‘Goodfellas’: 10 Things You Never Knew About Scorsese’s Masterpiece Revealed in New Book

     September 19, 2020

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The 30th anniversary of Goodfellas is upon us, so it’s fitting that Made Men, Glenn Kenny‘s new book about the making of Martin Scorsese‘s crime classic, was just published this week.

I read Made Men cover-to-cover in two days and then read it again for this piece, and what I loved was the structure, and how Chapter 4 (of 10) is roughly 47 percent of the book. Kenny is a notable film critic, and though we’ve butted heads on social media numerous times, there’s no question that I respect him as both a writer and a thinker. His insider access here is impressive, especially when combined with his critical eye and deep knowledge of mob movies and their recurring tropes.

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Image via Hanover Square Press

Goodfellas, or GoodFellas, as it was originally titled (the change is a mystery), is based on the 1986 book by Nicholas Pileggi titled Wiseguy, which soon became the name of an unrelated TV show the following year. Pileggi was in a position to write such a book for several reasons, but the most interesting is that because he wrote for the Associated Press, he never got a byline, so the gangster types he’d hang around never knew he was the one sharing their stories with the AP. Pileggi was dating Nora Ephron at this time, and she wound up writing her own Henry Hill movie, My Blue Heaven, that was released just one month before Goodfellas, which is a wild story.

There’s so much good(fellas) juice in this new book that we picked out the top 10 threads, so take a look below and learn just a little bit more about one of your favorite Scorsese movies. And for more on the making of Goodfellas, be sure and buy a copy of Kenny’s fascinating book, which is well worth a read. And if you’re just discovering Scorsese’s work, click here for a beginner’s guide to his films.

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