4. “The King of Comedy” (1984)
As seen in “Cape Fear,” Robert De Niro can make even the broadest of motions read unsettling in specific, nuanced ways. Scorsese’s most underrated work is in this deft balance of comedy and terror. Rupert Pupkin (De Niro) is obsessed with Jerry Langford (Jerry Lewis), a popular comedian. Rather than admire from afar, Richard decides he can achieve the same success as his idol. In his quest for stardom, he stalks Langford with great vigor to learn from the master. However, Langford is fiercely protective of his privacy. It’s almost as if De Niro remade “Taxi Driver” as a comedy. However, that would be a disservice to the film. De Niro gives a performance that ranks with his best because Richard’s obsession is so distinct. Yet, the scene stealer of the film is Masha (Sandra Bernhard), Richard’s partner in crime who might be even more unhinged than him.