One $47 Million Martin Scorsese Film Still Holds the Top Spot in Director Richard Linklater’s Heart Despite its Many Controversies

Richard Linklater considers Martin Scorsese's controversial but beloved 90s crime drama to be his favorite from the maverick director.

martin scorsese, richard linklater
credit: Harald Krichel/Wikimedia Commons, Puramyun31/Wikimedia Commons


  • Hit Man director Richard Linklater was recently asked about his favorite film by Martin Scorsese.
  • He confidently picked Goodfellas and is a big fan of the film, to the extent where he can enact scenes from the film.
  • It is surprising that Linklater chose the one Scorsese film that has a had its fair share of controversies.
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Richard Linklater has been known as the filmmaker known for making chill, feel-good yet thought-provoking films over the years. While his Before trilogy might have gained more traction than others, he perfectly captured the wild, fun, and coming-of-age vibes of teenagers with Dazed and Confused and its spiritual sequel Everybody Wants Some!!.

Before Sunrise remians one of Richard Linlater's most ==t loved films | Columbia Pictures
Before Sunrise remains one of Richard Linklater’s most loved films | Columbia Pictures

Linklater is also known for his experimental films that explore the human like Boyhood. The filmmaker is also a fan of films in general and filmmakers who have come before him. Martin Scorsese is definitely one of them and despite its many controversial elements, Linklater chose Goodfellas as his favorite Scorsese feature.

Richard Linklater Loves ‘Controversial’ Goodfellas And Can Quote The Whole Film

Robert De Niro and Ray Liotta in Martin Scorsese's Goodfellas | Warner Bros Pictures
Robert De Niro and Ray Liotta in Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas | Warner Bros Pictures

Richard Linklater has been a seminal filmmaker since the 90s and made some of the best films that have gone against the regular norm of how films were structured. Dazed and Confused, and the Before trilogy were more about the vibe and witty dialogues rather than the actual plot. He is a singular filmmaker who has the patience to capture the passage of time authentically with a film like Boyhood.


However, he is also inspired by the greats who came before him. In a recent chit-chat with his Hit Man lead star Glen Powell, Linklater was asked by Powell about his favorite Martin Scorsese film. Without much thought, the director replied Goodfellas. Linklater has a deep love for the film so much so that he can quote every line in the film. He said (via Netflix),

Goodfellas, I guess. Raging Bull was in the top slot for a couple of decades before Goodfellas kinda knocked it off…Some version of it, yeah. I can act every role.

While Goodfellas is indeed considered one of Scorsese’s best, it is surprising that Linklater (for the kind of director he is) chose it among his many great works. The $47 million grossing crime drama (via The Numbers) starring Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci, Lorraine Bracco, and Paul Sorvino remains a controversial one till today for some sections of people.

There have been many articles about the violent nature of the film and how it seemingly glorifies mob culture and gangsters (via Seattle Times and This is Local London). A controversial article was even written about how women found it hard to understand the film, which got severely criticized by women who enjoyed the film (via The Guardian).


AMC even included a trigger warning at the beginning of the film where it stated how its portrayal of certain sections of people, ideas, and stereotypes were inconsistent with today’s standards and may offend some viewers (via The New York Post). The film’s mob humor along with its casual depiction of intense and graphic violence horrified people back in the day and stormed out of theatres (via Variety).

According to Scorsese, people believed the film glamorized evil and violence. However, in close introspection, Scorsese’s film is anything but that and it actually shows the downfall of the lead protagonists who did questionable actions. It is an exploration of the mob life and the slow degradation of their moral compass, which leads to them being punished in the end.

Glen Powell Reveals The Secret Sauce Behind His Successful Collab With Richard Linklater

Glen Powell plays Gary Johnson in Hit Man | Netflix
Glen Powell plays Gary Johnson in Hit Man | Netflix

Glen Powell and Richard Linklater have worked together four times in their career including Fast Food Nation, Everybody Wants Some!!, Apollo 10 ½, and now Hit Man. In an interview with Netflix Queue, Powell stated why he loves reuniting with Linklater and the special quality he has which allows for creative explorations during their collaborations.


Powell claimed that Linklater has there is no ego between him and the director, and he feels Hit Man is their most special project together. This is because that felt like teammates navigating the film from its inception (he co-wrote Hit Man with Linklater). The actor said,

The best part about working with Rick is there is no ego. This is our fourth collaboration, but the most special part about this one is I truly feel that I have a teammate and we’re navigating this together.

The comparatively closer collaboration this time around produced a stellar film that has become the talk of the town. Powell stars alongside Adria Arjona in this romantic thriller that has received rave reviews so far (97% on Rotten Tomatoes). Hit Man will premiere on Netflix on June 7, 2024.

Fans can watch Goodfellas on Max.


Written by Rahul Thokchom

Articles Published: 1114

Rahul Thokchom is a senior content writer at Fandomwire who is passionate about covering the world of pop culture and entertainment. He has a Masters Degree in English that contributes to the richness and creativity in his works.