Newest Review: ... 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 mo... more
"As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster,"
Member Name: goat10
Date: 12/05/10, updated on 12/05/10 (36 review reads)
Advantages: De Niro, Scorcese and Liotta in top form
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.
Summary: The last great Mafia film