Martin Scorsese’s Oscar-winning 1990 abomination ball Goodfellas, aggressive by the accurate adventure of Irish-Italian mobster-turned-state’s attestant Henry Hill, is broadly advised one of the best bandit movies anytime made, appropriate up there with the Godfather films at the subgenre’s zenith. It’s a high-octane account of greed, violence, betrayal and the American dream, told with all the brand stylistic verve—those benumb frames! Those aggravate drops! That fourth bank break!—of one of film’s finest directors. It’s additionally a who’s who of mob cine stars, including Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Paul Sorvino and added Sopranos actors, in particular, than you can calculation on both brass-knuckled hands.
What it ability be best of all, though, is a abounding affluence of iconic quotes. Chances are, alike if you’ve never apparent the film, at atomic a few of the curve featured on the account beneath will be accustomed to you—Goodfellas is one of those abstract that has permeated pop ability to such an admeasurement that you can hardly advice but apperceive it, if alone through osmosis. Now annal bottomward and apprehend these fuckin’ quotes, presented in the adjustment they arise in the film.
“As far ashamed as I can remember, I consistently capital to be a gangster.” —Henry Hill
After watching Tommy DeVito (Pesci) and Jimmy Conway (De Niro) ache and shoot a bloodied Billy Batts (Frank Vincent) in his trunk, Henry (Liotta) slams it shut and doesn’t alike blink afore actuality captured in a archetypal Scorsese benumb frame. It’s the iconic acme on a brutal, tone-setting aperture sequence, establishing anon and unforgettably that for Henry, there is no activity account active but the activity of a wiseguy.
“One day, some of the kids from the adjacency agitated my mother’s advantage all the way home. You apperceive why? It was outta respect.” —Henry Hill
The aboriginal attempt of a adolescent Henry (Christopher Serrone) we see is a closeup on his eye: He watches from his window, demography in every move the adjacency mobsters make, admiring to become one. Afore we apperceive it, he’s built-in afresh in the bonfire of an explosion, bagged by the fearsome, world-shaping ability that comes with his newfound status.
“You’re a absolute jerk. You ashen eight fuckin’ aprons on this guy. I don’t apperceive what the hell’s amiss with you. I gotta acclimate this kid up.” —Tuddy Cicero
In shepherding a adolescent Henry into the activity of a wiseguy, Tuddy Cicero (Frank DiLeo, who, fun fact, managed Michael Jackson in the ‘80s) has to acquaint the kid some acrid truths, namely that there’s no allowance for benevolence or altruism ashamed you’re in the business of actuality a modern-day outlaw. Alike through his affliction of conscience, Henry, acute a fistful of aprons to a stranger’s gunshot wound, starts to see things Tuddy’s way: Human adversity is the ammunition that admiral the mob’s machine, and it artlessly can’t be helped, abnormally if it eats into their basal line.
“Never rat on your friends, and consistently accumulate your aperture shut.” —Jimmy Conway
A adolescent Henry gets himself bankrupt for affairs cigarettes, but Jimmy isn’t mad—rather, he’s animated for the befalling to advise his adolescent amateur the basal rule(s) of the wiseguy. It’s the edict so nice, Jimmy says it twice: Cogent on your adolescent goodfellas is the distinct best answerable way to get yourself killed. In this world, there’s no one lower than a rat. Knowing breadth this adventure goes, it about registers as a adverse moment—after all, Jimmy’s assurance in Henry is what ultimately gets him pinched.
“I’m gonna go get the papers, get the papers.” —Jimmy Two-Times
Of this film’s abounding montages, one of its best fun is ashamed Henry walks us through the Instagram accomplishments that is the Bamboo Lounge and introduces us to the Cicero crew, the best memorable affiliate of whom is assuredly Jimmy Two-Times (Anthony Powers), who has a, uh, assertive way of speaking. Of this film’s abounding montages, one of its best fun is ashamed Henry walks us through the Instagram accomplishments that is the Bamboo Lounge and introduces us to the Cicero crew, the best memorable affiliate of whom is assuredly Jimmy Two-Times (Anthony Powers), who has a, uh, assertive way of speaking.
“For us, to animate any added way was nuts. To us, those goody-good bodies who formed shitty jobs for bum paychecks and took the alms to assignment every day, afraid about their bills, were dead. I mean, they were suckers. They had no balls. If we capital something, we aloof took it. If anyone complained alert they got hit so bad, accept me, they never complained again.” —Henry Hill
Henry about manages to accomplish the angle that “might makes right” seem, well, appropriate with these lines, answer his crew’s adamant mindset as if it’s accepted sense. His apple is one in which you’re alone advantaged to what you’re accommodating to booty by force, and success on anyone’s agreement but your own isn’t success at all. He can’t brainstorm actuality a law-abiding “goody-good,” aloof like the blow of us can’t brainstorm acrimony the law at every turn.
“You mean—let me accept this, ‘cause, you know, maybe it’s me, I’m a little fucked up maybe, but I’m funny how, I mean, funny like I’m a clown, I charm you? I accomplish you laugh? I’m actuality to fuckin’ charm you? What do you beggarly funny, funny how? How am I funny?” —Tommy DeVito
There’s no added iconic arena in Goodfellas than this one, in which Pesci’s active appearance feigns steadily ascent acerbity in acknowledgment to Henry accidentally calling him funny. The arena draws on a agnate adventure from Pesci’s absolute youth, with the amateur improvising best of his chat in rehearsal. It’s an enduring cine moment.
“Now the guy’s got Paulie as a partner. Any problems, he goes to Paulie. Trouble with a bill, he can go to Paulie. Trouble with the cops, deliveries, Tommy, he can alarm Paulie. But now the guy’s gotta appear up with Paulie’s money every week, no amount what. Business bad? Fuck you, pay me. Oh, you had a fire? Fuck you, pay me. Place got hit by lightning, huh? Fuck you, pay me.” —Henry Hill
Henry’s account of how a “bust out” works succinctly captures the Faustian arrangement you accomplish by adjustment yourself with the mob. Paulie (Sorvino) couldn’t affliction beneath about the Bamboo Lounge’s success as a accepted business—all he sees is a big, fat abridged to pick. The acquisitive “Fuck you, pay me” may be the film’s distinct best broadly quoted line.
“I like activity this way. It’s bigger than cat-and-mouse in line.” —Henry Hill
This band leads into one of Goodfellas’ best acclaimed sequences: the Copacabana access tracking shot, the abstruse and anecdotal ability of which accept been the accountable of absolute essays unto themselves. Henry and Karen (Lorraine Bracco) access the acclaimed New York City bistro through a account entrance, aimless appropriate through and up to the advanced row aloof in time to bolt the crack baron do his crack thing. For Henry, the best amid cat-and-mouse for a table like a accustomed actuality and accomplishing this is no best at all, to which his quote’s agrarian adumbration attests.
“I apperceive there are women, like my best friends, who would accept gotten out of there the minute their admirer gave them a gun to hide. But I didn’t. I got to accept the truth. It angry me on.” —Karen
Karen is as clumsy to abide the attraction of Henry’s affairs as he is—in her voiceover, she acutely recognizes this moment as a crossroads, at which she chooses to aid and advocate Henry, rather than adjudge him. She’s admiring to his ability and thereby as complicit in his act of abandon as if she’d bloodied the gun herself. The afterwards accident cut from Karen ambuscade the pistol to wrapping a bottle at her bells to Henry says it all.
“Now go home and get your fuckin’ shinebox.” —Billy Batts
This is one of this film’s distinct best consequential $.25 of dialogue—made man Billy Batts’ arrogant apology sets off Tommy’s critical atmosphere and gets Billy killed, an act of abominable abandon that will afterwards doom Tommy, too. One of pop culture’s best memorable acts of provocation, the insult is authentic hubris—Batts thinks he’s untouchable, and believes he can’t be apparent to ashamed bottomward from a adolescent agitator like Tommy, alike ashamed accustomed the adventitious to do so and still save face. Instead, he asserts his backbone and cachet at the ultimate cost.
“I didn’t appetite to get claret on your floor.” —Tommy DeVito
This abrupt moment afterwards the barbarous assault of Billy Batts is the abutting Tommy anytime comes to assuming 18-carat remorse—even Henry is taken ashamed by it, with Scorsese (and best editor Thelma Schoonmaker) demography affliction to accent that reaction. It’s clashing Tommy to appearance any vulnerability whatsoever, but actuality he’s visibly upset, about tearful. Yet it’s absurd to say whether his words are an announcement of his answerability and abashment over accepting asleep Batts in algid blood, or if he aloof absolutely feels bad for authoritative a blend in his friend’s establishment.
“I like this one. One dog goes one way, the added dog goes the added way.” —Tommy DeVito
It’s aloft arrant to apprehend Tommy abundantly appraising his mother’s (Catherine Scorsese) painting, because it occurs anon afterwards he’s aloof baffled a man to aural an inch of his life. Tommy sits at the arch of the table, adequate a admirable meal with his mother and his friends—meanwhile, a acutely afflicted Billy Batts writhes about in the block of Henry’s car aloof outside. That Pesci and Scorsese can still acquisition a way to acculturate Tommy in this moment is remarkable. He’s both a abandoned analgesic and a caring, anxious son.
“Why don’t you go fuck yourself, Tommy?” —Spider
After Tommy shoots low-level wiseguy Spider (Michael Imperioli) in the bottom for attractive drinks too arid during a agenda game, Tommy taunts the youngster and mocks his injury, in acknowledgment to which Spider delivers the adjournment above. These adventurous words are his last—after all, this is Tommy we’re talking about—but in a way, Spider still gets the bigger of Tommy, defying him in advanced of his aeon and earning Jimmy’s account (“Good for you, don’t booty no bits off nobody”) in the process. The arena shows us what Henry told us via voiceover a bit beforehand in the film: annihilation can, and does, appear all too calmly in the mob.
“Medium-rare … an aristocrat.” —Johnny Dio
When Henry goes to bastille (the aboriginal time, that is), he and his cellmates don’t absolutely accept it rough: They set up boutique in their own clandestine breadth and baker for themselves freely, agreeable up banquet duties with Paulie on prep, Vinnie (Charles Scorsese) on booze and Johnny Dio (Frank Pellegrino) on meats. Dio’s amusing acknowledgment to Vinnie’s steak temperature alternative is affectionate of the antithesis Goodfellas strikes so well: We should be ashen that these adamant abyss are aloof benumbed through their time, rather than adverse any absolute comeuppance, but instead we’re charmed by their adapted camaraderie. (In these times of coronavirus, they’d acutely be a acceptable accumulation to apprehension with.)
“You’d be backward for your own fuckin’ burial … What the fuck you lookin’ at? Appear on, accomplish that coffee to go. Let’s go.” —Tommy DeVito
Tying up a apart end afterwards the multi-million-dollar Lufthansa heist, Tommy delivers a cleverly stone-cold band afore whacking Stacks Edwards (Samuel L. Jackson). While Frankie Carbone (Frank Sivero) looks on agape, captivation a coffee pot, Tommy doesn’t absence a beat, jokingly cogent Carbone to booty his balmy cooler on the road. Accidentally killing in algid claret is all in a day’s assignment for Tommy, and Pesci’s commitment gives “deadpan” a accomplished new meaning.
“You know, we consistently alleged anniversary added goodfellas. Like you’d say to somebody: ‘You’re gonna like this guy, he’s all right. He’s a goodfella. He’s one of us.’ You understand? We were goodfellas, wiseguys.” —Henry Hill
During the film’s abominable “Layla” montage—sandwiched amid Jimmy’s abounding Lufthansa loose-end killings and Tommy’s beheading as animus for Billy Batts—Henry takes a moment to explain the band he shares with his adolescent mobsters. Meanwhile, Tommy kisses his mother goodbye for the aftermost time and goes to his death, baffled rather than actuality made. Henry’s quote, abutting with this adverse twist, shows definitively that in this life, assurance and adherence don’t pay. You’re alone a goodfella until you’re a target.
“For a second, I anticipation I was dead, but ashamed I heard all the noise, I knew they were cops. Alone cops allocution that way. If they had been wiseguys, I wouldn’t accept heard a thing. I would’ve been dead.” —Henry Hill
When accepting arrested by an army of badge admiral is, on any level, a relief, maybe it’s time to reexamine your activity choices. That’s Henry’s acknowledgment aloft actuality captivated at gunpoint by the badge (Bo Dietl) who’s arresting him—after a continued day of cocaine, errands, cocaine, paranoia, cocaine, meal alertness and cocaine, our strung-out advocate is aloof beholden he wasn’t whacked by his own wiseguy allies. Algid comfort, for sure.
“If you’re allotment of a crew, cipher anytime tells you that they’re activity to annihilate you. It doesn’t appear that way. There aren’t any arguments or blame like in the movies. See, your murderers appear with smiles. They appear as your friends, the bodies who accept cared for you all of your life, and they consistently assume to appear at a time ashamed you’re at your weakest and best in charge of their help.” —Henry Hill
Easily amid the best air-conditioned curve in Goodfellas, Henry’s account of how accepting whacked absolutely happens is addition attestation to the insidious dangers of dupe your adolescent mobster. There’s no allowance for weakness in this life, and as anon as you become a accountability to your crew, they’ll booty advantage of any relationship, no amount how meaningful, to get abutting to you and booty you out of the equation. It’s a appalling notion: that those abutting to you are the best-equipped to aching you, because they’re the ones you’d atomic suspect.
“That’s the hardest part. Today, aggregate is different. There’s no action. I accept to delay about like anybody else. I can’t alike get appropriate food. Appropriate afterwards I got here, I ordered some spaghetti with marinara booze and I got egg noodles and ketchup. I’m an boilerplate nobody. I get to animate the blow of my activity like a schnook.” —Henry Hill
Goodfellas ends with Henry bitching about his arid new life, hidden abroad in burghal affliction by the adroitness of the attestant aegis program. He seems absolutely blind of how advantageous he is to be there, demography the actuality he’s animate at all for granted, and admiring for the allowances and ability of the activity he acclimated to lead. We leave him in his cookie-cutter neighborhood, a far cry from the corrupt accouterment of his past, an boilerplate cipher with an amazing adventure to tell.
Goodfellas is Paste’s top cine on Netflix appropriate now, but be warned: It leaves the banderole on April 30, so you ability appetite to (re)watch it while you can. Aloft that, there’s alone one affair larboard for us to appearance you:
Scott Russell is Paste’s account editor and he thinks you’re funny. He’s on Twitter, if you’re into tweets: @pscottrussell.