Goodfellas is right up there with one of the greatest mob stories ever told. But many people hold it to an even higher degree as one of the greatest movies ever made. Recently, Steven Spielberg wrote a short guest essay for Variety on why the movie, made by his peer, Martin Scorsese, is not only one of his favorite movies but he also feels it’s a masterclass in filmmaking.
Spielberg mentions that all you need to do is mention the name of one of the characters from the film and that puts him in the mood to watch the gangster epic. He elaborates, “It’s no longer a guilty pleasure to sit for 2 hours and 26 minutes, but rather a master class for any aspiring filmmaker who wants to see a breathtaking balancing act of multiple storylines, timelines, shocking violence and violent humor. The film has an intoxicating energy expressed not only through masterful editing, but also the greatest needle-drop score since American Graffiti and the best spoken narrative since Billy Wilder’s Double Indemnity.”
Scorsese’s 1990 film starring Robert DeNiro, Joe Pesci, and Ray Liotta is based on the true story of Henry Hill, who climbed the ranks of a crime syndicate by doing favors for James Conway and eventually becoming a partner in their mob. Paul Sorvino plays Paul Cicero, whose cooking of Italian dishes becomes a focus of the movie. To which Spielberg highlights, saying, “And not since Peter Clemenza instructed Michael Corleone how to cook for a crew in The Godfather has food played such a critical role in creating bonds that last a lifetime — or in this case, right up until the time you get whacked.”
The director, who currently has his film, The Fabelmans, in theaters and looking to score some awards nominations, says this movie is just at a photo finish with Raging Bull as his favorite film of his friend. This film would win the sole Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, with Joe Pesci taking home the prize, along with the prize for the shortest Oscar acceptance speech ever. However, it was also nominated for Best Supporting Actress for Lorraine Bracco, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Editing, and of course, Best Picture.