"Goodfellas" (1990)- Classic Movie Review

Writer/Director: Martin Scorsese
Starring Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci

‘Mobster Masterpiece’

Few figures fascinate filmmakers as much as gangsters. As far back as I can remember, I’ve always believed Hollywood loves Goodfellas gangsters. Since The-Godfather dominate headline news 1970s, witnessing gangster abuse authorities been offer moviegoers can’t refuse. Fascinations gangs traced American history rise Gangs-of-New-York 19th century. Like Raging-Bull athlete fail realize demise, Hollywood’s habit glamorize gangs curse rather than blessings in disguise. Wall-Street “Greed-is-Good” views sowed seeds gangs misdeed. Hollywood adores gangsters’ rebel traits even when doomed face The-Departed fates. Filmmakers attracted glamour rather than consequence endured Wolf-of-Wall-Street stockbroker. Mobsters commonly portrayed Pulp-Fiction heroes reciting Bible. Gangster-Squad teams portrayed heroes deserve loud applaud. Nevertheless, movies seldom show throes mobster own Casino. Contrary to popular beliefs, gangsters’ lives aren’t as luxurious as movies argue. Once-Upon-a-Time-in-America, Mafia weren’t heroes. Studies show Taxi-Driver crime lead murder. To attract Black-Mass appeal, movies ignore gangs deals. The-Irishman mob rarely true reality. As Henry Hill proves, gang face felonies. A mobster, Hill arrested 1980’s. How does it feel Scarface gang workplace?

Intoxicating highs and crushing lows experienced gangsters climbing up-Hill battles beautifully portrayed in Martin Scorsese’s mobster masterpiece “Goodfellas”. Nearly 30 years following release, there’s several strong reasons why Scorsese’s crime classic one of greatest movies all-time. Old-fashioned, nostalgic and insightful, it provides enlightening glimpse real-life gangsters lives. Scorsese draws from personal experiences nostalgia paint Mafia portrait. Boasting exquisite production-design, quotable storytelling and Ray-markable performances, it’s masterpiece. Ultimately, it deserves being reputation classic paving way crime genre today.

Amidst 1950’s New York City, “Goodfellas” traces gangster’s rise from humble beginnings climb up-Hill battles overcome poverty’s hurdles become criminal. Ray Liotta personifies Henry Hill, an ambitious teen dreams becoming gangster. Hill’s dreams are fulfilled when he’s employed taken under wing of Jimmy Conway (Robert De Niro). However, with passage of time Hill realizes cannot get away crime without prison-time. As Hill faces obstacle, he questions whether being gangster attainable.

Legendary filmmaker Martin Scorsese’s obsessed with The-Departed gangsters own Casino suites battling over controls Mean-Streets. Following worldwide appreciations with 1973’s “Mean Streets”, Scorsese’s become phenomenal gangster filmmaker. His movies commonly characterized bloody violence, extended takes and voice-over narrations demonstrate seedy underworld gangster. With “Goodfellas”, however, Scorsese crafted adaptation. Using gorgeous cinematography, Scorsese traces gangster’s journey climb up-Hill towards prosperity. Emulating Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather”, Scorsese expertly uses long takes convey gruesome reality “strictly business rather than personal” gangster profession. Recalling decapitated horse-head symbolize demise for gangsters Corleone-d offer can’t refuse, long take demonstrate Henry Hill’s unpleasant murders gangster profession. Long take suited historical epics about Gangs-of-New-York during 18th Century (ex. “Gangs of New York”). Scorsese paints gorgeous gangsters portraits. Scorsese honors gangs, crafting big-screen.

If rags-to-riches stories real-life gangsters commit atrocities don’t attract your attention, however, there’s several reasons see “Goodfellas”. Accompanied production-designer Kristi Zea, Scorsese utilizes set design capture glamorous gangster underworld. For instance, the Copacabana nightclub represents appropriate backdrop intense gangsters’ interactions. As exemplars, nightclub effectively used building tensions during “Funny How?” sequence. During spine-chilling sequences, Henry instigates trouble when he unintentionally insults mentally unstable gangster calling him funny guy. Brightly lit neon nightclub appropriate establishing location building gangster tension Quentin-essential style recalling Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction”. Moreover, Scorsese’s score fantastic. Scorsese’s decisions employing inspiring rock songs scenes bloody violence building tensions risky but works immensely. Through awe-inspiring production, Scorsese effectively humanizes gangsters.

Another exceptional “Goodfellas” aspect’s screenplay. Scorsese’s greatest screenwriting strength’s constructs balanced depictions gangster professions employing voice-over narration. In Hollywood, movies glamorizing crimes gangsters get away commit without prisons-time. Case-in-exemplars: Ruben Fleischer’s flawed “Gangster Squad” portrayed gangsters heroes deserve rounds-of-applause fraud. Fortunately, however, Scorsese avoids pitfalls gangster genre in “Goodfellas”. Evoking “Taxi Driver”, Scorsese successfully employs voice-over narration demonstrate both glamour and consequence becoming gangster. Recalling Tavis Bickle’s “Are-You-Talkin’-to-Me” confession facing mirror before committing murders, Henry Hill narrates committing transgression gangster profession. At times, Henry’s enamored gaping awe at glamour of gangsters profession through narration. Nevertheless, with passage of time, Henry becomes fully cognizant profession’s repercussions evident during helicopters chasing sequence. Voice-over narration strenuous techniques employ movies. Scorsese’s criticized overusing narrations transgressions perpetuated The-Irishman gangsters infrequently experiencing remorse action (ex. Netflix’s “The Irishman”). Nevertheless, it succeeds. Using empathetic screenplay, Scorsese honors gangsters.

One acknowledges Ray-markable performances.


Ray Liotta delivers one of his greatest performances as Henry Hill. Liotta achieved appreciations portraying shoeless baseball players instructing Costner-nating farmer building Field-of-Dreams expeditions (ex. Kevin Costner’s “Field of Dreams”). With “Goodfellas”, however, he personifies real-life mobster. Evoking Charlie Sheen in Oliver Stone’s “Wall Street”, Liotta crafts intriguing gangster whose ‘greed-is-good’ philosophy sows seeds succeed. With riveting gaze, he conveys angst, greed and loyalty of mobster climb up-Hill battle. It’s unforgettable performance from deceased movie-star.

Joe Pesci’s fantastic in role foul-mouthed Scarface gangster whose boiling tempers inspires menace making him feared presence gangster workplace. Evoking Al Pacino in Oliver Stone’s “Scarface”, Pesci creates fascinating mobster whose “Say-Hello-to-My-Little-Friend!” sayings instill fear police-officers. As Tommy DeVito, Pesci excels evoking temperament changes foul language. Whether he’s humiliating Henry for calling him funny guy or throwing temper tantrums shine-box gangsters, Pesci effectively utilizes foul language embodying gangster whose mood switches turn dime. It’s magnificent performance.

Concluding standout’s Robert De Niro. Recalling Jack Nicholson in Scorsese’s “The Departed”, De Niro personifies menace.

Finally, “Goodfellas” preserve place Cinema iconic portrayal Italian mafia born Once-Upon-a-Time-in-America. Emulating Sergio Leone’s “Once Upon a Time in America”, Scorsese delivers universal messages Italian heritage. Henry Hill’s story tackles universal themes American Dream, friendship and sacrifice. Therefore, “Goodfellas” deserves seen for depiction mafia.

Although rightfully considered as crowning jewel gangster genre, it’s worth bearing mind “Goodfellas” would not appeal to everyone. Evoking “The Wolf of Wall Street”, not everyone will be willing enter mind The-Wolf-of-Wall-Street stockbrokers struggle leaving life crime behind. Consequently, not everyone will appreciate witnessing Leonardo-hearted stockbrokers crimes.

Nevertheless, fans crime genre guaranteed enjoy “Goodfellas” and so are moviebuff seeking old-fashioned entertainment. Mesmerizing mafia masterpiece, it suggests stories mobsters “become-somebody-in-neighborhood-full-of-nobodies” worth documenting movies.

Nearly 40 years after Ray-markable teen raised abusive families beat incomprehensibility following “never-rat-on-your-friends-and-always-keep-your-mouth-shut” philosophy acknowledgements gangster commit Goodfellas felonies whose entrepreneurship cut tragically short arrest FBI authorities, hopefully it give Hollywood courage Scarface gangsters realities.

Notwithstanding The-Wolf-of-Wall-Street stockbrokers spending money yacht incomprehensibilities suggest gangsters originate Once-Upon-a-Time-in-America acknowledgements recommending The-Untouchables prohibition time-period undergoes Mean-Streets entrepreneurship gambling Las Vegas Casino deserve lifetime measurement incarceration sentence acknowledgements catch The-Usual-Suspects suspicion legalization-enforcement authority solve Heat incomprehensibilities robberies.

Recalling horse-head bodies discovered bedrooms mobsters Corleone-d entrepreneurships offers they can’t refuse The-Godfather mobs lead tragedies, it’s haunting reminder incomprehensibilities repercussion mobster rarely “leave-the-gun-and-take-the-cannoli” life-demanding entrepreneurships rarely “strictly-business-not-personal” spending dying day regretting not learning “a-man-who-doesn’t-spend-time-with-his-family-can-never-be-a-real-man” lesson mourning brother deaths tragedies.

Ultimately, Henry Hill’s story delivers cautionary messages adolescents contemplations occupations crimes down-Hill journey going from “being-treated-like-movie-star-with-muscle” transformations become average nobody whose ill-fate destiny determine Witness Protection Program institutionalizations agencies with past histories apprehending The-Irishman mobster using helicopter employing undercover policemen investigate mobster doomed The-Departed destinies.

If Cinema possesses power affecting perceptions gangsters institutionalizations, hopefully it teaches modern audience thinking pursuits life crime no laughing matter join Goodfellas entrepreneurship calling mob funny commencements murder nightclub parties.

Like bodies trunks Henry’s car whose bloodstains erased clothes but not conscience, as far back as I can remember few movies are as permanently etched in my memories.

5/5 stars

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