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Goodfellas is a 1990 film about the rise and fall of three gangsters, spanning three decades.

Directed by Martin Scorsese. Written by Nicholas Pileggi and Martin Scorsese, based on Pileggi's book, Wiseguy: Life in a Mafia Family.
Three Decades of Life in the Mafia.taglines

Henry Hill[edit]

  • As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster. To me, being a gangster was better than being President of the United States. Even before I first wandered into the cabstand for an after-school job, I knew I wanted to be a part of them. It was there that I knew that I belonged. To me, it meant being somebody in a neighborhood that was full of nobodies. They weren't like anybody else. I mean, they did whatever they wanted. They double-parked in front of a hydrant and nobody ever gave them a ticket. In the summer when they played cards all night, nobody ever called the cops.
  • Hundreds of guys depended on Paulie and he got a piece of everything they made. And it was tribute, just like in the old country, except they were doing it here in America. And all they got from Paulie was protection from other guys looking to rip them off. And that's what it's all about. That's what the FBI could never understand. That what Paulie and the organization does is offer protection for people who can't go to the cops. That's it. That's all it is. They're like the police department for wiseguys.
  • One day some of the kids from the neighborhood carried my mother's groceries all the way home. You know why? It was outta respect.
  • For us to live any other way was nuts. Uh, to us, those goody-good people who worked shitty jobs for bum paychecks and took the subway to work every day and worried about their bills were dead. I mean they were suckers. They had no balls. If we wanted something, we just took it. If anyone complained twice they got hit so bad, believe me, they never complained again.
  • For most of the guys, killing's got to be accepted. Murder was the only way that everybody stayed in line. You got out of line, you got whacked. Everybody knew the rules. But sometimes, even if people didn't get out of line, they got whacked. I mean, hits just became a habit for some of the guys. Guys would get into arguments over nothing and before you knew it, one of them was dead. And they were shooting each other all the time. Shooting people was a normal thing. It was no big deal.
  • Now the guy's got Paulie as a partner. Any problems, he goes to Paulie. Trouble with the bill? He can go to Paulie. Trouble with the cops, deliveries, Tommy, he can call Paulie. But now the guy's gotta come up with Paulie's money every week, no matter 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."
  • You know, we always called each other goodfellas. Like you said to, uh, somebody, "You're gonna like this guy. He's all right. He's a good fella. He's one of us." You understand? We were goodfellas. Wiseguys. But Jimmy and I could never be made because we had Irish blood. It didn't even matter that my mother was Sicilian. To become a member of a crew you've got to be one hundred per cent Italian so they can trace all your relatives back to the old country. See, it's the highest honor they can give you. It means you belong to a family and crew. It means that nobody can fuck around with you. It also means you could fuck around with anybody just as long as they aren't also a member. It's like a license to steal. It's a license to do anything.
  • If you're part of a crew, nobody ever tells you that they're going to kill you. It doesn't happen that way. There weren't any arguments or curses like in the movies. So your murderers come with smiles. They come as your friends, the people who have cared for you all of your life, and they always seem to come at a time when you're at your weakest and most in need of their help.
  • For a second, I thought I was dead, but when I heard all the noise I knew they were cops. Only cops talk that way. If they had been wiseguys, I wouldn't have heard a thing. I would've been dead.
  • See, the hardest thing for me was leaving the life. I still love the life. And we were treated like movie stars with muscle. We had it all, just for the asking. Our wives, mothers, kids, everybody rode along. I had paper bags filled with jewelry stashed in the kitchen. I had a sugar bowl full of coke next to the bed. Anything I wanted was a phone call away. Free cars. The keys to a dozen hideout flats all over the city. I'd bet twenty, thirty grand over a weekend and then I'd either blow the winnings in a week or go to the sharks to pay back the bookies. Didn't matter. It didn't mean anything. When I was broke I would go out and rob some more. We ran everything. We paid off cops. We paid off lawyers. We paid off judges. Everybody had their hands out. Everything was for the taking. And now it's all over. And that's the hardest part. Today, everything is different. There's no action. I have to wait around like everyone else. Can't even get decent food. Right after I got here, I ordered some spaghetti with marinara sauce and I got egg noodles and ketchup. I'm an average nobody. I get to live the rest of my life like a schnook.

Jimmy Conway[edit]

  • [to young Henry] I'm not mad, I'm proud of you. You took your first pinch like a man and you learn two great things in your life. Look at me, never rat on your friends and always keep your mouth shut.
  • I've been telling you your whole life, Don't talk on the fucking phone, and now you understand, huh?..Don't worry, I think you gotta good chance of beating the case.
  • It's gunna be a good Summer!

Karen Hill[edit]

  • One night, Bobby Vinton sent us champagne. There was nothing like it. I didn't think there was anything strange in any of this. You know, a twenty-one-year-old kid with such connections. He was an exciting guy. He was really nice. He introduced me to everybody. Everybody wanted to be nice to him. And he knew how to handle it.
  • I know there are women, like my best friends, who would have gotten out of there the minute their boyfriend gave them a gun to hide. But I didn't. I gotta admit the truth. It turned me on.

Morrie Kessler[edit]

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Billy Batts[edit]

  • [About Tommy] This kid was great. They used to call him Spitshine Tommy. I swear to God! Now he'd make your shoes look like fuckin' mirrors. 'Scuse my language. He was terrific, he was the best. He made a lot of money, too, Ah salud, Tommy.
  • Hey, Tommy, if I was gonna break your balls, I'd tell you to go home and get your shine box. [everyone laughs besides Tommy, Jimmy, and Henry]
  • Now go home and get your fuckin' shine box!


Henry: You're a pistol! You're really funny. You're really funny!
Tommy: What do you mean I'm funny?
Henry: It's funny, you know. It's a good story, it's funny, you're a funny guy!
Tommy: [dangerously] What do you mean? You mean the way I talk? What?
[Everyone becomes quiet]
Henry: It's just, you know, you're just funny. It's funny, the way you tell the story and everything.
Tommy: Funny how? I mean, what's funny about it?
Anthony: Tommy, no, you got it all wrong —
Tommy: Oh, oh, Anthony. He's a big boy, he knows what he said. [to Henry] What did ya say? Funny how?
Anthony: You're right.
Henry: Just —
Tommy: What?
Henry: Just, ya know, you're funny.
Tommy: You mean, let me understand this, 'cause, ya 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 amuse you? I make you laugh, I'm here to fuckin' amuse you? What do you mean funny? Funny how? How am I funny?
Henry: Just... you know, how you tell the story — what?
Tommy: No, no, I don't know. You said it! How do I know? You said I'm funny. How the fuck am I funny? What the fuck is so funny about me?! Tell me, tell me what's funny!
[Long pause]
Henry: Get the fuck out of here, Tommy!
[Everyone laughs]
Tommy: Ya motherfucker! I almost had him, I almost had him! You stuttering prick, you! Frankie, was he shaking? I wonder about you sometimes, Henry. You may fold under questioning.

Karen Hill: [narrating] After awhile, it got to be all normal. None of it seemed like crime. It was more like Henry was enterprising, and that he and the guys were making a few bucks hustling, while all the other guys were sitting on their asses, waiting for handouts. Our husbands weren't brain surgeons, they were blue-collar guys. The only way they could make extra money, real extra money, was to go out and cut a few corners.
[Cuts to Henry and Tommy hijacking a truck]
Tommy DeVito: Where's the strongbox, you fuckin' varmint?!

Prison. Karen and her children are waiting in line
Prison guard: Hello Mrs. Hill, I can take you right here.
Karen looks for an empty space in the log book when something gets her attention
Name of Inmate: Henry Hill
Name of Visitor: Janice Rossi
Visitor's center. A sterile area where one prisoner's wife openly performs oral sex on him; hardly a place for kids. Karen opens her fur coat to produce toys to entertain the kids, as well as gourmet foods, which Karen is angrily dumping on the table
Karen: I saw her, Henry.
Henry: Saw whom?
Karen: I saw her name in the logbook.
Henry: Karen, I am in jail! I cannot stop my friends and family from coming to see me.
Karen: You want her to visit you? OK, you can have Janice Rossi stay up nights crying and writing letters to the parole board. You want to see Janice Rossi, then have her smuggle this shit in. Karen dangles a bag of illegal drugs in front him Let her do it, Henry!
Karen's tirade is attracting the attention of the people in the visitor's center, as well as making the kids cry
Henry: Karen, cut it out!
Karen starts to sob
Karen: Nobody is helping me, Henry. I am all alone! My parents are on a fixed income; Belle and Morrie are broke. I never even see Paulie ever since he got released. I went to see your friend Remo about the money he owes you, and you know what he said? He told me I should take the kids down to the fire station and get on welfare.
Henry: Karen! That is what happens when you go away. Now look, I have been making some connections. I got a friend from Pittsburgh who is going to help me move this stuff. All I need is for you to bring it in for me. In no time we will be OK.
Karen: I am scared, Henry. What if Paulie finds out about this?
Henry: Forget Paulie! Is he helping you? Is he? No, then what do we owe him? If Paulie was putting food on your table then of course I would not be doing this! But he isn't, so we have to take care of each other. All I need you to do is keep bringing me the stuff like you have been doing.
Karen calms down
Karen: I do not want to hear another word about her, Henry.
Henry: You got it.

Gangsters drive Tommy to a house
Tommy: When were you made?
Tuddy: I am an old-timer, I was made 30 years ago.
Tommy: Thirty years? Must bring back memories. Pike's Peak was a pebble back then.
Gangsters chuckle, then lead Tommy into a room. Tommy sees the room is empty
Tommy{talking to himself}: Oh no.
Gangsters shoot Tommy in the head; who falls to floor
Diner. Jimmy calls up gangsters to get news on Tommy's big day
Jimmy: Who is this?
Vinnie{over phone}: This is Vinnie.
Jimmy: Vinnie, what happened?
Vinnie{over phone}: Well we-...
Jimmy{interrupting}: You get it straightened out?
Vinnie{over phone}: No, we had a problem... and uh, we tried to do everything we could.
Jimmy: What do you mean?
Vinnie{over phone}: Well, you know what I mean. He's gone, and we couldn't do nothing about it. That's it.
Jimmy{exasperated}: What do you mean? What do you mean? Uh...
Vinnie{over phone}: He's gone. He's gone. Jimmy is shocked And that's it.
Vinnie hangs up. Jimmy smashes the receiver against the phone booth, attracting the attention of Henry, who is inside the diner
Jimmy{talking to himself}: Fuck. I knew it. Can't fuckin' believe that, can't fuckin'...starts to cry in rage..Fuck it, fuck... the fuck!
Henry departs diner to see why Jimmy is in a destructive mood when he was so happy ten minutes ago
Henry: What happened?
Jimmy: They whacked him. They fuckin' whacked him.
Henry: Aw, fuck!
Jimmy kicks over phone booth, attracting the attention of a passerby
Jimmy{shouting}: Motherfucker!
House. Tommy is bleeding to death
Vinnie: And that's that.
Henry{as narrator}: It was revenge for Billy Batts, and a lot of other things. And there was nothing that we could do about it. Batts was a made man and Tommy wasn't. And we had to sit still and take it. It was among the Italians, it was real greaseball shit. They even shot Tommy in the face so his mother couldn't give him an open coffin at the funeral.


  • Three Decades of Life in the Mafia.
  • "As far back as I can remember, I've always wanted to be a gangster." -- Henry Hill, Brooklyn, N.Y. 1955.
  • Murderers come with smiles.
  • Shooting people was 'No big deal'.
  • In a world that's powered by violence, on the streets where the violent have power, a new generation carries on an old tradition.


External links[edit]

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