4. Mean Streets
Scorsese already had other films under his belt, but this is the one which came racing out of the traps, making a lot of noise and establishing a man who would prove to be the most accomplished artist of the 1970’s New Hollywood wave.
There are countless scenes and sequences to savour here, but the pool hall fight scene is a real standout, the initial tension giving way to desperate, frantic, clumsy brawling, Scorsese’s camera chasing the action around the hall, perfectly framing and capturing not just the punching and kicking, but the scrambling and clawing. This isn’t one of those films where everyone turns out to be a highly proficient professional fighter. It’s more like something from Bridget Jones’ Diary – lots of slapping and flapping, with few proper hits connecting.
It is authentic rather than simply entertaining and all the more impactful for it.