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Goodfellas
Year:
1990
Country:
USA
Genre:
Crime, Drama, Thriller, Biography
IMDB rating:
8.8
Director:
Martin Scorsese
Robert De Niro as James 'Jimmy' Conway
Ray Liotta as Henry Hill
Joe Pesci as Tommy DeVito
Lorraine Bracco as Karen Hill
Paul Sorvino as Paul Cicero
Frank Sivero as Frankie Carbone
Tony Darrow as Sonny Bunz
Mike Starr as Frenchy
Frank Vincent as Billy Batts
Chuck Low as Morris 'Morrie' Kessler
Frank DiLeo as Tuddy Cicero
Gina Mastrogiacomo as Janice Rossi
Catherine Scorsese as Tommy's Mother
Storyline: Henry Hill is a small time gangster, who takes part in a robbery with Jimmy Conway and Tommy De Vito, two other gangsters who have set their sights a bit higher. His two partners kill off everyone else involved in the robbery, and slowly start to climb up through the hierarchy of the Mob. Henry, however, is badly affected by his partners success, but will he stoop low enough to bring about the downfall of Jimmy and Tommy?
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Reviews
As good as those fellas are...I just don't get it
I have nothing against gangster films and I love Deniro, and Liotta and Pesci...in moderation...The Godfather were brilliant films and I finally made my way around to seeing the infamously talked about 'Goodfellas.' I don't get it. I'll take the heat from any fans and I know there are scores of them...Goodfellas was average at best and simply a trashy look at a mobster from childhood to his end in the mob with some decent but over the top performance, brutally gratuitous language and violence. I suppose in some circles that equivalents to a great film but I need far more. I mean even the story has little depth to it and it's more or less an extended episode of The Sopranos without the character depth. I suppose after having the film hyped for years and hearing about the 'classic' I had high expectations but for me it was run of the mill, annoyingly loud and abrasive but with some good direction. Scorsese knows how to make an epic from beginning to end starting the film in the 50's and 60's and taking it all the way to the mid 80's is a challenge and he does it flawlessly. The gritty underworld, the dark lighting, the facial expressions all very good but put to a pointless story and sub par characters unfortunately.

I finally know now why Ray Liotta is still around and still gets parts because I always found him a little obnoxious in roles and I never realized he single handedly headlined Goodfellas and is great at it. His character might be the only one in the film given any depth considering he is the narrator and focus of the film. Disgustingly Liotta got no nomination that year which is absurd because if this film deserved anything (which I don't think it did) Liotta's role was it. Robert Deniro commonly gets credit for the film as being the headliner which is also a bit absurd. He might be the big name for the film but his role was small. He didn't make a significant part in the film until a good hour into it and his role was small but he still certainly brought his Deniro class and style to the ensemble. I think they would have done better to focus more on his character and his relationship with Liotta's character. They had good chemistry but just when you wanted to see more...they moved on to something else. Joe Pesci was over the top insane, downright disturbed Tommy Devito. His performance in this film is legendary "Oh you think I'm a clown?" but to be perfectly honest he was ridiculous. His performance wasn't sincere or believable and he was downright annoying. He was loud and abrasive and his barrage of gratuitous language actually made the film less watchable and I am not against the use of four letter words in film but his was too much. Lorraine Bracco was quite good in her pre-Soprano role as Liotta's wife Karen who sticks with him through pretty much everything and has some powerfully emotional swings throughout the film. Paul Sorvino is good as the head of the mob family, Paulie, but he doesn't make an impact. You don't really believe anyone would respect him. He's quiet and laid back and basically hiding throughout most of the film. At least with Brando's Godfather he was an image, an icon, something you just were in awe of. The cast all work well together but their characters are so thinly written you just don't give a damn about a single one of them except maybe a little for Liotta's Jimmy Conway.

I get that I'm in a severe minority speaking this way about this film and that director Martin Scorsese is like a god to some but I just didn't seem the talent in this film. Scorsese showed talent in The Departed and the cast was a million times better than Goodfellas and deserved all of it's acclaim but I personally think Goodfellas is more of a non-thinking man's mob movie where bloody brutal kills and 1000 times hearing the 'F' word would prompt a dull chuckle as though the audience were 10. No I am not trying to insult anyone I was just severely disappointed by this film after having expected a brilliant classic which I will say hands down is not the case. I suppose if you like the crime genre or moreso the gangster drama than you must see Goodfellas anyways but I can promise you there is FAR better out there than this average, poorly written film. 6/10
2007-05-29
One the greatest movies ever
Martin Scorsese's Goodfellas is quintessentially one of the greatest movies ever. It is better than The Godfather in my opinion because of its real life approach to mob life. The film follows Henry Hill as he is brought into the mob life at a young age and how it brings him down at the end. The movie is just amazing to watch as it is like watching a documentary on the what is like to be in the mob. Adding to it are the amazing performances put forth by Ray Liotta as Henry,Robert De Niro as his friend Jimmy the Gent who is great in it and Lorraine Bracco who is very good as Henry's wife. But the performance worth mentioning is Joe Pesci's awesome performance as Tommy De Vito. His acting in it is one of the best performances I've ever seen. The film follows a time line from the 1950's to the 1980's and with it accompanies one of the greatest soundtracks ever put together. Scorcese has a knack for putting great soundtracks together and this is one of the greatest he's ever produced. Goodfellas is one of the greatest movies ever and one of Scorsese's all time best.
2008-01-19
Graphic and glorious, just in need of condensation
Exploring the rise and fall of a gangster, Goodfellas dawdles on Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) from his childhood when he first started as an errand boy for the local mob on across the street, to the height of his life when he unexpectedly has to make a decision that changes his life. By this time Henry is so entangled in the mafia that it has become his whole social life – from his friends, his wife, his job to his values – he is consumed in a camaraderie. The film is based on a true story and given its content and realistic photography approach, it feels strangely like a documentary. Director Martin Scorsese, who grew up on the gritty crime-infested streets of New York said: "I remember seeing it on the streets and thinking, this is the way a movie should look like."

To convey this realistic tone, the camera thus coldly follows Henry around everywhere and it does not shy away from violence or unpleasant diversions, as is Scorsese's style. It invests the whole film in a behind-the-scenes atmosphere, where the director expertly wields a long, continuous reel of exclusive footage. Several takes are of steadicams gliding through the world for minutes, as when Henry and Karen park their cark, cross the street and enter the Copacopana where they are pampered by Henry's connections. It's raw and unflinching and truly absorbs you in Henry's life as a wiseguy, climbing the mafia hierarchy. He often botches his way through jobs; he has a hard time whacking people and he clumsily cheats on his wife Karen (Lorraine Bracco) – the danger of the character is that you like him. Ray Liotta fantastically sews together the events as they unfold in a patient voice-over narrative flow.

This flow is the film's fatal flaw. Sure, the pacing starts out nicely enough by having Henry slowly climb the mafia ladder along with his wiseguy friends Jimmy (Robert De Niro) and Tommy (Joe Pesci), both of whom are equally charismatic characters – the latter with rapid-fire dialogue and a rapid-fire gun and Pesci winning an Oscar for his colourful performance. It's all compelling at first BUT as is the usual mistake by Scorsese... he dilutes his film. It's like he got so taken with the mafia content that he wanted so much more of it for his own self-indulgence. There are numerous scenes that serve no other purpose than giving us a feel for the mafia family and the way things are run. It is true that some of them are important for establishing the atmosphere, but there are too many of them. The pace thus shifts from patient to lingering and the plot suffers countless detours and diversion into the life of crime. It loses focus.

I cannot figure out whether this 'diluting the film' approach is Scorsese's style or an unfortunate mistake he keeps repeating in every film of his. Nevertheless, it makes Goodfellas dawdle leisurely without any clear sense of point or direction for long periods of time. Everything else in the film is fantastic, no hyperbole. Scorsese takes a deep plunge into wiseguy culture, indulging in mob dialogue that snaps and crackles like kindling in a fireplace, brutal hits, sleek heists and rats. He navigates moods, themes, characters, and popular music (which is used throughout as a background device) with expert skill and less than twenty minutes into the film, you are so absorbed in the characters' lives of crime that you know of nothing else.

As for acting, it is Ray Liotta who grabs my attention as Henry, and not the resident scene-stealer Robert De Niro. I also fell in love with Lorraine Bracco's performance as Henry's Jewish wife – whose kickass attitude and sparkling personality translates well on camera. The greatest sheer presence can best be attributed to Paul Sorvino as the big-shot boss Paulie who, in spite of not saying a word until half of the film has passed, communicates a fantastic lethality. The reason the whole ensemble shines in their performances stems from the fact that they aren't acting like their characters; they are behaving like them. Of course the whole of Goodfellas is of the utmost quality but it could be even greater by being more condensed, as good most of Martin Scorsese's long-winded, diluted and slightly self-indulgent films.

8 out of 10
2006-09-30
A great insight into mafia life.
I recently watched Goodfellas.

This movie unlike The Godfather which shows the viewers and critics what mafia life is like higher up the ranks of mafia life. Goodfellas tells the viewers and critics what mafia life is like lower down the mafia food chain.

Goodfellas also gives the knowledge that murder and other serious crimes in mafia life happens a lot of the time. When Billy Batts is murdered by a rage of fury from Tommy De Vito (Joe Pesci); and when Paulie (Paul Sorvino) asks Henry Hill (Ray Liotta)did he know what happened to Billy Batts. And Henry replies with numerous incidents. The power expressed in the this movie is an outstanding feature of the brilliance of a Martin Scorsese's directing. Example: When an innocent young man called "Spider" is killed by Tommy. Another feature of which I noticed of Martin Scorsese's directing is that he can place the middle of the movie. This skill is also shown in Casino. Not many directors can do that, but Scosese does it perfectly in both Casino and Goodfellas.

A sad part of mafia life is shown in Goodfellas, this is the fact that children such as : Henry Hill, Tommy and Jimmy ; when they are young can join the mafia.

This movie is basically a biography of Henry Hill that an innocent young school boy is falling deeper into mafia life. He ended up doing a prison sentence for his love of mafia life. Even at the end court scene he still loved the mafia life even thought he nearly got killed for it. Even to this generation of movies getting greedier of special effects. The modern generation can appreciate film such as Goodfellas.
2008-03-15
Scorsese's snappy, hip Mafia flick with Ray Liotta, De Niro, Joe Pesci and Paul Sorvino
RELEASED IN 1990 and directed by Martin Scorsese, "Goodfellas" tells the true story of Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) and his life through his teen years in the late 50s through his years in the Mob in the 60s-80s, covering his relationships with his wife (Lorraine Bracco), his mistress (Gina Mastrogiacomo), his Boss (Paul Sorvino) and his partners Jimmy Conway (Robert De Niro) & Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci) in the Italian-American crime syndicate in the New York City area.

I'm not big on mob movies, but I have to admit that "Goodfellas" is consistently entertaining and delivers a potent message on misguided loyalties, greed and the folly of getting involved in organized crime regardless of its "great perks." In the long run it ain't worth it. I couldn't wait till the arrogant little POS Tommy (Pesci) bought the farm. The feminine cast is rounded out by Debi Mazar and Welker White. Even Samuel L. Jackson shows up.

THE MOVIE RUNS 146 minutes and was shot mostly in the New York City/New Jersey area, but also Chicago & Tampa. WRITERS: Nicholas Pileggi with additional stuff from Scorsese.

GRADE: B+
2017-09-13
As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster...
To be frank, "Goodfellas" is probably the best crime movie ever made. It is more than just a movie; it tells a captivating tale; it is perfectly cast; Scorsese's direction is at its utmost brilliance. In fact, I'd venture to say that "Goodfellas" far surpasses what Francis Ford Coppola's much-loved "The Godfather" has to offer.

In the first place, the entire sympathy for the characters of "The Godfather" depended on portraying them more as a dysfunctional family. This is not what a crime film should be. A crime film should be about *crime*, not men in tight suits pledging loyalty to each other. The characters of "Goodfellas" are, above all, gangsters. As a matter of fact, one of the very first lines is "As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster". At the same time, however, Martin Scorsese does not glorify violence. He does not overemphasize blood spattering or disturbing death sequences. The violence here is realistic, precisely because it's cold, cruel, and emotionless. As a result, this film is one of the more realistic, plausible, and believable crime films out there.

Another thing that is better about "Goodfellas" is its length, 146 minutes compared to "The Godfather"'s 175. That might not seem like much at first, but think about it. That's just short of a half-hour. "The Godfather", as is, could've easily been trimmed down by an hour. That can't be said about "Goodfellas". Things just happen in the film; it's interesting all the way, even during its more contemplative parts. Additionally, the characters of "Goodfellas" are really compelling, but I will avoid going in-depth here.

Martin Scorsese is, as I've mentioned, at the top of his game when directing "Goodfellas". One particular shot near the end stands out. Scorsese makes use of the (as I like to call it) "Vertigo effect" (ie zooming in while tracking backwards; the characters in the foreground remain approx. the same size while there is a significant shift in the background). This shot has been overused to the point of becoming cliché, yet it works effectively here. This is just one instance of Scorsese's fantastic work on this film. He constantly keeps the audience engaged in the film and the characters. In the blink of an eye, a scene can shift from comedic to horrific. Yet such transitions never seem jarring or awkwardly paced.

One more thought about the film: the upbeat soundtrack that accompanies "Goodfellas" is actually really well pulled off. Whenever a song plays, it fits in perfectly with the action, both in melody and lyrics.

The Verdict: This is what a crime film should be all about: realistic, entertaining, gripping. "Goodfellas" is just about flawless.

Overall Rating: 10/10
2009-06-30
Its Truly A Fantastic Film, Just A Bit Overrated
Now Hear me out, I really like this film and if you like it, Great. I think the film has great dialogue, great setting and great cinematography. However I just cant seem to enjoy it on the level everyone else did, finding hard to believe that organised criminals would act so brazen and careless about everything.

I Don't think its Scorsese's best either. Much preferring both Taxi Driver and Casino thinking Casino to be a true representation of organised crime while still containing a good plot and great dialogue.

I do recommend this film for all to see despite this because it is Captivating.
2016-06-07
A classic mobster film.
This is one hell of a film about the mobsters, based on a true story and coming from one of the great directors of all time. This is about Henry Hill, the narrator of the story, an Irish simple person who gets involved with the Mafia at a very young age and continues his life through it. There is no major plot in this film, just isolated incidents one of which was the turning point of Hill's life. Scorsese, as brilliant as he ever was, shows violence, sex and drugs etc in his own trademark style. And his actors helps him to make this film one of the classics.

Robert DeNiro is not present in much of the film, nor his acting leaves too much impression. The three actors who really did their best job here are Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci and Lorraine Bracco. I hate to say that most youngsters today don't know too much about Liotta or how talented he was. I asked my younger brother about him and he said, "The man who did the voice on GTA: Vice City?". This is partly because Liotta did not get too many big roles after that, especially in recent years. But here he is just brilliant as Hill. It's Pesci's one of the best too. Playing a mad mobster with dark sense of humor wasn't his usual type. And Lorraine Bracco becomes the perfect lead female in such type of films.

The film's got smart screenplay and excellent cinematography. And I don't know how many times Scorsese will be denied his Academy recognition. I hate to see a lifetime achievement award as his first Oscar. But things are going like that.
2005-03-29
Good for You
Entertaining story of a mobster/gangster who had a nice run lying, cheating, stealing, and killing and everything else and while in real life this would be considered a life of debauchery and worse but for entertainment sake it captures the viewer's attention courtesy of all the name brand stars performances in this movie with quality direction too. It also has a lot of memorable scenes making it a must own for your collection. I was glued to the film when I first saw it. It is a story well told and Ray Liotta delivers the goods 100%. Fascinating glimpse into the world of degenerates Mafioso type supposedly "cool" guys or so they would have you believe. The fact is it is a life of no responsibility and if you listen, a questionable future as the movie reveals. The story that this is based of real life Henry Hill couldn't believe he managed to live as long as he did always expecting to die at any moment. I mean we are all going to die but every moment? I like snacking while watching and this is a fun movie to eat with plus have a tasty drink too. Enjoy the sound track, the different things these guys get into and the satisfying closure at the end. You almost are sorry its over as it approaches the ending.
2017-10-24
Shallow Ultraviolence and Slimy Characters. Overrated Movie
I suppose a lot of people found the characters in this film compelling and relatable on a basic human level. From what I saw, virtually all of the characters are low kinds of scum, always willing to betray one another and murder for kicks. The protagonist, played by Ray Liota, lacks the depth or redeeming characteristics that Cagney and Al Pacino's gangsters had. Liota's Henry Hill has very little that would make him seem like somebody to care about, because he's always willing to betray people and lie to save his own skin. When he gets his comeuppance, the viewer knows he richly deserves it, and will find no reason to take his side. His colleagues in crime, played by Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci, are equally irredeemable. The only decent qualities about De Niro and Liota is that they are not quick to condone random murder, as Pesci is always apt to do. The level of violence in this movie is gratuitous and disgusting. It does little to glamorize the life of crooks, and instead makes it seem like a low, loathsome venture.

This movie is full of violence and little in the way of decent themes, as virtually all the characters are too slimy to convey anything relatable to the viewer on a basic level, except that we sometimes betray others to save ourselves. The acting is decent, though not something to write home about. The plot is winding and tortuous, so pay very close attention if you want to understand the action. The plot actually seems secondary, more like a framework for a menagerie of blood-and-guts and gangster dialogue. I do enjoy movies that feature prominent ultra-violence, like "Robocop" and "Sin City," but those movies had deep characters and themes about morality that this movie does not explore. Watch it if you wish, but don't expect this to be the classic everyone seems to think it is.

PS: Listen for the phrase "you're busting my balls." Virtually all the main characters say it. You could play a drinking game with this movie for all the times the characters say that phrase. This likely inspired a scene in the TV series "South Park," where Cartman says this phrase to people who refuse his offer to buy aborted fetuses. Good times.
2006-06-13
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