348. Goodfellas

Movie: Goodfellas

Release Date: September 19, 1990

Director: Martin Scorsese

Starring: Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci, Lorraine Bracco, Paul Sorvino.

Tag Lines: ‘”As far back as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be a gangster.” — Henry Hill, Brooklyn, N.Y. 1955.’

“Three Decades of Life in the Mafia.”

“Murderers come with smiles.”

“Shooting people was ‘No big deal.'”

“In a world that’s powered by violence, on the streets where the violent have power, a new generation carries on an old tradition.”

Relevance: I’m not one of those film fans that absolutely loves every single Martin Scorsese movie that is released. I like most of them, really dislike some of them and definitely love three of them. ‘Goodfellas’ is in the love group, as is two other Scorsese films that I will be watching later this year. It is also my favorite “gangster” film of all time. (Sorry to disappoint you ‘Godfather’ fans, I won’t be watching any of those films this year.)

I can’t exactly remember when I saw ‘Goodfellas’ first although I do know that it wasn’t in the theater. I am guessing it was sometime in the summer of 1991 via rental from Blockbuster. I was a college student and my favorite past time was to rent movies, usually three or four at a time (there was always a special or coupon involved) and watch them late at night when everyone else in my family was asleep. I am sure ‘Goodfellas’ was one of those movies as it was nominated for six Academy Awards that year, including Best Picture. (It won one for Joe Pesci as Supporting Actor.) So the movie was on my “must watch” list.

There were many things about this movie that I loved. And there were so many iconic moments and scenes in it, that it is difficult to pick one as a favorite. I remember getting caught up very quickly with the dialogue as I was fascinated how a story about “gangsters” could be so funny, because it is a funny movie, just as much as it is dramatic and suspenseful. The screenplay, as well as the actors’ portrayals, made these characters likable, as reprehensible as some of their actions were. It was an intriguing film to watch as a young 20 year old film fan. My writing of dialogue in the short stories and plays I was writing at the time was very much inspired by ‘Goodfellas.’

Today’s Thoughts: I have watched ‘Goodfellas’ numerous times since 1991. Too many to count. If it’s playing on television I will stop and watch it no matter what time of day or what part of the movie is playing. I also own the collector’s DVD of the film and have watched it on many a long winter’s night when I was alone. So today was a perfect day to curl up and watch it again.

This movie is on the road to becoming a classic, if it isn’t there already. The direction, screenplay and acting are all top-notch. Joe Pesci got the Oscar, but Ray Liotta who wasn’t even nominated carries the film with those piercing eyes. Those eyes! And Lorraine Bracco, who was at least nominated, is fantastic as his wife. Even after watching it so many times throughout its 3o years of existence, I am completely entertained.

I just watched Scorsese’s ‘The Irishman’ a few months ago and I liked it. It did remind me a lot of ‘Goodfellas’ and maybe in 30 years it will make my list of favorite movies, but right now it doesn’t even come close to this one. ‘Goodfellas’ is the OG. Pun intended.

Awards: Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Joe Pesci (winner), Academy Award for BEst Picture (nomination), Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Lorraine Bracco (nomination), Academy Award for Best Director, Martin Scorsese (nomination), Academy Award for Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium, Nicholas Pileggi, Martin Scorsese (nomination), Academy Award for Best Film Editing, Thelma Schoonmaker (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Drama (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Director, Marin Scorsese (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role, Lorraine Bracco (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, Joe Pesci (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Screenplay, Nicholas Pileggi, Martin Scorses (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Film (winner), BAFTA Award for Best Direction, Martin Scorsese (winner), BAFTA Award for Best Screenplay – Adapted, Nicholas Pileggi, Martin Scorsese (winner), BAFTA Award for Best Editing, Thelma Schoonmaker (winner), BAFTA Award for Best Costume Design, Richard Bruno (winner), BAFTA Award for Best Actor Robert De Niro (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Cinematography, Michael Ballhaus (nominaion), Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures, Martin Scorsese (nomination), Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Picture (winner), Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor, Joe Pesci (winner), Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress, Lorraine Bracco (winner), Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Director, Martin Scorsese (winner), Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Cinematography, Michael Ballhaus (winner), National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actor, Joe Pesci (winner), National Board of Review Award for Top Ten Films (winner), National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Film (winner), National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Director, Martin Scorsese (winner), National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor, Joe Pesci (nomination), National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actor, Robert De Niro (nomination), New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Film (winner), New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Director, Martin Scorsese (winner), New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor, Robert De Niro (winner), New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor, Joe Pesci (nomination), New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress, Lorraine Bracco (nomination), New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Cinematographer, Michael Ballhaus (nomination), Writers Guild of America, Best Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium, Nicholas Pileggi, Martin Scorsese (nomination).

Ways to Watch: YouTube, Amazon Prime, iTunes, Vudu, Google Play, DVD Availability.

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