bull'

Robert De Niro's best work in his long
Photo Credit: United Artists

Robert De Niro's best work in his long collaboration with the filmmaker stands as a riveting portrayal of machismo run amok, as personified in the story of Jake LaMotta.

2. 'Goodfellas'

The finest movie ever made about life in
Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

The finest movie ever made about life in the mob and the apotheosis of the sort of highly charged filmmaking most closely associated with Scorsese.

1. 'Taxi Driver'

The streets of New York have never seemed
Photo Credit: Sikelia Productions

The streets of New York have never seemed more intoxicatingly mysterious and dangerous than they are in this classic portrait of destructive obsession.

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