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What's so great about Goodfellas? [Archive] - DVD Talk Forum
 
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View Full Version : What's so great about Goodfellas?


hardercore
06-14-06, 07:26 PM
I struggle to see why everybody praises this film so much. It was a good film, sure, but definately not Scorsese's best effort. What exactly is it that I'm not seeing that transcends this film into "great" status? Raging Bull was much better IMO, yet people continually put Goodfellas up there with Raging Bull and Taxi Driver.

Rival11
06-14-06, 07:43 PM
Well....you see, it's called "taste", for example - there are people out there who like Goodfellas more than the other films you mentioned.

Welcome!!!

talemyn
06-14-06, 07:44 PM
It's the characters. It's the characters.

FinkPish
06-14-06, 07:47 PM
I'm curious to know from the OP what specifically makes it not as great as the other films you mentioned?

Bugg
06-14-06, 07:54 PM
I struggle to see why everybody praises this film so much. It was a good film, sure, but definately not Scorsese's best effort. What exactly is it that I'm not seeing that transcends this film into "great" status? Raging Bull was much better IMO, yet people continually put Goodfellas up there with Raging Bull and Taxi Driver.

Now go get your fucking shine box!

-smile-

FRwL
06-14-06, 08:10 PM
Characters indeed! It's a wild rollercoaster and widely contested with GFI as the best modern mob film (70s to present) as its focus are the 'soldiers' and not the bosses like in the majority of mob films.

hardercore
06-14-06, 08:21 PM
I'm curious to know from the OP what specifically makes it not as great as the other films you mentioned?

I have yet to see Taxi Driver (I'm impressed by its reputation - I'm looking to pick up the DVD soon) but I felt Goodfellas was not as intense or as honest as Raging Bull. The characters in Goodfellas almost seem like caricatures in some respects, where the precedents in Raging Bull are to me more believeable. I guess I couldn't really just buy into the Henry Hill story and the resolution in the end seemed abrupt. Something about the narration just bugged me as well.

I'm curious to know, whats a "fucking shine box"?

FinkPish
06-14-06, 08:47 PM
I have yet to see Taxi Driver (I'm impressed by its reputation - I'm looking to pick up the DVD soon) but I felt Goodfellas was not as intense or as honest as Raging Bull. The characters in Goodfellas almost seem like caricatures in some respects, where the precedents in Raging Bull are to me more believeable. I guess I couldn't really just buy into the Henry Hill story and the resolution in the end seemed abrupt. Something about the narration just bugged me as well.

I'm curious to know, whats a "fucking shine box"?
Knowing that you haven't seen Taxi Driver but are all about it's reputation makes me think that you were a bit let down by Goodfellas reputation when you saw it too. Too much hype can kill a new movie experience. Also, I wonder if the characters seem like caricatures because they have been borrowed from and spoofed over and over since the film came out. I personally prefer Goodfellas over Raging Bull; narratively, it is stronger film and the character dynamics interest me more. There are parts of Raging Bull that are just painful to watch, though probably more because his character is so completely flawed rather than the film itself.

Supermallet
06-14-06, 09:23 PM
I felt Goodfellas was not as intense or as honest as Raging Bull. The characters in Goodfellas almost seem like caricatures in some respects, where the precedents in Raging Bull are to me more believeable. I guess I couldn't really just buy into the Henry Hill story and the resolution in the end seemed abrupt. Something about the narration just bugged me as well.

Well, the "Henry Hill" story is a TRUE story, so I don't see why you think that Raging Bull is more "honest."

thematahara
06-14-06, 10:12 PM
Everything.

Dave7393
06-14-06, 10:40 PM
"Why don't you go fuck yourself, Tommy?" :johnwoo2:

How great was Pesci in that film?

Jackskeleton
06-14-06, 10:42 PM
People's opinions may vary.. news at 11.

Mondo Kane
06-14-06, 11:10 PM
I guess I couldn't really just buy into the Henry Hill story and the resolution in the end seemed abrupt.

That last act is the only thing I'm not crazy about.

The scene where Henry's wife picks the shipment up (On a supposed hit setup by Jimmy) just seemed unecessary and all the wonderful momentum that the movie built up in it's final act just fizzled. I would've perferred to just show Henry selling out and going into protective service after the narcs busted him

It's more abrupt, but the pacing would have been better.

Souljahh
06-14-06, 11:36 PM
Ultimately comes down to taste.

Like other said, though, its about the characters. Very fleshed out characters. Fascinating subject matter (even moreso considering its based on a true story), with memorable cinematography and great music to boot.

For example, compare the camerawork of the third act to the first two. The third act, Henry is living a much more frenetic hectic lifestyle and that is similarly played out in the rough, jagged shots.

Dean Kousoulas
06-15-06, 12:17 AM
That last act is the only thing I'm not crazy about.

The scene where Henry's wife picks the shipment up (On a supposed hit setup by Jimmy) just seemed unecessary and all the wonderful momentum that the movie built up in it's final act just fizzled. I would've perferred to just show Henry selling out and going into protective service after the narcs busted him

It's more abrupt, but the pacing would have been better.

Well I think it goes to show you just how dangerous a lifestyle Henry led...where your closest friend for years would kill you or your loved ones in an instant. It also lets you understand why Henry had no other choice then to go into hiding.

Johnny Boy
06-15-06, 12:55 AM
Well I think it goes to show you just how dangerous a lifestyle Henry led...where your closest friend for years would kill you or your loved ones in an instant. It also lets you understand why Henry had no other choice then to go into hiding.

I was going to reply with a similar comment. I agree completely. This is one of about 10 scenes that sticks out in my mind whenever I think of Goodfellas. Very scary scene IMO.

Another scene that always sticks out that rarely gets mentioned is where Robert De Niro is watching a commercial with that guy who said his wig could survive hurricane winds, and then he jumped in the pool. :lol: So hilarious the first time I saw it. And still, it never gets old to me.

MartinBlank
06-15-06, 01:01 AM
Now go get your fucking shine box!

-smile-

:lol:

One of my all-time favorite films. I don't know at it is, but this is one you can put on and have playing in the background and still enjoy it.

Tyler_Durden
06-15-06, 03:38 AM
Because the film focuses largely on the flashiness of mob life, I used to think it was somewhat shallow, if supremely entertaining. Later I have come to understand that the masterful sequence "Sunday, May 11th, 1980" makes it all come together. Without the stylistic flourishes of the first two-thirds of the film, this sequence, in which the camerawork and editing go into paranoid overdrive, wouldn't have the impact it has now. Also, without this sequence to counterpoint everything that has come before, the film would indeed be superfluous. To me, the way Scorsese subverts, in a single 10-minute sequence, the incredible high of the preceding film into a nightmarish low, makes the film such an an amazing feat of cinematic technique and a brilliant depiction of the rock'n'roll lifestyle.

OldBoy
06-15-06, 07:00 AM
i don't think it focuses on the flashiness at all. the movie didn't show strutting in fancy cars or luxurious houses. there are maybe a couple scenes that depict that and one that is scoffed by Jimmy.

i think "Goodfellas" has the same appeal as "The Sopranos" and was therefore ahead of its time. GF shows realities, characters and events based on reality. sure creative license was used by Scorcese (thus maybe the caricatures argument could be stated), but look at Sal and Pauley in TS and tell me they are not over the top.

not to mention "Goodfellas" is one hell of an entertaining film, incredibly well-made and acted great with great actors.

Dr. DVD
06-15-06, 09:10 AM
Goodfellas was the first big Scorsese movie I ever took the time to watch, so naturally it's the best IMO. I was let down by Raging Bull when I saw it as I found the characters really unsympathetic, especially Jake, but then again, one could make an identical argument for Goodfellas.

Nesbit
06-15-06, 09:13 AM
Just the acting, cinematography, soundtrack, and writting. Other than that there is nothing great about Goodfellas.

reubs82
06-15-06, 09:16 AM
Most of the good things about Goodfellas have been pointed out, so I'm not going to rehash that.

However, a "shine-box" is a shoe shining kit. He was saying that as a way to put the kid in his place...like some poor street kid who shines shoes for a dime, mister.

Egon's Ghost
06-15-06, 09:22 AM
Simply, there would be no Sopranos without Goodfellas.

I saw it way back in 91 or 92 and it blew me away. I watch about every 2 years, and I haven't grown tired of it yet. I can't say if it's better or worse than Raging Bull, but it's just so damn entertaining! Everything aspect of it--the story, characters, technical aspects--is top-notch.

Drexl
06-15-06, 09:50 AM
i don't think it focuses on the flashiness at all. the movie didn't show strutting in fancy cars or luxurious houses. there are maybe a couple scenes that depict that and one that is scoffed by Jimmy.

Yeah, one scene in particular was shown to be flashy on purpose. I'm talking about in the beginning when we see Henry looking through the window: it's supposed to look flashy because that is how Henry perceives it and becomes drawn to the life.

VicVega
06-15-06, 10:08 AM
It's the characters. It's the characters.

Ha! He got that nickname because he said everything twice.

talemyn
06-15-06, 10:34 AM
Ha! He got that nickname because he said everything twice.I was waiting for somebody to pick up on that. :lol:

Dave7393
06-15-06, 11:11 AM
I was waiting for somebody to pick up on that. :lol:

I can't believe I missed that.

Palpadious
06-15-06, 11:31 AM
I think it was one of the first movies to show how sleazy organized crime, where in earilier films, it had been glorified.

Tyler_Durden
06-15-06, 05:35 PM
i don't think it focuses on the flashiness at all. the movie didn't show strutting in fancy cars or luxurious houses. there are maybe a couple scenes that depict that and one that is scoffed by Jimmy.I have to disagree there... apart from the fact that the film utilizes pretty much every trick in the book (freeze frames, dramatic tracking shots, pop music, etc) to depict the thrill of being in the mob, there are numerous scenes that are explicitly about the sweetness of the mob life (blowing up cars, going to a nightclub through the back door, fancy restaurants, beating someone who insulted your girl with a gun, the extensive wardrobe, etc). Where something like The Godfather is a drama and a family chronicle centered around the mafia, GoodFellas is a film about living fast, hard and dangerously before it is about anything else, like friendship or family.

Egon's Ghost
06-15-06, 06:27 PM
Ha! He got that nickname because he said everything twice.
I'll get th' papers, get th' papers

Supermallet
06-15-06, 07:09 PM
That was the basis for one of the best Mr. Show gags ever: Jimmy One-Times. We call him that because he only said things one time.

Slayer2005
06-15-06, 08:16 PM
I wonder the same thing about Batman Begins.

socal05
06-18-06, 05:00 AM
There is not a wasted second in that movie - every movement is perfect.

BTW - the Henry Hill commentary is one of the best I've ever heard. It doesn't seem that special at first, but about 2/3 of the way through it really started to get to me. He talks about so many of the things that happened in the movie in real terms, often pointing out how the real events happened. "He actually got a knife to the back of his head the next morning, not that night." It left quite an impression...

Apone
06-18-06, 06:12 AM
It was a decent movie with a lot of memorable scenes. My favourite is when all three characters are at a table with Tommy's mother.

Folken
06-18-06, 08:15 AM
Nothing great about it. It's just another overrated Martin Scorsese flick.

Josh H
06-18-06, 08:17 AM
I liked it, but think it's overrated as well. The acting is top notch, but the story wasn't that compelling for me. Certainly no where near on par with The Godfather 1 and 2.

I liked Casino more as well.

Highfire
06-18-06, 05:24 PM
I liked Casino more as well.

I thought I was the only one to like this more. Good to know there are others out there.

socal05
06-18-06, 11:46 PM
Although I don't think it's as good as Goodfellas, I've always thought Casino was underatted. I think a few scenes that were too violent ruined the film for the mass audience. The end baseball bat scene is too brutal. Great great movie though...

wd40cloud
06-22-06, 10:31 PM
The reason GoodFellas works better for me than say The Godfather is because these are really just ordinary guys. In The Godfather you are always dealing with the bosses, here you are dealing with the earners.

Plus it has that kick ass May 11, 1980 sequence.

MartinBlank
06-23-06, 12:38 AM
I think it's funny during an early episode of The Sopranos when Carmella is hanging out with the priest the topic of gangster films comes up. Tony likes GF 1 & 2, but when the topic of Goodfellas comes up, the conversation is cut short...probably because a dozen actors appear in both The Sopranos and Goodfellas. Even though Uncle Junior ends up being killed with a coathanger in GF 2

Fok
06-23-06, 12:52 PM
Great film because of the character interaction

hardercore
09-01-06, 06:35 AM
Just gave this picture a second viewing. I could appreciate it much more stylistically. It's gone from a 4/5 to a 4.5/5 for me, personally.

raven56706
09-01-06, 08:44 AM
this movie totally get creamed by godfather 3... rotfl... kidding


anyways, it was a great film... watch it anytime i get a chance..

Best part: Bad Ass Ray Loitta pistol beatdown of the across the street creep.

dmvksv
09-01-06, 10:45 AM
What worked for me was that it showed that the life of the mobster was an everyday struggle- they didn't have to go the same job everyday like everyone else but everyday was a hustle, trying to stay one step ahead of each other and the law. It was really the first mob movie that focused on the soldiers, not the Dons. My favorite Scorsese film, and one of my top five films. I also love Raging Bull and Taxi Driver, but Goodfellas has more of a rewatchablity factor to it for me.

raven56706
09-01-06, 10:47 AM
" and thats johnny two times...'oh i am gonna get the papers, get the papers' "

keith71
09-01-06, 01:30 PM
I LOVE Goodfellas, it's one of my favorite films. It's a damn shame Scorsese didn't win the Best Director Oscar for this film. Didn't he lose to friggin' Kevin Costner for Dances with Wolves? Talk about an overrated film,there. Actually, I never have actually seen Dances with Wolves from beginning to end, so maybe it's a classic, too.
ANYWAY, I know most people say The Godfather is the Best Mob Movie Ever,
but for my money Goodfellas deserves the title.
I'd say Scorsese's 5 best films would be 1. Raging Bull 2.GOODFELLAS.
3. Taxi Driver 4. Mean Streets 5. The King of Comedy

Shannon Nutt
09-01-06, 02:13 PM
GoodFellas is my favorite Scorcese movie. There are maybe a dozen films that I NEVER get sick of watching and this is one of them. From beginning to end, there's just not a wasted scene or moment in the movie. I can only hope The Departed is HALF as good!

hardercore
09-01-06, 05:14 PM
I want the departed to be amazing. These past two weeks I've been doing a Scorsese marathon (Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Goodfellas, Casino, Gangs of New York, The Aviator, No Direction Home). I want Scorsese to win Best Director.

jfoobar
09-25-10, 07:30 PM
In lieu of starting a new thread, big fans of Goodfellas will likely find this 20th anniversary retrospective a very worthwhile read:

http://www.gq.com/entertainment/movies-and-tv/201010/goodfellas-making-of-behind-the-scenes-interview-scorsese-deniro

JumpCutz
09-25-10, 07:40 PM
Thanks for posting that jfoobar. :thumbsup:

antspawn
09-25-10, 08:36 PM
I think I watched this movie more than 50 times. I could never get tired of it. It's got tons of replay value, so fun to watch. Probably the coolest and best mafia movie I ever seen besides Godfather I&II.

Solid Snake
09-25-10, 09:54 PM
....I can't decide which mafia film is the best...but this one is the most enjoyable for sure.

Supermallet
09-25-10, 10:27 PM
I didn't post much about it back in '06, but if you had asked me at the time what Scorsese's best film was, I probably would have said Taxi Driver. But at this point I'd say it's Goodfellas with a bullet. It's one of those movies that make you remember why you like movies. Scorsese's on fucking fire with that one.

Ash Ketchum
09-26-10, 08:23 AM
I love thread bumps.

As someone who's seen tons of movies about famous criminals (Al Capone, John Dillinger, Jesse James, Billy the Kid, etc.) and then read up on them, I find myself getting more upset as I get older with the liberties taken by filmmakers when telling these stories. The real stories are fascinating enough that you don't have to make anything up. The great thing about GOODFELLAS is--it doesn't make anything up! It's all right there in the book, WiseGuys, by Nick Pileggi.

The last time I saw GOODFELLAS was right after attending an Italian street festival on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx in Sept. 2007. The difference between this festival and the Italian street fairs in Little Italy in Manhattan (where Scorsese grew up) is that the Little Italy events tend to attract mostly tourists these days, while the Arthur Avenue one attracts older Italians who used to reside on Arthur Avenue but have since moved out to the suburubs (New Jersey, Long Island, Westchester, etc.). They come as old couples or with several generations of family. As I walked around them, I kept thinking, "GoodFellas." Many of these people would have been contemporaries of Henry Hill. When a band of old rock-&-rollers, including former members of "the Belmonts," played, old ladies got up and started dancing. And so I did the math. If you were a teenager in 1957 or so when these songs first came out, you were born in the late '30s or early '40s, which means you are now...in your late '60s or early '70s!!! A senior citizen!

One food stand roasted a pig right in front of everybody and then cut up the meat to sell in little containers. Of course, I bought some and ate it. Didn't want that poor pig to go to waste.

So when I got home, the first thing I did was pull out my disc of GOODFELLAS and watch it, just to stay in that zone a little while longer.