If UNFORGIVEN was a 1990s revision of the Western genre, then GOODFELLAs did the same for the gangster genre which was still in the thrall THE GODFATHER and ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA. This is the story blue-collar crime. Without GOODFELLAS there would be no THE SOPRANOS. There are so many wonderful moments, it is difficult to select only four scenes.
FREEZE-FRAME – “It was out of respect,” Marty makes a tribute to Truffaut by freezing the action during the explosive arson scene. Henry Hill flees and the image pauses while his arms are in full spread. You can take the boy out of the seminary …
THE COPACABANA SHOT – A one-take wonder to the sound of Then He Kissed Me, by the Crystals; as every door opens, as a table magically appears and everyone wants to shake the hand of the new arrival, his new girlfriend asks “What do you do?” he says, “I work in construction.”
FUNNY HOW? Ray Liotta has the daftest laugh in the room, until Pesci turns on the tension, “What, funny like a clown?”
Yes, the cruelest clown in the circus – just don’t mention his former occupation as a shoe-shine boy.
LAYLA – You have got my knees. Following the Luftansa heist, bodies start to appear all over town. That moving camera majestically glides through the dumpsters and freezer trucks while Derek and the Dominoes knock-on.
DON’T GET JIMMY ANGRY, YOU WON’T LIKE HIM WHEN HE’S ANGRY – Now, I know that it is De Nero’s stock-in-trade to be ‘quiet then volatile’, there’s a moment when his credibility takes a knock following the news about Tommy being ‘made’, he seems to push the phone-booth over. It annoys me every time. Surely those things need to withstand more substantial hammering than an angry Italian-Irish-American, they’re embedded in concrete for goodness sake! It would take anger of Banner proportions to make a dent in them!
- DOM: Goodfellas (Scorsese, US, 1990) (dirkmalcolm.wordpress.com)
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- Henry Hill, inspiration for ‘Goodfellas,’ dies, therefore Ray Liotta must comment – Celebrity News (sfluxe.com)