- Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
- Video Codec: VC-1
- Resolution: 1080p/24
- Audio Codec: English Dolby Digital 5.1, French 2.0, Spanish 2.0
- Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish
- Region: ABC (Region-Free)
- Rating: R
- Discs: 1
- Studio: Warner Home Video
- Blu-ray Release Date: January 16, 2007
- List Price: $28.99
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(The below TheaterByte screen captures are taken directly from the Blu-ray Discs and losslessly compressed in the PNG format. There should be no loss of picture quality with this format. All screen captures should be regarded only as an approximation of the full capabilities of the Blu-ray format.
In 1990 when Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas saw its release, it instantly drew comparisons to Coppola’s mafia saga The Godfather, but Scorsese’s film was and is a different beast. Yes, both The Godfather and Goodfellas deal with the mob and organized crime, but where Coppola elevated the mafia to a level of mythology with lavish tales and drama, in Goodfellas, Scorsese brought it back down to Earth.
Goodfellas was about the everyday gangster, the guy on the street doing the hits, carrying out the dirty work, looking to make his way up the organized crime ladder, and it portrayed that lifestyle with a relentless realism. There was no shying away from the brutality and violence involved in this lifestyle and there was a noticeable absence of the glamour of the sort to be found in The Godfather. This was the grit of the working class criminal. Anyone could get whacked at any moment and just about anyone would.
Told from multiple perspectives and incorporating a voice over, the story’s focus is on real-life gangster Henry Hill (Ray Liotta). We’re introduced to Henry at first in 1980 driving in car with his mob cronies Jimmy Conway (Robert DeNiro) and Tommy (Joe Pesci) as they tote around a savaged body in the trunk of their car at night to dispose of. Of course, the “body” isn’t cooperating, so they need to pull over on the side of the road in the middle of the night and “kill” this bloody carcass again. It’s a shocking introduction to the world of Goodfellas right from the start.
Scorsese then jumps around his timeline. Hill tells us “Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to be a gangster” and we’re given a glimpse into his rise through the underworld, so to speak. His growth from truant car parker and cigarette hustler to a bona fide criminal running scams with Jimmy and Tommy epic.
But Goodfellas doesn’t end there. Scorsese’s film then shifts into one of the most hyperkinetic, druggie paranoia movies ever committed to film. With marinara sauce, meatballs, and black helicopters, after a stint in prison, Hill descends into a druggie haze and thus goes the third act of Goodfellas, with a seventies-driven soundtrack with the likes of The Stones and Derek and the Dominoes. This latter half of Goodfellas is where all the chickens come home to roost, so to speak, and is most likely where most of the true story of Hill the film is based on emanates from.
The screenplay is by Nicholas Pileggi and Martin Scorsese based on the book Wise Guy by Pileggi.
Goodfellas‘ 1.78:1 VC-1 encoding from Warner is underwhelming, to say the least. This early-release suffers from issues with source damage, but beyond that, there is some obvious compression noise that crops up, varying grain levels and some black crush. The flesh tones are inconsistent as well, sometimes looking natural and at other times looking quite orange. Overall detail is a bit soft and only extends into the mid-background range where it quickly tapers off into blurriness. This one won’t be winning any rewards as a reference catalogue release anytime soon, even if it does retain a good film-like quality about it with obvious grain remaining intact, rather than being scrubbed completely clean, which I applaud.
Goodfellas comes with an unspectacular lossy English Dolby Digital 5.1 (640kbps) soundtrack that does a passable job with the dialogue-driven film’s audio. The sound is slightly muffled with just a hint of crackle in the dialogue and forget about low frequencies, there aren’t many here to speak of. The surround channels are occupied with a little bit of re-purposed ambience, but that’s it. The spread of sound across the front is rather narrow, giving the overall sound of the film a very dry, claustrophobic sound.
This original Blu-ray release of Goodfellas may not have the fancy, premium coffee table book packaging of the 20th Anniversary Blu-ray Book re-release, but it comes with a decent amount of extras that brings together the cast and crew for interviews segments as well as other popular filmmakers to discuss the impact and legacy of the Scorsese classic. Replay value may not be incredibly strong, but it is definitely worth at least watching one time through, and the audio commentaries are definitely a bonus.
The supplements provided with this release are:
- Behind the Story:
- Cast and Crew Commentary
- Cop and Crook Commentary
- Getting Made — New and Vintage interviews chronicle the making of the film.
- Made Men: The Goodfellas Legacy — Filmmakers Jon Favreau, the Hughes Brothers, Richard Linklater and others pontificate on Goodfellas’ epic coolness.
- Paper is Cheaper Than Film — Sketch to Screen Comparison.
- The Workaday Gangster — The gangsters in Goodfellas are representative of real-life dapper dans and their underlings.
- Theatrical Trailer
The Definitive Word
Scorsese’s gritty and visceral gangster film is a classic from start to finish. This is the other side of The Godfather, the mafia without the glitz and glamour, the everyday peons of the crime world and their brutal reality. This film has influenced gangster films and beyond. From Jon Favreau to Quentin Tarantino and the Hughes Brothers, its reach has been vast. This Blu-ray may not be perfect, but it will still be the best version available, despite its flaws.
Additional Screen Captures