Scorcese’s GOODFELLAS: an old film but a great one

Ray+Liotta%2C+Robert+De+Niro%2C+Paul+Sorvino%2C+and+Joe+Pesci+publicity+portrait+for+the+film+%27Goodfellas%27%2C+1990.+%28Photo+by+Warner+Brothers%2FGetty+Images%29
Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, Paul Sorvino, and Joe Pesci publicity portrait for the film 'Goodfellas', 1990. (Photo by Warner Brothers/Getty Images)

Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, Paul Sorvino, and Joe Pesci publicity portrait for the film 'Goodfellas', 1990. (Photo by Warner Brothers/Getty Images)

Getty Images

Getty Images

Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, Paul Sorvino, and Joe Pesci publicity portrait for the film 'Goodfellas', 1990. (Photo by Warner Brothers/Getty Images)

Colby Jones

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The 1990 film Goodfellas, directed by the great Martin Scorcese, stands alone as one of the greatest crime films ever made, aside only from The Godfather, I and II and rightly so. This film follows the life of Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) from a young Irish-Italian boy to a crucial member of the great Lucchese Crime Family, which is led by Paul Cicero (Paul Sorvino), with a great many scenes in between to show Henry’s upbringing and the addition of his associates Jimmy Conway (Robert DeNiro) and Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci) to his everyday life. Jimmy is a lover of hijacking tracks and selling the contents within for a profit, while Tommy is an extremely loose cannon, so much, in fact, that he kills several people after they merely insult him. Liotta provides us with a manic, self-absorbed Henry who wishes to be powerful and to be known, as he describes it, “They (the mob) weren’t like anyone else. They did whatever they wanted. They’d double-park in front of the hydrant and nobody ever gave them a ticket.  In the summer when they played cards all night, nobody ever called the cops”. There was a certain form of respect that those members received that Henry wished to achieve, and he does so over the course of many years with his associates, Jimmy and Tommy. DeNiro’s performance as Jimmy excels the prowess of most actors nowadays, and Pesci as Tommy frightens viewers as he flips his lid countless times throughout the film, realistically imitating a short tempered Mafioso all the while. The group rises to the highest of the highs and falls to the lowest of the lows.  The highs are such as the successful completion of the multimillion dollar Lufthansa heist at JFK International Airport in 1978, and the lows include Henry’s drug dealing and addiction, the murder of one of the main characters, and the eventual demise of the mob altogether when they’re ratted on by a member of their own. It is a nonfictional rollercoaster ride that showcases the lives, lifestyles, and culture of the Italian Mob in New York. A great work of fact and fiction, and most entertaining all the while, Goodfellas stands alone in the genre of crime films.

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Scorcese’s GOODFELLAS: an old film but a great one