Based on the true-to-life book Wiseguy by Nicholas Pileggi, "Goodfellas" brings the viewer into the seamy underworld of organized crime. What makes this movie so great is the electrifying performances by Robert DeNiro, Joe Pesci and Ray Liotta. These performances are backed with a solid story line and a great soundtrack. The movie is narrated by Henry Hill, played by Ray Liotta whose life ambition is to become a "wiseguy." Early in the film Henry Hill looks out his apartment window with envy at the low-level wiseguys in the social club, impressed with the fact that they have women, money, cars and parties that last all night. This eventually leads to Henry wanting to become a member of the mob. Since Henry is part Irish, they would never make him a "true" member.
Tommy DeVito, played by Joe Pesci, a fellow "wiseguy" is a likable guy except he has a temper that can explode in a second. Tommy kills without regret and makes jokes about the victims afterwards. In one gruesome scene Tommy repeatedly stabs his victim with a knife that he had borrowed from his own mother. Eventually Tommy is shot in the back of the head, by his fellow wiseguys. Jimmy "The Gent" Conway, played by Robert DeNiro, steals for the sheer love of stealing.
"Goodfellas" is about guilt more than anything else. Henry Hill feels guilt for not upholding the Mafia code; he's guilty of the sin of betrayal.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.