Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) is a young Irish-Italian American boy who gets a job at a taxi-cab exchange just over the road from his house. The owner comes in the shape of Paul Cicero (Paul Sorvino) who is actually the head of the local Mafia. Pretty soon, Henry is a young petty criminal who is introduced to James Conway (Robert DeNiro). Years later, Henry is a big-time thief alongside James and their friend, Tommy De Vito (Joe Pesci) and later becomes a middle-aged crack cocaine addict and dealer.
Goodfellas is the realistic true story of Henry Hill’s rise and fall. What a wonderful film! Martin Scorsese does a fabulous job of directing modern day Godfather tale with a brilliant cast. The day-to-day account of the goings on in these people’s lives was very realistically told, and made for a very enthralling watch.
All the lead performances were tremendous. Liotta as Henry was terrific. Obviously a lot of weight was put on him as he was the one who was telling the story, therefore for you to buy into it, you had to believe in him. Well, I fully believed in him. Liotta showed the friendship Henry had with James and Tommy very well, and the admiration and respect Henry had for Paul was also very clear. However, my favourite relationships portrayed by Liotta were those shared with all the women in his life. Henry hadn’t a single simple, easy association with any woman he got to know. He stood up a date, who went after him at his beloved taxi-cab exchange – they later got married and she tried to kill him many years later. He didn’t get on with his mother-in-law, and his many mistresses gave him all a lot more grief than they were worth. Even his babysitter gave him a hard time. Bless him…
De Niro as James was also very good. He played the guy who got stuff done and was friends with everyone, including judges and police officers, but also scared everyone at the same time. In all the operations the three men conducted, he and Henry were the brains and they both made sure that things went to plan. However, if a job went pear-shaped, James was the one who went about sorting someone to clean up after them all. Whilst Henry might have just wanted to be a businessman dressed as a gangster, James was the whole hog, and De Niro pulled it off extremely well.
Then there was a little tornado in the form of Joe Pesci. How good was he as Tommy De Vito? He could turn on a six pence and was a real loose cannon. Tommy was a proper gangster who just so happened to be Henry’s best friend. This guy was so unpredictable you wouldn’t believe it. One minute, he could be laughing and joking with you, the next he could be waving a gun in you face. He was mad, there is truly no other way of putting it. Pesci played him beautifully, and won himself an Oscar which was very well deserved.
Again, Goodfellas is a very realistic rebelling of Henry Hill’s rise and fall which was very well written by Scorsese and a man called Nicholas Pileggi, who actually wrote the book from which the film was adapted.
All in all, I’d go as far as to say that Goodfellas is a must-see. Ranked number seventeen in IMDB’s all-time 250, clearly I am not the only one to think this. Go ahead; do something positive with your life and watch this.