Goodfellas was released in 1990, and is an adaptation of a book written by Nicholas Pileggi called Wiseguy. The book is non-fiction and is based on the stories of gangster and Lucchese crime family associate, Henry Hill. Hill eventually turned FBI informant.
The movie provides a fascinating glimpse into the secretive, and often violent underworld of the mob families in New York. It follows the life and ascent – and eventually the fall – of Henry Hill. As he was growing up in a poor neighborhood in Brooklyn, half-Irish, half-Sicilian Hill came to look up to the ‘made’ guys, and started out by running errands for them. In time he becomes part of the family, after spending time in jail rather than informing on his accomplices. He quickly rises through the ranks, but the fact that he is part-Irish ensures that he could never become a ‘made man’ in the family. Eventually, through some of his badly thought-out actions and dealings, he is on the radar of the Feds, and also his fellow mobsters, who feel he is a threat to the security of the family.
The cast includes Ray Liotta as Henry Hill, Robert De Niro as James Conway, Joe Pesci as Tommy DeVito, Frank Vincent as Billy Batts, Lorraine Braco as Hill’s wife Karen and Paul Sorvino as Paul Cicero. The movie was directed by Martin Scorsese, who also wrote the screenplay, alongside Nicholas Pileggi. Joe Pesci won Best Supporting Actor at the Academy Awards for his role as DeVito.
‘Complex, volatile, ironic and disquieting, Scorsese’s Goodfellas is a masterly achievement in intense observation’ A review by Kirk Honeycutt for Hollywood Reporter. Sep 19, 2019
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