As far back as I can remember, I have been obsessed with Martin Scorsese’s GoodFellas. The 1991 film remains at the very top of an especial pantheon of American crime films, and, well, American films in general. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the film’s release and to celebrate, a Goodfellas 4K restoration from the original camera negative has recently been completed, with all the A/V bells and whistles such a classic deserves. To mark the occasion, the restoration will premiere as the closing night selection for the upcoming Tribeca Film Festival.
For those who have somehow not seen the premiere mafia film of the 1990s, the story concerns Henry Hill (Ray Liotta), a blue-collar Irish boy living in 1950s Brooklyn who becomes a high-level member of the Lucchese crime family. At the center of the film is his work with fellow criminal kingpins Paulie (Joe Pesci) and Jimmy (Robert DeNiro), and their interactions have spawned innumerable pretenders to the throne and piss-poor parodies. Scorsese co-wrote the film with Nicholas Pileggi, who penned Wise Guy, the book that served as the basis of GoodFellas. (In fact, the film was originally titled Wise Guy).
The film famously lost at the 63rd Annual Academy Awards to the utterly innocuous Dances with Wolves, with only Pesci picking up a well-deserved Oscar for his supporting turn. As embarrassing a choice as that was, Scorsese has gone on to direct some of the best films of the last two decades, including Gangs of New York, The Departed, and The Wolf of Wall Street. The director is currently finishing up Silence, his long-gestating, 17th-century-set tale of two Jesuit priests looking for their mentor in Japan. On top of that, Scorsese is completing his work on an untitled new HBO series, centered around the 1970s music scene, another HBO series based off of Shutter Island, and looking forward to his planned Frank Sinatra biopic, slated to start production once Silence has wrapped shooting.