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10 Facts You ‘Probably’ Didn’t Know About Goodfellas

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“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.”

The thing with Gangster films is that if it isn’t handled by a responsible filmmaker, it will end up looking like an imitation of a previously made great gangster film. Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas came at a time when there was an array of great Gangster Flicks to look up to. There were the Godfather Films, Brian De Palma’s Scarface and The Untouchables and Sergio Leone’s Once Upon A Time in America. These films were milestones, already established as reference materials to any script that aspired to transform into a Gangster Film. But, even with all that already in the store, Martin Scorsese managed to pull off a unique film within the same Genre. Goodfellas had cooler characters than any other Gangster film and an environment which was never seen before in a Mafia Drama.

Here are 10 facts you ‘probably’ didn’t know about Goodfellas:

1. According to Martin Scorsese, Marlon Brando tried to persuade him to not make Goodfellas. He thought Scorsese would be just repeating his work done in ‘Mean Streets [1973]’ and ‘Raging Bull [1980]’. But he still made it as everyone in the crew believed that Goodfellas was a fresh and funny take on the Gangster genre.

2. “As far back as I can remember I’ve always wanted to be a gangster.” This iconic line found a place at the 20th position in Premiere Magazine’s 100 Greatest Movie Lines.

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3. This could have been the first Martin Scorsese and Al Pacino collaboration. Al Pacino denied the role of Jimmy Conway as he feared of being typecasted as a Gangster. Ironically the same year, he did Warren Beatty’s ‘Dick Tracy’, where he played an even more stereotypical Gangster. Pacino admits that he regrets this decision.

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4. There were many actors who were eyed to play a part in this film; John Malkovich and Al Pacino were considered for the role of Jimmy Conway, Sean Penn, and Tom Cruise were considered to play Henry Hill and Alec Baldwin auditioned for the role of Henry Hill.

5. As a young man, Joe Pesci used to work in a restaurant and once he told a mobster that he was funny and it made the mobster very angry. He told about this incident to Scorsese and he allowed it to reenact the event with Ray Liotta on the receiving end. The result was the memorable “You think I am Funny?” Scene.

6. The producer’s original choice for Henry Hill and his wife was Tom Cruise and Madonna, however it could not materialize and it went to Ray Liotta and Lorraine Bracco. Scorsese liked Liotta ever since he saw him in ‘Something Wild [1986]’.

7. Robert De Niro was offered to pick one from the two characters Jimmy Conway and Tommy DeVito. 

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8. Ray Liotta turned down the role of Harvey Dent in Tim Burton’s ‘Batman [1989]’ and instead chose to work on Goodfellas.

9. The real Henry Hill claimed that Robert De Niro used to call him 7 to 8 times a day to ask about little details of the life of Jimmy Conway. As little details as how Jimmy used to hold his cigarette or how he would apply his tomato ketchup.

10. The word ‘Fuck’ and its forms were used 321 times; almost half of them were spoken by Joe Pesci.

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Goodfellas Links: IMDb, Wikipedia

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