Actors: Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci, Lorraine Bracco, Paul Sorvino
Director: Martin Scorsese
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
When Martin Scorsese, one of the world's most skillful and respected directors, reunited with two-time Oscar-winner Robert De Niro in GoodFellas, the result was one of the most powerful films of the year. Based on the true... more »
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Edgar R. (edgarshoe) from CALEXICO, CA
Reviewed on 8/25/2009...
This classic is one of my favorite movies. And as far as gangster movies this is definitely my personal favorite, and an instant classic as far as I am concerned.I first saw this movie when I was only 12 years old, in theaters. How I got in without an adult is still a mystery to me, but I am glad I did see this picture on the big screen. I think this movie became an instant classic. Lots of "real-life" violence, it makes you imagine what it was like back then. Impressive performance by Joe Pesci. Great camera work and one of Scorsese's best. This movie will definely leave an impression on you. Ray Liotta and Robert DeNiro also give great performances and also a good cast of characters.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Another 5-star movie in a (barely) 4-star release...
Ryan Long | Philly | 08/22/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"There's nothing I can say that hasn't already been said about "Goodfellas"... it's one of the best movies ever. To hell with the AFI, this is arguably one of the top 10 American movies ever made! Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci, Lorraine Bracco: five top-notch talents operating on all 8 cylinders in this story about three decades of life in the mob.
Now, you'd think that Warner Brothers would give this movie the most complete Warner DVD release that's ever existed. A fervent popular following, a high level of anticipation for a special edition, and the current booming state of the DVD industry should've made this a no-brainer slam dunk for Warner's marketing and home video departments. And so, after years of having to flip over the old disc, after years of almost crushing that flimsy snap case, after years of listening to that 5.1 surround that sounded suspiciously like 2-channel, should you get this new version?? The answer is a resounding..."maybe".
Arguably the biggest plus to this new edition of "Goodfellas" is the fact that the whole movie is contained on a single side of a dual-layered disc. The "all-new digital transfer", enhanced for 16:9, is only a marginal improvement over the original release (which was also listed as being "enhanced for widescreen TVs" on the package; it wasn't). Strangely enough, in the scene where Jimmy (De Niro) and Paulie (Paul Sorvino) go to convince Henry to go home to Karen, there is a very noticeable screen-split line on the film that sections De Niro's face in half. This isn't the transfer's problem, per se; it looks more like something off the film print. The strange thing is I don't remember this streak being present on the old version. Maybe it's only a minor peeve, but still, this is the kind of thing you'd expect a studio to clean up for a special edition.
The English audio is the same old Dolby-Surround-masquerading-as-5.1 mix used in the old version. The package incorrectly lists Spanish as the alternate language; it's still French. Nothing more to say about that.
The disc menus are static, and they all have this generic-sounding jazz score playing over them. Remember all the jazz in "Goodfellas"? Yeah, me neither.
Of course, the real reason most people are running out to get this new set is to see the special features. This DVD includes 2 commentaries: one with various cast & crew members, the other with Henry Hill & ex-FBI agent Ed McDonald (who plays himself at the end of the movie). Of the 2 commentaries, the track with real-life players Hill and McDonald is infinitely more interesting, even though Hill mumbles more than Keith Richards having an acid flashback.
When I bought this set, I was looking forward to some feature-length Scorsese, Pesci, Liotta &/or Bracco commentary (I didn't dare to hope for Robert De Niro, I mean, be serious), with some funny stories or moviemaking info. Instead, what you get is a few new comments cobbled together with 10-15 year old sound bites from De Niro and Joe Pesci. Basically, the first 90 minutes of commentary is a total strokefest ("oh-this-guy-was-so-great", "oh-she-did-a-really-good-job") with only Scorsese, author Nick Pileggi, Liotta, and cinematographer Michael Ballhaus saving it. It picks up towards the end, though, when Lorraine Bracco (who shoots down the "screen-specific commentary" illusion when she talks about having watched the movie on the morning she's being interviewed) and editor Thelma Schoonmaker drop some funny thoughts.
As for the rest of the extras? There's really no need to have a second disc to contain them; the total running time of all the "documentaries", as Warner calls them ("featurettes", I call 'em), along with the theatrical trailer is less than an hour. Plenty of room for these on the first disc, but then I guess Warner felt they needed another selling point with the whole 2-disc thing. To summarize the 1/2-hour making-of documentary: "Martin Scorsese is a great director." Remember those 6 words and everything else is cream cheese.
The second major documentary, at around 13 minutes long, has interviews with some younger writer-directors who've found themselves influenced by "Goodfellas". Only 5 words to remember this time: "'Goodfellas' is a brilliant movie."
The other two featurettes are about 10 minutes altogether. One is a storyboard-to-screen comparison, the other is a little throwaway piece with some cast & crew anecdotes. 4 words will do this one just fine: "Warner Brothers is lazy."
It's really a shame that Warner Brothers couldn't wait just a tad longer and include some truly special features for one of the best movies their studio has ever produced. With the stellar jobs they've done on their other 2-disc reissues, like "Enter the Dragon", "The Right Stuff", "Singin' in the Rain" --jeez, even "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" has better features than this!!-- I expected Warner Bros. to really pull out all the stops for this new edition of "Goodfellas", but it's a big letdown. Still, it is an improvement (no matter how minor) over the previous release, and as it is probably the "best" version we're ever gonna get on DVD, I would have to recommend picking it up.
However, if you already own the movie, keep three things in mind. Ask yourself 1.) if you really mind flipping the old disc over, 2.) if you've got a normal full-screen TV, do you really need a new anamorphic transfer?, and 3.) do you really need to see the special features if they're not exactly top quality? If your answer to any of these things is "no", then I'd think long and hard about shelling out another $20."
Incredible movie, but?
Winston Cheuk | United States | 03/16/2001
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I have to say that this is one of the best movies I've ever seen. Yet the DVD doesn't do this classic justice. First off, the movie is listed as being enhanced for widescreen televisions. Unfortunately, this only applies to the menus, not the film itself. Another major problem is that the soundtrack of this film seems to be mixed in Dolby ProLogic since there's a lack of surround action. And the biggest problem with this disc: it's dual-sided, not dual-layered. In the middle of the film, the disc stops and you have to get up and flip it. Come on: this isn't laser disc.Memo to Warner Bros.: Remaster this epic anamorphically, in DTS digital surround, and make it a special edition, 2-disc set with the film on a dual-layered disc and extras on the second disc."
Good Blu-Ray Transfer
C. S. Junker | Burien, WA USA | 01/27/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Goodfellas has long been one of my favorite movies. I've watched it many times since I saw it in the theater. I've seen it on tape, on laserdisc, on the original "flipper" DVD and the remastered anamorphic DVD, and now, Blu-Ray Disc.
I'm happy to report that the Blu-Ray is a significant improvement over the remastered DVD. The picture is brighter, the colors are more vivid, and many scenes have much more detail and clarity. Of course, the overall picture is much sharper.
Goodfellas is not the kind of movie that is a showcase for high-resolution video, however. It has a lot of dark indoor scenes; very little takes place outdoors (something I never noticed before). I noticed some graininess, which has a lot to do with how Scorcese shot the picture. It's just more noticeable in the higher resolution.
There are some minor problems with the audio in one scene. The dialogue drops in volume and then jumps back up in the following scene. Other than that, the audio is fine, although I would have liked a more aggressive surround mix, at least in the musical selections. However, there's not much use of the surrounds here.
Also, at one point there's a vertical line halfway across the screen. Why this wasn't cleaned up is mystery to me; it lasts for about fifteen seconds. Admittedly this is a very minor problem, but with expensive new technology flaws of this kind stand out more than they would on tape or standard DVD.
If you're a fan of the movie and are considering upgrading to the Blu-Ray, I'd highly recommend it. It's not an eye-popping effects movie to begin with, so this disc isn't the first one to reach for if you want to show off your system. But it's probably the best way to watch the movie."