Goodfellas (1990)





Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Lorraine Bracco, Paul Sorvino, Frank Sivero, Frank Vincent, Tony Darrow, Mike Starr, Chuck Low, Frank DiLeo, Johnny Williams, Samuel L. Jackson, Frank Adonis, Catherine Scorsese, Gina Mastrogiacomo, Debi Mazar, Margo Winkler, Welker White, Julie Garfield, Paul Herman, Christopher Serrone, Charles Scorsese, Michael Vivalo, Michael Imperioli, Tony Sirico, Frank Pellegrino, Tony Ellis, Elizabeth Whitcraft, Illeana Douglas, Anthony Powers, Tony Lip, Joseph Bono, Kevin Corrigan, Tobin Bell, Vito Picone


Based on a true story, the film revolves around Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) and his two unstable friends Jimmy (Robert De Niro) and Tommy (Joe Pesci) as they gradually climb the ladder from petty crime to violent murders.


Here it is, the best mafia-themed film since The Godfather. Perfect direction, perfect cast, perfect editing, perfect writing: flawless. You don't even need to like gangsters to adore this film.

Flashy, captivating, engaging, brilliant, and witty, Goodfellas is a timeless masterpiece, with a Martin Scorsese at the top of his game, and more comedy than many films of that kind can claim. 

Let's start with the writing. Martin Scorsese and Nicholas Pileggi really did their best with the screenplay. As a matter of fact it is one of all time best. The dialogue is brilliant and sharp, and filled with memorable quotes.

Unlike other gangster movies, there are no families here. Everything revolves around the lives of three goodfellas, we learn about their impeccable style, what their principles are, and in which aspects they differ. Their lives are told through parties, wives, and lovers. What is really shown to us is an everyday Mafia story.

Scorsese shows violence without too much of a glorification - as usually happens in these kind of movies - and exempt himself from expressing any moral judgment. He does nothing but showing a reality. Period.

The pace is brilliant: the 146 minutes fly by, and there is none a single dull moment. That is because Martin Scorsese manages to make every single thing in the film important, and engaging, from the brutal cold blooded murders, to the details regarding the preparation of the sauce. 

The extraordinary editing by Thelma Schoonmaker and the delightful cinematography by Michael Ballhaus also contribute in the making of this masterpiece. The wonderful soundtrack perfectly emphasizes the passing years, and each piece is always at the right place at the right time.

Young-ish, handsome, and charismatic, Ray Liotta gives an excellent performance as Henry Hill. Robert De Niro does a great job as Jimmy, and well adapts to this secondary role. However, the real star of the film that really stands out is Joe Pesci, spectacular and terrifying as Tommy, genuinely deserving the Academy Award. Also, Lorraine Bracco does an excellent job as Karen, Henry's wife.


Henry Hill: For as long as I can remember I always wanted to be a gangster. To me that was better than being president of the United States. To be a gangster was to own the world.


  1. This movie is flat out brilliant. Everyone in the cast was great, but I certainly agree that Pesci ia the real standout. I personally rank this one behind The Godfather Part II, but that's it, as far as gangster flicks go. Great review.

  2. Oh wow, such a high rating! I haven't heard much about this film but its name has come up a few times before. I will definitely make sure to check it out now because I do love my mafia films.