Top 10 Martin Scorsese Movie Characters Ranked

Top 10 Martin Scorsese Movie Characters Ranked

Martin Scorsese has been a cinematic maestro for nearly five decades, ever since “Mean Streets” hit theaters in 1973. His films, often set against the backdrop of 20th-century America, are renowned for their stylish and nostalgic depictions. While Scorsese’s work spans various genres and visual styles, one constant is the memorable characters he brings to life. From gangsters to religious figures and corrupt politicians, Scorsese’s characters are as diverse as the settings and tones of his films.

In celebration of Scorsese’s latest release, “Killers of the Flower Moon,” and his upcoming 81st birthday on November 17, we decided to rank the top 10 characters from his 27 feature films. This list is a tribute to the unforgettable personalities that have graced Scorsese’s cinematic universe.

10. Captain Queenan (Martin Sheen), “The Departed”
Captain Queenan stands out in “The Departed” for his calm demeanor and fatherly presence. Unlike the other characters, he never swears, bringing a sense of gravitas to the chaotic world around him. His tragic and brutal death is one of the most undeserved in Scorsese’s filmography, highlighting the director’s knack for inevitable tragic violence.

9. Mary Magdalene (Barbara Hershey), “The Last Temptation of Christ”
Barbara Hershey’s portrayal of Mary Magdalene is both an indictment and a challenge to Jesus. Her character is complex, living as her own person while also serving as a pivotal figure in Jesus’s transformation. Hershey’s performance is haunting, especially in scenes where she confronts Jesus with raw emotion.

8. Leigh Bowden (Jessica Lange), “Cape Fear”
Jessica Lange’s Leigh Bowden is a woman who reveals her strength and courage as the terror of Max Cady grows. Her character is more than just a self-sacrificing mother and wife; she understands Cady better than anyone, ultimately saving her family through a powerful and terrifying monologue.

7. Walter “Monk” McGinn (Brendan Gleeson), “Gangs of New York”
Walter McGinn is a symbol of hope for the Irish in “Gangs of New York.” As a young man, he is a violent enforcer, but he grows into a champion of democracy. His tragic death at the hands of Bill Cutting underscores the harsh reality of trying to create a new world while still living in the old one.

6. Kiki Bridges (Linda Fiorentino), “After Hours”
Kiki Bridges is a surreal and sultry presence in “After Hours.” Her character quickly acclimates Paul Hackett to the bizarre world of 1985 Soho. Fiorentino’s performance is a blend of bemusement and allure, making Kiki an unforgettable part of Paul’s nightmarish journey.

5. Tony “Pro” Provenzano (Stephen Graham), “The Irishman”
Stephen Graham’s Tony Provenzano stands out in “The Irishman” despite the film’s ensemble cast. His antagonistic relationship with Al Pacino’s Jimmy Hoffa leads to one of the film’s best scenes, showcasing Graham’s ability to hold his own against acting heavyweights.

4. Julie (Teri Garr), “After Hours”
Teri Garr’s Julie is a scene-stealer in “After Hours.” Her character initially seems like a warm presence for Paul but quickly reveals herself to be another bizarre obstacle. Garr’s comedic timing and delivery make Julie one of the film’s most memorable characters.

3. Cristóvão Ferreira (Liam Neeson), “Silence”
Liam Neeson’s Cristóvão Ferreira is a complex figure in “Silence.” His character’s journey from a steadfast missionary to a man who renounces his faith is both rational and deeply emotional. Neeson’s performance adds depth to the film’s exploration of faith and suffering.

2. Warden (Ted Levine), “Shutter Island”
Ted Levine’s Warden in “Shutter Island” is a menacing presence. His brief but impactful performance adds a layer of authoritarian bloodthirst to the film. Levine’s portrayal is both memorable and thematically significant, highlighting the film’s exploration of violence and retribution.

1. Mary Burke (Patricia Arquette), “Bringing Out the Dead”
Patricia Arquette’s Mary Burke is a beacon of calm in the chaotic world of “Bringing Out the Dead.” Her delicate performance and chemistry with Nicolas Cage bring out the best in both actors. Arquette’s portrayal of Mary is tender and nuanced, making her one of Scorsese’s most compelling characters.

These characters are just a glimpse into the rich tapestry of personalities that Martin Scorsese has brought to life over his illustrious career. Each one, in their own way, contributes to the enduring legacy of one of cinema’s greatest directors.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top