Goodfellas on PAL VHS

The Dominator reviews

Distributed by
Elite Collection/Warner Home Video


  • Cert: 18
  • Running time: 140 minutes
  • Year: 1990
  • SO13287
  • Released: 17th February 1997
  • Sound: Dolby Surround
  • Widescreen : 1.85:1
  • Price: £12.99
  • Extras : Original Theatrical Trailer


      Martin Scorsese (Cape Fear, Casino, Taxi Driver)


      Irwin Winkler


      Nicholas Pileggi and Martin Scorsese (based on the novel “Wiseguy” by Nicholas Pileggi)


      Mark Mancina


      Jimmy Conway : Robert DeNiro (Casino, Backdraft, Cape Fear)
      Henry Hill : Ray Liotta (No Escape, Turbulence)
      Tommy DeVito : Joe Pesci (My Cousin Vinny, Casino)
      Paul ‘Pauly’ Cicero : Paul Sorvino (Nixon, Reds)
      Karen Hill : Lorraine Bracco (Medicine Man)
      Sandy : Debi Mazar (Toys, Batman Forever)
      Rosie : Illeana Douglas (Cape Fear, Grace of My Heart)
      Stacks Edwards : Samuel L Jackson (Pulp Fiction, Die Hard With a Vengeance)

Goodfellas follows the life Irish Sicilian Henry Hill, played by Ray Liotta who becomes a gangster, or Goodfella. The film starts in 1970 showing Hill ‘today’ enjoying how he always wanted to be in the business, moving back to 1955 in East New York, Brooklyn. In fact, Ray Liotta who narrates through the film describing the background history of his life and the many people he comes into contact with during it, especially the main ‘Goodfella’, Pauly, who got everyone to do his dirty work for him.

After meeting Jimmy Conway, one of the most respected Goodfellas, played on top form as usual by Robert DeNiro, the action moves to 1963, with Henry coming into his own now that he’s grown up. Then the action goes further to the men’s drinking clubs where we’re introduced to the persona of Tommy, played by a maniacal Joe Pesci, definitely not the sort of person you want to meet in a dark alley, and the women Hill meets, particularly Karen, Henry’s wife of 25 years.

Picture quality of the tape is good, and the surround sound is used mainly to set the scene in the many places the film is set, from the streets of Brooklyn to the men’s drinking clubs, and occasional bursts of songs from the era, from the Rolling Stones “Gimme Shelter”, to “Layla” by Derek and the Dominoes. Check out the sound credits at the end. The original theatrical trailer is also on the retail video, although it wasn’t on my tape available for review.

Even though the film if 140 minutes long, the pace never lets up for a second. Just when you think the film might be reaching a slow point, on first viewing of this film a few years ago, this reviewer found the tension frightening at times when you wondered who was going to get ‘whacked’ next.

Also, it’s interesting to note that although the book the film was based on was called “Wiseguy”, Scorsese didn’t use this name as the film’s title, so as not to confuse it with the 1986 film, “Wise Guys”.

In short, Goodfellas is violent *and* funny, full of bad language (it’s cited as one of the most f-word filled films of all time), and one watch of this film, and you’ll never tell Joe Pesci that he’s “funny”. That is, if you want to live…

Review copyright © Dominic Robinson, 1997.

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