1. The treatment of the film, some of which include the brisk dialogues, the sharp editing, the first person narration scenes, and last but not the least, the perfectly blended background music, makes Goodfellas a near perfect directorial effort.
2. The realism infused in the movie, such as the realistic interactions between the gangster brood, the grand scale of the sets (the prison sequence, the roads and traffic of the 60’s, and most importantly, the frequently visited bars and pubs).
3. The characterization of Joe Pesci as a cold blooded and dim witted mafia Tommy DeVito. His Academy award winning performance showcased Pesci at his histrionic best, with as much volatility of temper as a Kodiak bear. His cold blooded murders and his occasional dark humour lent a unique quality to the movie, as Pesci’s character effectively broke the mafia stereotypes as portrayed in Hollywood. His character is summed up when he says to Robert De Niro and Ray Liotta “I’ll take the shovel from my mother’s house” (after killing a rival at a bar and planning on burying him).
4. The long shot where Henry (Liotta) takes Karen (Lorraine Bracco) for dinner, and they get off the car, pass in through the backdoor of the hotel, cross the restaurant kitchen and then enter the restaurant, It was a single shot and it was immaculate.
5. The gradual transformation of Karen, from the fashionable young girl who initially falls for the glamorous lifestyle of Henry to a partner in crime. The unprecedented events such as the late night-outs of her husband with reckless friends, the parties where the wives talk about subjects which are deplorable by normal moral standards, the stashes of money, pistols and drugs moving around in the house.
Goodfellas is the movie which had a gritty substance to it akin to how gangster movies should be made. One of the crowning achievements for the movie was definitely the way in which Scorcese avoided the huge shadow cast by the Godfather series on the Hollywood landscape. Moreover, at some aspects, Goodfellas did outshine the masterpiece by Coppola,especially in the areas of music editing and long single shots.
Goodfellas is the quintessential gangster movie, with stellar performances by Joe Pesci and De Niro. It actually creates a new genre which didn’t exist. Chicago is depicted in almost a documentary style realism, which makes the movie even more epic.