In 1985, crime reporter turned writer Nicolas Pileggi published a non-fiction crime book called, “Wiseguy.” It follows the life and career of Henry Hill juggling his double life as a family man and gangster. Meanwhile, on the set of Tom Cruise & Paul Newman’s film “The Color Of Money,” Martin “Marty” Scorsese read the book between breaks and filming. At first, he didn’t want to make another mob film, but became fascinated with Henry’s life story. After completing both The Color Of Money & “The Last Temptation Of Christ,” Marty contacted Nicolas to adapt Wiseguy into a full-length feature film. They renamed the project as “Goodfellas,” because Wiseguy’s title was already taken by Brian De Palma film from 1986. Marty reunites with his pals, Robert De Niro & Joe Pesci in lead roles. Then, he casted a then unknown Ray Liotta as Henry Hill. After every single detail was completed, Goodfellas was officially distributed worldwide.
Goodfellas was released in 1990. (same year Total Recall came out) It received critical acclaim from critics and movie goers alike. Roger Ebert mentioned Goodfellas as “the best mob movie ever made.” It was nominated at The Oscars for “Best Picture,” “Best Director,” “Best Adapted Screenplay” & “Best Supporting Actress.” Joe Pesci took home an Oscar for “Best Supporting Actor.” Sadly, Goodfellas never earned Best Picture. Kevin Costner robbed it for “Dances With Wolves.”
Goodfellas became an influential movie. David Chase felt the movie made a huge impact on him. As well as a key inspiration to “The Sopranos.” Famous faces such as Paul Thomas Anderson, Quentin Tarantino, Edgar Wright, Peter Jackson, Jonah Hill & Seth Rogen. Rockstar Games stated Goodfellas is an influence to the “Grand Theft Auto” series. Marty will reunite with my all-time favorite actor, Leonardo DiCaprio & Robert De Niro in the upcoming western crime film, “Killers Of The Flower Moon.” It’ll stream on Apple TV. By the way, “The 94th Academy Awards” will air on March 27th, 2022. So don’t forget to mark your calendar.
It doesn’t matter if huge SPOILERS are listed. Goodfellas is either referenced, parodied or a source of memes. Most notably, Goodfeathers segments from “Animaniacs.”
Made & Whack Elements
Made: Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Lorraine Bracco & Paul Sorvino all did an excellent job for their respective performances.
Fun Fact: Prior to Ray’s casting, Tom Cruise, Sean Penn & Val Kilmer were considered for the lead role.
Martin “Marty” Scorsese did an awesome job directing. He also co-wrote the script with Nicholas Pileggi. Although it took twelve drafts to fully complete a finalized script, Marty encouraged the cast to improvise dialogue.
Cinematography was shot perfectly. A continuous tracking shot with Henry & Karen entering a restaurant must’ve felt tricky to perfect a single take.
Editing felt smooth transitioning from one scene to another.
Chemistry between Henry and his “two families” serves as the main highlight.
The Soundtrack mainly consists of songs from 1955-1980 reflecting a specific decade. The Rolling Stones’ “Give Me Shelter” was used in other films including “Layer Cake,” “Casino” & “The Departed.”
Set Pieces and Costumes were manually made in order to match the aforementioned timeline.
Although a dramatic biopic, the film contains black comedy. Particularly scenes with Tommy DeVito’s savagery. You can’t forget the famous line, “Funny how?”
Henry narrates the story. So does Karen.
Death Scenes are brutal. Each one pulls no punches.
If you have a big appetite, there’s a lot of food in this movie. Every time I seen somebody eating a meal or snack, it makes me crave something to eat.
Like Marty’s other films Casino, The Departed & “The Wolf Of Wall Street” there’s a truckload of F-Bombs. If you wanna spice things up a notch. How about a drinking game? Take a shot every time somebody utters out the four letter word. I’d stick to water or non-alcoholic beverages. I do not condone alcohol poisoning.
Then unknowns Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Imperioli, Tony Sirico, Vincent Pastore, Isiah Whitlock Jr. & Tobin Bell make small appearances.
One character is named Paulie, Tony Sirico went on to play Paulie Walnuts from The Sopranos.
Michael Imperioli’s character stutters, “I thought I thought.” A possible reference to Tweety Bird from “Looney Tunes.”
Marty’s mother, Catherine makes a brief appearance as Tommy’s mother.
Henry’s double life shifts between his roles as a family man and gangster. His progression is a cautionary tale for those who want to be a member of the mafia, will result in losing everything.
Primary Themes are Paranoia, Marriage & Greed. Each one is handled maturely.
Before The End Credits, texts reveal the aftermath of Henry’s downfall. In Fort Worth Federal Prison, Paulie died from respiratory illness. Jimmy is serving a 20-to-life sentence. Henry & Karen are divorced.
Whack: I couldn’t find nothing wrong. I’m giving Marty and his crew an Extra Point for making a flawless film as possible.
The Final Verdict: A, FOR APEX!
Goodfellas is one of Martin Scorsese’s best films alongside “Raging Bull,” “The King Of Comedy, “The Aviator,” The Departed & The Wolf Of Wall Street. I hereby declare Goodfellas as the best film of 1990. Just like Gene Siskel & Roger Ebert picked it as the number one film of 1990. If you’re excited to see Killers Of The Flower Moon, kill (no pun intended) some time rewatching some of Marty’s filmography.