“Goodfellas” turns 25

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“Goodfellas” turns 25

Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, Paul Sorvino, Joe Pesci in a promo shot for the classic 1990 film

Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, Paul Sorvino, Joe Pesci in a promo shot for the classic 1990 film

Everett Collection

Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, Paul Sorvino, Joe Pesci in a promo shot for the classic 1990 film

Everett Collection

Everett Collection

Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, Paul Sorvino, Joe Pesci in a promo shot for the classic 1990 film

Nick Mayer, Contributing Writer

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One of  Martin Scorsese’s classic films, and arguably his best, “Goodfellas” turned twenty-five years old on Sept. 21. It is uncommon for audiences of a movie this old to remember the feeling of watching it for the first time, but that is not the case for Scorsese’s 1990 masterpiece. With an amazing cast and plot, adapted from Nicholas Pileggi’s non-fiction book “Wiseguy,” the movie still plays a prominent role in movies and television, leaving an impact and a legacy like no other movie.

The opening line of the movie (“For as long as I can remember I always wanted to be a gangster”) still sends chills down the viewer’s spine even twenty-five years later, and this can be attributed to the genius of Scorsese’s direction. Ray Liotta, who plays Henry Hill, said the quote across the image of a young Hill walking though New York. The way that it is spoken creates  a vivid memory that lives on in the mind of viewers.

With the brilliant screenplay and cast, viewers feel connected to the film, bringing in their own experiences along the way. For example, after a slight bump in the road and a murder, the audience saw the main cast head into Joe Pesci’s character, Tommy DeVito’s mom’s house to get some supplies to clean up their mess. But instead of getting the cleanup tools, they get caught by Tommy’s mom and she makes them an exquisite Italian meal. While absurd, it is one of the many examples of how Scorsese familiarizes Italian-American culture in the film. Another aspect that makes the film memorable is the famous tracking shot of Hill and his girlfriend using an underground entrance to get inside of a nightclub. Scorsese creates sense of immersion, placing a moviegoer in a seat at the nightclub, and DeVito’s mom’s kitchen. Because of his style   there is no question as to why Scorsese was nominated for an Oscar for best director in 1990.

The film also launched the careers of many actors and actresses. Roles in both “The Sopranos” and “Goodfellas” share many of the same actors. While most of the actors’ careers died off with the end of “The Sopranos,” the roles they played and the jobs they did will remain immortal in film and television history.  Many of Scorsese’s regular cast members played a crucial role in the film. When onscreen together, the stars of his movies have an amazing bond. The film also helped spawn numerous pop culture references.  “The Simpsons” creator, Matt Groening, famously parodied the plot and some of the roles from “Goodfellas” in episodes such as “Bart the Murderer,” “Donnie Fatso,” and “The Haw-Hawed Couple.”

Most movies become outdated by the time they are a few years old, but that is not the case for Scorsese’s masterpiece “Goodfellas.” With an amazing cast and a brilliant screenplay, it is no wonder why the movie is still considered one of the best movies of all time.

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