Saturday, January 13, 2007

Interesting Goodfellas trivia

According to Maxim magazine, Pesci wrote and directed the "You think I'm funny?" scene at Scorsese's request.

The ending shot of Pesci shooting at the camera is a visual reference to The Great Train Robbery (1903), whose ending shot is of the villain, George Barnes, shooting at the camera.

Based on the book "Wiseguy" by Nicholas Pileggi. The movie was renamed to avoid confusion with "Wiseguy" (1987).

Mike Starr, who plays "Frenchy" in the film, plays the same role in The 10 Million Dollar Getaway (1991) (TV), a Jimmy Burke/Conway telling of the Lufthansa heist portion of "Goodfellas"

The word "fuck" is used 246 times in this film (mostly by Joe Pesci).

It was claimed that at the time the real life gangster Jimmy Burke was so happy to have Robert De Niro play him that he phoned him from prison to give him a few pointers. Author/screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi denies this, saying De Niro and Burke had never spoken, but admitting that there were men around the set all the time who had known all of the principal characters very well.

In the scene where Henry and Karen Hill are negotiating to enter the Witness Protection Program, former U.S. Attorney Edward McDonald plays himself, re-enacting what he did in real life.

Director Martin Scorsese's mother plays Tommy's mother. She ad-libbed the dinner scene. Scorsese's father plays the prisoner who puts too many onions in the tomato sauce.

Jimmy Burke, on whom Jimmy Conway was based, would have been eligible for parole in 2004, however, he died of lung cancer in 1996 while still in prison.

For the famous "Layla" montage, Martin Scorcese actually played the phrase of the song on the set of each scene that would have that part of the song in the final cut to set the mood of the shot.

After Joe Pesci's mother had seen the film, she told her son that the movie was good, but asked him if he had to swear so much.

The long tracking shot that ends with Henny Youngman performing had to be filmed many times because Youngman kept forgetting his lines.

The painting that Tommy's mother shows to Tommy, Jimmy and Henry, is based on a picture from the November 1978 National Geographic.

The black-and-white movie that Karen is watching on television in her house is The Jazz Singer (1927), a movie about a Jewish person trying to reconcile with his estranged parents.

The young "extra" carrying a J&B box off the truck and into the Bamboo Lounge is Glenn Taranto.

According to the real Henry Hill, whose life was the basis for the book and film, Joe Pesci's portrayal of Tommy Devito was 90 to 99% accurate; with one notable exception: the real Tommy Devito was a massively built, strapping man in contrast to Pesci's diminutive size.

When Paulie confronts Henry after Henry's released from prison, Paul Sorvino improvised the slap to Ray Liotta's face. Hence Liotta's reaction.

The part of singer Bobby Vinton was played by his son Robby. Robby lip synched to his fathers recording.

By Scorsese's request, associates of the actual people were always on the set of the film, giving helpful and essential information about the life, people, setting s and moods.

Ray Liotta spent much time with the real Henry Hill for a few months before filming started to gain an exact idea of what to portray. Since the film was released, Hill has stated in interviews that many mobsters ask him how can they have their stories told the way his was told in this film. Apparently, they've seen and enjoyed the movie.

When Karen sees Janice Rossi in the prison visitor registry, the name below is listed as "Ballibusteros".

'Frank Vincent' originally wanted the role of Paulie Cicero, which went to Paul Sorvino.

Ray Liotta listened to FBI phone-tap cassettes featuring Henry Hill while driving to and from the set.

The dinner scene with Tommy's mother was almost completely improvised by the actors, including Tommy asking his mother if he could borrow her butcher's knife and Jimmy's "hoof" comment.

Martin Scorsese wanted William L. Petersen to star in this movie, but Petersen declined.

Voted #1 in Total Film's 100 Greatest Movies Of All Time list (November 2005).

The gun Tommy shoots Spyder with is a Government 1911 type pistol in .45ACP. In the "Making Of..." Pesci says that there were fully filled .45 blank rounds in the magazine, so he would get the real feeling for the gun.


Blogger theGoose said...

I always understood that the "you think I'm funny" part was ad libbed by Pesci and that Liotta had no idea which you can kinda tell from his face.

I think Pesci is a very underated actor. My Cousin Vinny is one of my favourite films and the acting by him and Marisa are excellent.

Blogger theGoose said...

I read like a robot LOL

Must be the beer :)

Blogger Dirty Dan said...

Joe Pesci is a legend, for that 'what do you mean i'm funny' switch alone. Haven't seen the other one yet, i'll make a note.

There was home alone on the telly the other night, didn't realise he was in it too. Last time i watched it i was 9/10

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