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 mob boss Paul Cicero, the three must do everything they can to keep the life they have always dreamed of, but without getting caught. And now they must all just hope to stay alive.
If you are looking for a list of Oscar snubs, look no further than Goodfellas, because this is probably the biggest snub I have ever seen. Now I obviously have not seen every film from the year 1990, but looking at the nominations Goodfellas received, I think it should have at least won best director and best picture. This is in my opinion one of the greatest films ever made. When I hear "Martin Scoresese's masterpiece" it tends to go with either Raging Bull or Taxi Driver, and I haven't seen Raging Bull (terrible, I know) but I found Goodfellas to definitely be Scorsese's best film. Many people will disagree, but I really stand alongside Ebert with this one, for the most part. I don't know that I would put this above The Godfather for greatest crime film of all time, but it really was close. I will even go as far to say that I personally thought this was better than The Godfather Part 2. That may just be me, but that is how I feel about these films.
Goodfellas is actually a very distrubing film in many ways. While movie lovers will go crazy over this film, a regular viewer is either going to throw up or quit watching before the film is over. The violence is going to make a lot of regular movie goers turn away from the film but, who cares about them. Martin Scorsese and Nicholas Pileggi do an unbelievable job writing this film. Every scene in the film was needed, and everything was very well written. The dialogue was great, and Martin Scorsese's direction was absolutely fantastic. This is the snub I have the biggest problem with. Every scene in the film was shot so well, and never for a minute was I bored. Martin Scorsese brilliantly takes the audience right into the heart of the mob, as awful as it may be, and we all feel for the characters as they go from just little roberies to completely unnecessary murders, even for the mob. If there is something to say about this film over any other crime drama, it really focuses on the actual mob more than any of the others that I have seen do, and that is what Scorsese was going for. I cannot say enough about the brilliance of his job here, so if you have not seen this film you will have to just watch it yourself.
The casting of this film was perfect. Ray Liotta as the young mobster was fantastic, by far in my opinion to be his career performance. Maybe some will disagree, but I thought he deserved a best actor nomination. Even if he doesn't win, he should at least get the honor of being nominated. I am not always a fan of his, but in this film I was. Robert De Niro, well I don't think I need to say much about him, but he was great as always. He seems to enjoy playing gangsters, and he does it very well. Though his best will always come from The Godfather Part 2. Joe Pesci was in every way deserving to win his Oscar. He played the mobster that gets out of hand quickly like no other person on this earth could have. Even though De Niro is my all time favorite actor, Pesci's performance here was probably my favorite. All the supporting actors were great as well, especially that of Lorraine Bracco's performance.
Overall, Goodfellas is one of the greatest films ever made. It perfectly shows the audience the horrors of the mob, with great writing and spotless direction. The acting is superb, and I found basically everything about the film to be fantastic. If I try I can probably find a flaw, but it wouldn't even matter. Goodfellas is Martin Scorsese's finest film.