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In a career that is now entering its 45th year, Martin Scorsese’s is considered one of the most acclaimed in film history. He has built his career on telling visually stunning and equally impressive stories over the years, but he is also one of the most inspiring directors for an actor to work with. Actors under Scorsese’s direction are given an opportunity to not only work with one of the greatest modern film-makers, but also flourish in their trade.

This list celebrates not only the craftsmanship and quality of Scorsese’s films but also the performances that he helped create with the actors mentioned herein. Throughout his career, Scorsese has directed 18 different Academy Award nominated performances, with 5 actors winning the Oscar under his charge. Without Scorsese’s sure handed direction, it is rest assured that none of these films or performances would have been as memorable as they were.

 

10. Ray Liotta – Goodfellas

goodfellas

As the real life gangster the film is based upon, Liotta is electric as Henry Hill in Scorsese’s 1990 ode to the wiseguy, Goodfellas. From his opening line of gravelly voiced narration “As far back as I could remember, I always wanted to be a gangster.”, we are allowed into Henry’s world, with Liotta along as our guide through this magnificent opus of violence and excess. Liotta’s performance as Hill centers the entire film, and his character is the central force that brings all other characters and scenes together, and he holds his own very well with fellow cast mates Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci among others, under Scorsese’s eye.

In one thrilling montage of events, Liotta soars along during a frenzied day of drug addled paranoia and family dinners. Liotta manages to keep an intensity and a fervid atmosphere to this masterfully crafted sequence from Scorsese and his editor Thelma Schoonmaker. Liotta borders on moments of utter chaos while he tries to hold what’s left of his shambles of a life, a truly gifted performance. Ray Liotta rose to prominence after his apperance in Goodfellas, but could never find a comfort zone as a leading man. He appears in a different facet of roles from tough guys to comic relief, and his most recent performance was featured in last year’s Killing Them Softly.

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This article was first posted on January 3, 2013