Forget The Godfather. This is the don of gangster movies.
What is possibly most startling about Goodfellas is that almost 25 years on and following many viewings it not only stands up but remains shocking and utterly essential viewing. Endlessly quotable, career best performances from Joe Pesci and Ray Liotta plus the excellent Paul Sorvino as imposing mob boss Paulie, and a typically outstanding turn from De Niro add up to produce not only one of the best films in this genre but quite simply one of the greatest films ever made.
It is astonishing that you could quite easily argue this is not in Scorsese‘s top three films such is the quality of his output but Goodfellas will always hold a special place in my heart as it served as an introduction to his work. As always with Scorsese’s work the attention to detail is overwhelming. Real life mobsters filled in as extras and several people involved in the real life of Henry Hill either play themselves or pop up elsewhere resulting in a film that it is easy to get lost in. As with The Wolf of Wall Street, Scorsese doesn’t have an agenda with how he presents Henry Hill, he just tells the story and lets you make your own mind up. It is one of the Oscars biggest travesty’s that Goodfellas lost out to Dances With Wolves but Pesci taking home a statue for Best Supporting Actor at least softens the blow somewhat.