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Martin Scorsese’s Favorite Gangster Movies

Friday, September 10th, 2010

Martin Scorsese Martin Scorsese dishes, over at The Daily Beast, about the gangster films that had a profound effect on the way that he thought about crime and how he would eventually portray it on film. The list includes a few films that you have heard of such as Cagney’s The Public Enemy, White Heat, The Roaring Twenties, and Scarface (1932 Paul Muni). But there are quite a few obscure titles that you are probably not familiar with like Pete Kelly’s Blues and Force of Evil. Read on:

Here are 15 gangster pictures that had a profound effect on me and the way I thought about crime and how to portray it on film. They excited me, provoked me, and in one way or another, they had the ring of truth.

I stopped before the ‘70s because we’re talking about influence here, and I was looking at movies in a different way after I started making my own pictures. There are many gangster films I’ve admired in the last 40 years—Performance, the Godfather saga, Leone’s Once Upon a Time in America, The Long Good Friday, Sexy Beast, John Woo’s Hong Kong films.
Check out the video of two of 15 movies below and click here to see the other 13.

The Public Enemies (1931)

The shocking, blunt brutality; the energy of Cagney in his first starring role; the striking use of popular music (the song “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles”)—this picture led the way for all of us.

Scarface (1932)

[Howard] Hawks’ film is so fast, so fluid, so funny, and so excitingly expressionistic. The audacity of it is amazing. It was finished by 1930, but it was so violent that it was held up by the censors

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