06/16/15 7:18am
06/16/2015 7:18 AM |

Joe Pesci, Ray Liotta and Robert De Niro in Martin Scorsese’s

GoodFellas (1990)
Directed by Martin Scorsese
June 19-25 at Film Forum

When Martin Scorsese’s now-classic GoodFellas, screening in a 25th anniversary 4K restoration, was first released, many critics received it as a gritty reality check on the two extant Godfather movies. Unlike Francis Ford Coppola, Scorsese did not portray Italian-American arch-criminals simply as avid pursuers of the American Dream with their own set of rules. To him, like others, they were vicious thugs with a code of conduct that did not comport with accepted moral principles. This feature was certainly an important critical element of the film, but for popular audiences it was muted. The movie’s more salient and extraordinary aspect was the implicit suggestion that despite its characters’ habitual and immoral resort to theft, extortion, and extreme violence, they were undeniably seductive and compelling to any little boy in the neighborhood who saw them in action.