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Films to See Before You Die: #4 Goodfellas


Goodfellas (1990)

Director: Martin Scorsese

Cast: Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Lorraine Bracco, Paul Sorvino

Synopsis: Henry Hill (Ray Liotta), has always wanted to be a gangster and begins working for the Paulie Cicero (Paul Sorvino) as a teenager. He also meet Jimmy Conway (Robert De Niro) who at 25 is already notorious for his love of stealing. Jimmy introduces Henry to another young criminal named Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci), whose temper can go off at any time. It’s not long before Henry gets pinched by the cops for selling stolen cigarettes for Jimmy but he does the right thing and keeps quiet, he is later rewarded for his courage. A few years later Henry does Tommy a favour by going on a double date with a girl named Karen (Lorraine Bracco), the date does not go well but they agree to go on another which Henry stands her up. She makes Tommy drive around and find Henry so she can yell at him, eventually the two get married. Jimmy and Henry get busted and sent to jail for a few years leaving Karen alone to take care of their children. After Henry gets out he begins selling cocaine with Jimmy and Tommy without Paulie’s knowledge. Tommy’s temper gets the better of him when he kills Billy Batts who was a made man without permission because the guy insulted Tommy which is a big breach of protocol. A few years later Jimmy pulls of the biggest heist in U.S. history the Lufthansa Heist. After the heist Tommy learns he is to be a made man meaning both Jimmy and Henry have an in because they are eligible to be made men because of their Irish descent. On the day Tommy is to be honoured it instead turns out to be a trap with Tommy being murdered for killing Billy Batts. Henry eventually gets busted for cocaine possession and faces a much longer jail term unless he turns on his adopted family. After Paulie gives him some cash and sends him on his way a desperate Henry does something he never thought he was capable of doing.

Trivia: The “You think I’m funny?” scene was based on a story that Joe Pesci acted out for Martin Scorsese. While working in a restaurant as a young man, Pesci once told a mobster that he was funny and the mobster became very angry. Scorsese allowed Pesci and Ray Liotta to improvise the scene. He did not tell the other actors in the scene what would happen because he wanted their genuine surprised reactions. Every one of Robert De Niro’s outfits had a watch and a pinkie ring to go with it.

Why I think you should see this: Martin Scorsese is just so talented and this film is the perfect example. This is my favourite of his movies and it marks another fine collaboration between him and screen legend Robert De Niro who shines in this film. Ray Liotta is amazing as Henry Hill giving the performance of a lifetime but the movie belongs to Joe Pesci’s foul mouthed and explosive tempered Tommy DeVito. This is one of greatest Gangster films of all time and is a great companion piece for Casino. I am sure most people have seen this but for those who haven’t this is a masterpiece of modern cinema so check it out.


About Trevor

Hi my name is Trevor and this is my blog! Films are a passion of mine. I am a total film geek. I own over 700 films and the collection is ever growing. I studied Film Studies and Scriptwriting in College. What I have learned about films is mostly self taught.

7 responses to “Films to See Before You Die: #4 Goodfellas

  1. jmount43 ⋅

    I loved Taxi Driver and The Departed, both awesome movies. Goodfellas, however equals greatest Scorcese film ever.

  2. jmount43 ⋅

    Henry Hill passed away the other day at the age of 69. I want to posthumously thank him; because if it wasn’t for his life story a masterpiece like Goodfellas would have never existed.

  3. My favorite film ever. Excellent choice!

  4. Kaia ⋅

    After reading this, I really want to see the movie! You’ve inspired me! 🙂

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