Goodfellas

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“Goodfellas” it’s a thriller of 1990 directed by Martin Scorsese. It is a film that mixes elements of the gangster movie with drama and black comedy. The film is based on the book by Nicholas Pileggi called “Wiseguy”.

The plot of”Goodfellas” revolves around the lives of two Italian-American New York gangsters, Henry Hill (played by Ray Liotta) and Tommy DeVito (played by Joe Pesci), who are part of the Lucchese Mafia family. The film follows their rise in the world of crime, showing the glamorous and seductive side, but also the violence and instability that characterize life as a gangster.

Henry Hill narrates the story, which spans the 1950s to 1980s, in a voiceover. We are shown the various criminal activities of the protagonists, including extortion, drug trafficking, robbery and murder. Furthermore, the film explores the internal dynamics of the mafia, the power relations and the unwritten rules that govern the criminal world.

In addition to Ray Liotta and Joe Pesci, the film boasts an all-star cast that includes Robert De Niro as Jimmy Conway, another member of the Mafia family, and Lorraine Bracco as Karen Hill, Henry’s wife. The performances of the cast were highly praised and Joe Pesci even won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance.

“Goodfellas” is a film that has achieved great success with both critics and audiences. It was praised for its screenplay, Scorsese’s impeccable direction and memorable performances. The film offers a raw and realistic look at criminal life, without glorifying it, but highlighting the consequences it entails for the protagonists.

Furthermore, the film is famous for some iconic scenes, such as the long restaurant sequence in which Tommy DeVito confronts a character who annoys him, culminating in a moment of great tension and violence.

“Goodfellas” it is considered one of the best gangster films of all time and helped to strengthen the genre in the cinematic landscape. His influence is still felt today, and many filmmakers cite him as an inspiration.

Plot

goodfellas

The plot of “Goodfellas” follows the life of Henry Hill, a young Italian-American who grew up in the borough of Brooklyn, New York in the 1950s. Since he was a boy, Henry has been fascinated by the lifestyle of the gangsters who dominate his neighborhood and decides to join the Lucchese mafia family.

Henry is introduced to the underworld by Paulie Cicero (played by Paul Sorvino), a respected member of the mob. Over time, Henry worked his way up the criminal hierarchy and became an important member of the Mafia family, working alongside his childhood friend, Tommy DeVito, and Jimmy Conway, an older and more influential member.

The film follows the criminal activities of Henry, Tommy and Jimmy over the years. They are involved in extortion, robbery, drug trafficking and other illegal activities. The money and power they acquire allows them to lead a life of luxury, but also a dangerous one.

Alongside the criminal story, the film also explores Henry’s personal life. He marries Karen (played by Lorraine Bracco), a woman who shares his lifestyle and becomes an accomplice in their illegal activities. However, Henry’s life and his relationship with Karen become increasingly volatile due to his infidelity, drug use and constant risk of getting caught by the police.

As the plot develops, tensions arise within the mafia family and decisions are made that endanger the lives of the protagonists. The film culminates in a series of shocking events involving betrayal, revenge and violent aftermath.

“Goodfellas” features a gripping narrative that shows both the glamorous side of the world of crime and its destructive consequences. The storyline offers an immersion into the world of the mafia, showing its codes of honour, alliances and internal rivalries, but also the brutality and inevitable doom that often accompany this way of life.

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Movie Characters

goodfellas

Here are some of the main characters in the film “Goodfellas”:

Henry Hill (played by Ray Liotta): The protagonist of the film, is a young Italian-American who becomes a gangster and joins the Lucchese Mafia family. Henry narrates the story and shows his rise in the world of crime, as well as the consequences of his choice of life.

Tommy DeVito (played by Joe Pesci): Henry’s childhood friend, Tommy is an impulsive and violent member of the Mafia family. He doesn’t hesitate to use violence to get what he wants, showing an unpredictable and dangerous personality.

Jimmy Conway (played by Robert De Niro): Another prominent member of the Lucchese Mafia family, Jimmy is a seasoned criminal who leads the criminal operations. He is calculating and cunning, but also willing to betray to protect his interests.

Karen Hill (played by Lorraine Bracco): Henry’s wife Karen is attracted to her husband’s criminal lifestyle and becomes his accomplice in illegal activities. Throughout the film, she deals with the conflicts arising from her relationship with Henry and the consequences of her involvement in crime.

Paulie Cicero (played by Paul Sorvino): A senior and respected member of the Lucchese Mafia family, Paulie is a father figure to Henry and the other members. Manages and coordinates criminal activities and tries to maintain order in the family.

These are just some of the main characters featured in the film. There are also many other supporting characters that contribute to the storyline and criminal underworld depicted in “Goodfellas”.

Production

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The film “Goodfellas” was directed by Martin Scorsese and produced by Irwin Winkler. It is based on the book by Nicholas Pileggi called “Wiseguy”, which tells the true story of Henry Hill and his experience in the Mafia.

Production on the film began in 1989, with Scorsese working closely with Pileggi to adapt the book into a screenplay. Pileggi himself co-wrote the screenplay with Scorsese.

The film’s budget was around $25 million, which was a considerable amount at the time. Scorsese worked with cinematographer Michael Ballhaus to create a series of visually compelling images that captured the crime story’s atmosphere.

The casting of the film saw talented actors being chosen to play the various roles. Ray Liotta was cast as Henry Hill, while Joe Pesci got the role of Tommy DeVito. Robert De Niro, an actor who had previously worked with Scorsese on several films, was cast as Jimmy Conway. Lorraine Bracco was cast as Karen Hill.

The shooting of the film took place mainly in and around New York City. Scorsese sought to recreate the atmosphere and locations of the 1950s, 60s and 70s, using authentic sets and locations that reflected the era and setting of the story.

“Goodfellas” was released in theaters on September 19, 1990 and was a success with both critics and audiences. The film received six Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director for Scorsese and Best Supporting Actor for Joe Pesci, who ultimately won the award. The film helped solidify Scorsese’s reputation as one of the best directors in American cinema and left an indelible mark on the gangster film genre.

Distribution and Reception

“Goodfellas” was released in theaters on September 19, 1990. The film garnered very positive reception from both critics and audiences.

Critically, the film was widely praised for its direction, screenplay, performances of the actors and the realistic atmosphere that Scorsese managed to create. The gritty and authentic depiction of the criminal underworld, coupled with an engaging storytelling, impressed critics, who praised the film for its cultural relevance and its ability to keep viewers glued to the screen.

The audience responded positively to the film, which became a huge box office hit.”Goodfellas” grossed over $46 million in the United States alone, vastly exceeding its production budget. The popularity of the film was supported by its growing reputation over time, thanks also to home video releases and subsequent television broadcasts.

The film received numerous accolades and nominations. Joe Pesci won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Tommy DeVito, and the film received further Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Editing.

“Goodfellas” it has also left a lasting imprint on popular culture. His influence was evident in a number of subsequent films that either drew on the gangster genre or tried to capture the energy and mood of Scorsese’s film.

Today,”Goodfellas” is regarded as a cinematic classic and continues to be regarded for its technical mastery, memorable performances, and its ability to tell a gripping and engaging crime story.

Style

The style of “Goodfellas” features several distinctive elements that help make the film a classic in the gangster movie genre. Here are some characteristics of the style of the film:

Dynamic Direction: Martin Scorsese uses energetic and engaging direction to tell the story. His ability to create fast-paced montage sequences, coupled with bold, fluid camera movements, help give the film a brisk pace and constant tension.

Use of soundtrack: The soundtrack of”Goodfellas” plays a significant role in the narrative. Scorsese carefully selects musical pieces of the era, ranging from rock ‘n’ roll to pop, to underline the emotions and create contrasts between the images on the screen and the music. The soundtrack becomes a distinctive element and a perfect accompaniment for the stories of the characters.

Non-linear Storytelling: The film uses a non-linear narrative structure, jumping back and forth in time to tell the story of Henry Hill. This narrative approach breaks the linear chronology, creating a suspense and curiosity in the audience, while discovering the background and consequences of the actions of the characters.

Gritty realism: Scorsese tries to portray the world of the mafia in a realistic and gritty way, without sugarcoating or romanticism. The scenes of violence are graphic and merciless, and the raw and authentic language used by the characters contributes to the atmosphere of authenticity.

Voiceovers: Protagonist Henry Hill serves as the narrator through voiceovers, providing commentary and reflections on his life as a gangster. This narrative element gives a personal and intimate dimension to the story, allowing the audience to enter the mind of the protagonist.

Overall, the style of “Goodfellas” is a mix of raw realism, dynamic direction, careful music selection and non-linear narrative structure. These elements come together to create an immersive and unforgettable cinematic experience, which has made the film a benchmark in the genre of mafia movie.

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Curiosities and Anecdotes

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Here are some curiosities and interesting anecdotes related to the film”Goodfellas”:

Joe Pesci Improvisation: Actor Joe Pesci, who plays Tommy DeVito, is known for his brilliant and unpredictable performances. Many of his scenes in the film were improvised, including some of his most iconic lines. The famous scene of the “I’m here to have fun!” it was completely improvised by Pesci during filming.

The “One Take” scene: One of the most famous scenes in the film is the long sequence where Henry and Karen enter the Copacabana Club through the side entrance. This scene was shot in one long take, without cuts, and required complex choreography by the actors and crew. The scene was improvised, with the actors moving through the venue as cameras followed them. It has become one of the most celebrated and iconic sequences in cinema.

Martin Scorsese Cameo: Director Martin Scorsese makes a brief cameo in the film as a cab passenger who is killed by Tommy DeVito. Scorsese has often made small appearances in his films.

Genuine Reaction: During the scene where Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci) improvises the story about painting the picture in the restaurant, Ray Liotta’s (Henry Hill) surprised reaction is genuine. Scorsese had asked Pesci to improvise the story without informing Liotta beforehand, to capture his natural reaction.

De Niro and the Lobster: In the scene where Jimmy Conway (Robert De Niro) orders lobster in the restaurant, the line “Bring me a big lobster” was improvised by De Niro. The reaction of the waiter, who replies “All lobsters are big, sir”, is authentic.

The Real Life of Henry Hill: The Movie is based on the true story of Henry Hill, a former gangster who teamed up with the authorities to testify against members of the mafia. After his testimony, Hill and his family were placed in the witness protection program and lived under false identities to avoid any revenge.

These are just some of the anecdotes and curiosities related to the film”Goodfellas”. The film has a rich production history and has left an indelible mark on popular culture, thanks to its memorable scenes and the performances of the actors.

Themes

The film”Goodfellas” deals with several complex and profound themes. Here are some of the main themes of the film:

The Life of Crime: The film explores the world of organized crime and its consequences. It shows Henry Hill’s rise in the mob world, his participation in illegal activities, and the challenges and consequences he faces as a result of his life choice.

Friendship and Betrayal:”Goodfellas” highlights the concept of friendship within the criminal context. The bonds of friendship between Henry, Tommy and Jimmy are tested by the dangerous nature of their lifestyle, leading to betrayals and tensions within the group.

Identity and Authenticity: Henry Hill’s character is confronted with his identity and tries to find a sense of authenticity in his life of crime. However, she eventually realizes that her identity and sense of self is distorted and corrupted as a result of her actions.

Family: The film explores the concept of family within the mafia. Henry’s biological family is an important element, but the concept of “family” also extends to the Mafia family to which he belongs. It shows how loyalty and protection of its members are important values, but they are often tested and can lead to divisions and conflicts.

Corruption and Moral Decay: The film examines the corruption and moral decay that occurs in the criminal underworld. As Henry moves up the crime ladder, his morality deteriorates and he becomes involved in increasingly violent and immoral acts. The film highlights how money, power and violence can corrupt people and destroy their lives.

Nostalgia for the past: The film presents a nostalgia for the past and for the golden age of organized crime in the United States. Henry and the other characters nostalgically recall the 1950s and 1960s, when it seemed the life of crime offered a sense of adventure and belonging.

These are just some of the themes addressed in the film”Goodfellas”. The film explores a number of complex and moral issues, offering an unfiltered view of the world of organized crime and the people involved in it.

Director

martin-scorsese

The director of”Goodfellas” and Martin Scorsese, one of the gods most acclaimed directors and influential in the world of cinema. Scorsese was born on November 17, 1942 in Queens, New York, and is of Italian and Irish descent.

Scorsese began his film career in the 1960s, directing several short films and documentaries. His first feature film, “Who’s Knocking at My Door?” (1967), garnered critical attention for its bold storytelling and distinctive visual style.

In the years since, Scorsese has continued to make impactful films spanning various genres. He is known for his mastery of portraying complex and troubled character stories, often exploring themes such as guilt, violence, religion and identity.

Some of his most famous films include ‘Taxi Driver’ (1976), ‘Raging Bull’ (1980), ‘Gangs of New York’ (2002), ‘The Departed’ (2006), ‘The Wolf of Wall Street” (2013) and “The Irishman” (2019).

Scorsese is considered a master director, known for his artistic vision and his ability to direct actors. His distinctive style includes the use of dynamic filming, fast-paced editing, well-crafted soundtrack, and complex subject matter. He influenced numerous subsequent filmmakers and helped redefine American cinema.

For his work, Scorsese has received numerous accolades, including the Academy Award for Best Director for “The Departed” in 2007. He is also a passionate advocate for the preservation and enhancement of cinema, actively engaging in film preservation and promotion of film culture.

The collaboration between Scorsese and Robert De Niro, one of his star actors, is particularly famous, with the two having worked together on many successful films, including several masterpieces such as “Taxi Driver”, “Raging Bull” and”Goodfellas”.

Martin Scorsese is considered one of the greatest directors in the history of cinema and his contribution to the world of the seventh art is indisputable.

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