Life is what happens when you are making other plans~ John Lennon
An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind~Gandhi
The time is always right to do what is right~ Martin Luther King Jr.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


-Made in 1990
-One of my favorite mob movies, although I've certainly seen it enough times to watch it in my mind at night!
-Directed by Martin Scorsese
-Film adaptation of the 1986 non-fiction book Wiseguy by Nicholas Pileggi
-Follows the fall and rise of Luccese crime family associates Henry Hill and his friends over a period of time from 1955-1980

Did You Know?
-The F word is used approximately 296 times, mostly by Joe Pesci
-Joe Pesci's mother saw the film, said it was good, and asked her son if he had to swear so much
-Joe Pesci's portrayal of Tommy De Vito was 90-99% accurate, except for the fact that the real Tommy De Vito was a muscularly built man
-Al Pacino was the original choice for the role of Jimmy Conway, but turned it down due to fear of typecasting.
-According to Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro and Nancy Sinatra put a fake horse's head in Liotta's makeup room as a prank. It was a homage to the Godfather films and also as an introduction into the Mafioso films
-The soundtrack for the movie did not feature many of the songs used in the movie, many of them being played while Henry was rushing around making drug deals, like:
  1. Jump Into the Fire: Nilsson
  2. Memo from Turner: The Rolling Stones
  3. Magic Bus: The Who
  4. Monkey Man: The Rolling Stones
  5. Mannish Boy: Muddy Waters
  6. What is Life: George Harrison
  7. Mannish Boy again
  8. Toad: Cream
-For the pistol whipping scene, Liotta used the anger of his mother dying from cancer during filming to fuel the anger
-The character Joe Pesci played, Tommy De Vito, was supposed to be in his 20s, even though Pesci himself was in his 40s
-During the scene where his character is killed by Tommy, Michael Imperioli broke a glass and had to be rushed to the hospital. When the doctors saw it was a gunshot wound, they tried to treat it. When Imperioli told them how it happened, he had to wait 3 hours. And Scorsese told him that he'd be telling that story later on and it came true in March 2000 when he was on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno
-In the scene where Spider is killed, it was mostly improvised. The only scripted line was where Spider says to Tommy "Why don't you go f--- yourself?"

-Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) admits in his own words "As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster" referring to him idolising the Luccese crime family in his blue collar working class, predominantly Italian American neighborhood of East New York, Brooklyn in 1955. He wanted to be part of something bigger, so Henry quits school and goes to work for them. His Irish-American father, well aware of the Mafia's reputation, tries to steer Henry away from them after learning he has been skipping school. But then the gangsters he works for threaten the local mailman with death threats after delivering a notice to Henry's house letting his parents know he's been skipping school. Henry is now able to make money for himself, and learns what it takes to be a wiseguy, 2 very valuable lessons: "Never rat on your friends" and "Always keep your mouth shut". These 2 rules acquit him of charges early in his life

-The local mob capo Paul "Paulie" Cicero (Paul Sorvino) takes Henry under his wing and introduces him to his associates, Jimmy "The Gent" Conway (Robert De Niro), who just loves to hijack trucks and Tommy De Vito (Joe Pesci), a hot headed aggressive robber who lives life on a short fuse. In late 1967, they commit the Air France Robbery, marking Henry's debut into the mob life. Enjoying the highlights of mob life, they spend their nights at the Copacabana with many women. That's where Henry meets and later marries Karen (Lorraine Bracco), a Jewish girl from the Five Towns. Karen is initially startled by Henry's mob life, but is soon seduced by his lifestyle. When a neighbor assaults her for turning down his sexual advances, Henry pistol whips him in front of her and she feels turned on by that, especially when Henry gives her the gun and tells her to hide it.

-June 11, 1970: Tommy (with Jimmy's help) brutally beat Billy Batts (Frank Vincent), a mobster with the Gambino mob family, for insulting him about being a shoeshine boy when he was younger. However, Batts was a made man and according to mob rule, that is a no-no. Batts could not be touched without the consent of the Gambino mob family. Finally realizing this could get them all killed, Jimmy, Henry and Tommy need to cover up the murder. So they transport the body upstate in the trunk of Henry's car and bury it upstate. 6 months later, Jimmy learns that the burial site will be developed which means that if the body is found, it will be exhumed, forcing them to move the body.

-Soon, Henry begins seeing a woman named Janice Rossi (Gina Mastrogiacomo), setting her up in an apartment. When Karen finds out, she goes to Janice's apartment to confront her, but is not let past the front door. She confronts Henry, pointing a revolver at him and threatens to kill both of them, demanding to know if he truly loves her or Janice. Karen can't bring herself to kill Henry and angered, Henry threatens Karen with the gun and says that he has bigger problems. Henry goes to live in the apartment with Janice and soon Paulie finds out and directs him back to Karen after doing a job for him; Henry and Jimmy are sent to collect from an indebted gambler in Florida, where they succeed after beating him to a pulp. However, most of the crew are arrested after being turned in by the gambler's sister, a typist for the FBI.

-In prison, Henry begins to sell drugs to support his family. Soon he is released in 1978, the crew commits the Lufthansa heist at the John F. Kennedy International Airport. Despite Paulie's warning to stop, Henry further establishes himself in the drug world, convincing Tommy and Jimmy to join. Jimmy has other members of the Lufthansa heist killed after they ignore his order to not buy expensive things with their share of the money. Then Tommy is killed for the murder of Billy Batts, having been fooled into thinking he is going to be made.

-By 1980, Henry is in a nervous breakdown from insomnia and cocaine use, as he tries to organize a drug deal with his associates in Pittsburgh. Unfortunately, the DEA catches him and sends him to jail. On his release, Karen tells him that she flushed the $60,000 worth of cocaine down the toilet to avoid being caught by the FBI. This leaves Henry and his family virtually penniless. Feeling Henry betrayed him by dealing drugs, Paulie gives Henry $3,200 and ends his connection with him. Henry decides to enroll in the Witness Protection Program after realizing that Jimmy intends to have him murdered. Forced out of his mobster life, he comes to the realization "I'm an average nobody. I get to live the rest of my life like a schnook."

-As the movie ends, the titles explain that Henry was subsequently arrested on drug charges in Seattle, Washington but has been clean since 1987. Paul Cicero died in Fort Worth Federal Prison of respiratory illness in 1988 at age 73. Jimmy, as of 1990, was serving a 20-to-life sentence in a New York State prison (died in prison in 1996)

-Ray Liotta: Henry Hill, based on Henry Hill
-Robert De Niro: Jimmy Conway, based on Jimmy Burke
-Joe Pesci: Tommy De Vito, based on Thomas DeSimone
-Lorraine Bracco: Karen Hill, based on Karen Hill
-Paul Sorvino: Paul Cicero, based on Paul Vario
-Frank Sivero: Frankie Carbone, based on Angelo Sepe
-Frank Vincent: Billy Batts, based on William "Billy Batts" Devino
-Tony Darrow: Sonny Bunz, based on Angelo McConnach
-Mike Starr: Frenchy, based on Robert "Frenchy" McMahon
-Chuck Low:  Morrie Kessler, based on Martin Krugman
-Frank DiLeo: Tuddy Cicero, based on Vito "Tuddy" Vario
-Samuel L. Jackson: Parnell "Stacks" Edwards, based on Parnell Steven "Stacks" Edwards
-Catherine Scorsese: Tommy De Vito's mom, based on Thomas DeSimone's grandmother
-Michael Imperioli: Spider, based on Michael "Spider" Gianco
-Joseph Bono: Mikey Franzese, based on Michael Franzese

1 comment:

  1. I haven't seen this before. But I have heard a lot about it.