Goodfellas Plot Summary:
“As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster”, says Henry Hill in the very beginning of Goodfellas directed by Martin Scorsese, one of the greatest crime movie directors of all time. This slogan has become a cult quotation. Absurd, sarcastic and striking as the movie itself, this saying reveals the general mood of Goodfellas.
Henry (Ray Liotta) is a son of poor Italian immigrants who lives in the US in the heyday of organized crime and drug dealing and dreams to be a gangster more than to become the American president. Growing up in poverty, Henry imagines a romantic halo of freedom and impunity around this occupation and does his utmost to be accepted in the gangster society. The local capo Paul Cicero (Paul Sorvino) accepts Henry as a gofer, and the boy starts working for Jimmy "The Gent" Conway (Robert De Niro) and Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci) assisting the gangsters in their work. These two men start to respect Henry and fully accept him in the gang after the youngster gets to the police for a misdemeanor but doesn’t give away his accomplices. Henry is still mesmerized by this way of life. He falls in love with a Jewish girl called Karen (Lorraine Bracco), but even this can not make him drop his dirty business.
De Niro’s performance in Goodefllas is beyond praise. Though he is a versatile actor, creating stunning gangster images is by all means his winning trick. The role of young Vito Corleone in The Godfather Part II brought him his first Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in the distant 1974. Since that time there was an Italian Mafioso Noodles Aaronson from Once upon a Time in America, an inimitable Al Capone from The Untouchables, a sentimental gang capo Neil McCauley from Heat, and, of course, Jimmy Conway, a charming and cold-blooded criminal from Goodfellas. All these images certainly have some common features but every personage is highly individual, with his own sins, charm and uneasy fate.
Joe Pesci was praised for the role of wild-tempered ribald Tommy and awarded by an Oscar as Best Supporting Actor.
The peculiar thing about Goodfellas is that the movie is based on Nicholas Pillegi΄s non-fiction book Wiseguy, which reflects real events and describes real characters. The author was interested in showing the way of life of the then-gangsters and in dispelling the romantic myths about it. Scorsese does the same thing in his picture. We see the gangster world through the eyes of Henry Hill, a silly youngster charmed by his own illusions. As the plot develops, we witness the crash of all his illusions. Suddenly we understand that the director feels no sympathy for any of his heroes; he just shot an evil, cynical and sarcastic movie about a sick society and rotten people. In Goodfellas Scorsese masterly reveals the darkest corners of people’s souls and this makes the movie especially magnificent. Most critics accept the film positively and stress that it is highly realistic and true-to-life.
To sum it up, Goodfellas is a harsh and cruel crime movie generously seasoned with dark humor and swear words. Is it then worth watching? you will probably ask. Of course it is! This masterpiece from the author of Taxi Driver, The Departed and Shutter Island will hardly leave anyone indifferent.
|Genres:||Action/Adventure | Biopic | Comedy | Crime/Gangster | Drama|
|Produced in:||United States|
|Starring:||Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci, Lorraine Bracco, Paul Sorvino, Frank Sivero, Tony Darrow, Mike Starr, Frank Vincent, Chuck Low|
|Directed by:||Martin Scorsese|
|Produced by:||Barbara De Fina|
8.8 out of 10 (312,769 votes)
|Running Time:||2 hr. 26 min.|
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