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Goodfellas [1990] [DVD]
Format: DVD|Change
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on 27 May 2009
Has anyone noticed that these 105 reviews (so far) are used by Amazon against 3 different versions of this movie? The 1999 & 2004 DVD releases and the 2007 Blueray release all share the same 105 reviews. How is one supposed to determine whether the 2004 version is better quality or no longer split on A and B sides of the disc? What is Amazon doing?
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on 5 December 2011
I bought this film after reading reviews that indicated it was a good film. I am not sure what qualified it as that, not enjoyable at all, lack of a coherent plot, very strange ending. In my opinion complete nonsense and the acting was imho very poor.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 7 November 2017
I have always regarded Martin Scorsese’s 1990 gangster film, Goodfellas, as a 'defining’ film, both for the film-maker personally, the film pulling together themes and cast (in particular) from earlier films (Mean Streets and Raging Bull) and, arguably, for the genre, the film providing as skilful and perceptive a dissection of the attraction (and failings) of the gangster lifestyle as any film. Of course, the film could (rightly) be criticised for glamorising the violent, brutal, amoral existence of its protagonists but, perversely, it is this, however unpalatable, truth (the film being based on Nicholas Pileggi’s real-life gangster account, Wiseguy) that cements the film’s reputation and authenticity – the ultimate perversion of the American Dream, if you like, a dream that turns into a nightmare. Stylistically, Scorsese has never been on surer (or, to this point, slicker) form, boasting an outstanding cast of Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Ray Liotta, Lorraine Bracco, Paul Sorvino, Frank Vincent, etc., a typically evocative soundtrack of songs following the maturation of Ray Liotta’ Henry Hill from schoolboy to Mr Big (1950s to 1980s) and plenty of exhilarating visuals, courtesy of Michael Ballhaus’ dynamic (and sharply edited) cinematography.

The film’s screenplay is, of course, another highlight – again authentic, perceptive and witty. It is not surprising to learn that improvisation played a significant role in arriving at the finished script, for example, as Pesci’s volatile Tommy DeVito baits Hill ('What’s funny?) in a standout scene. Indeed, it is Scorsese and Pileggi’s dialogue that contribute to the film being very funny – for me, this is actually one of its foremost qualities – playing up the idiosyncrasies of this close-knit set of immigrant communities (Italian, Irish, Jewish) and the oddball characters within e.g. Jimmy Two-Times. A particularly amusing detail here is that of the Italian obsession with cooking – just as much a male as female interest ('too many onions’). Unsurprisingly, the screenwriters also get down to a tee the rationale behind the appeal to Christopher Serrone’s teenage Henry of his neighbourhood mobsters – namely that of status, power and respect (even if the latter is usually cowering). Equally, the patriarchal system in place in Henry’s world is dominant – women are characterised by the 'whore/cook’ maxim, with the conveniently overlooked hypocrisy of this position evident via the revered treatment of mothers and the superficial respect attributed to the institution of marriage (and family). That said, the mobsters’ women are attracted to the glamour and wealth of their lifestyle as Lorraine Bracco’s Karen (wife to Henry) says, 'It got to be all normal’.

Acting-wise, relative newcomer Liotta impresses as Scorsese’s main protagonist (and narrator), whilst each of De Niro as Jimmy Conway and Pesci are just about perfect (the latter winning the film’s only Oscar). Elsewhere, Paul Sorvino is excellent as the veteran 'voice of restraint’, Paulie, whilst each of Scorsese’s parents also put in an appearance, his mother Catherine, featuring in another standout sequence playing Tommy’s mother, as her son, Jimmy and Henry drop in for a midnight feast, prior to disposing of a corpse. Throughout, Ballhaus’ cinematography is outstanding, featuring freeze-frames, a roving camera (e.g. to introduce the local 'goodfellas’) and the famous three-minute tracking shot following Henry and Karen’s entry to the Copacabana nightclub. Scorsese is also typically adept in the choice of soundtrack, morphing from The Crystals, The Chantels, The Shangri-Las and Aretha Franklin during the film’s early (at times, romantic) exhilaration through to the drug-addled devastation via The Stones (Gimme Shelter), Cream, Derek and the Dominos (the instrumental outro to Layla) and culminating, appropriately enough, with Sid Vicious’ version of My Way.

I was reminded (again) just recently of how good a piece of film-making Goodfellas is, for me, certainly up there with Scorsese’s own Mean Streets and Sergio Leone’s Once Upon A Time In America as one of the finest examples of the genre.
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on 31 December 2012
We have recently started collecting most of our favourite classic movies on Blu Ray because we love how good these movies look after they've been cleaned up, scanned and remastered then presented in their full glory. Prime examples of this are Universal's The Thing (1982) and Jaws (1976); classic movies that look incredible. Sadly we were left very let down by Goodfellas - Arguably our favourite crime flick; we were hoping for stunning colour and crystal clear picture, instead we get something that looks pretty much exactly like our double-sided DVD version. Cracks and pops are visible at times, around the 1 hour 17 minute mark we saw a very noticeable black line right down the middle of the picture for about 10 seconds. The film is also visibly grainy most of the time. There are some scenes, the daylight ones, which meet the vivid quality we were expecting; but the other 80% of the film is mainly shot in darker environments and you can really see the grain, which is hugely disappointing. We may as well have been watching our old DVD copy.

I doubt Warner Brothers have any plans to re-release this film in a more visually stunning and restored presentation. If you are buying this film to replace / upgrade your DVD copy, don't bother - you really cant see the difference.
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VINE VOICEon 16 July 2010
In response to the previous reviewer, this is an extremely good transfer on Blu-ray. The colours are vibrant, the detail is excellent (particularly apparent in close-ups such as the shot of young Henry's face as he looks out of his bedroom window across the street to the cafe) and the lighting is gorgeous. The sound also is as good as you could expect it to be. In summary, the film looks like it was filmed this year, rather than 20 years ago.

Extras provided include 2 commentaries (one with cast - not including de Niro or Pesci - & crew, the other with Henry Hill himself and Edward McDonald, FBI), 3 documentaries, storyboard to screen comparisons and the theatrical trailer.

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on 19 November 2016
GOODFELLAS one of Martin scorsese's best films
well Warners have given the film a new 4k restoration 2:35:1 HD transfer for the films 25th Anniversary
and Warner bros would never make the effort to give any of their films a new 4k make over
unless it was absolutely necessary and with Goodfellas a 4k make over definitely is
Warners made lots of effort with the picture quality it looks amazing very nice colour restoration
and also No Grain No Dirt the best the film has ever looked actually much higher quality than standard 1080p
the sound quality is the same as the previous blu-ray just the usual 5.1 master mix which sounds really Good anyway
EXTRAS, this new 25th edition is 2 disc blu-ray set packaged in standard blu-ray case
Disc 1 has the feature film plus the old dvd commentary with Martin scorsese and other cast & crew
Warners have added a new retrospect featurette SCORSESE'S GOODFELLAS which is about the Movie's Legacy-29mins
Disc 2 has the rest of the extras carried over from the previous blu-ray version even carried over from the old special edition dvd
this new blu-ray reissue is the best version to get mainly cause the film has new 4k transfer
and new Legacy featurette plus all the old extras have been carried over anyway
5 stars for this new blu-ray worth the money no Doubt about it
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on 11 September 2008
Goodfellas is surely the definitive gangster film. And while that statement in itself will undoubtably invite comparisons with The Godfather, I will make no comparisons here. It is in this work that Martin Scorsese demonstrated his supreme abilty as a film maker but even at this point in his career, no Oscars were forthcoming and here he was undoubtably at the top of his form. I won't say that his films went downhill from here, but this one was never surpassed.

He breaks all the rules here, with continuity errors and jump cuts all over the place, but it doesn't matter: they all add to the edginess of the film, as do a whole gamut of camera moves which from anyone else would appear pretentious. Believe it, Scorsese knows exactly what he's doing and this material is something which he knows about, so he's well equipped.

After nearly twenty years, the film still has the power to shock and leave you breathless. It has been criticised for glorifying violence and for failing to allow the viewer any empathy with its characters, all of whom are played utterly convincingly. Here is Ray Liotta in his best role as Henry Hill and it is largely through his eyes that the story unfolds, although perspectives do shift from time to time. Joe Pesci is terrifying as the psychopathic Tommy and his outbreaks of rage and violence are hardly glorified. Scorsese shows the violence in a way which is necessarily deeply repulsive and which reflects the psyche of his characters. De Niro too is on top form and demonstrates what a powerful actor and screen presence he is. He doesn't need to speak to let you into his thoughts: the eyes, gestures and body language do that. And while it may not be possible to empathize with any of these unpleasant characters, they remain utterly fascinating.

It is perhaps true that the film is slightly overlong; particularly during the last sequence but this in itself is a study in film technique. The special features disc is a bit of a disappointment but at least the commentary version of the feature skips over the parts where there is no commentary.

A story of losers who cannot lose the lifestyle which they have created and for whom there is ultimately only one conclusion. One way or another they will fall. And of course they do. Its not an easy film to watch if you want standard Hollywood fare but it's rewards are great if you stick with it. A masterwork.
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on 17 April 2012
Just to either clear up (or continue) the confusion - I bought one of the pressings of the DVD version of this film from HMV about two weeks ago.
I'm not reviewing the film, naturally - but the disc I got was dual sided. Actually, I could cope with that once I realized and read the small print on the back.
The most annoying thing is that it is supposed to be 16:9 ratio and the feature is letterboxed to a ratio that makes everything squished outwards.
Most things on my panasonic blu-ray player come out properly, but I've fiddled with all the options and there just doesn't seem to be a way of getting it right.
I can get it into the right aspect but then it comes out noticeably off-centre and cropped on the screen. Etc, etc.
Finally, yes - its very grainy too.
I paid £5 or something and I do think it's a bit crap. Shame you can't be sure what you'll be getting when the cases are all similar.
Does seem warners put out so many different versions of Scorsese films year by year. It's not that difficult is it - a DVD with the film only for most people and a Blu-ray with all the trimmings for those with more money to lavish?
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#1 HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWERon 25 June 2014
The term "Goodfella" means a gangster, especially a member of a Mafia family. The non fiction novel the film is based on was originally titled Wiseguy by Nicholas Pileggi, who also has a co-credit with Scorsese for screenplay. The title was changed to Goodfellas (in a move evidently jointly made by both men) Despite the dramatisation this is based on actual events that took place.

It's easy to get carried away with a review on this, but lets..it's worthy of the attention.

The story is a good one, perky up and coming wannabe gangster Henry Hill (played brilliantly by Ray Liotta) gets closer to local "Capo" Paul "Paulie" Cicero (Paul Sorvino) and his mob associates Jimmy Conway (De NIro), Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci). Soon the three main characters get themselves into all sorts of top level criminal activities. During this time Henry meets his future wife Karen (Lorraine Bracco) who plays a feisty Jewish girl who has reservations about Henry, but can't help but fall for his charms and newly developed flashy lifestyle.

The crime trio soon up their game by getting into bigger and more dangerous ambitions. During this time the hot headed Tommy and Jimmy, manage to kill a made man Billy Batts (Frank Vincent) who insults Tommy in a classic scene where he mocks him for being a "shoe shine boy". Now the problems the three face are even bigger, as a member of the Gambino family killing Batts is a recipe for disaster.

After this Henry's problems continue with serious marriage woes, a mistress, and out of control drug use and dealing. All three have gone far beyond the control of the local boss, and they are attracting too much attention. Henry's also detached from reality and feeling the pressure on all sides. In the end he has to make a choice, when the FBI hone in on his activities. He's now alone and separated from this local Mafia associates, a far cry from the early days and care free attitude.

Casting wise, well just about as good as you can get, Ray Liotta slots into the cocky and ambitious Henry role easily, and De Niro and Pesci are equally convincing as the more established hoodlums who have their own desires to become bigger fish. Supporting cast also top notch with Lorraine Bracco doing a great job of the demanding and pressuring girlfriend/wife, Tony Sirico, Tony Lip, Paul Sorvino, Frank Vincent all do a wonderful job of supporting cast members. Keep a look out for Samuel L. Jackson, and Scorsese's parents in the roles of Vinnie and Tommy DeVito's mother.

Screenplay is tight, script is near faultless, good sound and camera work you simply don't have time to think of anything else.
Scorsese's unique directing works wonders here, we have his trademark "freeze frame" at key moments with a running commentary from mainly Ray Liotta throughout. His touch simply adds even more shine to a top level cast with fine actors. It's a fairly long film at 146 minutes, the DVD version I have requires you turn over the disc half way (I might add the blu ray shortly)

Hard to find any real faults here, and the best part is that it's based on real events, you'd have a job making this story up on your own.
Sometimes you just get that rare event where everything just "gels" near perfectly: cast, crew, director it's like a well oiled machine in action. The film also stands the test of time with many viewings I never tire of it.

If you get just one Mafia film this is probably one of the best out there, unmissable.
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on 4 April 2015
UPDATE ON 4K GOODFELLAS: Despite what some reviewers will tell you Goodfellas on 4K looks really really good. The detail is quite impressive for a 25+ year old movie.Really impressed by the picture quality and I only have a 40 inch 4K HDR 8bit pannel. I am being as honest as I can be and not justifying my purchase on 4K.OLD DVD review: Goodfellas has to be one of the greatest movie of all time. The story, action, intensity, the actors all fit perfect on Goodfellas. Its the best. I wont I write the story but you know its a movie featuring the Italian Mafia men murdering, stealing and doing any thing bad that can be done to get to what they want and at the end they end up eliminating one another to survive from the FBI and judicial system which will look them up for good. Scorsese did a fantastic job portraying the movie as original as possible as It could have been. I got this 2 disc dvd version as I already have the mirror double sided single disc version which I hate as it stops the movie and you have to turn the disc to the other side. That is ridiculous. This version is the best as all in one disc and you also have the second disc with special features. To anyone that has not seen this movie just get it. You don't know what you have missed. To others that have the double sided mirror version just get rid of that and get this instead. Its the perfect version. Great seller. Delivery before the expected date so I am one happy customer. Thank You
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