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About the Director

  • Martin Charles Scorsese, born November 17, 1942, is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, actor, and film historian.
  • He is widely regarded as one of the greatest directors of all time.
  • In 1990 he founded The Film Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to film preservation, and in 2007 he founded the World Cinema Foundation
  • Scorsese's body of work addresses such themes as Italian American identity, Roman Catholic concepts of guilt and redemption,[8] machismo, modern crime, and gang violence and conflict, and he liberally uses profanity in his films
  • Directed landmark films such as Mean Streets (1973), Taxi Driver (1976), Raging Bull (1980), and Goodfellas
  • He won the Academy Award for Best Director for The Departed his total number of nominations for Best Director to seven.
  • Martin Scorsese was born and raised in New York. He was born in Corona, Queens, and his family moved to the Little Italy section of Manhattan before he started school
  • Scorsese has been married five times. Has 3, Catherine, Domenica , and Francesca,
  • In 2007, Scorsese was listed among Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People in The World and was named the 2nd greatest director of all time in a poll by Total Film magazine, in front of Steven Spielberg and behind Alfred Hitchcock.
  • Awards record by actor: 11 nominations for Robert De Niro, 5 nominations for Leonardo DiCaprio 5 nominations for Joe Pesci
  • Awards record by film: 8 nominations: Raging Bull, 8 nominations: The Aviator 6 nominations: The Departed

Historical Context

  • The Lucchese crime family is one of the "Five Families" that dominates organized crime activities in New York City, United States, within the nationwide criminal phenomenon known as the Mafia
  • The boss was Tommy Lucchese, who turned the family around to became one of the most powerful families to sit on the Commission. Lucchese teamed up with Gambino crime family boss Carlo Gambino to control organized crime in New York City.
  • Henry Hill, Jr. was born on June 11, 1943 to Henry Hill, Sr., an immigrant Irish-American electrician, and Carmela Costa Hill, a Sicilian American. Had 8 siblings
  • From an early age, he admired the local mobsters who socialized across the street from his home including Paul Vario, a "capo" in the Lucchese crime family.
  • In his early teens, he began running errands for patrons at Vario's storefront shoe-shine, pizzeria and dispatch cabstand. He first met the notorious hijacker and Lucchese family associate James "Jimmy the Gent" Burke in 1956, and was dazzled by Burke's openhanded tipping
  • Put on a building contractor's construction payroll, his weekly $190 salary would be divided among the Varios. The card also allowed Hill to facilitate pickup of daily policy bets and loan payments to Vario from local construction sites. Once Hill had this "legitimate" job, he dropped out of high school, working exclusively for the Vario gangsters.[8]
  • Hill's first arrest took place when he was sixteen; this record is one of the few official documents that prove his existence. During a rough interrogation, Hill gave his name and nothing else; Vario's attorney later facilitated his release on bail. While a suspended sentence resulted, Hill's refusal to talk earned him the respect of both Vario and Burke
  • In June 1960, Hill joined the Army, serving with the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. Hill claimed the timing was deliberate; the FBI investigation into the 1957 Apalachin mob summit meeting had prompted a Senate investigation into organized crime and its links with businesses and unions
  • In 1965, Hill met his future wife, Karen Friedman, through Thomas "Tommy" DeSimone. Tommy insisted that Hill go with him on a double date at Frank "Frankie the Wop" Manzo's restaurant, Villa Capra.
  • On June 11, 1970, Hill and his crew threw a "welcome home" party at Robert's Lounge (owned by Jimmy Burke) for William "Billy Batts" Bentvena (whose name has been mistaken as William Devino). Bentvena was a made man in John Gotti's crew near Fulton Street, and a member of the Gambino crime family. He had just finished a six-year term for drug possession.
  • Burke had taken over Bentvena's loan shark business while Bentvena was in prison. Not wanting to return the business, Burke decided to kill Bentvena instead. Hill states that Bentvena saw Tommy DeSimone and asked him if he still shined shoes; DeSimone took it as insult.
  • Hill then went with Casey Rosado and Jimmy Burke on a vacation to Tampa, Florida. They went to Casey's parents', and met with Casey's cousin to collect a debt from a man named John Ciaccio. It turned out that Ciaccio's sister worked for the FBI.
  • Hill and Burke went on trial for kidnapping and assault. On the stand, Rosado convinced the jury that Ciaccio was a liar, and they were able to beat the rap. However, the police went after them for an extortion charge. Just before the three were to go to trial, Casey Rosado dropped dead from a heart attack while bending over to tie his shoe laces. Since Rosado could no longer testify, Hill and Burke lost their chance to beat the charge.[19]
  • On November 3, 1972, Hill and Burke were found guilty of extortion. On July 12, 1978, Hill was granted early parole for being a model prisoner.
  • On July 12, 1978, Hill was granted early parole for being a model prisoner. On April 27, 1980, Hill was arrested on a narcotics-trafficking charge.
  • Hill testified against his former associates to avoid a possible execution by his crew or going to prison for his crimes. His testimony led to 50 convictions.
  • Jimmy Burke was given 20 years in prison for the 1978–79 Boston College point shaving scandal, involving fixing Boston College basketball games. Burke was also later sentenced to life in prison for the murder of scam artist Richard Eaton. Burke died of cancer while serving his life sentence, on April 13, 1996. He was 64
  • The Boston College basketball point shaving scandal of 1978–79 involved a scheme in which underworld figures recruited and bribed some Boston College basketball players to ensure the team would not win by the required margin allowing the gamblers in the know to place wagers against that team and win.
  • Paul Vario received four years for helping Henry Hill. Vario was also later sentenced to 10 years in prison for the extortion of air freight companies at JFK Airport. He died of respiratory failure on November 22, 1988, at age 73 while incarcerated in the FCI Federal Prison in Fort Worth
  • Hill, his wife Karen, and their two children (Gregg and Gina) entered the U.S. Marshals' Witness Protection Program in 1980, changed their names, and moved to undisclosed locations
  • Hill was arrested in 1987 on narcotics-related charges in Seattle, In 1989, he and his wife Karen divorced after 25 years of marriage.
  • Due to his numerous crimes while in witness protection, Hill (along with his wife) were expelled from the program in the early 1990s.
  • Hill died in a Los Angeles hospital on June 12, 2012, one day after his 69th birthday. Hill's partner for the last 14 years of his life, Lisa Caserta,[37] said: "He had been sick for a long time....his heart gave out."

Cultural Context

About the Movie

  • Based on the book “Wiseguy” by Nicholas Pileggi
  • The F-bomb is dropped 296 times during the film, averaging twice per minute.
  • Robert De Niro’s Jimmy Conway character is based on real-life mobster Jimmy Burke, aka Jimmy ‘The Gent’ or ‘The Big Irishman’, an ex-bricklayer believed to have orchestrated the $6m Lufthansa heist in 1978 and then killed 10 of those who took part.
  • For a film renowned for violence, GoodFellas has a relatively low body count of 10.
  • Tommy DeVito was based on real-life gangster Thomas ‘Two-Gun Tommy’ DeSimone, renowned for his violent temper. According to the real Henry Hill, Pesci’s portrayal was “90 to 99 per cent accurate”
  • At the time joining a gang was a way to gain respect from being in contact with powerful people and a better life because of the work you did to get under their protection.
  • The longer you run with them and join in activities the more attached one is with the gang and more recognition you gain.
  • Organized crime was a very close community and stayed within the same group of people.
  • Do not off another from a different gang unless given permission by the higher ups.
  • Henry sold out the rest of his members for his life even though that is one of the biggest don't in a gang and was placed in witness protection. He was forced to because the FBI played a recording of Paul and Jimmy discussing offing Henry.

Reaction from the Blogs

  • Paul: Point of view f the movie

Important Movie Scenes


  • In the movie 'Goodfellas,' what does Jimmy Conway love to do most?
  • Henry and Paulie go to jail together. For how long is each sentenced?
  • When Henry's wife and girlfriend Karen gets shoved around by the 'guy across the street,' what does Henry beat him down with?
  • What is Henry's mistress's name?
  • What is one of the most coveted thing in the mob?
  • When Henry and Jimmy go to Tampa to get some money that they are owed, what do they threaten to do to the guy who won't give it up?