Goodfellas is the true, violent account of real life mobster turned FBI informant, Henry Hill. Henry is played by Ray Liotta and takes place mostly in the 1960's and 70's in New York. Henry recounts his youth and his start with the mob, working for big timers running and selling cigarettes, working in the bar etc... Eventually Henry is introduced to two people who would become his better friends, Jimmy Conway (played by Rober DeNiro) and the loose cannon Tommy Devito (played brilliantly by Joe Pesci).
Henry works his way through the ranks working for the Luchesse crime family. Henry meets and falls in love with a Jewish girl named Karen, who at first is thrown off and put off by his shady ways, but eventually is intoxicated by the power he has and the reach he has. In one very memorable and powerful scene, Henry finds out that Karen was thrown from a car by her friend Ross. Henry drives her home and confronts Ross in his own driveway where he pistol whips his face until it's broken.
Henry recounts stories of hits on borrowers who never payed back, rats, rivals etc... He remembers insurance scams, thefts and everything in between. We're also taken into the world of his marriage to Karen which becomes turbulant when Henry begins using cocaine and cheating. Karen now into the fold, assumes much of Henry's take-no-prisoners way of thinking.
Later in the film, Henry and Jimmy help Tommy settle a score by butchering and killing Billy Batts, a made man in the Gambino crime family. This costs them dearly and later in the film, Tommy who's brovato had been displayed by fights, beatings, shootings, stabbings etc... is set up and killed for murdering a made man in one swift shot to the back of the head.
Henry begins to slip up and get sloppy with his drug use. He is caught by the FBI and sent to prison. Upon his release he gravely fears he is going to by whacked and by his good friend Jimmy of all people. In the end, Henry goes into the witness protection program and rats out all of his associates, causing everyone from his best friend Jimmy to his main boss Paulie to be locked up.
Just when you thought that TNT may have had AMC's number by developing a noir crime series with Frank Darabont, AMC turns around and announces that they have picked up an adaptation of the classic Scorcese film "Goodfellas." If you're a fan of mob movies, you have to be excited about this one: the adaptation is being considered as a weekly hour-long drama, and will be written (at least initially) by Nicholas Pileggi, who wrote both the movie and the book (Wiseguy) on which the movie is based.