In this new series of articles, our writers are watching classic films for the first time. This time we have Alysha catching up on Martin Scorsese’s film Goodfellas.

“As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster.” Martin Scorsese’s 1990 film Goodfellas is an adaptation of the 1985 non-fiction book Wiseguys by Nicholas Pileggi. This classic American crime film chronicles the life of mobster Henry Hill (Ray Liotta), who was swept up into a life of crime when he started working for Paulie (Paul Sorvino) and his fellow associates, James “Jimmy” Conway (Robert De Niro) and Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci). Henry’s fast and hard rise to the top only makes his inevitable crash and burn all the more fascinating to witness.

Goodfellas is one of Scorsese’s wildly entertaining masterpieces that allows every member of the cast to have the space to showcase their talent, especially Liotta as Henry. At the start of the film, Liotta is living without a care in the world, insatiable in his lust for money, power and women. As his house of cards begins to collapse around him, it is incredible to see his ability to completely unravel into utter paranoia.

Liotta may be the main focus of the film, but De Niro and Pesci deliver standout performances. Pesci is frightening as Tommy, a loose cannon who can be joking one minute, then shooting someone for an off-hand comment the next. De Niro, on the other hand, plays Jimmy a bit more quiet, mostly observing, but with one look De Niro communicates that he is one of the most diabolical of them all.

Although its runtime is almost 150 minutes, Scorsese does not allow a single second to feel wasted. The story is so tight in its execution despite juggling many characters and storylines, where every scene has a purpose. It is no wonder why Goodfellas is considered to be one of the greatest gangster films.


Available to watch on: Netflix


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

DIRECTOR: Martin Scorsese

WRITERS: Nicholas Pileggi, Martin Scorsese

SYNOPSIS: This adaptation of the 1985 non-fiction book titled ‘Wiseguy’ by Nicholas Pileggi follows the life of Henry Hill from 1955 to 1980.