- Directed by Martin Scorsese in 1990
- Starring Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci
I’ve never gotten around to watching Goodfellas until last night. I don’t know why this is the case, especially since Goodfellas is one of Scorsese’s best films. Based on Rotten Tomatoes, it received a 97% approval rating. Even Roger Ebert applauded the film, writing that “No finer film has ever been made about organized crime – not even the Godfather.” So here’s my thoughts on — why everyone should see Goodfellas.
So let’s start from the beginning:
GoodFellas is adapted from a novel called “Wiseguy” written by Nicholas Pileggi. The plot follows the story of Henry Hill, played by Ray Liotta respectively. Hill narrates how he rises through the ranks of the local mob and how he’s imprisoned, and how he joins the licit drug trade.
The most appealing aspect of Goodfellas is the honest portrayal of mob life. Not only did Scorsese want to project the romantic view of the mafia, but he also wanted to depict the violent reality. We get introduced to each member of the mob family and we get a sense of the expectations set for each level of the hierarchy. If anyone dismisses the hierarchy — there are immediate consequences.
When we consider style and substance, Scorsese does this incredibly well. Based on the tone of a specific scenes, Scorsese uses different camera techniques to emphasize the moment. For example, the scene where Hill accompanies his girlfriend into the CopaCabbana Club. It’s interesting because Scorsese uses one continuous shot to show the height of Hill’s status and influence. Check it out below:
Who can forget Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci, acting in supporting roles. It’s a great combination, considering that they act as perfect character foils for Hill. De Niro plays the suave and charismatic Jimmy Conway while Pesci plays the eccentric and hot-tempered Tommy Devito.
Did I mention that Samuel L Jackson is in this movie?
Overall great film. If you haven’t seen it yet, it should definitely be in your ultimate movie collection.
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If you like this, check out our review of Payback (1999) Here.
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