Updated: Jun 17, 2020
Considered the greatest gangster movie, and possibly one of the best movies of all time, Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas (1990) is a masterpiece in all of its glory, through and through. Based upon Nicholas Pileggi’s 1985, non-fiction book Wiseguy, the film stars Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, and Joe Pesci. The film revolves around Liotta’s character, Henry Hill, who at a young age became enthralled in the world of gangsters and the mafia based in New York. Eventually joining the mob, Henry works his way up in the rankings that lead to an unhealthy lifestyle filled with murder, adultery, and drug addiction. Feeling the dangers of this world, Henry is tempted to crack under the pressure…Do I really need to continue further with the plot of Goodfellas?
The thought of a single movie being flawless may be an inconceivable concept—Unless it is in reference to Goodfellas! This gangster movie is about as good as it gets. Scorsese goes all out on this one and leaves an impression on Hollywood and the global film industry that still has not been replicated. Although attempted, the moviemaking within Goodfellas is unbeatable. However, Goodfellas is not the most flashy work in Scorsese’s catalog. The camera work is not the most complex we have seen from the director—except for the “Copacabana” long take! The basics of filmmaking are effectively brought into this movie, making it the epicenter of motion pictures. Revealing just how powerful Scorsese’s directing capabilities are, Goodfellas is a film school all within itself.
Scorsese specializes in capturing a certain time period and really excels in sharing aspects of the dated culture like no other director. Whether it is the time period’s music that plays within each scene, the references to historical events, or a certain way a scene is filmed, Scorsese lets you know and feel the film’s world and setting. He also creates a perfect anti-hero. Ironically, Henry describes De Niro’s character, Jimmy, as “the kind of guy who rooted for the bad guys in the movies” and that is exactly what Goodfellas does! Without missing beat, this film has you engaged for the entirety of the two hours and 28-minute runtime, rooting for the bad guys, even though you know you should not.
Story/Plot – 20/20 Direction – 20/20 Acting - 20/20
Cinematography – 20/20 Score/Soundtrack – 20/20
The Founder of @HennionProductions,