Goodfellas (1990) is a Biography/Drama/Crime film, that is an adaptation of a non-fiction book Wiseguy by Nicholas Pileggi. The film follows Henry Hill and his crime associates over a period from 1955 to 1980.
Directed by Martin Scorcese (Taxi Driver (1976), Mean Streets (1973)), who often makes movies portraying crime.
Written by Martin Scorcese (I Call First (1967), The Age of Innocence (1993)) and the author of the book Nicholas Pileggi (Casino (1995), City Hall (1996)):
Starring: Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci, Robert DeNiro, Lorraine Bracco, Paul Sorvino, Frank Sivero, Christopher Serrone, Joe D’Onofrio and others.
Not every movie can pull off freeze frames and voice overs, but this one definitely does.
We follow the life of a gangster from his youth, when he’s trying to be one, up until the end where he is some other thing, which I won’t spoil. This is basically summarized by the very famous quote „As far back as I can remember I’ve always wanted to be a gangster”, which is said by Ray Liotta, who plays the main character, but from time to time is shown in his teenage years. Both the kid actors for him and Pesci’s character are pretty good.
Speaking of Joe Pesci, he really gets to shine here, going all out and playing a total maniac. He totally deserved the Oscar he got. Scorcese just knows how to use the guy. The character is a total mental case, as the movie goes on, he becomes more and more short-tempered, like in a restaurant, when Ray Liotta tells him he’s funny, he acts like he’s insulted and asks in what way he’s funny to the point where you think he’s going to pull out a gun, but it turns out it is a joke. A little later in the film and he actually would.
Although it is a bit fractured in the narrative, since it goes over a very long period, the movie is incredibly fluid, well paced and you can get lost in the great story, it is a fun watch.
Wish De Niro had more screen time, but oddly his character is not very interesting, he is kind of passive, but I found him enjoyable nonetheless.
There is one amazing tracking shot and I as most film fans absolutely love them, they’re really sort of hypnotizing, you feel pulled in the film, since that is a lot closer to the way you actually see things, sadly you don’t enjoy a conversation or a walk from multiple angles.
Punches look really painful in this move and that’s not even mentioning the instance when Liotta punches a guy several times with a gun in his hand, that’s just brutal.
I think this movie has both Pesci’s and Liotta’s best performances on film. Although I’ve never really thought of him much seeing his other movies, but I’ve always found his eyes rather trademarkable, because his eye color is very light blue and has the kind of eyelashes that are so full that it looks like he’s wearing eyeliner, you know, like Nestor Carbonel.
Also has a very young Kevin Corrigan in a small role. Just saying. There’s really nothing more to say about that. Umm… the soundtrack is full of great songs!
Martin Scorcese just knows how to do Italian-American movies.
Overall, a great movie, recommended for everyone, a late gangster film classic.