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Crime does pay (for a little while anyway).
Goodfellas shouldn't be a great film, because it disobeys a lot of the key cinematic rules. It has tons of voiceover, multiple narrators, several freeze frames, it breaks the fourth wall, and it starts in the middle of its story. Yet Goodfellas is a great film in spite of these things, and because of them. Its crackling irreverence toward the filmmaking establishment is a blast to watch and its unapologetic celebration of the mafia makes crime actually seem like it does pay (for a little while anyway). The movie's violence is brutal and its subject matter is grim, but it's go-for broke performances by its leads (Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Lorraine Bracco) and its sizzling rock n roll soundtrack make it pulse with electric energy that sucks you in. Like the victims of these wiseguys' schemes, you're helpless do anything except watch its chaos unfold. Unlike them however, you can't avoid enjoying it and taking it all in with a mischievous smile.
Excellent mafia movie, totally caught the essence of their life style. Not a boring-action-type of movie, those 2h were enjoyable
|Louis Eppolito||Fat Andy|
|Ray Liotta||Henry Hill|
|Joe Pesci||Tommy DeVito|
|Lorraine Bracco||Karen Hill|
|Paul Sorvino||Paul Cicero|
|Chuck Low||Morris Kessler|
|Frank Sivero||Frankie Carbone|
|Frank DiLeo||Tuddy Cicero|
|Tony Darrow||Sonny Bunz|
|Frank Vincent||Billy Batts|
|Frank Adonis||Anthony Stabile|
|Catherine Scorsese||Mrs. DeVito, Tommy's Mother|
|Suzanne Shepherd||Karen's Mother|
|Gina Mastrogiacomo||Janice Rossi|
|Samuel L. Jackson||Stacks Edwards|
|Tony Sirico||Tony Stacks|
|Vincent Pastore||Man w/ Coatrack|
|Clem Caserta||Joe Buddha|
|Elizabeth Whitcraft||Tommy's Girlfriend at Copa|
|Beau Starr||Henry's Father|
|Frank Pellegrino||Johnny Dio|
|Philip Suriano||Cicero's '60s crew|
|Angela Pietropinto||Cicero's Wife|
|Anthony Alessandro||Henry's '60s crew|
|Michael Citriniti||Liquor Cop #2|
|James Quattrochi||Henry Greeter #1|
|Christopher Serrone||Henry Hill|
|Tony Lip||Frankie the Wop|
|Francis Magee||Johnny Roastbeef's Wife|
|Welker White||Lois Byrd|
|Vincent Gallo||Henry's '70s Crew|
|Kevin Corrigan||Michael Hill|
|Victor Colicchio||Henry's '60s crew|
|Robert De Niro||James 'Jimmy' Conway|
|Michael Ballhaus||Director of Photography|
|Leslie Bloom||Set Decoration|
|Barbara De Fina||Executive Producer|
|Kristi Zea||Production Design|
|Bruce S. Pustin||Producer|
|James Y. Kwei||Editor|
|Maher Ahmad||Art Direction|
|Richard Bruno||Costume Design|
"Three Decades of Life in the Mafia."
"Murderers come with smiles."
""I always wanted to be a gangster." - Henry Hill"
"Shooting people was `No big deal'."
Henry Hill (Liotta) admits, "As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster," referring to his idolizing the Lucchese crime family gangsters in his blue-collar, predominantly Italian-American neighborhood in East New York, Brooklyn in 1955. Wanting to be part of something significant, Henry quits school and goes to work for them. His Irish-American father tries to stop Henry after learning of his truancy, but the gangsters threaten the local postal carrier with dire consequences should he deliver any more letters from the school to Henry's house. Henry is able to make a living for himself, and learns the two most important lessons in life: "Never rat on your friends, and always keep your mouth shut," the advice given to him after being acquitted of criminal charges early in his career.
Henry is taken under the wing of the local mob capo, Paul "Paulie" Cicero (Sorvino) and his associates, Jimmy "The Gent" Conway (De Niro), who loves hijacking trucks, and Tommy DeVito (Pesci), an aggressive armed robber with a hair-trigger temper. In late 1967 they commit the Air France Robbery, marking Henry's debut into the big time. Enjoying the perks of their criminal life, they spend most of their nights at the Copacabana with countless women. Henry meets and later marries Karen (Bracco), a Jewish girl from the Five Towns. Karen is initially troubled by Henry's criminal activities, but is soon seduced by his glamorous lifestyle. When a neighbor assaults her for refusing his advances, Henry pistol-whips him in front of her. She feels aroused by the act, especially when Henry gives her the gun and tells her to hide it.
On June 11, 1970, Tommy (with Jimmy's help) brutally beats to death Billy Batts (Vincent), a mobster with the Gambino crime family, for insulting him about being a shoeshine boy in his younger days. However, Batts was a made man, meaning that he could not be touched without the consent of his Gambino family bosses. Realizing that this was an offense that could get them all killed, Jimmy, Henry, and Tommy need to cover up the murder. They transport the body in the trunk of Henry's car and bury it upstate. Six months later Jimmy learns that the burial site will be developed, forcing them to exhume the decomposing corpse and move it.
Henry begins to see a mistress named Janice Rossi (Mastrogiacomo), setting her up in an apartment. When Karen finds out, she goes to Janice's apartment building to confront her, but is not let in past the front door. She then confronts Henry, points a revolver at his face, and threatens to kill both of them, demanding to know if he loves Janice. Karen cannot bring herself to kill him and an enraged Henry threatens Karen with the gun and says he has bigger concerns, like being murdered on the streets. Henry goes to live in the apartment with Janice. Paulie soon directs him to return to Karen after completing a job for him; Henry and Jimmy are sent to collect from an indebted gambler in Florida, which they succeed at after beating him. However most of the crew are arrested after being turned in by the gambler's sister, a typist for the FBI.
In prison, Henry sells drugs to support his family on the outside. Soon after he is released in 1978, the crew commits the Lufthansa heist at John F. Kennedy International Airport. Despite Paulie's warning to stop, Henry further establishes himself in the drug trade, convincing Tommy and Jimmy to join him. Jimmy has the other participants in the Lufthansa robbery killed after they ignore his command to not immediately buy expensive things with their share of the stolen money. Then Tommy is killed for the murder of Billy Batts, having been fooled into thinking that he is going to be made.
By 1980, Henry is a nervous wreck from cocaine use and insomnia, as he tries to organize a drug deal with his associates in Pittsburgh. However, he is caught by narcotics agents and sent to jail. On his release, Karen tells him that she flushed $60,000 worth of cocaine down the toilet to prevent the FBI agents from finding it during their raid, leaving Henry and his family virtually penniless. Feeling Henry betrayed him by dealing drugs, Paulie gives Henry $3,200 and ends his association with him. Henry decides to enroll in the Witness Protection Program after realizing that Jimmy intends to have him killed. Forced out of his gangster life, he now has to face living in the real world: "I'm an average nobody. I get to live the rest of my life like a schnook."
Titles explain that Henry was subsequently arrested on drug charges in Seattle, Washington but has been clean since 1987. Paul Cicero died in Fort Worth Federal Prison of respiratory illness in 1988 at 73. Jimmy, as of 1990, was serving a 20-year-to-life sentence in a New York State prison.
Theatrical : 1990-09-19 : United States of America
DVD : 1997-03-26
DVD : 1998-02-24
DVD : 2004-08-17
DVD : 2003-09-30
DVD : 2007-05-15