As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster

Goodfellas posterThis week we’re covering a recommendation from readers Andrew Noname (sorry, I forgot to write your surname down Andrew) and Craig Huffman – the Scorsese classic, GoodFellas.

I couldn’t believe that Ian hadn’t seen this one. Name an Ealing comedy or an odd sixties sci-fi flick and I guarantee that Ian will have seen it, but when it comes to the gangster genre, his memory cupboard is remarkably bare. I mean, he hadn’t even seen The Godfather until he was contractually obliged to do so for the podcast.

Anyway, he enjoyed it, even though his unshakeable sense of societal justice meant that he found it hard to get behind the glamorous portrayal of crim-loving gangsters. To its credit though, GoodFellas shows the grim consequences of all that fun-time criminality – i.e. the risk of getting a screwdriver shoved into the back of your head without a moment’s notice. Nasty.

And that’s the other particularly memorable thing about the film – the remarkable levels of violence right from the outset. It’s made clear that being a gangster might be all glitz, glamour and free parking on one side, but the flip side is a life of brutality and paranoia.

Arguably, Casino (GoodFellas‘ sort-of-sequel-but-not) is even more violent – I can never look at a pen the same way after that scene. I’ll make sure to force Ian to watch it sometime soon.

Last but not least, our Secret Sponsor for this week is Al’s Movie Review. You can follow Al on Twitter (@TheAlBrownShow) or check out his website at

If our review has piqued your interest in the film, you can buy the GoodFellas DVD from Amazon by clicking here (and we get a little bit of cash if you do – thanks in advance)

Anyway, without further ado, let us present our feature presentation:

Click here to download and listen on your MP3 player of choice:

101 Films Podcast 055 – Goodfellas

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We’d love to hear your own film recommendations – please get in touch at or leave a comment on the blog. Feel free to say nice things about us on iTunes!

Director: Martin Scorsese Year of release: 1990 Studio/Distributor: Warner Bros. Country: USA

Published by Lewis Packwood

The first game that Lewis ever played was "Horace Goes Skiing" on the ZX Spectrum. Yes, he's that old.

One thought on “As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster

  1. I have seen the film and read some of the book it is based on. I find the film focusses on the Lufthansa heist, rather than closely follow the book (which has details about criminal businesses in New York and the structure of Mafia gangs). While it does show how the main character enters the gang and later life, it does not contain as much detail as the book. I have never understood why the film makers changed the ending. The film is based on the book, which is based on the life of Henry Hill. In the film, the main character complains about his life, in the book, he enjoys his later life. In the film he complains about not eating proper spaghetti, the book, meanwhile, states “he imports his spaghetti from Little Italy.” I could not understand why this was changed if both stories are based on real events.
    I also agree with the sense of societal justice and discomfort in watching a film glamorising gangsters.

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