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"GoodFellas" (1990), Stylized American Crime Film Directed by Martin Scorsese, Produced by Irwin Winkler


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I'm not a big fan of violent gangster films - Bonnie and Clyde started it all in 1967, and it continued to "go downhill" (that's my own personal term) during the next 40-50 years, finally having reached its basal conclusion with as much graphic violence as the CGI staff has time to program. I don't like anything by Quentin Tarantino (not Pulp Fiction, not Reservoir Dogs, not anything), but I do enjoy several works by Martin Scorsese, in a "guilty pleasure" sort of way.

In theory non-fiction, as it reflects Lucchese crime family associate Henry Hill - who narrates the film - I suppose it reflects real-world violence, and is, in that sense, "important."

Looking back, it's hard to believe that this film was made on a $25 million budget in 1990, and brought in $47 million at the box office as recently as 1990 - a success, sure, but not a blockbuster given how famous the movie is. Roger Ebert named it, "The best mob movie ever," and GoodFellas is #94 on AFI's "100 Years, 100 Movies" list. There's no doubt about it: It's famous.

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Agree with you on Tarantino. To me, Goodfellas is a masterpiece in the way it traces Hill's (Ray Liotta) descent into drug-fueled paranoia. Also, you can almost think of it more as a buddy picture than a mob picture.

I just finished this movie today (I saw it when it first came out, long ago). Two comments:

1) Drug-fueled, yes, but it wasn't entirely paranoia (although it masterfully led the viewer to believe it was).

2) I'd say more of a "character study" than a "buddy picture" - buddies don't go around whacking each other! :)

"Ray Liotta Explains What the Real Henry Hill Thought of GoodFellas" by Scott Meslow on theweek.com

"The Real Gangster Behind GoodFellas Lives On in Stories of Middletown Woman" by Christopher Hoffman on courant.com (*)

"Why Wasn't GoodFellas' Henry Hill Murdered by the Mob?" on theguardian.com

(*) This just came out today.

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I’ve watched this twice this year.  Big fan of mafia films.  I grew up around the corner from one big shot in the mafia who was later indicted and not far from the castle/estate of probably  NewJersey’s most notorious Don.  As a kid we would trek some miles and through woods to peer down from afar at the Don’s mansion.

It fueled my film interest in this genre.  

Goodfellas has an amazing soundtrack and beat to it that increases in intensity as the film moves along and escalates with the drug craziness.  Meanwhile Joe Pesci is a freakingly vicious nutcase who got out of hand and was probably appropriately offed as he was out of control.  Great film character.  He was believably despicable 

Killing off all the participants in the airport robbery was crazy mafioso activity and enriching about this group and their ethos.

Never “ratting” was an element of my kid years as befits the region and seeing Liotta finally spill the beans on others was amazing.  I could watch this film another dozen times.  

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25 minutes ago, DaveO said:

NewJersey’s most notorious Don.

Only because I live in Virginia.


People like Ruggiero Boiardo scare the crap out of me. Then again, so does Chef Boiardi.

(All jokes aside, it's amazing that these thuggish goons have been romanticized to the degree which they've been. That doesn't make them any less awesome, however, and I guess it's no different than Billy the Kid et al.)

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2 hours ago, DonRocks said:

(All jokes aside, it's amazing that these thuggish goons have been romanticized to the degree which they've been. That doesn't make them any less awesome, however, and I guess it's no different than Billy the Kid et al.)

Romanticized”.  Not in my world.  It was real with the Don’s son living around the corner from the house in which I grew up and a small list of incidents which made one very aware of their presence.  None threatening but one was wary.  I knew not to ever speak of them.  

Two weeks ago I had lunch with an old classmate/ friend who in the course of a long chat referenced our town mates, the mafia folks.  It made me slightly gulp.  I knew I never mentioned their names but he mentioned them with a knowing smile as if their presence was well known in that small town.  

We are at Chatters and yakked a bit about hometowns with Kornheiser.  He referenced the Sopranos and we listed scenes from our town and nearby.

The references got me to watch Goodfellas again.  The soundtrack is amazing- great work by Scorsese and his team- it paces the film.  Pesci does a compelling job playing a crazed violent scumbag with a trigger temper.   The scene toward the end when Lorraine Bracco’s character is afraid of DeNiro’s character after an entire film where he had been best buds with her husband—-Eww.  Everything had changed- scary/threatening.

I’ll watch it more times.   It’s a little close to home.   


And a story about Ruggiero Boiardo, or Ritchie the Boot.

Around the time I was either in 6th or 7th grade, a classmate and friend of my elder brother used to sell Christmas trees in town.  He sold them from a lot on the main commercial road and door to door.  He was the high school football star and biggest guy on that team.

He was selling them door to door and knocked on the front door of the Boiardo home.  Ritchie the Boot met him at the door with a gun and told him to “get the hell out of there” or words to that effect.  That classmate ran to our nearby house and told my brother.  

Ever more reason to keep our distance from our local “celebrities” and not chat about them for fear of loose words getting back to us.

All too real yet no incidents that were tragic or newsworthy.

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