Goodfellas (1990)

 ●  English ● 2 hrs 28 mins

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Raw and rugged, this fast-paced crime thriller views the mob lives of three pivotal figures in the 1960's and 70's New York. Henry Hill is a local boy turned gangster in a neighborhood full of the roughest and toughest. Tommy Devito is a pure bred gangster, who turns out to be Henry's best friend. Jimmy Conway puts the two of them together, and runs some of the biggest hijacks and burglaries the town has ever seen. After an extended jail sentence, Henry must sneak around the back of the local mob boss, Paulie Cicero, to live the life of luxury he has always dreamed of. In the end, the friends end up in a hell of a jam, and must do anything they can to save each other, and stay alive. How will the life of gangster treat each of them? How will their futures unfold?
See Storyline (May Contain Spoilers)

Cast: Lorraine Bracco, Robert De Niro

Crew: Martin Scorsese (Director), Michael Ballhaus (Director of Photography)

Rating: A (India)

Genres: Crime, Drama

Release Dates: 19 Sep 1990 (India)

Tagline: Shooting people was 'No big deal'.

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Did you know? Ray Liotta's mother died of cancer during filming. Liotta says that he used his anger over losing his mother for certain scenes, the pistol-whipping scene in particular. Read More
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Film Type:
Feature Film
Colour Info:
Sound Mix:
Dolby SR
Frame Rate:
24 fps
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1
Shooting people was 'No big deal'.
Murderers come with smiles.
Three Decades of Life in the Mafia.
Audio/Video Mismatch
When Janice hands her dog to Tommy, we hear Tommy's voice saying that he's "gonna eat this f****** dog", but the movement of his mouth doesn't match his voice".

Audio/Video Mismatch
When Karen screams, "He pushed me out of the car," her mouth is not moving.

Audio/Video Mismatch
When Jimmy, Tommy, Carbone, and Maury are getting in the car right before Tommy kills Maury, you hear 4 car doors shut when it should only be 3. Maury is still standing with the passenger door open.

Audio/Video Mismatch
When Billy Batts is mocking Tommy in the bar, he eventually raises his glass and says "Salud, Tommy", but his lips aren't moving.

Audio/Video Mismatch
When Billy Batts says, "What?" to Tommy in the bar, Billy's lips don't move.

Character Error
During the prison dinner scene, Paulie says, "Freddie, Vinnie, come eat." There was no Freddie; he was talking to Johnnie Dio.

Young Henry is right-handed; older Henry is left-handed.

When Karen visits Henry in jail the daughter sitting on her lap plays with blocks. These blocks change between shots.

After Tommy shoots Spider's foot, Henry gets up to help him, but can be seen sitting down in the background.

When teenage Henry is given the keys to park a "wise-guy's" Cadillac, he gets into a 1952 or 1953 model. After Henry parks it, an overhead long shot shows him getting out of a 1949 Cadillac.

After the first shot of Tommy killing Stacks, the following shot of Tommy shooting him, there is already blood splatter on the wall behind Tommy.

When Henry gets pinched selling cigarettes, one of the arresting officers grabs all of the cash out of Henry's right hand. In the next shot, Henry has some cash back in his right hand.

When Karen throws things on the table while visiting Henry in prison, her youngest daughter is cries on Henry's lap. When the girl hugs him, she is suddenly holding a bottle and pacifier.

When the police car pulls up while Jimmy is handing out cartons of cigarettes from the truck heist, the same two-tone brown 1957 Buick two-door sedan drives by several times, in the same direction, in the background.

The same truck is used in 3 hijacking scenes: the diner, the guy that they take his drivers licenses away and possibly one other. It's the truck with the red cab in the front.

Factual Mistake
Henry looks into a bag filled with $20 bills. They're signed by "James A. Baker" (James Baker III), who was Treasury Secretary in 1985. The scene is set in the mid to late 1970s. Also, the money is clearly photocopies and not genuine currency.

Factual Mistake
When Maury's address is shown in his TV ad, not only is the number not hyphenated (as all Queens addresses are) are, but address should be "Neighborhood, NY", not "Queens, NY". Except for Manhattan, which is always "New York, NY", the names of the other New York boroughs are used in addresses.

Factual Mistake
When Henry picks up his brother at the hospital after nearly being in an accident, the doctor gives him an orange tablet which is suppose to Valium 10mg but Valium 10mg tablets are blue. Valium 5mg tablets are yellow; therefore, it could not have been two 5mg tablets.

Factual Mistake
In the 1955 sequences, Tommy DeVito is portrayed as a boy about the same age as Henry Hill, maybe slightly older. Pesci's character was based on real-life mobster who was born in 1950. He would have been 4 or 5 years old when these events took place.

Factual Mistake
When Henry says "Air France made me. . .", the aircraft shown is a Convair 240, which Air France has never flown.

Revealing Mistakes
When Karen visits Henry in prison and she has to sign the register, she scans the entries in the book. With the camera looking at the register from Karen's point of view, Karen spots Henry's name, then her eyes look to the right to see who had visited him. The camera pans to the left, not the right.

Revealing Mistakes
When the mailman's head is pushed into the pizza oven, his hand is clearly seen resting on the inside of the oven door before the image is frozen, even though a cooked pizza is shown inside the oven as it is opened (i.e. it was too hot for him to keep his hand there for the few seconds shown without reacting).

Revealing Mistakes
When Tommy shoots Stacks in the back of the head, it's clear that the blood is coming from off-screen.

Revealing Mistakes
In the slow motion shooting of Stacks Edwards, it is apparent that no spent shell casings are ejected from Tommy's semi-automatic.

Revealing Mistakes
Obvious blood spray used in wide shot of Stacks Edwards Hit. Also, Tommy's gun does not recoil.

Revealing Mistakes
When Henry brings the guns for the silencers that have already been purchased, the silencers are threaded and the barrels are too big. In reality, gun barrels are threaded and the silencers fit over them.

Audio/Video Mismatch
When Tommy kills Stacks, the silencer is heard three times after he shoots Stacks in the head. During the slow-motion replay, Tommy shoots Stacks 5 times in the back, 2 times more than in the previous scene.

When Jimmy opens up the trunk of the car and finds Billy Batts still alive, Tommy pulls out a large butcher knife and plunges it into Batts almost to the hilt several times. He then stands watching while Jimmy empties his gun into Batts' body. There is no blood on either Tommy's hands or the knife.

A title card dates the Billy Batts murder as June 11, 1970. When they go to dig up the grave, Henry says "it's been six months." It should be winter in New York, but the boys are in short sleeves and Henry's kids are going to the beach the next day.

When Tommy kills Stacks, Carbone stands in the doorway and watches Tommy shoot Stacks three more times after shooting him once in the head. In the slow motion alternate view, Carbone is not in the doorway, and Tommy shoots Stacks five more times instead of three.

Factual Mistake
When Tommy shoots Spider in the foot, Tommy fires a total of seven shots from a S&W Model 36 5-shot revolver without reloading.

Revealing Mistakes
When Tommy pulls out the knife to stab Billy Bats, you can see when the light hits it that it is a retractable prop knife.

Revealing Mistakes
After Tommy De Vito kills Morrie from behind in the car, Morrie clearly breathes on the left edge of the screen.
The "You think I'm funny?" scene was based on a story that Joe Pesci acted out for Martin Scorsese. While working in a restaurant as a young man, Pesci once told a mobster that he was funny and the mobster became very angry. Scorsese allowed Pesci and Ray Liotta to improvise the scene. He did not tell the other actors in the scene what would happen because he wanted their genuine surprised reactions.

According to the real Henry Hill, whose life was the basis for the book and film, Joe Pesci's portrayal of Tommy DeSimone was 90% to 99% accurate, with one notable exception; the real Tommy DeSimone was a massively built, strapping man.

The now-legendary Steadicam trip through the nightclub kitchen was a happy accident. Scorsese had been denied permission to go through the front, and had to improvise an alternative.

Ray Liotta's mother died of cancer during filming. Liotta says that he used his anger over losing his mother for certain scenes, the pistol-whipping scene in particular.

In a documentary entitled The Real Goodfella (2006), which aired in the UK, Henry Hill claimed that Robert De Niro would phone him seven to eight times a day to discuss certain things about Jimmy's character, such as how Jimmy would hold his cigarette, etc.

The word "fuck" and its other tenses are used 321 times, for an average of 2.04 per minute. About half of them are said by Joe Pesci.

After the premiere, Henry Hill went around and revealed his true identity. In response, the government kicked him out of the Federal Witness Protection Program.

After Joe Pesci's mother saw the film, she told her son that the movie was good, then asked him if he had to curse so much.

Al Pacino was offered the role of Jimmy Conway but he turned it down due to fears of typecasting. Ironically, that same year Pacino ended up playing a gangster - Big Boy Caprice in Warren Beatty's Dick Tracy (1990). He admits he regrets this decision.

Paul Sorvino wanted to drop out of the role of Paulie three days before filming began because he felt that he lacked the cold personality to play the character. He called his agent and asked to be released from the film. Sorvino's agent told him to think about it for one day before making a final decision. That night, Sorvino looked in the mirror and was frightened by the look on his face. He realized that that look was the look he needed to play Paulie.

Director Martin Scorsese's mother, Catherine Scorsese, plays Tommy's mother. She and the cast ad-libbed the dinner scene. Scorsese's father, Charles Scorsese, plays the prisoner who puts too many onions in the tomato sauce.

Martin Scorsese first got wind of Nicholas Pileggi's book "Wiseguy" when he was handed the galley proofs. Although Scorsese had sworn off making another gangster movie, he immediately cold-called the writer and told him, "I've been waiting for this book my entire life." To which Pileggi replied, "I've been waiting for this phone call my entire life."

The character of 'Fat Andy' whom Henry introduces us to in the bar is played by Louis Eppolito, an ex-NYPD detective whose father, uncle and cousin had all been in the Mafia. In 2005 Eppolito and his police partner were arrested and charged with racketeering, obstruction of justice, extortion and up to 8 murders. They were both sentenced to life imprisonment plus 80 years.

The movie's line "As far back as I could remember I've always wanted to be a gangster." was voted as the #20 of "The 100 Greatest Movie Lines" by Premiere in 2007.

Ray Liotta turned down the part of Harvey Dent in Batman (1989) in order to make Goodfellas (1990).

According to Ray Liotta, Martin Scorsese was so involved in every detail of the cast's wardrobe that he tied Liotta's tie himself to make sure it was accurate for the film's setting.

According to Nicholas Pileggi, some actual mobsters were hired as extras to lend authenticity to scenes. The mobsters gave fake Social Security numbers to Warner Bros. and it is unknown how they received their paychecks.

In January 2014, several New York City organized crime figures were arrested as part of a federal investigation into a series of unsolved crimes, the most famous of which is the central caper in Goodfellas (1990), the 1978 Lufthansa robbery at J.F.K. Airport that netted over $6,000,000 in cash and jewelry.

The first scene filmed was the Morrie's Wigs commercial. Martin Scorsese was inspired by a low-budget commercial that ran in New York City for a replacement window company. Scorsese contacted the company and found that the spokesperson in the ad was Stephen R. Pacca, who owned the company and created the ad himself. Pacca was hired to write, direct and edit the commercial for Morrie's Wigs so it could look like an authentic local ad.

The studio was initially very nervous about the film due to its extreme violence and language. The film reportedly received the worst preview response in the studio's history. Scorsese said that "the numbers were so low it was funny". Nevertheless the film was released without alteration to overwhelming critical acclaim, cementing Scorsese's reputation as America's foremost film-maker.

Robert De Niro wanted to use real money for the scene where Jimmy hands out money. The prop master gave De Niro $5,000 of his own money. At the end of each take, no one was allowed to leave the set until all the money was returned.

When Henry and Karen Hill are negotiating to enter the Witness Protection Program, former U.S. Attorney Edward McDonald plays himself, reenacting what he did in reality.

When Paulie confronts Henry after Henry's released from prison, Paul Sorvino improvised the slap to Ray Liotta's face. Hence Liotta's reaction.

Every one of Robert De Niro's outfits had a watch and a pinkie ring to go with it.

Martin Scorsese reportedly didn't want Ray Liotta to have contact with the real Henry Hill before filming because he had never directed Liotta before and didn't want Hill to influence Liotta.

One of the little girls who plays Henry and Karen's daughters (specifically, the one in Karen's arms who was too shy to give Paulie a kiss when they arrive at his house for dinner) is Lorraine Bracco's actual daughter with Harvey Keitel, Stella.

Bobby Vinton was played by his son Robbie Vinton, who lip-synched to his father's recording.