Goodfellas, Blu-ray (1990)

by | Apr 21, 2007 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

Goodfellas, Blu-ray (1990)

Starring Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci
Directed by Martin Scorsese
Studio: Warner Bros.110808
Video: 1.85:1 enhanced for 16:90 widescreen, 1080p HD
Audio: Dolby Digital English 5.1, DD French & Spanish 2.0
Subtitles: English SDH, English, French, Spanish
Extras: 2 commentary tracks: Scorcese, 5 of the actors, novelist-screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi, Producers Irwin Winkler & Barbara De Fina, Cinematographer Michael Ballhaus, Editor Thelma Schoonmaker; Cop and Crook: The real Henry Hill  & former FBI agent Edward McDonald; 3 documentaries with cast and crew: Getting Made, Made Men: The Goodfellas Legacy, The Workaday Gangster; Storyboard-to-Screen Comparisons: Paper Is Cheaper Than Film; Theatrical trailer (extras are 480i or 480p)
Length: 145 minutes
Rating: *****

No wonder this opus was named best picture of 1990 by the National Society of Film Critics and is on the AFI’s Top-100 American Films List. It’s extremely violent and blood-spattered, but the performances from the topflight cast are all terrific – Joe Pesci, as the loose cannon of bunch, got an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, and the great writing (with the original novelist as the co-screenwriter with Scorsese) plus much rehearsing of roles and the occasional use of improvisation resulted in a compelling, realistic drama that draws the viewer into the life of gangster Henry Hill (who narrates some of it in voice over).  The various gangsters are portrayed in individualistic ways but always very believable in their excesses.  In comparison to the famous Godfather Trilogy, some have characterized Goodfellas as real blue-collar life and The Godfather as classy grand opera. Rolling Stone called Goodfellas “an American classic,” and probably the only disagreement on that one would come from audience members who walk out on it or turn it off due to the violence. The boy cast for Henry Hill as a teenager really does look like Liotta as an adult, which aids the opening section of the film. Both De Niro and Paul Servino carry off half of their superb characterizations using their expressive eyes.

The cinematography is excellent and perhaps due to being a more recent film there is no noticeable grain seen in the video transfer. Lighting is good, even in dark portions, and due to the higher resolution, the violent scenes seem even more bloody and upsetting. The surround sound is mostly in the frontal channels, and there’s no musical score to speak of. The three short documentaries are all well worth viewing, and though I didn’t have time to check out either of the commentary tracks, I’ll bet the Cop and Crook one is plenty interesting.

 – John Sunier

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