Hi everyone, Bryan here…
By the time 1990 came around, Martin Scorsese had already made several masterpieces in film, which continue to be praised and talked about to this day. With the likes of ‘Raging Bull‘, ‘Taxi Driver‘, and ‘The Last Waltz‘, we all knew that Scorsese was one of the finest filmmakers and storytellers around. Even with just those three previous films mentioned, you’d know you were in for a treat when Scorsese wanted to show you something. Then 1990 came around and Scorsese once again changed the film community with a movie called ‘Goodfellas‘, which was his big foray into the whole mafia genre.
Like myself, I think that most everyone around would say that ‘Goodfellas‘ is one of the best mafia movie that has ever been put on film. Besides ‘The Godfather I and II‘, I’m willing to bet that ‘Goodfellas‘ can stand side by side with those two films, because it is just that good. However, Scorsese told this mafia drama in such a different way, that it got most filmmakers to start telling their stories on film the same way that Scorsese did with ‘Goodfellas‘. It’s one of those movies that while it may be over 3 hours long, it is completely re-watchable at any time or day, because the characters, dialogue, and story are so compelling and told in such a fantastic and realistic fashion, that you can’t help but watch the whole thing all over again, and become entranced by what’s transpiring on screen.
In 1986, a writer by the name of Nicholas Pileggi wrote a non-fiction book about a real life mafia guy named Henry Hill. This book called ‘Wiseguy‘ detailed the life of Henry Hill from his childhood through his adulthood, as he joined the Lucchese crime family at an early age. The book talked about all the acts of violence and criminal activity that went on, including the largest heist in American history at the time, which was the Lufthansa heist. Luckily, Scorsese got a hold of the book and decided to make a film with a young Ray Liotta playing Henry Hill, who narrated what went on throughout the film.
Scorsese also got two ‘Raging Bull‘ actors Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci to star in this film, which earned Pesci a numerous amount of awards. Scorsese did something that original with this mafia genre, which was tell this story from a sentimental side from the eyes of these bad guys. Yes, we know that these iconic character are violent criminals who murder, steal, and exploit, but we also got to see the family and vulnerable side to them as well, which is one of the reasons ‘Goodfellas‘ is such an achievement in filmmaking. We virtually get to meet almost everyone in the Lucchese crime family and not only see them commit these heinous acts of crime, but we get to see them being friends with one another, taking care of their families, and sticking up for each other.
As many as there are kills and blood in ‘Goodfellas‘, there is as much laughs and jokes, which makes this realistic. The real life Henry Hill really laid everything out on the table for Scorsese and Pileggi to get acquire the total realness of the story and picture. Each character is based on someone in real life, which is kind of difficult to imagine. Even some of the more iconic dialogue scenes were taken from real instances, such as the “Am I funny to you” scene with Liotta and Pesci. It’s a funny scene, but damn is it scary for a moment when you have no idea what Pesci’s character Tommy is capable of. That’s why this film is so amazing. You get sucked in to feeling for these guys and want to be their friends, because they are all charming and fun, but we are quickly given a wake up call to see just how rotten these “Goodfellas” are.
Still, after 26 years, ‘Goodfellas‘ continues to be one of the best films ever made and paved the way for Scorsese into the mafia genre, as well as this brilliant style of filmmaking. We saw it in ‘Casino‘, ‘The Departed‘, and the recent ‘Wolf of Wall Street‘ film, and never disappoints. But ‘Goodfellas‘ is where it all started and continues to be the foundation for most modern mafia films. I’ll never get tired of seeing this movie.
Scorsese’s ‘Goodfellas’ (HD, 30 Mins.) – This is an all new extra that features interviews with Scorsese, some of the cast and crew from the film, and Leonardo DiCaprio. They discuss some fun stories from the set and how it all came together. Unfortunately, Joe Pesci was nowhere to be seen or heard here.
Audio Commentary #1 – This is the cast and crew commentary, which was all separately recorded and was featured on previous editions. I wish there was a newer commentary. Perhaps in five years. There are about ten people on the commentary, but it flows smoothly as they discuss almost all aspect of the production, real life people, characters, and violence. Worth the listen again.
Audio Commentary #2 – This is the more interesting commentary as it has Henry Hill (the real life gangster) and the cop who he worked with talk about the comparisons from real life and the movie. It’s a bit awkward, but very informative and crazy to hear some of the stories.
Public Enemies: The Golden Age of the Gangster Film (SD, 106 Mins.) – Almost a two hour documentary here where a ton of filmmakers and others talk about the older gangster films and how they influenced movies like ‘Goodfellas’. If you’re looking for a ‘Goodfellas’ documentary, this is not the bonus feature for you, but if you want to know about tons of gangster movies you didn’t already know about, then check this out.
Getting Made (SD, 30 Mins.) – Here is the original behind the scenes featurette for the making of the film. There are vintage cast and crew interviews as they discuss their characters, storyline, and the authenticity of the movie. There is a small amount of on-set footage included.
Made Men: The ‘Goodfellas’ Legacy (SD, 14 Mins.) – Several big name film directors discuss how ‘Goodfellas’ transformed filmmaking and the mob genre.
The Workaday Gangster (SD, 8 Mins.) – The cast and crew of ‘Goodfellas’, as well as Henry Hill talk about the every day life of a mob man.
Paper is Cheaper Than Film (SD, 4 Mins.) – Here are some storyboard to screen comparisons in the movie.
Animated Shorts (SD, 31 Mins.) – Here are a collection of Looney Tunes and Bugs Bunny cartoons that feature animated illustrations of people who were in the famous mafia movies. These are awesome.
Theatrical Trailer (SD, 2 Mins.) – Trailer for the film.
THE ULTIMATE WORD
‘Goodfellas‘ is my favorite mafia film of all time, hands down. Just everything about oozes the word AWESOME. From the dialogue to the characters, and even the story was done flawlessly. I’m glad to see this get the 4K treatment with an upgraded video and audio presentation. This is the best this 26 year old movie has ever looked and sounded. If that wasn’t enough for you, there is a new 30 minute extra with tons of interviews about the film. Now we have this amazing movie in 4K UHD and the digital copy, which is the reason to own this by itself. This release of ‘Goodfellas‘ is a MUST-OWN, even if you have one of the previous editions, because currently, this is the ultimate version to have. You won’t be disappointed and you won’t be a funny guy.