GoodFellas is a 1990 crime film directed by Martin Scorsese.   The film is based off of a true story, and co-written by Nicholas Pileggi, the author of Wiseguy, which is the book that the movie was based off of.  The movie starts off with a quote from the main character, Henry Hill, who says admits that he’s always wanted to be a gangster.  The first scene of the movie shows Henry in his thirties driving a car with his two associates, Jimmy Conway and Tommy DeVito.  They pull over only to find that a man that they thought they have killed was still alive in their trunk, so they proceed to kill and bury him.  This scene is a foreshadowing of an event that happens later in the movie, during Henry’s later years in the family of gangsters.  After this scene, the movie chronologically displays Henry’s life in the family.  The movie starts off in the 1950s, when Henry was still in his teens.  Henry narrates most of the first half of the movie.  The first few scenes of the movie show how Henry finds out  about the gang and how he can work for them.  He forgets about his school life because the family bribed the school to keep quiet about telling his parents about him skipping school.  His start in the family marks the beginning of his corruption as a person.  He talks about how he began to enjoy life as a gangster, because he can have anything when he wanted.  Early in the movie, he talks about how the family bribed several organizations, from local business owners to the police, and had control over restaurants and other establishments.  As the film progresses, Henry further establishes his relationship with Paul “Paulie” Cicero’s family of Italian American gangsters in Brooklyn.  Paul becomes a father figure to Henry, and his associates begin to act like his brothers.  About midway through the movie, Henry’s wife, Karen Bracco, begins to narrate her viewpoint on Henry’s lifestyle, and how she sees it as glamorous and enjoyable.  She enjoys the money that Henry makes and talks about how great it is to live by his money.  In the seventies, Tommy starts wanting to get as much involvement in the gang as possible, and starts to make killing and robbing a normal form of business for him and his associates.  He resorts to selling drugs to make even more money for his family.  He becomes rich, but as the film’s story makes its way to the eighties it shows Henry as a drug addict and abusive husband.  Karen talks about how she doesn’t even know who Henry is anymore, and how he is affecting their children’s lives.  Near the end of the movie, the story is narrated switching between Henry and Karen.  Karen talks about how Henry’s life has only gotten worse after he got arrested, and Henry can’t quit thinking about how he can expand the family.  After several arrests within the family, and Paul ordering kills on his own men, Henry starts to rethink the way he is living his life.  Eventually, after getting released from jail, he decides to enroll in the Witness Protection Program after becoming paranoid about being killed by Jimmy.  In court, he admits to the family’s crimes and corruption of the city, completely shutting down Paul Cicero’s family and getting everyone involved arrested.  Henry is able to live the rest of his life, disappointed but with a sense of safety, as a normal citizen.  A quote said near the end of the movie by Henry says how the family would refer to each other as goodfellas, referring to the good qualities of an Italian member of the family.  Henry talks about the polite way that the family treated each other, despite the way that Paul killed off some of the members of his own gang.  Ironically, later in his years in the gang, Henry took more care of his status in the crime family than in his own family.  The movie shows a great theme of downfall in the way that Henry took the family to new heights, but eventually brought it to its end, placing the priorities of his own family over Paul’s.


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  1. Pingback: Goodfellas | screengrabsaz

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