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A movie directed by Martin Scorsese

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Fabric, Texture, and Nuance of Cinematic Genius

  • Jun 24, 2003
This film is based on a book written by Nicholas Pileggi (Wiseguy) as was Casino based on another of his books (Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas). Both were directed by Scorcese and two of the major characters in both films are portrayed by DeNiro ("Ace" Rothstein and Jimmy Conway) and Joe Pesci (Nicky Santoro and Tommy DeVito). For me, these are the only significant similarities between the two film classics. True, Scorcese effectively employs a number of documentary techniques in both (especially during the first half of Casino) but the setting of GoodFellas is essentially a neighborhood whereas Casino examines the gambling culture of Las Vegas, represented by the Tangiers which is owned by syndicate bosses headquartered elsewhere. Moreover, the character Henry Hill (portrayed as an adult by Ray Liotta) is used as a device by which to explain rites of passage into the local crime world whereas the focal point of Casino is Rothstein as he becomes (in effect) the COO of a major casino and quickly establishes total local control of its operations, then (for various reasons) makes personal decisions which eventually place him and his absentee bosses in harm's way. One of the several reasons I admire Scorcese so much is his talent (indeed genius) for creating so-called "minor" but nonetheless memorable, indeed unforgettable characters. For example, Paul Cicero (portrayed by Paul Sorvino) in this film, a character which may have had some influence on the creation of another character, Tony Soprano. Cicero embodies menace precisely because his personality is so understated. His selective use of a paternalistic posture (reminiscent of Johnny Friendly's, a less-subtle character played by Lee J. Cobb in On the Waterfront) belies his absolute determination to sustain absolute control over his crime operations. Comparisons and contrasts of this film with Casino are probably inevitable. I think both are classics but for different reasons. The former is anchored in local experience, somewhat "small-time" crime if you will, whereas the latter examines the culture of an entire industry in which the scale and impact of crime are far greater. (The same point could be made about Godfather I and Godfather II, although I much prefer to view them in a chronological sequence.) Even in Casino, however, Scorcese constantly locks in on two or three characters in a specific situation. He is at his best when dramatizing the dynamics of verbal and physical violence in small scale (e.g. Raging Bull and The Gangs of New York). In my opinion, like Tolstoy, Scorcese's vision may be "epic" in certain films but the impact of his art is best measured in quite human terms...scene by scene, juxtaposing statement and response, action and reaction.

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October 28, 2010
More Goodfellas reviews
review by . August 30, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
**** out of ****     Gangster films - or Mob films, whatever you prefer to call the genre - are very special to me. Some of my personal favorite films have themes and tones of crime thrillers, and with good reason. I have always enjoyed the style of the films, and among other things, the way the characters talk. Within Gangster cinema you will find some of the freshest, cleverest dialogue ever written for the screen. A lot of these famous films are indeed based on novels, but …
review by . April 06, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) is a young boy growing up in a rough neighborhood full of trouble. Instead of doing normal things like the rest of the kids his age, he decides he will quit going to school and be a gangster. Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci) and Jimmy Conway (Robert De Niro) immediately befriend Henry, and the three of them start to become good friends. They quickly begin to climb the ladder in the mob world, but they could be going too far with their work. Having to go behind the back of their …
review by . July 10, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Martin Scorcese has proved his worth as a director for the last 20 years. With his mafia epics, such as goodfellas and casino, later followed by the departed and gangs of new york, he has shocked the world with his gritty realism and intricate plotlines. Ray Liotta in Goodfellas is the average guy-turned mafia man, and plays the part of the half-irish italian who breaks into the business through a cab stand and pizza shop. The idea that his movie is based on a novel changes the layout, but also …
review by . July 13, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
   looove this movie. can play it  again and again. love that it is based on true events of course. its hard to make a true story entertaining and with a semi happy ending. but of course martin Scorsese never fails at making good movies.  ray liotta's character Hill wants to be a gangsta since he was a kid. admiring the power that those men had while his father is trying to keep him from heading in that direction. well his father can't do much after he becomes aware that …
Quick Tip by . July 24, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Phenominal mobster movie based on real life gangster Henry Hill's mafia experiences. Borrows practically nothing from The Godfather movies and creates it's own memorable legacy. A classic in everyway. I often find myself watching it twice in a row.
Quick Tip by . July 12, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Be prepared for the violence. Otherwise, it is one of the best black comedies out there.
Quick Tip by . August 10, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
What can I say about this film other than it is my favorite film of all-time. Liotta, Pesci and DeNiro are excellent together. A lot of the supporting cast ended up in The Sopranos. Based on Henry Hill's story Wise Guy.
Quick Tip by . July 27, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Second to The Godfather of great gangster films. One of the Greatest films ever and is not even Martin Scorsese's best film
Quick Tip by . August 03, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Another Scorsese Classic, you can't go wrong with the cast, a nigh on perfect film.
Quick Tip by . July 22, 2010
Great Gangster flick... loved joe pesci in this... he was great..I highly recommend this movie
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Robert Morris ()
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Professionally, I am an independent management consultant who specializes in accelerated executive development and breakthrough high-impact organizational performance. I also review mostly business books … more
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Goodfellas is a crime drama released on September 19, 1990 and produced by Warner Bros.  The film was directed by Martin Scorseseand was written by Nicholas Pileggi and MartinScorscese. Goodfellas wasproduced by Iron Winkler, and starred Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, Joe Pessci, LorreainBracco and Paul Sarvino

Goodfellas is about a man named Henry Hill who together with hisfriends, work their way up to through the mob hiearchy..  After its release the film received 18 nominations, and celebrated 32 wins and one Academy Award in 1991 for Best Actorin a Supporting Role.

On its opening day, the film grossed $6.3 million by the end of the weekend.

The film was shot in New York in 1989.  Itwas given an MPAA rating of R and runs 146 minutes.

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Director: Martin Scorsese
Release Date: 9/19/1990
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Martin Scorsese
Runtime: 146 minutes
Studio: Warner Bros
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