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Goodfellas Cover If you have not seen this film before, then I suggest that you go and sit in a dark corner somewhere, and  bow your head in shame. To not watch this movie is like molesting a small hedgehog with a toothbrush - which was an action carried out by Director: Martin Scorsese; and Actors: Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta and Joe Pesci. Because they did it in 1990, but only for 146 minutes. 


THE STORY: Goodfellas charters the rise and fall of the New York gangster, Henry Hill (Ray Liotta), whom with his criminal cohorts, Jimmy Conway (Robert De Niro), Tommy Vito (Joe Pesci), and mob capo Paul Cicero (Paul Sorvino), sublimated the criminal underworld from the 1950’s to the 1980’s.

Now Henry's criminal career truly begins when he is in his mid-twenty’s, where he also befriends, falls in love with, and then marries a nice Jewish girl called Karen (Lorraine Bracco), whom he gradually introduces to his life of deceit and misdirection.

Well, life for Henry is all about smoke and mirrors you see. Because, on the one hand, he lives the life of Riley, by soaking up all of the riches that his crimes have brought him. Whilst, on the other hand, there is something like what happens to Billy Batts (Frank Vincent).

OK, so whose Billy Batts you may ask? He's the 'made man' that Henry sees Tommy and Jimmy beat to death - that's who - before burying him in a ditch somewhere. Worst still, is that not so long after this frightening turn of events is played out, Jimmy and Henry are sent to prison for some dodgy business they got up to in Las Vegas!

That's bad, right? Very-very bad. No - not for Henry. Because whilst he is 'inside' - he starts up a drug trafficking business, so that when he is released a year or so later, this venture can make him a very wealthy man indeed.

Regrettably, though, when he does come out - errr - things do not play out in the way that he really wants them to. Firstly, his wife, Karen, starts to hate him because of an affair he had with his 'drug liaison', Janice Rossi (Gina Mastrogiacomo). Secondly, his mob capo, Paul, does not like the idea about Henry's marital dispute, or the notion that Henry could be a drug dealer also. And thirdly, the infamous Lufthansa heist rears its ugly head.

And, I suppose, that is why what next transpires is a right mama-luke all in all? As crooks die - scams trip up on the sly - past transgressions do not lye - drugs fly - women cry - and one fiend in particular spouts wings and just can not tell a lie.

Now what can I say about this film that nigh-on all the other reviewers before me haven’t said already? A classic? Done. Captivating? Done. A Crime Masterpiece? Of Course. An Aardvark? Err - Maybe not?

Jimmy Conway in Goodfellas
Though why, per-chance, is my opinion any less relevant than theirs?

Well? I am Batman you know! OK, not exactly Batman-Batman - but I am a guy who was brought up in the world of dodgy looking characters called ‘Keith the Theif’ - ‘Jack the Hat’ - and ‘Tony the Tosser’, all of whom were as bandy in their ways as ol’Henry Hill was in this film.

And, MY GOD, what a film it is! From the beginning you know that you’re in the hands of a master, because 'made man' Scorsese directs this film as if he was a gangster himself. He pulls no punches - he tell no lies - as he just lavishes the audience with non-stop sound and vision that catapults you to the underbelly of New York - New York, without the jet-lag.

The Cast of Goodfellas

The Cast of Goodfellas
OK, I know that I can go on now, and then tell you how good De Niro, Pesci, Liotta, and the rest are in this film, 'Goodfellas'. However, again, I bet that you have heard it all, right? You know the type of stuff - frightening, yadda-yadda-yadda - captivating - yadda-yadda-yadda - Aardvark... err? Anyway, so why not garnish you with some trivia instead. (1) This film is based on the life of a real person, Henry Hill, and because of his 'eventual predicament', he is now unable to tell a lie. (2) The casting of Henry was a difficult one for Scorsese, and he only chose Ray because he had the appearance of someone ho could eventually be a 'turn-coat'. (3) When Joe Pesci dies in this film, the person who shoots him is none other than Martin Scorsese's Dad. (4) Scorsese's mother is in the film too, she plays Joe Pesci's Mum. (4) This was the first film since 'Mean Streets', that Scorsese helped co-wrote. (5) Scorsese's co-writer on this project, Nicholas Pileggi, was the person whom originally wrote this film in book form - entitled 'Wise Guy'. Also, he went on to help co-write 'Casino' too. (6) There is a large chunk of the original book that never made it to the big screen - it was where Henry went to the Army. (7) The genesis of this project began in a completely different way than Scorsese normally approaches his work. Originally, this film was going to be a remake of the Paul Niemi classic mob film 'Scarface'. But when Scorsese and De Niro let the writes to this piece lapse, and allowed for De Palmer and Pacino to take over, they then looked for a more 'real life' source. (8) Henry Hill, from 'King of the Hill', was named after the same Henry here.  And (9) Martin Scorsese has a very small cameo in this film which he will not reveal to anyone - can you see him?

Joe, Robert, and Ray in Goodfellas

Phew! I listen to a lot of directors incites, huh? Well, why not? These are the type of people who can make a brilliant film such as 'GoodFellas'! A great film where each of the actors are able to stamp their own mark onto the screen, and then spill a little truth into the ether. Pesci is the nutter - De Niro is the sinister Uncle - Sorvino is the mack-daddy of little Italy - and Liotta and Bracco are our tour guides. What more is there to say than that yor're a mama-luke? Plus an Aardvark!

Well, except - here - let me leave you with one of my most favorite scenes in this movie...


GOODFELLAS GOODFELLAS Reviewed by David Andrews on January 30, 2012 Rating: 5
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