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  • Writer's pictureThomas Duncan

Goodfellas Revisit

Original Episode: #5 Goodfellas (released March 26, 2020)

New Episode: #158 Goodfellas Revisit (released April 12, 2023)


  • Martin Scorsese, Director/Writer

  • Nicholas Pillegi, Co-Writer

  • Robert De Niro as James Conway

  • Ray Liotta as Henry Hill

  • Joe Pesci as Tommy DeVito

  • Lorraine Bracco as Karen Hill

  • Paul Sorvino as Paul Cicero

  • Frank Sivero as Frankie Carbone

  • Tony Darrow as Sonny Bunz

  • Mike Starr as Frenchy

  • Frank Vincent as Billy Batts

  • Chuck Low as Morris Kessler

  • Frank DiLeo as Tuddy Cicero

  • Henny Youngman as himself

  • Gina Mastrogiacomo as Janice Rossi

  • Catherine Scorsese as Tommy's mother


  • Goodfellas was released on September 19, 1990. It made an estimated $47.1 million on a budget of $25 million.

  • Critics were overwhelmingly positive with some saying "GoodFellas is easily one of the year's best films."

  • The film was ranked the best of 1990 by Roger Ebert, Gene Siskel, and Peter Travers. In a poll of 80 film critics, "Goodfellas" was named the best film of the year by 34 critics. Director Martin Scorsese was chosen as the year's best director in 45 of the 80 ballots.

  • Goodfellas was nominated for Best Picture, Director (Scorsese), Supporting Actress (Bracco), Adapted Screenplay, and Film Editing winning for Best Supporting Actor (Pesci).

  • Goodfellas is No. 94 on the American Film Institute's "100 Years, 100 Movies" list and moved up to No. 92 on its AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition) from 2007. In June 2008, the AFI put Goodfellas at No. 2 on their AFI's 10 Top 10. In 2012, the Motion Picture Editors Guild listed Goodfellas as the fifteenth best-edited film of all time based on a survey of its membership. In the 2012 Sight & Sound polls, it was ranked the 48th-greatest film ever made in the directors' poll.

  • Goodfellas inspired director David Chase to make the HBO television series The Sopranos. He told Peter Bogdanovich, "Goodfellas is a very important movie to me and Goodfellas really plowed that ... I found that movie very funny and brutal and it felt very real. And yet that was the first mob movie that Scorsese ever dealt with a mob crew. ... as opposed to say The Godfather ... which there's something operatic about it, classical, even the clothing and the cars. You know I mean I always think about Goodfellas when they go to their mother's house that night when they're eating, you know when she brings out her painting, that stuff is great. I mean The Sopranos learned a lot from that." Indeed, the film shares a total of 27 actors with The Sopranos, including Bracco, Sirico, Imperioli, Pellegrino, Lip, and Vincent, who all had major roles in Chase's HBO series.

  • Goodfellas currently holds a 96% on RT among critics, a 91 score on Metacritic, and a 4.4 out of 5 on Letterboxd.

Plot Summary: "Goodfellas is a gritty and gripping crime drama that follows the rise and fall of Henry Hill, a young man seduced by the allure of the mob life. Set in the bustling and dangerous world of organized crime in New York City, the film takes us on a journey through the inner workings of the mafia, with its codes of honor, loyalty, and violence. We witness the glamorous lifestyle that comes with being a member of the family, as well as the price one must pay for crossing the line. With sharp writing, powerful performances, and masterful direction, Goodfellas delivers a cinematic experience that is both thrilling and thought-provoking, asking us to question the morality of those who live outside the law, and the consequences of pursuing power and wealth at any cost."

Did You Know?:

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

  • According to Nicholas Pileggi, some mobsters were hired as extras to lend authenticity to scenes. The mobsters gave Warner Bros. fake Social Security numbers, and no one knows how they received their paychecks.

  • 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." Pileggi replied; "I've been waiting for this phone call my entire life."

  • 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.

  • The painting that Joe Pesci's character's mother brings out was actually painted by "Wiseguy" author Nicholas Pileggi's mother.

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

  • "Fuck" and its derivatives are used 321 times, an average of 2.04 per minute. Joe Pesci says about half of them. The script called for the word to be used 70 times, but much of the dialogue was improvised during shooting, and the expletives piled up. At the time of the film's release, it had the most profanity of any movie in history. As of 2020, it's #15; The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), also directed by Martin Scorsese, is #3.

The Stanley Rubric:

Original Legacy Score: 8.5

New Legacy Score: 9.5

Original Impact/Significance Score: 8

New Impact/Significance Score: 8.75

Original Novelty Score: 7

New Novelty Score: 8.5

Original Classicness Score: 9

New Classicness Score: 9

Original Rewatchability Score: 6

New Rewatchability Score: 7.25

Original Audience Score: 9.7

New Audience Score: 9.35 (90% Google, 97% RT)

Original Total Score: 48.2

New Total Score: 52.35

In Memorium:

  • Judy Farrell, 84, American actress (M*A*S*H (TV)) and screenwriter (Port Charles, Fame (TV), and The Kid from Nowhere)

Remaining Questions:

  • If you didn't want people ratting on you, how about you keep everyone happy and taken care of instead of constantly murdering everyone?

  • Should this movie have won over Dances with Wolves with Scorsese winning Best Director over Costner?

  • Having measured now the three often most cited best gangster films, which do you think is the best?

  • Why wasn't Paul Sorvino recognized in the In Memoriam at the 2023 Oscars?

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