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I'll start off with a quick plot summary.
Goodfellas is actually based (quite loosely it has to be said) on a true story. The movie opens by introducing us to an adolescent Henry Hill who serves as narrator. It starts in 50s New York and it seems that all the cool kids want to join the mob. Henry himself says "As far back as I can remember, I wanted to be a gangster". And why not? The mobsters have everything they want - things a young teenage boy can only dream of. "Being a gangster was better than being the President of the United States." Henry soon becomes an errand-boy for the brother of Paul Cicero, the neighborhood boss. He instantly takes to life as a gangster. "I was treated like a grown up. I was living a fantasy... At 13, I was making more money than most of the adults in the neighborhood." By 1970, Henry has rapidly risen through the ranks and along with his two closest associates, the psychopathic Tommy DeVito and the straight-talking Jimmy Conway, he is becoming involved in dodgy areas that aren't approved of by everyone in the mob - namely, drug dealing. Henry, who has married a nice girl called Karen, begins to take more and more risks, such as becoming involved in the murder of a "made" man, spending time in jail, and having a few mistresses. Once Henry gets out of jail, the whole crew takes part in the infamous Lufthansa Heist (the robbing of JFK) but things go wrong quickly. Jimmy tells the participants not to spend their money straight away or in big chunks but they don't listen to him. Jimmy has them all killed and then Tommy is killed after being tricked into thinking that he was going to become a "made man". Paul and Jimmy both end up in prison but Henry enters a witness protection programme in order to protect his family and himself.
The godfather comparisons are inevitable but it is difficult as they are actually quite different. Goodfellas follows Henry Hill who starts at the bottom of the food chain (a footsoldier if you like) where as the godfather focuses more on the top and the running of the various operations and syndicates. However, I personally think that Goodfellas is better. The plot is gripping, the cast in unrivalled, and Scorsese directs - what more could you ask for? Some great acting all round although I think Joe Pesci does a particularly good job of playing the psychotic Tommy. The scene where Tommy and Henry (Ray Liotta) are arguing - "what do ya mean funny? funny how? funny like a clown? do i amuse you?" is one of the most enjoyable scenes in the film - it is a humourous detour from the ubiquitous violence that fills the film.
It's a must-see, there's no other way of putting it. Even if you don't like gangster films, I'd reccomend this as it's more than jsut killing, and drugs and all the other things associated with this genre.
I've always had a thing for crime movies, be it gangster or just your typical heist movie. People who steal and kill are awful to know in real life but are compelling to watch on film. And when the movie that you're watching is based on a true story it makes it all the more compelling to watch. Goodfellas is a crime movie based on the real life Henry Hill who was an associate in the Genovese Crime Family. Although he can never be made a full member due to his Irish father, he still manages to make a lot of money and a good name for himself. Of course this doesn't come without its problems...
The movie could easily have started with Henry taking us through his childhood but Scorsese instead wants to shock us and he does just that. We open on three men (Henry, Jimmy and Tommy) driving along a highway at night. They hear a noise from the trunk and so park up in a wooded area to investigate. It would seem the guy they were planning to bury isn't even dead so Tommy savagely stabs him eight or nine times before Jimmy shoots him twice in the chest. As Henry closes the trunk we hear his voice-over say the famous words, "As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster" before we are shown Henry as a child and find out how he came to be a part of the scary and exciting world of the Mafia.
Henry's father is your typical law abiding man who works all the hours God sends just to put food on the table. Henry could very easily have grown up to be like his old man but instead became intoxicated by the wealth and respect that the men received across the street from his house at the cabstand. They drive flashy cars and don jewellery that an honest man would have to work months and months to afford. They joke and the laugh long into the night while an honest man has to sleep so that he's ready for another repetitive day on the job site. At age twelve he asks for a job that starts off as temporary but soon becomes full time. He runs numbers, passes on messages and parks cars. He looks up to men who most of us would be afraid of. Paul Vario, Jimmy Conway and plenty of other killers and thieves. Of course his father beats him because of all the time he's missing from school but as Henry says, "The way I saw it, everybody has to take a beating sometime." It's around this young age that Henry first meets Tommy DeSimone and Jimmy Conway, two of the most dangerous men in the history of the Mafia who would become very close friends.
What follows is a story of betrayal, loyalty and bloodshed. People are murdered just for knowing information. Some are even murdered just for talking when they should really keep their mouth shut. For his size Tommy is really scary individual. He'll kill you just to have a great story to tell people. Jimmy seems as loyal as they come but money is more important to him than human life. Henry soon realizes that his best friends will probably be the ones who end up killing him.
It's during a blind date set up by Tommy that Henry meets his future wife Karen. As a person Karen comes across very innocent but it isn't long before she becomes your typical gangsters wife. She hides guns for him, she does drugs, she smuggles food and alcohol into the prison, etc. With the gangster life comes plenty of women and most gangsters have a girlfriend as well as a wife but Karen can't handle this and flips out. What follows is a tense scene where Karen wakes Henry up while aiming a pistol at his head. There are numerous scenes like this between Karen and Henry and the chemistry on screen is truly incredible.
We've come to expect a lot from Martin Scorsese and yet he still manages to deliver every single time. Goodfellas is no different. The close up shots, the montages and the editing is nothing short of a masterpiece. My favourite bit of Scorsese's directing in this movie takes place at a rivals cabstand where Henry is torching the cab. The cabs explode and there is a free frame where Henry is shown in front of the explosion and this is a subtle implication that Henry is going to hell.
The cast is truly remarkable. Every actor and actress to delivers the best performance of their careers. Ray Liotta is perfect as Henry Hill, delivering great lines and memorable facial expressions. Nobody can forget his laugh after watching this movie. Robert De Niro as Jimmy Conway is another perfectly matched casting. The scene where he is smoking a cigarette and eyeing up Marty is rather intimidating. Lorraine Bracco is also great as Karen Hill. She makes her character in The Sopranos look like a wimp. Paul Sorvino as Paul Vario will have you on the edge of your seat. He has the sort of eyes that install fear in anybody. There are of course lots of other great performances but the actor who really steals the show is Joe Pesci as Tommy DeSimone. One of the greatest scenes in the history of cinema is when he is berating Henry by asking, "Funny how? How am I funny?"
With www.amazon.co.uk pricing this at £4.27 you don't really have an excuse not to pick up this movie ASAP!
I loved the Godfather part 1 & 2 but in my opinion, Goodfellas is the best crime movie of all time. Great story, great acting, great directing and amazing writing. This is one movie you have got to see before you die!
(I'VE ALSO POSTED THIS ON CIAO)
Though not Martin Scorsese's best film (That goes to Raging Bill), this is by far his most entertaining and most popular film. This is based on the true story of a gangster called Henry Hill who started out at the lowest rank a gangster could be and rose through the Mafia until he began to use his own drugs and ended up becoming a mess to the point where the police and FBI were able to use him to get convictions, and he ended up in the Witness Protection Program.
The film stars Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci, Frank Vincent and Paul Sorvino as the so called 'GoodFellas'.
At the start, we meet a young Henry Hill who has just got his foot in the door of the Mafia. He spends his time doing small jobs for the gangs and ends up skipping school. After his father finds out about him skipping school, young Henry gets a beating and we start to understand why the allure of the Mafia was so strong. He also meets a young Tommy DeVito, who goes on to become very psychotic and disturbed.
We the cut to Henry Hill as he is older, and now he is more involved in crime. He works a lot with Paulie Cicero (Paul Sorvino) who is a capo/captain in the Mafia. He also does a lot of work with Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci) and Jimmy 'The Gent' Conway (Robert De Niro), including truck hijacking and the famous Air France Robbery of 1967.
Henry also marries a woman called Karen (Lorraine Bracco), who is attracted to his bad boy persona. And we watch sometimes with horror as she herself becomes more and more like him more and more depressed by it all.
Soon though, we see Tommy, Jimmy and Henry beat up Mafia 'made man' (an untouchable) and kill him. That's something they shouldn't have done, and slowly they begin to unravel as the Mafia want revenge. At the same time, they are all involved in the drugs trade and the FBI are also closing in, leading to an inevitable, but never the less fulfilling climax.
This really is one of the best gangster films of all time. Though it's not as epic as the Godfather is, and it doesn't have the style that White Heat with James Cagney had, it does benifit from a superb, fast paced script and some fabulous acting. Not to mention Scorsese's outstanding direction.
Ray Liotta actively fought for the role of Henry Hill because he wanted it so much. And he does a fantastic job with it. He really shows Henry Hill as a gangster you love to hate, and as a man who went too far and paid the price.
Robert De Niro adds his ever master touch of acting as Jimmy 'The Gent', and really captures the audience as we witness him getting older. He always excels in his roles, and this is no exception.
But the man who steals this is Joe Pesci, who is on unbelievable form as the psycho Tommy DeVito (watch out for the famous restaurant scene where he seemingly loses his temper). He really steals every scene that he's in, never overplaying the role of the psychopath. He is at times totally terrifying, yet he's often subtle until he finally loses his temper
There is also stunning support from Lorraine Bracco as Henry's wife, Paul Sorvino and Frank Vincent in his small but memorable role. None of the actors can compete with Pesci, though.
This film also benifits from a screenwriter who had knowledge of the Mafia, a Director who lived on the streets of New York and understands it, and the help of Henry Hill himself, who was able to advise on the film at times. The result is just a stunning, fast paced biopic of one of the most known foot soldiers of any gang.
Despite being over a hundred years old the amount of quality Mafia films can be counted on the fingers of one hand. So when Italian- American Martin Scorsese directs a film based on the the life of real mobster Henry Hill you know this isn't another Mickey Blue Eyes.
Following Hills life from a child in 1950s New York to the late 80s we get a film that almost acts as a documentary on the world of the Mafia. Where the Godfather shows the mob in an almost classy light Scorsese shows it's not a career that you should quit your Burger King job to chase.
Ray Liotta Henry Hill
Robert De Niro Jimmy Conway
Joe Pesci Tommy DeVito
Lorraine Bracco Karen Hill
Paul Sorvino Paul Cicero
Young Henry admires the gangsters that operate across the street from his New York home hoping one day to join them. One day he quits school and gets a part time job running errands at the mob owned Taxi stand risking beatings from his Father who knows whats really going on across the road. It's around this time Henry meets Jimmy Conway, an Irishman that loves to steal and fellow youngster Tommy DeVito and Henry moves up from being messenger boy to selling stolen cigarettes.
Forwarding around ten years Henry, Tommy and Jimmy manage a big robbery at JFK airport, moving Henry from the small time to the big leagues. After being begged to go on a double date Henry meets his future wife Karen, a quiet Jewish girl who has no idea how this young man makes so much cash but soon warms to the idea that Henry is willing to take risks in life.
Things take a wrong turn when Tommy kills a made man without getting the ok from the bosses, worrying that they will be next the three bury the body in the woods.
Henrys marriage starts going pear shaped when Karen finds out about his bit on the side, and things don't get any better for him when he risks the wrath of Cicero when he starts to deal drugs, a big no no for Paulie.
When the F.B.I get involved it becomes a race against time for the mob to get Henry before he spills his guts.
What a film!
Despite knocking 3 hours the film never drags and always has something of interest going on whether it's the inspired choice of music or De Niro at the top of his game.
Shot almost as a fly on the wall documentary we get an intimate look at the real lives of gangsters and see it's not a world most of us would want to join with the constant looking over your shoulder for either police or another member with a gun...or ice pick... or anything else that can do damage.
The fact it's based on Hills life as told to reporter Nicholas PileggI gives it a very honest account of what it's like to rise the ranks of the Mafia, although thanks to Hollywood magic some facts are blurred and in some cases changed outright.
The cast is outstanding and it's a little sad that Ray Liotta`s career never took off as it should have done. De Niro is in his element here possibly due to be directed by Martin Scorsese again and Joe Pesci is superb as psycho dwarf Tommy.
Also you can play a game of "spot the Sopranos cast members " at last count there is around 30.
This is my first movie review so any comments would be pretty good , thanks.
Based on the real life story of Henry Hill, Goodfellas follows the life of New York mobsters in the mid 60's through to the early 80's.
The acting in this film is first class throughout and with starring roles going to Ray Liota, Robert DeNiro, Joe Pesci and Lorraine Bracco (Dr Melfi from The Sopranos) it is no surprise, but even the supporting cast fulfil their roles excellently - Samuel L Jackson & Michael Imperioli (Chris Moltisanti from The Sopranos) are just two examples.
The story starts in the mid 50's with Ray Liota narrating his character's back story as its played out on screen. You see the teenage Henry Hill running errands for gangsters and slowly becoming part of a small mob team ('The Goodfellas'), developing friendships and 'business' along the way. With the story based on the memoirs of Henry Hill himself, you get to see some historical events unfold from the view of the gangsters, who often had some part to play in it. You can become sympathetic with them, disappointed with them and shocked at their ruthlessness, especially with the amount of people 'whacked' throughout the film. The film is rated at 18 and there is no debating why, the aforementioned murders are joined by sex, drugs violence and just about every swear word you can imagine - but it all adds to the film. There would be no point creating a gangster film from real-life memoirs and then removing and sign of violence or drugs, if you're going to do it make sure it's done properly - and that is exactly what Martin Scorcese has done.
Already blessed with an excellent plot and an all-star cast the film was destined to be good, but the director adds his own touches and makes this film a classic. His use of music is particularly impressive, with happy songs used when showing sad times on screen leaving you in a mix of emotion (PM me if you'd like to know what I'm referring to, but it'd be a spoiler if you haven't seen the film).
The film has received almost unanimous adulation; it was nominated for six Academy Awards, five Golden Globes and won many polls for 'the best film of 1990'. Twenty years later it is still included in many 'top films of all time' lists and has been cited by 'The Sopranos'' creator as his 'gangster bible'.
With the Godfather films set as the reference point for any new mob/mafia film it is very difficult to match up to Francis Ford Coppola's masterpieces in any way shape or form. The fact that Goodfella's is one of the few to be considered in the same league says pretty much all you need to know about this film.
Martin Scorsese directs this film about a young boy who rises through the ranks of the mafia before a run in with the cops has him decide whether his friends or his freedom mean more. The movie is based on the true story of Henry Hill, who is portrayed excellently by Ray Liotta. Liotta narrates the film as he stars which gives a real insight into the characters mind as events unfold. He is supported brilliantly by Robert DeNiro and Joe Pesci whose characters are both volatile but likeable.
The way the film is presented is great and part of why Scorsese is so renowned in his field, fast cuts keep the action flowing and he makes sure you will not get bored at any point during this film. The mainly classic rock music is also a great fit and will have you delving into your record collection to listen once the film is done. As a fan of mob movies is the best you can get if the first two Godfather films are unavailable; it is a fun, high energy, slick mafia tale that will surely take its place amongst your favourites.
The ultimate Martin Scorsese 1990 semi fictional crime thriller/gangster movie based on the non-fiction book Wiseguy by Nicolas Pielggi. The film boast an all star cast that includes, Robert De Niro, Jo Pesci, Ray Liotta. The actors researched their roles for the film by talking to Nicolas Pieggi and used a lot of material that was left out of his book. According to Jo Pesci, Scorsese allowed actors freedom to improvise with the script and add lib and used bits that he liked in the revised script.
The film was originally going to be could Wise Guys after the book of the name and had already been used for the 1986 Brian De Palma comedy Wise Guys. The film smashed its $25 million budget at the box office and received overwhelmingly positive reviews from critics. The film was nominated for six Academy Awards and won best acting for support role (Pesci).
The film track the rise and fall of three pivotal gangster in New York during the 1960's and 1970's and in particular a blue-worker Irish-Italian American wise guy by the name of Henry Hill. The plot revolves around local boy turned gangster and his two dangerous friends, their rise up the crime ladder form petty crime to brutal murders.
Scorsese is an artist when it comes to directing epic gangster movies and this movie is his biggest work of art to date. The movies is just flawless with a brilliant story, great casting, great acting, dialogue, action. There is loads of violence but it fits in with the film so it's not just been put in to make up scenes. This is a no nonsense film that takes no prisoners in it's portrayal of the New York gangster scene and has a great underlining black humour that works in line with the serious plot.
The film with have you completely engrossed in the plot and the characters and you won't even feel the 146 minutes running time. When you put two of my favourite gangster actors together in a movie, (De Niro and Pesci), you know it's got to be a good movie because of there natural chemistry (Casino, Raging Bull). This is certainly up there with the best of the best if not one of the best gangster movies of all time. I can never decide between God Father and this movie for best all time mafia movie so I'll put it down to a draw although Scarface is still in my opinion the most violent gangster movie but it doesn't have the style and quality of Goodfellas and just relies on a brilliant performance from Al Pacino.
I have always loved movies like the Godfather and other mafia style films and Goodfellas is no exception to that rule. Martin Scorsese directs and returns to the world of tough-talking Italian-American hoods, following a group of neighbourhood crooks.
Henry Hill is played by Ray Liotta and, from hanging around the taxi rank he progresses to crimes such as hijacking, airport robberies and drug dealing to name but a few. In addtion he is into extortion and GBH on numerous ocassions. Along the way in his crime filled existence he gets married to a Jewish wife played by Lorraine Bracco. She finds it hard an almost impossible to stay out of her husband's way of life.
Henry has two close friends in Jimmy played by Robert De Niro and Tommy played by Joe Pesci. Jimmy is a violent criminal who performs a lot of heists, while Tommy is an unstable psychopath.
Like movies that have come before it this also gives us an insight into the dangerous world of organised crime and observes the manners and the workings of this dark underground life. The movie iteself is two and a half hours long but for me never lost it's fascination and intrigue.
Robert De Niro is very good in his role as a paranoid robber who is on the edge and believes deep down that he will never be safe until he has killed everyone he knows so he has a pretty deep distrust of most.
Equally, I thought Joe Pesci tried to steal the show with his character who is a maniac and not someone you would want around your kids and family as he could lose it at any moment.
Overall, I felt the film conveyed the horrors of this way of life that alot of times is outside the law and a law to itself. Apart from that there is the illustration of what a dead end life it is and one day that bullet will have your name written on it. If anyone is into this type of movie then definately watch it but not for kids obviously as is violent with bad language.
Many have deemeed it the greatest gangster movie of all time, and after watching it i'd certainly say its in the top 3. It's intelligently written and utterly disburbing in places. The director really gets into the minds of these unforgiving characters and the actors portray them superbly, showing little regard for anything other than power and control. Control over women, money, and the law. Joe Pesche won the best supporting actor award and after watching Goodfellas I can certainly see why. He is brilliant. So is Robert De Niro. It basically tells the story of a young boy who grows tired of average life and wants more. He finds it within a huge gangster community who take him in and show him how to take all the things he dreamed of as a boy. As he delves deeper into the criminal world he finds massive wealth and power but the story also highlights very brutally how this lifestle can end in distaster.
Oh No not another gangster flick...well this isn't just another thrown together film , this is Scorsese at his his best,the cinematography of this film is outstanding.The actors hand picked are totally believable Ray Liotta takes us on the journey seen through the eyes of Henry Hill a half Jewish half Sicilian lad wanting to be like the gangsters in his neighbourhood,we go through all the stages of his childhood to the point where he is arrested and charged and finally becomes one of the guys.Liottas acting is superb,his astonishment at the crude violence he witnesses to the trembling wreck hooked on drugs to the final bust.Joe Pesci plays the ultimate sociopath who doesn't care who he whacks and pays the ultimate price for it.Robert De Niro as ever gives a solid performance as the Irish American that can never be a " made man" but holds all the characteristics of a mainstream capo.My favourite point in the movie is when after killing a mob member and stabbing him to death they go to Tommies mothers house to borrow a knife,Scorsese's own mother plays the part of Tommies mother .I love gangster films and this has to be in the top of my top ten.If you don't get into this film then you obviously aren't a true fan.The only problem with this film is it seems to go so fast and you're left wanting to watch it over and over again.
I have always been a big fan of Martin Scorcese, but I have been dissapointed in his work in recent years as I am not a big fan of Leonardo DiCaprio, who to me still looks like a 15 year old, so when I think of his movies I tend to harken back to the glory days.
For me Goodfellas is Scorcese at his very best. Yes, I appreciate that by the time this movie had come along he was beginning to look like a one trick pony who could only to mob or gang movies, but hell if he was he could sure do them well.
The plot, for the few North Koreans who might be reading and don't already know, follows real life, half Irish, half Italian gangster Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) as he gets involved with and lives his life as part of the Italian American New York Mafia. Along the way he develops close relationships with Jimmy Conway (Robert DeNiro) and Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci). Hill and DeVitto are peers, whereas Conway is their mentor in the ways of organised crime. They all answer to family boss Paul Cicero (Paul Sorvino). As the film progresses we see the rise and fall of Hill as he goes from successful gangster to drug addict, dealer and police informant. Along the way we watch the polticaql struggles and back stabbing that comes with betraying your mob colleagues.
All the performances in the movie are outstanding, especially DeNiro's (as usual) and the picture is unquestionably Ray Liotta's finest. The direct, editing, choice of music and acting lend themselves to excellent pace and keeps you gripped for the two and half hour running time.
One of my favourites and throughly recommended.
This review was written by myself, here: http://www.empireonline.com/forum/tm.asp?m=2422814&mpage=4&key=
Perhaps Scorsese's most popular film, Goodfellas has become a staple choice for many people's top films lists. Despite the glamorous feel and approach to the film, it has a typically Scorsesean grittiness to it whilst showing the lives of a bunch of characters who you intially dislike yet can not take your eyes off. The main group of characters have a reasonably easy life, 'earning' great fortunes in return for their threats. Though they certainly live the high life for much of the film, they inevitably pay the price, resulting in arrest and/or murder.
This biopic, adapted from the book 'Wise Guys,' follows the life of Henry Hill as he goes from a child caught up in the gangster lifestyle through working part time, low ranking jobs such as chauffer for the gangsters after escaping his aggressive family life to his eventual betrayal. Along the way, we meet the characters who were responsible for much of Henry's successes in his life - Jimmy Conway (Robert De Niro), his wife Karen (Dr. Melfi) and, most memorably, Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci). After meeting Karen, his quality of life begins to slide downhill as he faces the realities of gangster life. The brutality of Goodfellas is often dispersed and interwined with moments of humour - a key element of Scorsese's film as he attempts to show that the appeal of Mafioso lifestyle should be taken with a pinch of salt.
The first hour and a third or so are spent developing the vast characters and giving the audience an insight into the lifestyle. Conway is portrayed as a gentlemanly chap who unleashes his anger every so often. Playing on the audience's perception of De Niro's acting, Scorsese doesn't always show Conway's spouts of aggression as the audience are expecting De Niro's character to have violence as an aspect of his personality. Ray Liotta puts in a well judged performance as Hill, using his facial expressions to give the audience the impression that he knows that he needs to leave the scene yet is constantly drawn back in - the drugs and the money leaving him with to many opportunities to turn down. The star of the show is undoubtedly Joe Pesci. At one moment frightening, the next humorous, it is through DeVito that we see the truth and violent reality behind the enticing exterior.
Though unfortunate as it may be that Scorsese has not scaled the heights of Goodfellas since, we can be sure that if Pesci, De Niro and Martin were to re-team again, we can expect a likewise top class film, as shown in Casino. Perhaps the most influential film of the 90s, Goodfellas is rightly held up as a true classic of the crime genre.
Martin Scorsese is frequently regarded as one of the greatest directors of all time, and it's astounding therefore that he didn't win the Best Director Oscar until The Departed in 2007, and whilst that film was the best of the year, it did seem like a consolation prize when you look back at his highly successful, iconic corpus of work - Raging Bull, Taxi Driver, and Goodfellas chiefly. It is Goodfellas, though, that is arguably the greatest marriage of rich source material, superb performances, and some utterly stunning direction as expected from Scorsese. Goodfellas is one of the greatest films of all time, and rivals The Godfather as the best gangster film of all time for sure.
The film follows the story of Henry Hill (Ray Liotta), who ultimately became an FBI informant, yet the film traces his origins as a child, to his rise as a mobster, through to his tumultous relationship with his wife Karen (Lorraine Bracco), and his associates Jimmy "The Gent" Conway (Robert De Niro) and hot headed mobster Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci).
Although Ray Liotta gives the performance of his career in Goodfellas, the film ultimately belongs to Pesci, who won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his work. Pesci is by all turns hilarious and psychopathic, and it's all the more playful if, like me, you first saw Pesci in the Home Alone films, and then laughed when you realised he was capable of so much, much more than merely a kid's film.
What's key in Goodfellas is the depth and scale of the storytelling - it's an incredibly comprehensive and sweeping tale, and whilst voice over narration can often seem laboured and lazy, Goodfellas is without doubt one of the medium's best instances of its use. It's rich storytelling that surely rivals The Godfather, which is the film to arguably set the bar as far as complex narrativity is concerned.
One of the greatest American films ever made, Martin Scorsese's searing crime masterpiece is a sprawling but intimate look at the mob, with a finely-assembled cast of richly-developed characters. Scorsese's direction is the best it has ever been, and each performer - namely Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, and Joe Pesci - is at the top of their games.
Goodfellas is a very fine gangster flick under the supreme directing of Martin Scorsese. The film follows the life of Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) who grows from school boy to fully fledged gangster.
Rather than go more into the plot, I will point out what I like about it. There are two things to my mind that are good about the plot. Firstly, I find that the film is better for centering on one person- it makes it easier to keep track of what is happening and I feel that it allows you to understand the character better and sympathise with him to an extent.
Secondly, the plot is clever because it does not follow the gangsters at the very top of the 'food chain' but rather those slightly lower down, who don't have life quite so easy.
An important touch I think to this film is that it does not portray the gangsters as glamorous or as good people in any way, (in a way in which the godfather does in some instances). On the other hand it does not try to make you think of them as anything other than fellow human beings.
The plot feels very strong throughout and this is reinforced by very good performances from both Pesci and De Niro. The dialogue that is provided is top notch and provides a very well known sequence, 'You think I'm Funny?' which is stupendous.
Finally, the quality of this film is confirmed from the outset when the music kicks in, since Scorsese just gets it exactly right all the way through this film.
Goodfellas is one of the great films of the 90's and ranks among Scorcese's greatest films of all time.
Whats it about.
Henry Hill is a neighbourhood kid in New York who follows round the local mafia bigwigs until he is allowed to start running errands and he gradually progresses to extortion, kidnapping and drug dealing, finally he becomes a police informant realising that family is more important than 'Family'. We see the development of the group of characters over 30 years and follow their rise and inevitable fall, the movie is as much a character study of the three main characters as it is a story.
The film is fantastic, the cast are superb, from Ray Lliota as the mixed up Hill who progresses from wise cracking kid to ruthless criminal, his Jewish wife (Lorraine Braco) is a woman who will say what she thinks and wants no part of this life, unlike the wife's of Hill's associates who are scared, quiet and happy to enjoy the high life.
Robert De Niro is fantastic a Jimmy a cool gangster who isn't sure whether he should off his friends and colleagues to progress or do it through hard illegal work, he is a confidante and close friend of Hill's, Joe Pesci is even better as the psychopathic Tommy, Hill's best friend, the scene where Tommy asks somebody if they think he is funny, is legendary and one of the great scenes in modern cinema.
The film is superb following Hill's progression we see him get embroiled in crime, we see the strain on his family and friendships but we see the benefits financially too. The cast are brilliant, De Niro is menacing but funny too, Pesci plays his role like a psychopathic comedian, he is funny but chillingly scary too. The film follows these horrible, but incredibly popular people, it is so watchable and your not sure whether you want them to succeed or fail, nobody is a total hero or villain.
As always Scorcese works in a mean score, with a number of funny songs and some really appropriate ones. His direction is assured and stylish, the film is witty but is a parable of what the mob can do to you mentally as well as physically as Hill's final scenes prove, lifes no better on the other side of the tracks. This is a wonderful film and should be watched by cinema lovers everywhere.
The DVD is available for £3.41 on Amazon, if you don't own it, you should.
Martin Scorsese's 1990 masterpiece GoodFellas immortalises the hilarious, horrifying life of actual gangster Henry Hill (Ray Liotta), from his teen years on the streets of New York to his anonymous exile under the Witness Protection Program. The director's kinetic style is perfect for recounting Hill's ruthless rise to power in the 1950s as well as his drugged-out fall in the late 1970s; in fact, no one has ever rendered the mental dislocation of cocaine better than Scorsese. Scorsese uses period music perfectly, not just to summon a particular time but to set a precise mood. GoodFellas is at least as good as The Godfather without being in the least derivative of it. Joe Pesci's psycho improvisation of Mobster Tommy DeVito ignited Pesci as a star; Lorraine Bracco achieves a career-defining performance as the love of Hill's life; and every supporting role, from Paul Sorvino to Robert De Niro, is a miracle.