Right now, you could make a pretty iron-clad case that Martin Scorsese is our greatest living director. There’s a handful of solid runners-up, to be sure. But I can’t think of another filmmaker (American or otherwise) who’s compiled as many masterpieces and near-masterpieces as he has during his six decades behind the camera. Even now, at age 77, there’s no shortage of major studios and steaming services who would kill to be in business with him. I mean, who else could have gotten Netflix to fork over $160 million to make a three-and-a-half hour gangster epic like The Irishman with no strings attached and no questions asked?
And yet there was a time back in the early 1980s when Scorsese was written off as box-office poison. Even after having made Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, and Raging Bull, no one wanted to touch him with