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Goodfellas

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Martin Scorsese
Produced by Irwin Winkler
Written by Screenplay:
Nicholas Pileggi
Martin Scorsese
Book:
Nicholas Pileggi
Narrated by Ray Liotta
Lorraine Bracco
Starring Ray Liotta
Robert De Niro
Joe Pesci
Lorraine Bracco
Paul Sorvino
Cinematography Michael Ballhaus
Editing by Thelma Schoonmaker
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date(s) September 19, 1990
Running time 146 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $25,000,000[1]
Gross revenue $46,836,394

Goodfellas (also styled GoodFellas) is a 1990 American semi-fictional crime film directed by Martin Scorsese. It is based on the non-fiction book Wiseguy by Nicholas Pileggi, who also co-wrote the screenplay for the film with Scorsese. The film follows the rise and fall of three gangsters, spanning three decades.

Scorsese originally intended to direct Goodfellas before The Last Temptation of Christ, but when funds materialized to make Last Temptation, he postponed what was then known as Wise Guy. The title of Pileggi's book had already been used for a TV series and for Brian De Palma's 1986 comedy Wise Guys, so Pileggi and Scorsese changed the name of their film to Goodfellas. To prepare for their roles in the film, Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Ray Liotta talked often with Pileggi, who shared with the actors research material that had been left over from writing the book. According to Pesci, improvisation and ad-libbing came out of rehearsals where Scorsese gave the actors freedom to do whatever they wanted. The director made transcripts of these sessions, took the lines that the actors came up with that he liked best, and put them into a revised script the cast worked from during principal photography.

Goodfellas performed well at the box office, grossing $46.8 million domestically, well above its $25 million budget; it received overwhelmingly positive reviews from critics. The film was nominated for six Academy Awards but only won one for Pesci in the Best Actor in a Supporting Role category. Scorsese's film won five awards from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and was named best film of the year by the New York Film Critics Circle, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, and the National Society of Film Critics. Goodfellas is often considered one of the greatest films ever, both in the genre of crime and in general and was deemed "culturally significant" and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the United States Library of Congress.

The word "fuck" is used in the film approximately 300 times,[2] ninth most in film.

Contents

Plot

In the opening scene, the protagonist Henry Hill (Ray 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, knowing the true nature of the Mafia, 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," which is said to him after young Henry remains silent after a court hearing.

Henry is taken under the wing of the local mob capo, Paul "Paulie" Cicero (Paul Sorvino) and his associates, Jimmy "The Gent" Conway (Robert De Niro), who loves hijacking trucks, and Tommy DeVito (Joe 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. Around this time, Henry meets and later marries a Jewish girl from the Five Towns named Karen (Lorraine Bracco). Karen at first is troubled by Henry's criminal activities, but 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 Billy Batts (Frank 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 place the body in the trunk of Henry's car and bury him upstate. But six months later Jimmy learns that the burial spot will be the site of a new property development, forcing them to exhume the corpse and move it to another location.

Henry begins to see a mistress named Janice Rossi (Gina Mastrogiacomo). When Karen finds out, she threatens to kill the both of them with a revolver pointed at his face, demanding to know if he really truly loves her. However, she cannot bring herself to kill him and an enraged Henry states he has other things to worry about such as getting killed on the street. Paulie sends him and Jimmy to collect from an indebted gambler in Florida, and they beat and intimidate the man until he gives them the money. Henry, Jimmy, the gambler, and most of the crew are then 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 infamous Lufthansa heist at John F. Kennedy International Airport. In the meantime, Henry further establishes himself in the cocaine trade after seeing its high potential for profit, and convinces Tommy and Jimmy to join him. Things turn sour when the Lufthansa crew members buy expensive things from their share of the stolen money, and Jimmy has them killed one by one to keep everything for himself. Things are further complicated when Tommy is killed by two Gambino capos for the murder of Billy Batts, after being fooled into thinking that he is going to be made.

The year is now 1980. Henry is on the cusp of making a big deal with his associates in Pittsburgh. A nervous wreck from his cocaine usage and lack of sleep, he runs around trying his best to get things organized. However, this does not stop him from being arrested by narcotics agents. When he gets bailed out, Karen tells him that she has flushed what amounted to $60,000 worth of cocaine down the toilet to prevent the DEA from finding it during their raid. As a result, Henry and his family are left virtually penniless, and Henry has to give up his plans to jump bail. Paulie feels his loyalty to Henry has been betrayed and decides to give him $3200 in exchange for having nothing to do with him ever again. Henry realizes he would be killed when Jimmy asks him to perform a hit in Florida. He then decides to enroll in the Witness Protection Program to protect himself and his family. Forced to let go of his gangster life, he now has to face living in the real world, stating, "I'm an average nobody. I get to live the rest of my life like a schnook."

The film ends with titles explaining that Henry has been clean since 1987; Paul Cicero died in Fort Worth Federal Prison of respiratory illness in 1988 at 73 and that Jimmy, at the time of the film's release in 1990, was serving a 20-year-to-life sentence in a New York state peninteniary.

Cast

Actor Role Based on
Ray Liotta Henry Hill Henry Hill
Robert De Niro Jimmy Conway Jimmy Burke
Joe Pesci Tommy DeVito Thomas DeSimone
Lorraine Bracco Karen Hill Karen Hill (née Friedman)
Paul Sorvino Paul Cicero Paul Vario
Frank Sivero Frankie Carbone Angelo Sepe
Tony Darrow Sonny Bunz Angelo McConnach "Sonny Bamboo"
Mike Starr Frenchy Robert McMahon
Frank Vincent Billy Batts William "Billy Batts" DeVino
Chuck Low Morrie Kessler Martin Krugman
Frank DiLeo Tuddy Cicero Vito "Tuddy" Vario
Johnny Williams Johnny Roastbeef Louis Cafora
Jim Colella Jim Colella Jim Colella
Samuel L. Jackson Parnell "Stacks" Edwards Parnell Steven "Stacks" Edwards
Frank Adonis Anthony Stabile Anthony Stabile
Catherine Scorsese Tommy DeVito's Mother Thomas DeSimone's Grandmother
Gina Mastrogiacomo Janice Rossi Linda Coppociano
Debi Mazar Sandy Megan Cooperman
Margo Winkler Belle Kessler Fran Krugman
Welker White Lois Byrd Judy Wicks
Julie Garfield Mickey Conway Mickey Burke
Detective Ed Deacy Himself Himself
Christopher Serrone Henry Hill (Youth) Henry Hill (Youth)
Charles Scorsese Vinnie Thomas Agro
Michael Vivalo Nicky Eyes Himself
Michael Imperioli "Spider" Michael "Spider" Gianco
Tony Ellis Bridal Shop Owner Jerome Asaro
Elizabeth Whitcraft Tommy's Girlfriend, Rosie Theresa Ferrara
Anthony Powers Jimmy Two-Times Bobby "The Dentist"
Assistant U.S. Attorney Ed McDonald Himself Himself
Ray DeBenedictis "Peter"
Tony Lip Frankie "The Wop" Francesco Manzo
Kevin Corrigan Michael Hill Michael Hill

Development

Goodfellas is based on New York crime reporter Nicholas Pileggi's book Wiseguy. Martin Scorsese never intended to make another mob film until he read a review of the book and this inspired him to read it[3] while working on the set of Color of Money in 1986.[4] He had always been fascinated by the Mob lifestyle and was drawn to Pileggi's book because it was the most honest portrayal of gangsters he had ever read.[5] After he read Pileggi's book, the filmmaker knew what approach he wanted to take: "To begin Goodfellas like a gunshot and have it get faster from there, almost like a two-and-a-half-hour trailer. I think it's the only way you can really sense the exhilaration of the lifestyle, and to get a sense of why a lot of people are attracted to it."[6] According to Pileggi, Scorsese cold-called the writer and told him, "I've been waiting for this book my entire life." To which Pileggi replied "I've been waiting for this phone call my entire life".[7]

Scorsese originally intended to direct the film before The Last Temptation of Christ, but when funds materialized to make Last Temptation, he decided to postpone Wise Guy. He was drawn to the documentary aspects of Pileggi's book. "The book Wise Guys gives you a sense of the day-to-day life, the tedium - how they work, how they take over certain nightclubs, and for what reasons. It shows how it's done".[7] He saw Goodfellas as the third film in an unplanned trilogy of films that examined the lives of Italian-Americans "from slightly different angles".[8] He has often described the film as "a mob home movie" that is about money because "that's what they're really in business for".[5]

Screenplay

Scorsese and Pileggi collaborated on the screenplay and over the course of the 12 drafts it took to reach the ideal script, the reporter realized that "the visual styling had to be completely redone… So we decided to share credit".[7][9] They decided which sections of the book they liked and put them together like building blocks.[1] Scorsese persuaded Pileggi that they did not need to follow a traditional narrative structure. The director wanted to take the gangster film and deal with it episode by episode but start in the middle and move backwards and forwards. Scorsese would compact scenes and realized that if they were kept short, "the impact after about an hour and a half would be terrific".[1] He wanted to do the voiceover like the opening of Jules and Jim and use "all the basic tricks of the New Wave from around 1961".[1] Several of the names of the characters were also changed such as Tommy "Two Gunn" DeSimone becoming Tommy DeVito; Paul Vario becoming Paulie Cicero and Jimmy "The Gent" Burke becoming Jimmy Conway.[9] Since the title of Pileggi's book had already been used for a TV series and for Brian De Palma's 1986 comedy Wise Guys, Pileggi and Scorsese decided to change the name of their film to Goodfellas.[1]

Casting

Once Robert De Niro agreed to play Conway, Scorsese was able to secure the money needed to make the film.[4] The director cast Ray Liotta after De Niro saw him in Jonathan Demme's Something Wild and Scorsese was surprised by "his explosive energy" in that film.[8] The actor had read Pileggi's book when it came out and was fascinated by it. A couple of years afterwards, his agent told him that Scorsese was going to direct a film version. In 1988, Liotta met the director over a period of a couple of months and auditioned for the film.[5] The actor campaigned aggressively for a role in the film but the studio wanted a well-known actor. "I think they would've rather had Eddie Murphy than me", the actor remembers.[10]

To prepare for the role, De Niro consulted with Pileggi who had research material that had been discarded while writing the book.[11] De Niro often called Hill several times a day to ask how Burke walked, held his cigarette, and so on.[12][13] Driving to and from the set, Liotta listened to FBI audio cassette tapes of Hill, so he could practice speaking like his real-life counterpart.[13] To research her role, Lorraine Bracco tried to get close to a mob wife but was unable to because they exist in a very tight-knit community. She decided not to meet the real Karen because she "thought it would be better if the creation came from me. I used her life with her parents as an emotional guideline for the role".[14] Paul Sorvino had no problem finding the voice and walk of his character but found it challenging finding "that kernel of coldness and absolute hardness that is antithetical to my nature except when my family is threatened".[15]

Principal photography

Two weeks in advance of the filming, the real Henry Hill was paid $480,000.[9] The film was shot on location between Queens, New York; New Jersey; and also parts of Long Island during the spring and summer of 1989 with a budget of $25 million.[9] Scorsese broke the film down into sequences and storyboarded everything because of the complicated style throughout. According to the filmmaker, he "wanted lots of movement and I wanted it to be throughout the whole picture, and I wanted the style to kind of break down by the end, so that by his [Henry's] last day as a wiseguy, it's as if the whole picture would be out of control, give the impression he's just going to spin off the edge and fly out."[3] He claims that the film's style comes from the first two or three minutes of Jules and Jim: extensive narration, quick edits, freeze frames, and multiple locale switches.[6] It was this reckless attitude towards convention that mirrored the attitude of many of the gangsters in the film. Scorsese remarked, "So if you do the movie, you say, 'I don't care if there's too much narration. Too many quick cuts? — That's too bad.' It's that kind of really punk attitude we're trying to show".[6] He adopted a frenetic style in order to almost overwhelm the audience with images and information.[1] He also put a lot of detail in every frame because the gangster life is so rich. The use of freeze frames was done because Scorsese wanted images that would stop "because a point was being reached" in Henry's life.[1]

Joe Pesci did not judge his character but found the scene where he kills Spider for talking back to his character hard to do because he had trouble justifying the action until he forced himself to feel the way Tommy did.[5] Lorraine Bracco found the shoot to be an emotionally difficult one because it was such a male-dominated cast and realized that if she did not make her "work important, it would probably end up on the cutting room floor".[5] When it came to the relationship between Henry and Karen, Bracco saw no difference between an abused wife and her character.[5]

According to Pesci, improvisation and ad-libbing came out of rehearsals where Scorsese let the actors do whatever they wanted. He made transcripts of these sessions, took the lines that the actors came up with that he liked best, and put them into a revised script that the cast worked from during principal photography.[11] For example, the scene where Tommy tells a story and Henry is responding to him — the "what's so funny about me" scene — is based on actual event that happened to Pesci. It was worked on in rehearsals where he and Liotta improvised and Scorsese recorded 4-5 takes, rewrote their dialogue and inserted it into the script.[16] The cast did not meet Henry Hill during the film's shoot but a few weeks before it premiered, Liotta met him in an undisclosed city. Hill had seen the film and told Liotta that he loved it.[5]

The long tracking shot through the Copacabana nightclub came about because of a practical problem: the filmmakers could not get permission to go in the short way and this forced them to go round the back.[1] Scorsese decided to do it in one shot in order to symbolize Henry's whole life is ahead of him and according to the director. "It's his seduction of her [Karen] and it's also the lifestyle seducing him".[1] This sequence was shot eight times.[16] Henry's infamous day in preparing a drug deal was the hardest part of the film for Scorsese to shoot because he wanted to properly show Henry's state of anxiety, paranoia and racing thoughts caused by cocaine and amphetamines intoxication, which is difficult for an actor (who had never been under their influence) to accurately portray.[1] The director ended the film with Henry regretting that he is no longer a wiseguy and Scorsese said, "I think the audience should get angry at him and I would hope they do — and maybe with the system which allows this".[1]

Post-production

Scorsese wanted to depict the film's violence realistically, "cold, unfeeling and horrible. Almost incidental."[4] However, he had to remove ten frames of blood in order to ensure an R rating from the MPAA.[8] With a budget of $25 million, Goodfellas was Scorsese's most expensive film to date but still only a medium budget by Hollywood standards.[1] It was also the first time he was obliged by Warner Bros. to preview the film. It was shown twice in California and a lot of audiences were "agitated" by Henry's last day as a wise guy sequence and Scorsese argued that that was the point of the scene.[1] Scorsese and the film's editor, Thelma Schoonmaker, made this sequence faster with more jump cuts to convey Henry's drug-addled point of view. In the first test screening there were 40 walkouts in the first ten minutes.[16] One of the favorite scenes for test audiences was the one where Tommy tells the story and Henry is responding to him - the "what's so funny about me" scene.[1]

Soundtrack

Scorsese chose the songs for the soundtrack using only those that commented on the scene or the characters "in an oblique way".[8] The only rule he adhered to with the soundtrack was to only use music that could have been heard at that time.[1] For example, if a scene took place in 1973, he could use any song that was current or older. According to Scorsese, a lot of non-dialogue scenes were shot to playback. For example, he had "Layla" playing on the set while shooting the scene where the dead bodies are discovered in the car and the meat-truck.[1] Sometimes, the lyrics of songs were put between lines of dialogue to comment on the action.[1] Some of the music Scorsese had written into the script while other songs he discovered during the editing phase.[16]

Network TV version

The dubbing of the dialogue of the network TV version was personally directed by Scorsese. It added a personal introduction to the film from Scorsese himself. It contains frequent usage of variants of the word "freak", such as "I've got this freakin' gun pointed at your freakin' head." However, much other profanity in the film was retained, as was the violence.[17]

Release and reception

Distribution

Goodfellas had its world premiere at the 1990 Venice Film Festival where Scorsese received the Silver Lion award for Best Director.[18] It was given a wide release in North America on September 21, 1990 in 1,070 theaters with an opening weekend gross of US$6.3 million. It went on to make $46.8 million domestically, well above its $25 million budget.[19]

Reviews

The film received very positive reviews from critics and currently has a 96% rating at Rotten Tomatoes and a 89 metascore at Metacritic. In his review for The New York Times, Vincent Canby wrote, "More than any earlier Scorsese film, Goodfellas is memorable for the ensemble nature of the performances… The movie has been beautifully cast from the leading roles to the bits. There is flash also in some of Mr. Scorsese's directorial choices, including freeze frames, fast-cutting and the occasional long tracking shot. None of it is superfluous".[20] USA Today gave the film four out of four stars and called it, "great cinema — and also a whopping good time".[6] David Ansen, in his review for Newsweek magazine, wrote "Every crisp minute of this long, teeming movie vibrates with outlaw energy".[21] In his review for Time, Richard Corliss wrote, "So it is Scorsese's triumph that GoodFellas offers the fastest, sharpest 2 1/2-hr. ride in recent film history".[22] However, Anthony Lane in the The Independent wrote, "There is a short, needling comedy of violence and cowardice somewhere inside this stylish film, and it is worth watching more than once to prise it free. Scorsese himself chickened out, I think; perhaps the Mob got to him after all".[23] William Fugazy, of the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations, a watchdog group on ethnic injustice, which claims a membership of 10 million and consists of 76 of the largest heritage groups in the United States, called for a boycott of the film and wanted Warner Bros. to ban it. "It's the worst stereotyping, the worst portrayal of the Italian community I've ever seen. Far worse than The Godfather. One killing after another", he said.[24] Scorsese responded to this criticism by saying, "As Nick Pileggi always points out, there are 18 to 20 million Italian-Americans. Out of that, there are only 4,000 alleged organised crime members. But, as Nick says, they cast a very long shadow".[1]

Awards

Goodfellas was nominated for six Academy Awards including Joe Pesci for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Lorraine Bracco for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Best Picture (however famously lost to Dances With Wolves), Scorsese for Best Director, Thelma Schoonmaker for Best Film Editing, and Scorsese and Nicholas Pileggi for Best Adapted Screenplay.[25] When Joe Pesci won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor (the only Academy Award the film won),[26] his entire speech was "It was my privilege, thank you".[27] It is one of the shortest Oscar-acceptance speech, after William Holden's, who simply said, "Thank you", upon winning for Stalag 17, and Alfred Hitchcock's ("Thank you" and other unintelligible words) when he received an Honorary Oscar. Later, Pesci admitted that he did not say more, because "I really didn't think I was going to win".[27]

Goodfellas was nominated for five Golden Globes including Best Director, Best Motion Pictures, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Screenplay.[28] It failed to win any of these awards. Scorsese's film won five awards from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts including Best Film, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay.[29]

The New York Film Critics Circle voted Goodfellas the Best Film of 1990, Robert De Niro was named Best Actor for his performance in the film and in Awakenings, and Scorsese was voted Best Director.[30] The Los Angeles Film Critics Association also voted Scorsese as Best Director, GoodFellas as Best Film,[30] awards for Pesci and Bracco as Best Supporting Actor and Actress, respectively, and Best Cinematography to Michael Ballhaus for his work on the film.[31] The National Board of Review voted Pesci as Best Supporting Actor.[32] The National Society of Film Critics voted Goodfellas Best Film of 1990 and Scorsese as Best Director.[33] American Film magazine declared Goodfellas the best film of 1990 according to a poll of 80 movie critics.[34]

Legacy

GoodFellas is #94 on the American Film Institute's list of 100 Years, 100 Movies and #92 on its updated version from 2007. In June 2008, the AFI revealed its "Ten top Ten"—the best ten films in ten "classic" American film genres—after polling over 1,500 people from the creative community. Goodfellas was acknowledged as the second best in the gangster film genre (after The Godfather).[35] In 2000, the United States Library of Congress deemed the film "culturally significant" and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry. It is also rated #14 on IMDB`s Top 250 list.

Roger Ebert, a friend and supporter of Scorsese, named Goodfellas the "best mob movie ever" and placed it among the best films of the nineties.[36] Premiere magazine listed Joe Pesci's Tommy DeVito as #96 on its list of The 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time, calling him "perhaps the single most irredeemable character ever put on film".[37] Channel 4 placed Goodfellas at #10 in their 2002 poll The 100 Greatest Films. In 2005, Total Film, named Goodfellas as the greatest film of all time. In December 2002, a UK film critics poll in Sight and Sound ranked the film #4 on their list of the 10 Best Films of the Last 25 Years.[38] Empire magazine ranked Tommy DeVito #59 in their "The 100 Greatest Movie Characters" poll.[39] Time included Goodfellas in their list of 100 all-time best films.[40]

American Film Institute recognition

References

Notes

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Thompson, David; Ian Christie (1996). "Scorsese on Scorsese". Faber and Faber. pp. 150–161. 
  2. ^ Family Media Guide swear word frequency list
  3. ^ a b Malcolm, Derek (September/October 1990). "Made Men". Film Comment. 
  4. ^ a b c Goodwin, Richard. "The Making of Goodfellas". Hotdog. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Linfield, Susan (September 16, 1990). "Goodfellas Looks at the Banality of Mob Life". New York Times. 
  6. ^ a b c d Clark, Mike (September 19, 1990). "GoodFellas step from his childhood". USA Today. 
  7. ^ a b c Kelly, Mary Pat (March 2003). "Martin Scorsese: A Journey". Thunder Mouth Press. 
  8. ^ a b c d Gilbert, Matthew (September 16, 1990). "Scorsese Tackles the Mob". Boston Globe. 
  9. ^ a b c d Hughes, Howard Crime Wave: The Filmgoers' guide to the great crime movies pp. 176–177.
  10. ^ Portman, Jamie (October 1, 1990). "Goodfellas Star Prefers Quiet Life". Toronto Star. 
  11. ^ a b Arnold, Gary (September 25, 1990). "Real Fellas Talk about Mob Film". Washington Times. 
  12. ^ Wolf, Buck (November 8, 2005). "Rap Star 50 Cent Joins Movie Mobsters". ABC News. http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/WolfFiles/story?id=1338853. Retrieved 2007-06-24. 
  13. ^ a b Papamichael, Stella (October 22, 2004). "GoodFellas: Special Edition DVD (1990)". BBC. http://www.bbc.co.uk/films/2004/10/22/goodfellas_se_2004_dvd_review.shtml. Retrieved 2007-06-24. 
  14. ^ Witchel, Alex (September 27, 1990). "A Mafia Wife Makes Lorraine Bracco a Princess". New York Times. 
  15. ^ Van Gelder, Lawrence (October 12, 1990). "At the Movies". New York Times. 
  16. ^ a b c d Kaplan, Jonah (writer and editor); Stephen Altobellow and Jeffrey Schwartz (producers). (2004) (Blu-ray Disc). Getting Made: The Making of Goodfellas. Warner Home Video. ISBN 1-4198-4306-0. 
  17. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0099685/alternateversions
  18. ^ Malcolm, Derek (September 17, 1990). "The Venice Film Festival ends in uproar". The Guardian. 
  19. ^ "Goodfellas". Box Office Mojo. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=goodfellas.htm. Retrieved 2008-03-20. 
  20. ^ Canby, Vincent (September 19, 1990). "A Cold-Eyed Look at the Mob's Inner Workings". The New York Times. 
  21. ^ Ansen, David (September 17, 1990). "A Hollywood Crime Wave". Newsweek. 
  22. ^ Corliss, Richard (September 24, 1990). "Married to the Mob". Time. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,971220,00.html?internalid=atm100. Retrieved 2009-01-29. 
  23. ^ Lane, Anthony (October 28, 1990). "The Mob gets to Scorsese". The Independent. 
  24. ^ "U.S. Italians outraged by new Scorsese movie". Reuters. September 17, 1990. 
  25. ^ "And the Oscar Nominees Are ...". Associated Press. February 14, 1991. 
  26. ^ Rohter, Larry (March 26, 1991). "Kevin Costner and Dances With Wolves Win Top Oscar Prizes". New York Times. 
  27. ^ a b Dhesi, Japinder (September 20, 2004). "Worst awards performances". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/netnotes/article/0,,1308896,00.html. Retrieved 2008-03-20. 
  28. ^ "Godfather lands 7 Globe nominations". Toronto Star. December 28, 1990. 
  29. ^ "GoodFellas, Cinema Paradiso dominate the British Oscars". Associated Press. March 18, 1991. 
  30. ^ a b Spillman, Susan (December 19, 1990). "Critics join mob honoring GoodFellas". USA Today. 
  31. ^ Landis, David (December 17, 1990). "Ganging up to praise GoodFellas". USA Today. 
  32. ^ Spillman, Susan (December 14, 1990). "Wolves dances away with award". USA Today. 
  33. ^ Fox, David J. (January 8, 1991). "Critics say they're jolly GoodFellas". Toronto Star. 
  34. ^ Arnold, Gary (February 19, 1991). "GoodFellas targeted for even more acclaim". Washington Times. 
  35. ^ "AFI's 10 Top 10". American Film Institute. 2008-06-17. http://www.afi.com/10top10/gangster.html. Retrieved 2008-06-18. 
  36. ^ "Best Films of the '90s". Ebert & Roeper. 2000-02-27. Retrieved on 2008-03-26.
  37. ^ "The 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time". Premiere. http://www.premiere.com/features/1539/the-100-greatest-movie-characters-of-all-time-page2.html. Retrieved 2008-03-26. 
  38. ^ "Modern Times". Sight and Sound. December 2002. http://www.bfi.org.uk/sightandsound/feature/63/. Retrieved 2008-08-27. 
  39. ^ "The 100 Greatest Movie Characters". Empire. http://www.empireonline.com/100-greatest-movie-characters/default.asp?c=59. Retrieved 2008-12-02. 
  40. ^ Schickel, Richard (2005). "All-Time 100 Movies". Time. http://www.time.com/time/2005/100movies/0,23220,goodfellas,00.html. Retrieved 2009-01-29. 

Bibliography

  • Martin Scorsese: A Journey, by Mary Pat Kelly (2003, Thunder Mouth Press), ISBN 978-1560254706.
  • Scorsese on Scorsese, by David Thompson and Ian Christie (2004, Faber and Faber), ISBN 978-0571220021.
  • Goodfellas, by Nicholas Pileggi and Martin Scorsese (1990, Faber and Faber), ISBN 978-0571162659.
  • Wiseguy, by Nicholas Pileggi (1990, Rei Mti), ISBN 978-0671723224.

External links

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Dead Poets Society
BAFTA Award for Best Film
1991
Succeeded by
The Commitments

Goodfellas
Directed by Martin Scorsese
Produced by Irwin Winkler
Written by Screenplay:
Nicholas Pileggi
Martin Scorsese
Book:
Nicholas Pileggi
Narrated by Ray Liotta
Lorraine Bracco
Starring Ray Liotta
Robert De Niro
Joe Pesci
Lorraine Bracco
Paul Sorvino
Cinematography Michael Ballhaus
Editing by Thelma Schoonmaker
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date(s) September 19, 1990
Running time 146 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $25,000,000[1]
Gross revenue $46,836,394

Goodfellas (also styled GoodFellas) is a 1990 American gangster film directed by Martin Scorsese. It is based on the non-fiction book Wiseguy by Nicholas Pileggi, who co-wrote the screenplay for the film with Scorsese. The film follows the rise and fall of three gangsters, spanning three decades.

Scorsese originally intended to direct Goodfellas before The Last Temptation of Christ, but when funds materialized to make Last Temptation, he postponed what was then known as Wise Guy. The title of Pileggi's book had already been used for a TV series and for Brian De Palma's 1986 comedy Wise Guys, so Pileggi and Scorsese changed the name of their film to Goodfellas. To prepare for their roles in the film, Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Ray Liotta talked often with Pileggi, who shared with the actors research material that had been left over from writing the book. According to Pesci, improvisation and ad-libbing came out of rehearsals where Scorsese gave the actors freedom to do whatever they wanted. The director made transcripts of these sessions, took the lines that the actors came up with that he liked best, and put them into a revised script the cast worked from during principal photography.

Goodfellas performed well at the box office, grossing $46.8 million domestically, well above its $25 million budget. It also received overwhelmingly positive reviews from critics. The film was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, but only won one for Pesci in the Best Actor in a Supporting Role category. Scorsese's film won five awards from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and was named best film of the year by the New York Film Critics Circle, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, and the National Society of Film Critics. Goodfellas is often considered one of the greatest films ever, both in the genre of crime and in general and was deemed "culturally significant" and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the United States Library of Congress.

The word "fuck" is used in the film approximately 300 times,[2] 12th most in film.

Contents

Plot

Henry Hill (Ray 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, knowing the true nature of the Mafia, 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 (Paul Sorvino) and his associates, Jimmy "The Gent" Conway (Robert De Niro), who loves hijacking trucks, and Tommy DeVito (Joe 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 (Lorraine 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 Billy Batts (Frank 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 (Gina 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, and threatens to kill the both of them with a revolver pointed at his face, demanding to know if he loves Janice. She 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: he 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 infamous Lufthansa heist at John F. Kennedy International Airport. Henry further establishes himself in the drug trade after seeing its high potential for profit, and convinces Tommy and Jimmy to join him. This is despite Paulie warning him to not deal in drugs. Things turn sour when the participants in the Lufthansa robbery ignore Jimmy's command to not immediately buy expensive things from their share of the stolen money: Jimmy has them all killed one by one. Then Tommy is killed by two Gambino capos for the murder of Billy Batts, after being fooled into thinking that he is going to be made.

By 1980 Henry is on the cusp of making a big deal with his drug associates in Pittsburgh. A nervous wreck from his cocaine usage and lack of sleep, he runs around trying his best to get things organized. However, this does not stop him from being caught by narcotics agents and sent to jail. On his release Karen tells him that she flushed his hidden drugs - $60,000 worth of cocaine - down the toilet to prevent the FBI agents from finding it during their raid. Henry and his family are now virtually penniless. Paulie feels Henry betrayed him by dealing in drugs. He gives Henry $3200 but breaks all association with him. Henry realizes he himself is to be hit when Jimmy asks him to perform a hit in Florida. Henry decides to enroll in the Witness Protection Program to protect himself and his family. 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.

Cast

Actor Role Based on
Ray Liotta Henry Hill Henry Hill
Robert De Niro Jimmy Conway Jimmy Burke
Joe Pesci Tommy DeVito Thomas DeSimone
Lorraine Bracco Karen Hill Karen Hill (née Friedman)
Paul Sorvino Paul Cicero Paul Vario
Frank Sivero Frankie Carbone Angelo Sepe
Tony Darrow Sonny Bunz Angelo McConnach
Mike Starr Frenchy Robert McMahon
Frank Vincent Billy Batts William "Billy Batts" DeVino
Chuck Low Morrie Kessler Martin Krugman
Frank DiLeo Tuddy Cicero Vito "Tuddy" Vario
Johnny Williams Johnny Roastbeef Louis Cafora
Jim Colella Jim Colella Jim Colella
Samuel L. Jackson Parnell "Stacks" Edwards Parnell Steven "Stacks" Edwards
Frank Adonis Anthony Stabile Anthony Stabile
Catherine Scorsese Tommy DeVito's Mother Thomas DeSimone's Grandmother
Gina Mastrogiacomo Janice Rossi Linda Coppociano
Debi Mazar Sandy Megan Cooperman
Margo Winkler Belle Kessler Fran Krugman
Welker White Lois Byrd Judy Wicks
Julie Garfield Mickey Conway Mickey Burke
Detective Ed Deacy Himself Himself
Christopher Serrone Henry Hill (Youth) Henry Hill (Youth)
Charles Scorsese Vinnie Thomas Agro
Michael Vivalo Nicky Eyes Himself
Michael Imperioli "Spider" Michael "Spider" Gianco
Tony Ellis Bridal Shop Owner Jerome Asaro
Elizabeth Whitcraft Tommy's Girlfriend Theresa Ferrara
Illeana Douglas Another Tommy Girlfriend Rosie
Anthony Powers Jimmy Two-Times Bobby "The Dentist"
Assistant U.S. Attorney Ed McDonald Himself Himself
Ray DeBenedictis "Peter"
Tony Lip Frankie "The Wop" Francesco Manzo
Kevin Corrigan Michael Hill

Development

Goodfellas is based on New York crime reporter Nicholas Pileggi's book Wiseguy. Martin Scorsese never intended to make another mob film until he read a review of the book which inspired him to read it[3] while working on the set of Color of Money in 1986.[4] He had always been fascinated by the Mob lifestyle and was drawn to Pileggi's book because it was the most honest portrayal of gangsters he had ever read.[5] After he read Pileggi's book, the filmmaker knew what approach he wanted to take: "To begin Goodfellas like a gunshot and have it get faster from there, almost like a two-and-a-half-hour trailer. I think it's the only way you can really sense the exhilaration of the lifestyle, and to get a sense of why a lot of people are attracted to it."[6] According to Pileggi, Scorsese cold-called the writer and told him, "I've been waiting for this book my entire life." To which Pileggi replied "I've been waiting for this phone call my entire life".[7]

Scorsese originally intended to direct the film before The Last Temptation of Christ, but when funds materialized to make Last Temptation, he decided to postpone Wise Guy. He was drawn to the documentary aspects of Pileggi's book. "The book Wise Guys gives you a sense of the day-to-day life, the tedium - how they work, how they take over certain nightclubs, and for what reasons. It shows how it's done".[7] He saw Goodfellas as the third film in an unplanned trilogy of films that examined the lives of Italian-Americans "from slightly different angles".[8] He has often described the film as "a mob home movie" that is about money because "that's what they're really in business for".[5]

Screenplay

Scorsese and Pileggi collaborated on the screenplay and over the course of the 12 drafts it took to reach the ideal script, the reporter realized that "the visual styling had to be completely redone… So we decided to share credit".[7][9] They decided which sections of the book they liked and put them together like building blocks.[1] Scorsese persuaded Pileggi that they did not need to follow a traditional narrative structure. The director wanted to take the gangster film and deal with it episode by episode but start in the middle and move backwards and forwards. Scorsese would compact scenes and realized that if they were kept short, "the impact after about an hour and a half would be terrific".[1] He wanted to do the voiceover like the opening of Jules and Jim and use "all the basic tricks of the New Wave from around 1961".[1] Several of the names of the characters were also changed such as Tommy "Two Gunn" DeSimone becoming Tommy DeVito; Paul Vario becoming Paulie Cicero and Jimmy "The Gent" Burke becoming Jimmy Conway.[9] Since the title of Pileggi's book had already been used for a TV series and for Brian De Palma's 1986 comedy Wise Guys, Pileggi and Scorsese decided to change the name of their film to Goodfellas.[1]

Casting

Once Robert De Niro agreed to play Conway, Scorsese was able to secure the money needed to make the film.[4] The director cast Ray Liotta after De Niro saw him in Jonathan Demme's Something Wild and Scorsese was surprised by "his explosive energy" in that film.[8] The actor had read Pileggi's book when it came out and was fascinated by it. A couple of years afterwards, his agent told him that Scorsese was going to direct a film version. In 1988, Liotta met the director over a period of a couple of months and auditioned for the film.[5] The actor campaigned aggressively for a role in the film but the studio wanted a well-known actor. "I think they would've rather had Eddie Murphy than me", the actor remembers.[10]

To prepare for the role, De Niro consulted with Pileggi who had research material that had been discarded while writing the book.[11] De Niro often called Hill several times a day to ask how Burke walked, held his cigarette, and so on.[12][13] Driving to and from the set, Liotta listened to FBI audio cassette tapes of Hill, so he could practice speaking like his real-life counterpart.[13] To research her role, Lorraine Bracco tried to get close to a mob wife but was unable to because they exist in a very tight-knit community. She decided not to meet the real Karen because she "thought it would be better if the creation came from me. I used her life with her parents as an emotional guideline for the role".[14] Paul Sorvino had no problem finding the voice and walk of his character but found it challenging finding "that kernel of coldness and absolute hardness that is antithetical to my nature except when my family is threatened".[15]

Principal photography

Two weeks in advance of the filming, the real Henry Hill was paid $480,000.[9] The film was shot on location between Queens, New York; New Jersey; and also parts of Long Island during the spring and summer of 1989 with a budget of $25 million.[9] Scorsese broke the film down into sequences and storyboarded everything because of the complicated style throughout. According to the filmmaker, he "wanted lots of movement and I wanted it to be throughout the whole picture, and I wanted the style to kind of break down by the end, so that by his [Henry's] last day as a wiseguy, it's as if the whole picture would be out of control, give the impression he's just going to spin off the edge and fly out."[3] He claims that the film's style comes from the first two or three minutes of Jules and Jim: extensive narration, quick edits, freeze frames, and multiple locale switches.[6] It was this reckless attitude towards convention that mirrored the attitude of many of the gangsters in the film. Scorsese remarked, "So if you do the movie, you say, 'I don't care if there's too much narration. Too many quick cuts? — That's too bad.' It's that kind of really punk attitude we're trying to show".[6] He adopted a frenetic style in order to almost overwhelm the audience with images and information.[1] He also put a lot of detail in every frame because the gangster life is so rich. The use of freeze frames was done because Scorsese wanted images that would stop "because a point was being reached" in Henry's life.[1]

Joe Pesci did not judge his character but found the scene where he kills Spider for talking back to his character hard to do because he had trouble justifying the action until he forced himself to feel the way Tommy did.[5] Lorraine Bracco found the shoot to be an emotionally difficult one because it was such a male-dominated cast and realized that if she did not make her "work important, it would probably end up on the cutting room floor".[5] When it came to the relationship between Henry and Karen, Bracco saw no difference between an abused wife and her character.[5]

According to Pesci, improvisation and ad-libbing came out of rehearsals where Scorsese let the actors do whatever they wanted. He made transcripts of these sessions, took the lines that the actors came up with that he liked best, and put them into a revised script that the cast worked from during principal photography.[11] For example, the scene where Tommy tells a story and Henry is responding to him — the "what's so funny about me" scene — is based on actual event that happened to Pesci. It was worked on in rehearsals where he and Liotta improvised and Scorsese recorded 4-5 takes, rewrote their dialogue and inserted it into the script.[16] The cast did not meet Henry Hill during the film's shoot but a few weeks before it premiered, Liotta met him in an undisclosed city. Hill had seen the film and told the actor that he loved it.[5]

The long tracking shot through the Copacabana nightclub came about because of a practical problem: the filmmakers could not get permission to go in the short way and this forced them to go round the back.[1] Scorsese decided to do it in one shot in order to symbolize Henry's whole life is ahead of him and according to the director. "It's his seduction of her [Karen] and it's also the lifestyle seducing him".[1] This sequence was shot eight times.[16] Henry's last day as a wiseguy was the hardest part of the film for Scorsese to shoot because he wanted to properly show Henry's state of anxiety, paranoia and racing thoughts caused by cocaine and amphetamines intoxication, which is difficult for an actor (who had never been under their influence) to accurately portray.[1] The director ended the film with Henry regretting that he is no longer a wiseguy and Scorsese said, "I think the audience should get angry at him and I would hope they do — and maybe with the system which allows this".[1]

Post-production

Scorsese wanted to depict the film's violence realistically, "cold, unfeeling and horrible. Almost incidental."[4] However, he had to remove ten frames of blood in order to ensure an R rating from the MPAA.[8] With a budget of $25 million, Goodfellas was Scorsese's most expensive film to date but still only a medium budget by Hollywood standards.[1] It was also the first time he was obliged by Warner Bros. to preview the film. It was shown twice in California and a lot of audiences were "agitated" by Henry's last day as a wise guy sequence and Scorsese argued that that was the point of the scene.[1] Scorsese and the film's editor, Thelma Schoonmaker, made this sequence faster with more jump cuts to convey Henry's drug-addled point of view. In the first test screening there were 40 walkouts in the first ten minutes.[16] One of the favorite scenes for test audiences was the one where Tommy tells the story and Henry is responding to him - the "what's so funny about me" scene.[1]

Soundtrack

Scorsese chose the songs for the soundtrack using only those that commented on the scene or the characters "in an oblique way".[8] The only rule he adhered to with the soundtrack was to only use music that could have been heard at that time.[1] For example, if a scene took place in 1973, he could use any song that was current or older. According to Scorsese, a lot of non-dialogue scenes were shot to playback. For example, he had "Layla" playing on the set while shooting the scene where the dead bodies are discovered in the car and the meat-truck.[1] Sometimes, the lyrics of songs were put between lines of dialogue to comment on the action.[1] Some of the music Scorsese had written into the script while other songs he discovered during the editing phase.[16]

Network TV version

The dubbing of the dialogue of the network TV version was personally directed by Scorsese. It added a personal introduction to the film from Scorsese himself. It contains frequent usage of variants of the word "freak", such as "I've got this freakin' gun pointed at your freakin' head." However, much other profanity in the film was retained, as was the violence.[17]

Release and reception

Distribution

Goodfellas had its world premiere at the 1990 Venice Film Festival where Scorsese received the Silver Lion award for Best Director.[18] It was given a wide release in North America on September 21, 1990 in 1,070 theaters with an opening weekend gross of US$6.3 million. It went on to make $46.8 million domestically, well above its $25 million budget.[19]

Reviews

The film was released to critical acclaim and currently has a 97% rating at Rotten Tomatoes and a 89 metascore at Metacritic. In his review for The New York Times, Vincent Canby wrote, "More than any earlier Scorsese film, Goodfellas is memorable for the ensemble nature of the performances… The movie has been beautifully cast from the leading roles to the bits. There is flash also in some of Mr. Scorsese's directorial choices, including freeze frames, fast-cutting and the occasional long tracking shot. None of it is superfluous".[20] USA Today gave the film four out of four stars and called it, "great cinema — and also a whopping good time".[6] David Ansen, in his review for Newsweek magazine, wrote "Every crisp minute of this long, teeming movie vibrates with outlaw energy".[21] In his review for Time, Richard Corliss wrote, "So it is Scorsese's triumph that GoodFellas offers the fastest, sharpest 2½-hr. ride in recent film history".[22] However, Anthony Lane in The Independent wrote, "There is a short, needling comedy of violence and cowardice somewhere inside this stylish film, and it is worth watching more than once to prise it free. Scorsese himself chickened out, I think; perhaps the Mob got to him after all".[23] William Fugazy, of the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations, a watchdog group on ethnic injustice, which claims a membership of 10 million and consists of 76 of the largest heritage groups in the United States, called for a boycott of the film and wanted Warner Bros. to ban it. "It's the worst stereotyping, the worst portrayal of the Italian community I've ever seen. Far worse than The Godfather. One killing after another", he said.[24] Scorsese responded to this criticism by saying, "As Nick Pileggi always points out, there are 18 to 20 million Italian-Americans. Out of that, there are only 4,000 alleged organised crime members. But, as Nick says, they cast a very long shadow".[1]

Awards

Goodfellas was nominated for six Academy Awards including Joe Pesci for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Lorraine Bracco for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Best Picture (however famously lost to Dances With Wolves), Scorsese for Best Director, Thelma Schoonmaker for Best Film Editing, and Scorsese and Nicholas Pileggi for Best Adapted Screenplay.[25] When Joe Pesci won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor (the only Academy Award the film won),[26] his entire speech was "It was my privilege, thank you".[27] It is one of the shortest Oscar-acceptance speeches ever, after William Holden's, who simply said, "Thank you", upon winning for Stalag 17, and Alfred Hitchcock's ("Thank you" and other unintelligible words) when he received an Honorary Oscar. Later, Pesci admitted that he did not say more, because "I really didn't think I was going to win".[27]

Goodfellas was nominated for five Golden Globes including Best Director, Best Motion Pictures, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Screenplay.[28] It failed to win any of these awards. Scorsese's film won five awards from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts including Best Film, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay.[29]

The New York Film Critics Circle voted Goodfellas the Best Film of 1990, Robert De Niro was named Best Actor for his performance in the film and in Awakenings, and Scorsese was voted Best Director.[30] The Los Angeles Film Critics Association also voted Scorsese as Best Director, GoodFellas as Best Film,[30] awards for Pesci and Bracco as Best Supporting Actor and Actress, respectively, and Best Cinematography to Michael Ballhaus for his work on the film.[31] The National Board of Review voted Pesci as Best Supporting Actor.[32] The National Society of Film Critics voted Goodfellas Best Film of 1990 and Scorsese as Best Director.[33] American Film magazine declared Goodfellas the best film of 1990 according to a poll of 80 movie critics.[34]

Legacy

Goodfellas is #94 on the American Film Institute's "100 Years, 100 Movies" list and #92 on its updated version from 2007. In June 2008, the AFI revealed its "Ten top Ten"—the best ten films in ten "classic" American film genres—after polling over 1,500 people from the creative community. Goodfellas was acknowledged as the second best in the gangster film genre (after The Godfather).[35] In 2000, the United States Library of Congress deemed the film "culturally significant" and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry.

Roger Ebert, a friend and supporter of Scorsese, named Goodfellas the "best mob movie ever" and placed it among the best films of the 1990s.[36] In December 2002, a UK film critics poll in Sight and Sound ranked the film #4 on their list of the 10 Best Films of the Last 25 Years.[37] Time included Goodfellas in their list of 100 all-time best films.[38] Channel 4 placed Goodfellas at #10 in their 2002 poll The 100 Greatest Films. In 2005, Total Film named Goodfellas as the greatest film of all time.

Premiere listed Joe Pesci's Tommy DeVito as #96 on its list of "The 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time," calling him "perhaps the single most irredeemable character ever put on film."[39] Empire ranked Tommy DeVito #59 in their "The 100 Greatest Movie Characters" poll.[40]

July 24, 2010 marked the twentieth anniversary of the film's release. This milestone was celebrated with Henry Hill hosting a private screening for a select group of invitees at the Museum of American Gangsters, in New York City.[41]

American Film Institute recognition

References

Notes

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Thompson, David; Ian Christie (1996). "Scorsese on Scorsese". Faber and Faber. pp. 150–161. 
  2. ^ Family Media Guide swear word frequency list
  3. ^ a b Malcolm, Derek (September/October 1990). "Made Men". Film Comment. 
  4. ^ a b c Goodwin, Richard. "The Making of Goodfellas". Hotdog. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Linfield, Susan (September 16, 1990). "Goodfellas Looks at the Banality of Mob Life". New York Times. 
  6. ^ a b c d Clark, Mike (September 19, 1990). "GoodFellas step from his childhood". USA Today. 
  7. ^ a b c Kelly, Mary Pat (March 2003). "Martin Scorsese: A Journey". Thunder Mouth Press. 
  8. ^ a b c d Gilbert, Matthew (September 16, 1990). "Scorsese Tackles the Mob". Boston Globe. 
  9. ^ a b c d Hughes, Howard Crime Wave: The Filmgoers' guide to the great crime movies pp. 176–177.
  10. ^ Portman, Jamie (October 1, 1990). "Goodfellas Star Prefers Quiet Life". Toronto Star. 
  11. ^ a b Arnold, Gary (September 25, 1990). "Real Fellas Talk about Mob Film". Washington Times. 
  12. ^ Wolf, Buck (November 8, 2005). "Rap Star 50 Cent Joins Movie Mobsters". ABC News. http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/WolfFiles/story?id=1338853. Retrieved 2007-06-24. 
  13. ^ a b Papamichael, Stella (October 22, 2004). "GoodFellas: Special Edition DVD (1990)". BBC. http://www.bbc.co.uk/films/2004/10/22/goodfellas_se_2004_dvd_review.shtml. Retrieved 2007-06-24. 
  14. ^ Witchel, Alex (September 27, 1990). "A Mafia Wife Makes Lorraine Bracco a Princess". New York Times. 
  15. ^ Van Gelder, Lawrence (October 12, 1990). "At the Movies". New York Times. 
  16. ^ a b c d Kaplan, Jonah (writer and editor); Stephen Altobellow and Jeffrey Schwartz (producers). (2004) (Blu-ray Disc). Getting Made: The Making of Goodfellas. Warner Home Video. ISBN 1-4198-4306-0. 
  17. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0099685/alternateversions
  18. ^ Malcolm, Derek (September 17, 1990). "The Venice Film Festival ends in uproar". The Guardian. 
  19. ^ "Goodfellas". Box Office Mojo. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=goodfellas.htm. Retrieved 2008-03-20. 
  20. ^ Canby, Vincent (September 19, 1990). "A Cold-Eyed Look at the Mob's Inner Workings". The New York Times. 
  21. ^ Ansen, David (September 17, 1990). "A Hollywood Crime Wave". Newsweek. 
  22. ^ Corliss, Richard (September 24, 1990). "Married to the Mob". Time. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,971220,00.html?internalid=atm100. Retrieved 2009-01-29. 
  23. ^ Lane, Anthony (October 28, 1990). "The Mob gets to Scorsese". The Independent. 
  24. ^ "U.S. Italians outraged by new Scorsese movie". Reuters. September 17, 1990. 
  25. ^ "And the Oscar Nominees Are ...". Associated Press. February 14, 1991. 
  26. ^ Rohter, Larry (March 26, 1991). "Kevin Costner and Dances With Wolves Win Top Oscar Prizes". New York Times. 
  27. ^ a b Dhesi, Japinder (September 20, 2004). "Worst awards performances". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/netnotes/article/0,,1308896,00.html. Retrieved 2008-03-20. 
  28. ^ "Godfather lands 7 Globe nominations". Toronto Star. December 28, 1990. 
  29. ^ "GoodFellas, Cinema Paradiso dominate the British Oscars". Associated Press. March 18, 1991. 
  30. ^ a b Spillman, Susan (December 19, 1990). "Critics join mob honoring GoodFellas". USA Today. 
  31. ^ Landis, David (December 17, 1990). "Ganging up to praise GoodFellas". USA Today. 
  32. ^ Spillman, Susan (December 14, 1990). "Wolves dances away with award". USA Today. 
  33. ^ Fox, David J. (January 8, 1991). "Critics say they're jolly GoodFellas". Toronto Star. 
  34. ^ Arnold, Gary (February 19, 1991). "GoodFellas targeted for even more acclaim". Washington Times. 
  35. ^ "AFI's 10 Top 10". American Film Institute. 2008-06-17. http://www.afi.com/10top10/gangster.html. Retrieved 2008-06-18. 
  36. ^ "Best Films of the '90s". At the Movies with Ebert & Roeper. 2000-02-27. Retrieved on 2008-03-26.
  37. ^ "Modern Times". Sight and Sound. December 2002. http://www.bfi.org.uk/sightandsound/feature/63/. Retrieved 2008-08-27. 
  38. ^ Schickel, Richard (2005). "All-Time 100 Movies". Time. http://www.time.com/time/2005/100movies/0,23220,goodfellas,00.html. Retrieved 2009-01-29. 
  39. ^ "The 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time". Premiere. http://www.premiere.com/features/1539/the-100-greatest-movie-characters-of-all-time-page2.html. Retrieved 2008-03-26. 
  40. ^ "The 100 Greatest Movie Characters". Empire. http://www.empireonline.com/100-greatest-movie-characters/default.asp?c=59. Retrieved 2008-12-02. 
  41. ^ "Goodfellas' Henry Hill Back in NYC for 20th Anniversary". WPIX-TV 11. 2010-07-24. http://www.wpix.com/videobeta/20627713-2235-476f-b903-9675e153acfb/News/Goodfellas-Henry-Hill-Back-in-NYC-for-20th-Anniversary. Retrieved 2010-10-09. 

Bibliography

External links

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Dead Poets Society
BAFTA Award for Best Film
1991
Succeeded by
The Commitments

Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Goodfellas is a 1990 film about Henry Hill and his friends as they work their way up through the mob hierarchy.

Directed by Martin Scorsese. Written by Nicholas Pileggi and Martin Scorsese, based on Pileggi's book, Wiseguy: Life in a Mafia Family.
Three Decades of Life in the Mafia.

Contents

Henry Hill

  • As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster. To me, being a gangster was better than being President of the United States.
  • Hundreds of guys depended on Paulie and he got a piece of everything they made. And it was tribute, just like in the old country, except they were doing it here in America. And all they got from Paulie was protection from other guys looking to rip them off. And that's what it's all about. That's what the FBI could never understand. That what Paulie and the organization does is offer protection for people who can't go to the cops. That's it. That's all it is. They're like the police department for wiseguys.
  • For us to live any other way was nuts. Uh, to us, those goody-good people who worked shitty jobs for bum paychecks and took the subway to work every day and worried about their bills were dead. I mean they were suckers. They had no balls. If we wanted something, we just took it. If anyone complained twice they got hit so bad, believe me, they never complained again.
  • For most of the guys, killings got to be accepted. Murder was the only way that everybody stayed in line. You got out of line, you got whacked. Everybody knew the rules. But sometimes, even if people didn't get out of line, they got whacked. I mean, hits just became a habit for some of the guys. Guys would get into arguments over nothing and before you knew it, one of them was dead. And they were shooting each other all the time. Shooting people was a normal thing. It was no big deal.
  • You know, we always called each other goodfellas. Like you said to, uh, somebody, "You're gonna like this guy. He's all right. He's a goodfella. He's one of us." You understand? We were goodfellas. Wiseguys. But Jimmy and I could never be made because we had Irish blood. It didn't even matter that my mother was Sicilian. To become a member of a crew you've got to be one hundred per cent Italian so they can trace all your relatives back to the old country. See, it's the highest honor they can give you. It means you belong to a family and crew.
  • If you're part of a crew, nobody ever tells you that they're going to kill you. It doesn't happen that way. There weren't any arguments or curses like in the movies. So your murderers come with smiles. They come as your friends, the people who have cared for you all of your life, and they always seem to come at a time when you're at your weakest and most in need of their help.
  • We had it all, just for the asking. Our wives, mothers, kids, everybody rode along. I had paper bags filled with jewelry stashed in the kitchen. I had a sugar bowl full of coke next to the bed. Anything I wanted was a phone call away. Free cars. The keys to a dozen hideout flats all over the city. I'd bet twenty, thirty grand over a weekend and then I'd either blow the winnings in a week or go to the sharks to pay back the bookies. Didn't matter. It didn't mean anything. When I was broke I would go out and rob some more. We ran everything. We paid off cops. We paid off lawyers. We paid off judges. Everybody had their hands out. Everything was for the taking. And now it's all over. And that's the hardest part. Today, everything is different. There's no action. I have to wait around like everyone else. Can't even get decent food. Right after I got here, I ordered some spaghetti with marinara sauce and I got egg noodles and ketchup. I'm an average nobody. I get to live the rest of my life like a schnook.

Tommy DeVito

  • Sure, Mom, I settle down with a nice girl every night. Then I'm free the next morning.
  • Your always late. Your late for your own fucking funeral.

(Shoots Stacks Edwards in the head)

Karen Hill

  • I know there are women, like my best friends, who would have gotten out of there the minute their boyfriend gave them a gun to hide. But I didn't. I got to admit the truth. It turned me on.
  • It was like he had two families. The first time I was introduced to all of them at once, it was crazy. Paulie and his brothers had lots of sons and nephews. And almost all of them were named Peter or Paul. It was unbelievable. There must have been two dozen Peters and Pauls at the wedding. Plus, they were all married to girls named Marie. And they named all their daughters Marie. By the time I finished meeting everybody, I thought I was drunk.
  • But still I couldn't hurt him. How could I hurt him? I couldn't even bring myself to leave him. The truth was that no matter how bad I felt, I was still very attracted to him. Why should I give him to someone else? Why should she win?

Dialogue

Henry: You're a pistol! You're really funny. You're really funny!
Tommy: What do you mean I'm funny?
Henry: It's funny, you know. It's a good story, it's funny, you're a funny guy!
Tommy: [dangerously] What do you mean? You mean the way I talk?
[Everyone becomes quiet]
Henry: It's just, you know, you're just funny. It's funny, the way you tell the story and everything.
Tommy: Funny how? What's funny about it?
Anthony: Tommy, no, you got it all wrong —
Tommy: Oh, no, Anthony. He's a big boy, he knows what he said. [to Henry] What did ya say? Funny how?
Henry: Just —
Tommy: What?
Henry: Just, ya know, you're funny.
Tommy: You mean, let me understand this, 'cause, ya know maybe it's me, I'm a little fucked up maybe, but I'm funny how? I mean funny like I'm a clown? I amuse you? I make you laugh, I'm here to fuckin' amuse you? What do you mean funny? Funny how? How am I funny?
Henry: Just... you know, how you tell the story, y'know —
Tommy: No, no, I don't know. You said it! How do I know? You said I'm funny. How the fuck am I funny? What the fuck is so funny about me?! Tell me, tell me what's funny!
[Long pause]
Henry: Get the fuck out of here, Tommy!
[Everyone laughs]
Tommy: Ya motherfucker! I almost had him, I almost had him! You stuttering prick, you! Frankie, was he shaking? I wonder about you sometimes, Henry. You may fold under questioning.

Taglines

  • Three Decades of Life in the Mafia.
  • "As far back as I can remember, I've always wanted to be a gangster." -- Henry Hill, Brooklyn, N.Y. 1955.
  • Murderers come with smiles.
  • Shooting people was 'No big deal'.
  • In a world that's powered by violence, on the streets where the violent have power, a new generation carries on an old tradition.

Cast

External links

Wikipedia
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Simple English

Goodfellas
Directed by Martin Scorsese
Produced by Irwin Winkler
Written by Martin Scorsese, Nicholas Pileggi
Starring Robert De Niro,
Ray Liotta,
Joe Pesci
Cinematography Michael Ballhaus
Editing by Thelma Schoonmaker
Release date(s) September 19, 1990
Running time 146 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $25,000,000
Gross revenue $46,836,394

Goodfellas is a popular 1990 movie directed by Martin Scorsese about life in the Mafia.

In spite of six nominations for oscar, movie has earned one (for role Joe Pesci).

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