Hello and welcome to Ryan’s Movie Reviews! As a heads up, this review will not spoil anything in the film but will refer to scenes. You can go ahead and read this and nothing would be spoilt when you watch Goodfellas, but it’d be better if you watched the film first then read my review.
Those who saw BBC’s latest TV hit, McMafia, know that it’s incredibly easy to get sucked into that life. I couldn’t help but think of a few films that I’d seen that reminded me of the series. Goodfellas instantaneously sprang to mind and I rewatched it. The Martin Scorsese film was as fantastic as it was the first time, but people that I’ve spoken to haven’t really heard about it. I’d like to shed some light on this brilliant blockbuster.
With Martin Scorsese as director and a cast including Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci, Goodfellas is actually based on a true story. There was a Henry Hill who was part of the mafia. This was documented in Nicholas Pileggi’s book, ‘Wiseguys’. It was from this book at Scorsese followed the sequence to produce this film.
Martin Scorsese directed this true story crime drama and did it perfectly. One little fact that I love is that Scorsese brought Pileggi (author of ‘Wiseguys’) to do the screenplay with him. That was such a brilliant idea, as it allowed the film to be brought to life in the best way possible. The casting choices for Goodfellas were spot on, even down to the actors playing young Henry and Tommy, there’s nothing I’d change there either. It’s rare that I say this about a movie, but all three main characters (Henry, Jimmy and Tommy) were all perfectly portrayed and I could find no fault with them. Ray Liotta played our protagonist, Henry Hill. No one could have done a better job than Liotta. He was well-suited to a gangster who had been with the mob all his life. Liotta brought a sense of innocence yet awesomeness to Henry Hill’s character which was great for the film. Robert De Niro played Jimmy Conway, a long time member of the mafia. I loved De Niro as Jimmy as he presented Jimmy as a force to be reckoned with and having a strong presence. No one else could have done this the way De Niro did, and it made the film more enjoyable to watch. Finally, Tommy was played by Joe Pesci. Though Tommy in real life was actually 6’2, Pesci’s portrayal seems more comedic and somewhat Napoleonic. The infamous ‘you think I’m funny?’ scene highlights how the world of the mafia is full of uncertainty and Pesci did this scene, and many others, so superbly. Paul Sorvino played Paul ‘Paulie’ Cicero, the head of the mob. He was like Jimmy where he was a force to be reckoned with and a man of high power and status. Sorvino was the right choice as he gave Cicero a sense of massiveness. Henry’s wife, Karen Hill, was played by Lorraine Bracco. Bracco had the perfect accent for Karen and the on-screen chemistry between Karen and Henry was fantastic. Liotta and Bracco executed the ups and downs of the relationship wonderfully. On that note actually, the relationship between Henry and each of the aforementioned mob characters was amazing, so well done to Ray Liotta on that front.
I can’t really remember much of the songs in the film, but I can recall scenes of when it was used. The music was good, especially as whenever something big and bad was happening, the music accompanying the scene would usually be quite calm and jolly. The music playing during the ‘Sunday 11th May’ act was perfectly suited and the scene itself was gripping. The best example of music in Goodfellas for me was the bodies being discovered montage with ‘Layla’ playing in the back. For me, this was one of the most memorable scenes.
Following from that, there are a few amazing scenes from Goodfellas that make it so fantastic. These may relate to spoilers, so you have been warned! Firstly, the opening was incredible. It was powerful and immediately set the tone of the movie. The scene with the letter from school and the postman was interesting to watch, popped out of nowhere and showed how mafia sucked Henry in. I liked the wedding scene with the Petey’s, Paulie’s and Marie’s as it gave a bit of humour as a break from the film. As mentioned earlier, the ‘you think I’m funny?’ moment from Tommy shows how your life in the mafia can be over in a matter of seconds (that’s not a spoiler, don’t worry). The clip from prison shows how the mafia are so notorious and have power no matter where they are or who they’re dealing with, and it was somewhat enjoyable to watch. One of the best scenes to watch for me was the Christmas scene at the bar with everyone spending, it was good fun to watch. To say the least, the Morrie story was quite dark and a little twisted in my opinion. However, this was not as twisted as what I’ll call the ‘Layla montage’. It was an amazing montage that was quite gory and twisted but yet so thrilling and enjoyable to watch. There are quite a few superb scenes in Goodfellas, but do yourself a favour and go watch it, for it is truly spectacular!
The story was great. I love any film that is based on a true story because it’s so intriguing to see how a director and actors will present it to the audience. Scorsese did an excellent job with Goodfellas, but I did personally find it a little slow moving in a couple places. This was because I found that it would make a point, give an example of it, but make too much of an example out of it. That being said, Goodfellas doesn’t lack in any other areas. It’s one of the best mafia movies I’ve seen and, as a fan of goriness and violence in movies, it was highly entertaining.
Goodfellas receives 8.8/10 from me. From all the goriness to the incredible characters, and the fact that it is based on a true story, I urge you to watch this film and I believe it’s Scorsese’s best film. Not only is it full of twists every now and again, but it gives a real insight into the life of the mafia family and how easy it is to get sucked in and how hard it is to get out. It’s available on Amazon Prime movies, and definitely worth the watch!
Thanks for reading week 6 of Ryan’s Movie Reviews. Follow me on WordPress, Instagram (@ryans.movies.reviews) and Twitter (@RyansMovieRevi1) to be the first to read my reviews, but I’ll also be retweeting and tweeting movie news and opinions on the Twitter, so be sure to follow it! Also, comment what you think I should review next and let me know what you thought of the BAFTA awards, Three Billboards did fantastically!
I’ll see you next Tuesday for when I review a Christopher Nolan movie. See you then!