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1990 146 mins dir. Martin Scorsese stars - Robert De Niro - Jimmy Conway Ray Liotta - Henry Hill Joe Pesci - Tommy De Vito Lorraine Bracco - Karen Hill Paul Sorvino - Paul Cicero Frank Sivero - Frankie Carbone Frank Vincent - Billy Batts

There is no doubt that Goodfellas is a true gangster classic which represents high points in the careers of those involved in it. Scorsese tells the true story of Henry Hill and his cohorts superbly, starting as he means to go on - with a violent, profanity ladened fast paced tale of Hill's rise to prominence in New York's organised crime underworld during the sixties and seventies and his subsequent rapid demise as he goes from airport heists to drug dealing and finally ends up in the witness protection scheme where he remains to this day.

As Scorsese takes us on this twenty five year journey we are introduced to and get to know the various wiseguys that Hill associates with, from those at the very top like Paulie Cicero to people like Morrie (Chuck Low) and brief introductions to Jimmy "Two Times" and Fat Andy etc. And then there is Tommy De Vito. Let's make no mistake about it, this is Pesci's finest performance which rightly won him the Best Supporting Actor Oscar. Unlike Casino in which he basically plays the same character but with a different name, in Goodfellas Pesci is far more believable as a guy who will kill people without thinking twice but despite this, he doesn't make the audience dislike him, he is a far more rounded character and despite all his violence, and after all the fast talking and wisecracks you can't help but like him and find him amusing.

Pesci is the one with most of the best lines in the film, the most famous of which is the Funny How? scene which legend has it was written and directed by Pesci at the request of Scorsese. It is a scene that demonstrates both sides of Tommy's character perfectly and which couldn't have been bettered in any way. It's definitely one of my favourite movie moments.

Pesci's undoubtably steals the show in Goodfellas but every single character in the film is played to perfection. Liotta, despite not going on to bigger and better things after Goodfellas, is convincing as Henry and De Niro despite not having as much screen time as one might expect in such a film plays the charismatic but also "violent when necessary" Jimmy Conway, who holds a lot of sway within the organisation and is the orchestrator of most of the heists. Others of note include : Lorraine Bracco, Frank Vincent, Paul Sorvino and Catherine Scorsese who plays Tommy's mother, all of whom fit their respective roles in the film perfectly.

Goodfellas is good enough to be compared in quality to Martin Scorsese's other two films that can legitimately be described as classics - Taxi Driver and Raging Bull, some may even say that it betters them. There is even an argument when comparing it to The Godfather. Whilst in The Godfather Coppola romanticised mob life, Goodfellas shows the dream life that Henry Hill imagined in it's full bloody and violent glory and the fact that they are completely different films on most levels could, if you are looking to have an argument with someone, give rise to debate about which of the two films is the superior of the two. I'll be conspicuous by staying right out of this argument.


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