[[quoteright:250:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Goodfellas_3550.jpg]]

->''"As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster."''
-->'''Henry Hill'''

Creator/MartinScorsese's famous 1990 film, based on the book ''Wiseguy'' by Nicholas Pileggi, which followed the story of New York City gangster Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) from his induction into the Lucchese crime family in the 1950s to his downfall and entry into the Witness Protection Program in the 1980s. Along with Henry, the film follows Henry's boss Jimmy Conway (Creator/RobertDeNiro), his best friend Tommy [=DeVito=] (Creator/JoePesci), and his wife Karen (Creator/LorraineBracco). The film details Henry's moving up the ranks, his eventual imprisonment, his role in (at the time) the largest heist in American history, and his involvement with the cocaine trade (which eventually gets him arrested by narcotics officers and shunned by the Mob). As the ground crumbles around him, he turns to the Feds for protection, eventually having to "live the rest of [his] life like a schnook".

The movie became famous for several reasons, including a long tracking shot through the kitchen of the Copacabana; the montage near the end showing Henry's increasing drug-induced paranoia as he tries to run some guns, get a drug shipment off to Pittsburgh, [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking and make dinner for his family]]; and Tommy's [[ClusterFBomb profanity-laden dialogue]] and HairTriggerTemper, which threatened to make Joe Pesci typecast for some time -- and won him the Best Supporting Actor Oscar. The movie itself ended up losing Best Picture to ''Film/DancesWithWolves''. The movie was selected for the NationalFilmRegistry in 2000.

''Goodfellas'' was followed by ''{{Film/Casino}}'', based on the book of the same name (also by Nicholas Pileggi), which also featured De Niro (who 'fagocitated' Liotta's role in becoming the centre of the movie's romantic subplot) and Pesci (still the same sort of vicious, cynical character- though, it should be noted, both guys he played really existed, and he played them pretty faithfully).

----
!!Provides Examples Of:

* AdaptationDistillation: Joe Pesci's character, Tommy [=DeVito=], is based on two real-life people: Tommy [=DeSimone=], a violent member of the Vario organization, and Paul Vario Jr., Paulie's son. Specifically Tommy stands in for Paul Jr. when Henry meets him as a child, and during the double date with Karen. Practically everything else Tommy does is based on [=DeSimone=].
* AffablyEvil:
** Henry.
** Most of the mob is like this when Henry is barely a teenager. Everyone from Paulie and Jimmy on down are all smiles and sunshine. But then the body count grows and the broken deals start piling up...
** Towards the end, Karen perceives the FauxAffablyEvil vibes from Jimmy, who is up to no good with the Hills by then.
* AgeLift: Joe Pesci was 46 at the time of filming. Thomas [=DeSimone=], who Tommy [=DeVito=] is based on, was in his teens and twenties at the time of the events in the movie, being murdered in 1979 at age 28.
* AlasPoorVillain:
** Billy Batts. At least he gets one of the most famous mob deaths in history.
** [[spoiler:Tommy, when he realizes too late he's gotta answer for what he did to Billy Batts...]]
* AlliterativeName: Henry Hill. Jimmy "the Gent."
* AllGirlsWantBadBoys: Henry pistol-whips the guy who gropes Karen, then gives her the gun to hide, and she confesses in voiceover "I gotta admit - It turned me on."
* AndNowForSomeoneCompletelyDifferent: For a few minutes, the film gives Karen narration duties.
* AntiVillain:
** Henry is more sympathetic than Tommy and Jimmy and provides ALighterShadeOfBlack. His moral fiber is not that flexible when compared to the rest of his partners. It's established early on, during his teenage years, when he [[PetTheDog helps to bandage the arm of a man who had been shot]] and is berated for wasting good aprons.
** Paul Cicero has his standards, as well.
* AssholeVictim: Henry narrates that murder is just commonplace among mobsters and that some conditions should be met before a guy is considered expendable. The death of generic mobsters is not a big deal. [[spoiler: Tommy]] and Billy Batts may qualify from an out-universe point of view. In-universe, not so much.
* AxCrazy:
** Tommy, which was basically TruthInTelevision.
** Jimmy, as well, in a more downplayed or by-proxy way.
* {{Badass}}[=/=]BadassInANiceSuit: The three main characters; Henry, Jimmy and Tommy. A semi-expository scene has Henry suiting up, which is warily received by his mother: "You look like a gangster!"
* BadassBoast: After killing Spider, Tommy ''tries'' to use the line "I'm a good shot" as one. It doesn't fly, as there is nothing badass to brag about. Even one generic mobster is unafraid to call it out: "How could you miss at this distance?"
* BadGuyBar:
** The Bella Vista Pizzeria, ran by Tuddy Cicero, brother of the big man.
** The wiseguys hang around Henry's restaurant. It's reputable enough in the underworld to hold the homecoming party of Billy Batts, a veteran made man.
* BeingEvilSucks: A complex example as the film delivers mixed messages despite showing the misery of a criminal life; notably in-universe Henry argues for the opposite in his final lines, an inviting gateway to misaimed fandom, he infers that getting caught is the only thing he regrets about being a gangster. See DoNotDoThisCoolThing below.
* BerserkButton: Bringing up Tommy De Vito's humiliating past as a shoe-shine boy. He doesn't need much of an excuse to go berserk, but this is one easy way to do it.
** Telling him to go fuck himself is another, as Spider found out.
* BigApplesauce: All of the movie was shot in (and takes place in) New York City and environs. In a twist, we barely see the stereotypical Manhattan sights as most of the movie's action happens in Queens near JFK Airport.
* BigBadDuumvirate[=/=]{{Big Bad Friend}}s: [[ProperlyParanoid Jimmy]] and [[HairTriggerTemper Tommy]] are personally responsible for much of the conflict here.
* BiggerBad: Paul Cicero. The Lucchese Family in the original book.
* BlackDudeDiesFirst: Parnell "Stacks" Edwards (played by Creator/SamuelLJackson) participates in the Lufthansa heist as a ''designated'' driver. He screws it up and is the first of many to get whacked in order to keep the matter safe and quiet.
* BlackComedy
* BlatantLies: When Karen asks Henry what he does for a living, he replies "I'm in construction". Karen feels his soft hands and points out that they don't look like the hands of a constructor, so he elaborates and tells that he's [[LegitimateBusinessmensSocialClub a union delegate]]. Karen, [[DistractedByTheLuxury obviously enchanted by the lavish lifestyle]], doesn't press the matter.
* BloodKnight: To Jimmy and Tommy, a risky and bloody criminal life is not a hazard but quite the opposite.
* BoomHeadshot:
** Tommy, to [[spoiler:Stacks]]: "You're always fuckin' late. You'll be late for your own fuckin' funeral."
** Then, later, [[spoiler:Tommy at the end]].
* BreakingTheFourthWall: At the end during the trial, Henry Hill begins speaking to the camera, lamenting not only betraying his mentors but lamenting the end of his mafia lifestyle.
-->'''Henry''' Anything I wanted was a phone call away. Free cars. The keys to a dozen hideout flats all over the city. I bet twenty, thirty grand over a weekend and then I'd either blow the winnings in a week or go to the sharks to pay back the bookies. ''(gets up from the witness stand)'' Didn't matter. It didn't mean anything. When I was broke, I'd go out and rob some more. We ran everything. We paid off cops. We paid off lawyers. We paid off judges. ''Everybody had their hands out. Everything was for the taking.'' And now it's all over...
* BrokenPedestal: While Henry doesn't expect much help from Paulie, he still bitterly laments [[spoiler: the meager 'severance pay' he is given after a lifetime of service and tutelage.]]
* BrooklynRage: Especially Tommy.
* BulletDancing: Tommy vs Spider. Subverted.
* BullyingADragon: Jimmy knows well that antagonizing Billy Batts -a made man who is protected by default- is not a brilliant idea and tries to defuse the situation. The guy is killed anyway, but the gang is very aware that his death should remain a secret.
** Morrie spends the entire movie pestering Jimmy and getting away with it. [[spoiler:His luck runs out after fifteen years or so.]]
* ButtMonkey: Spider gets casually mistreated by Tommy in his two brief scenes.
* TheCameo: Assistant U.S. Attorney Ed Mcdonald, AsHimself;[[spoiler: the prosecutor who handled Henry Hill and sponsored him into witness protection.]]
* CerebusSyndrome: An odd example. The film often has enough BlackComedy at the beginning, but after the death of [[spoiler: Tommy]], the film completely loses its comedic beats and is very focused on the drama and seriousness.
* ClickHello: Happens to Henry inside of his car. He immediately realizes he's been halted by the police instead of being dealt with by the wiseguys because the latter don't do this kind of courtesy and kill quietly on the spot. "''If they'd been wiseguys, I wouldn't have heard a thing.''"
* ClusterFBomb: Tommy, in what became a career-defining role ([[SmallReferencePools to some people]]) for Joe Pesci. Henry's narration is also filled with plenty of F-bombs; this is TruthInTelevision as the real Henry Hill swears casually and frequently in the documentary ''The Real Goodfella''.
** Also how Henry realizes the plainclothes cops are actually cops. Mafia goons wouldn't say a word if they were ordered to do a hit, he states.
* ComedicSociopathy:
** In-universe Henry laughs loudly while Tommy or Jimmy are mistreating other guys. Debatably out-universe, Henry's narration sets the mood and the PlayedForDrama angle only shows up in the last segment of the movie.
** Tommy Devito is, at least InUniverse, a ComedicSociopath.
* ConspicuousConsumption / SuspiciousSpending: After a big heist Jimmy is appalled when some of his accomplices show up with incredibly expensive purchases that would logically suggest newly acquired wealth. Jimmy had explicitly warned them to lay low to avoid the implication and the trope.
* ContrivedCoincidence: The goodfellas get pinched after strong-arming a man whose sister happens to work as a typist for the FBI. Lampshaded by the narration. TruthInTelevision as this is how Henry and Jimmy ended up in jail for assaulting a guy in Florida who owed money to the mob and wouldn't pay up.
* ConvenientlyCellmates: Henry shares the same prison accommodation as his gangster pals. This is {{Truth in Television}} for them and many other organized crime figures at the time, usually achieved through corrupt prison staff.
* CoolCar: Henry buys one every few years, starting with a 1966 Chrysler Newport convertible, then a 1968 Pontiac Grand Prix, and finally a 1979 Cadillac Coupe [=DeVille=] Phaeton Special Edition in saddle red. The guy that gropes his girlfriend owned a 1966 Corvette as well.
* CrazyJealousGuy: Tommy is seen telling his girlfriend not to talk to any men while he goes to the other side of the room, and she comments that he gets so jealous he would kill her for looking at anyone else.
* DamnItFeelsGoodToBeAGangster: The film pulls no punches at showing the dizzying highs as well as the horrible lows of the gangster lifestyle.
* DeadpanSnarker: Tommy.
** One of the arresting detectives enjoys taunting Henry with some snarking about his drug paraphernalia.
--->'''Detective:''' What, were you guys grocery shopping? What, are we going to make a cake? Gonna make a fucking cake?
* DealWithTheDevil: A restaurant owner partners up with Paulie, in order to get protection from Tommy who attacks him after refusing to pay his bar tab. The wiseguys [[StealingFromTheTill rob the man blind]] then, when he's no longer of any use to them, burn the restaurant down for the insurance money.
* {{Deconstruction}}: Of the gangster film genre. Specifically as showing gangsters not as urban lowlifes in ghettoes but living middle-class lives in StepfordSuburbia which in turns inspired TheSopranos years later. Much of the action takes place in broad daylight with gangster activity more or less an everyday affair.
** Henry Hill's final narration was intended by Scorsese as a TakeThat to the idea of DoNotDoThisCoolThing or at least the idea that Hill squealing on his buddies to get out of prison implies that he's TheAtoner when all he regrets is getting caught. Indeed the song that plays over the end, the Sid Vicious cover of ''My Way'' implies that for him the entire life was WorthIt.
* DirtyCop: The regular police are casually bribed to look the other way.
* DisposingOfABody:
** Straight hole in the ground and lime method. Billy Batts is disposed twice, the original burial site is going to be constructed upon so the package has to be moved.
** One of the main issues after a gratuitous murder is having to dig a hole and do the whole thing.
** One vicitm is left hanging on a hook inside a refrigerator truck.
* DisproportionateRetribution: This is one of the reasons why Tommy performs many of his horrible actions.
* DodgyToupee: Morrie sells wigs for a living and praises their reliability in a [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6G6yVIHvsIE commercial shown on TV]]. Seconds later his own wig can't endure the beating delivered by Jimmy, though.
* DoNotDoThisCoolThing: Despite the fact that the movie [[{{Deconstruction}} deconstructs]] many standard gangster film tropes and has something of a DownerEnding, it's still considered one of the coolest depictions of the Mafia ever put on film - by members of the Mafia themselves, even. The gangster that [=DeNiro=]'s character was based on was reportedly ''thrilled'' such a great actor was portraying him, and kept trying to get in touch with [=DeNiro=] ''from prison'' to give him pointers. Similarly, the real Henry Hill wrecked his witness protection because he couldn't resist bragging about the movie. (Not that anyone cared to kill him at that point.) Yet by the end of the movie almost the entire extended cast is either in prison, witness protection, or dead- almost universally via brutal murder, to say nothing of all the domestic abuse, paranoia, treachery, drug addiction, police investigations and violence that the characters end up going through. It is still loved by gangsters and wannabe gangsters.
** Which might not be [[TropesAreNotBad a bad thing]] since it's one of the few movies that shows gangsters from their perspective rather than that of Moral Guardians and shows them WartsAndAll. WordOfGod admits that he dislikes movies telling audiences what to feel or think or telling them what's cool or not, when its up to each viewer to decide for themselves.
* TheDon: Paul Cicero, though technically he's just a captain for the Luccheses.
* DontMakeMeTakeMyBeltOff: Henry's father when he finds out the young Henry has been playing hookie to do mob errands. Dad's is only seen again in the movie -and with a long face- during his son's wedding, as Henry basically places himself in a new "family."
* DoubleStandard: Or triple... Tommy who is disgusted by the notion that a woman could be attracted to a black man -Sammy Davis Jr- laments that a Jewish girl he's got the hots for rejects him because he is Italian.
--> '''Tommy''' : In this day and age, what the fuck is this world coming to? I can't believe this, prejudice against - [[HypocriticalHumour a Jew broad]] - prejudice against Italians
-->'''Tommy''' Unbelievable. [Girl: You could see how a white girl could fall for him]. [...] So you condone that stuff?. I don't want to be kissing NatKingCole over here.
* DownerEnding: On the one hand, most of the main characters end up dead or in prison. On the other hand, [[VillainProtagonist they were almost all murderers]].
* TheDreaded: Tommy.
* DrugsAreBad: Henry would probably still be rolling in cash and in the good graces of Paulie and Jimmy had he stuck to theft and stayed out of the drug trade... and not got hooked on coke. Paulie warns Jimmy and Henry not to get involved with drugs because of the increased attention it brings from the feds- it does, and all three end up facing prison (cept Hill, who ends up in witness protection, fearful of the mob and [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking bored out of his mind]].
* EiffelTowerEffect: Averted. Despite being almost entirely set in UsefulNotes/NewYorkCity, there are no sightings of the StatueOfLiberty, the Empire State Building, the Twin Towers etc.
* EstablishingCharacterMoment: Three guys are on the road in the middle of the night, there seems to be a problem with the car so they pull up. It turns out they have a [[OnlyMostlyDead live package]] in the trunk. When Henry opens it, Tommy stabs a man eight times and Jimmy shoots him four times. They are annoyed by the package's resilience but at the same time they [[TheSociopath enjoy finishing the task]]. Henry doesn't join in and just watches them doing their thing with a slightly concerned look before locking his trunk. He's an accomplice but he is not as hardened as they are. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckPHBJWQvpE Cue the title screen]]. Doubles as [[EstablishingSeriesMoment establishing movie moment]].
* EvenBadMenLoveTheirMamas: Tommy De Vito.
* EvenEvilHasLovedOnes: Jimmy cries when [[spoiler: his best friend Tommy is murdered]].
* EvenEvilHasStandards:
** Henry's a jerk and lifelong criminal, but draws the line at murder. Even he's visibly disturbed when Tommy and Jimmy brutally beat up Billy Batts.
** Jimmy gives Tommy a serious rebuke after the gratuitous shooting of Spider. Played with in that Jimmy provokes Tommy by busting his balls and then one of the main objections raised by Jimmy is [[PragmaticVillainy having to bury the body, a burdensome task]].
** Paulie has shades of a FamilyValuesVillain and puts an end to Henry's semi-bigamous life, although it's implied that Paulie makes Henry return to Karen because a WomanScorned is [[PragmaticVillainy bad for business]].
* EvilCannotComprehendGood: Henry and his fellows have no idea ''why'' anyone would ''want'' to make an honest living.
-->'''Henry:''' For us to live any other way was nuts. Uh, to us, those goody-good people who worked shitty jobs for bum paychecks and took the subway to work every day and worried about their bills were dead. I mean they were suckers. They had no balls.
* FatalFlaw: Tommy's HairTriggerTemper. [[spoiler: Killing a made man without permission is the chief reason he gets whacked.]]
* FateWorseThanDeath: [[spoiler:Henry Hill himself]], who has to live the rest of his life as both "a rat" and "a schnook".
* FedToTheBeast: One of the creative threats the wiseguys use to enforce their demands.
* FiveBadBand
** TheBigBad: Paulie
** TheDragon: Jimmy
** TheBrute: Tommy
** TheEvilGenius: Morrie
** The DarkChick: Henry
* {{Foreshadowing}}:
** "Nigger stickup men get caught because they fall asleep in the getaway car," which should give you a hint about Stacks' murder
** Paulie's educated concerns about drug traffic and his reluctance to use telephones, indicating that he knows the consequences of such and also knows about RICO conspiracy charges and wiretaps.
** "You may fold under questioning!"
* ForTheEvulz[=/=]PsychoForHire: Jimmy is into crime not out of greed but for the mere thrill of it all. More explicit in the book
-->Jimmy loved to steal so much that if you offered him $1,000,000.00 not to steal anymore he'd turn it down and try to figure out how to steal it from you.
* FourTemperamentEnsemble: Henry is phlegmatic/sanguine, Tommy is sanguine/choleric, Jimmy is choleric/melancholic, and Paulie is melancholic/phlegmatic.
* FreudianTrio: Tommy is the Id, Henry is the Ego and Jimmy is the Superego.
* GallowsHumor: Quite a bit, most notably the grave digging scene.
* GenreSavvy: Paulie is very aware that drugs can bring the whole thing down. He also has an aversion to telephones and personal meetings, hinting he knows about wiretapping and criminal conspiracy cases.
* GilliganCut:
** Henry pointing how Jimmy instructs him to be discreet with a heist money. Cut to Henry entering his house with a huge [[AluminumChristmasTrees aluminum Christmas tree]] and shouting to his family, "I got the most expensive tree they had!"
** This one, during one of Karen's monologues:
-->'''Karen Hill:''' After awhile, it got to be all normal. None of it seemed like crime. It was more like Henry was enterprising, and that he and the guys were making a few bucks hustling, while all the other guys were sitting on their asses, waiting for handouts. Our husbands weren't brain surgeons, they were blue-collar guys. The only way they could make extra money - real extra money - was to go out and cut a few corners.
-->''[Cuts to Henry and Tommy hijacking a truck]''
** When Paulie warns him to stay away from drugs after getting him out of jail, it cuts to Henry and Sandy lording over a pile of cocaine.
* GloryDays: How Henry looks at his old life.
* GunsAkimbo: Tommy "[[MeaningfulName Two Guns]]" [=DeVito=]/[=DeSimone=].
* HairTriggerTemper: Tommy has a vicious temper borne from a need to prove he's the world's biggest badass, and can snap at the slightest provocation. His usual recourse against an insult to his person is to murder the offender, regardless of whether they are a lowly busboy or a mob captain. His instability ultimately causes problems for him later in his career. Interestingly, [=DeVito=] is very aware of his reputation, in one scene, he feigns offense at a harmless compliment to toy with his friends. The hardened gangsters not only believe that his rage is real, they're also terrified of him.
* HaveYouToldAnyoneElse: Henry recognises immediately that Jimmy has decided kill Morrie instead of paying him off for helping out in a heist when Jimmy asks him: "Think Morrie tells his wife everything?". [[ChekhovsGun It comes back later]] when Jimmy asks Henry's wife Karen an innocent question about Henry and the cops: "Do you know what kind of questions they've been asking him?"
* HeroAntagonist: The police and the law, literally.
* HistoricalVillainDowngrade:
** Paulie Cicero is depicted as AffablyEvil and a likable capo. Henry Hill explains him away as "protection for wiseguys among themselves". Mobster Paul Vario - his RealLife counterpart - had more direct involvement in the nastier (and bloodier) crimes committed by his crew. In ''Wiseguy'' (the book the film was based on), Hill recalled seeing Vario attack a barmaid with a baseball bat after she informed his wife they were having an affair. ''Wiseguy'' author Nicholas Pileggi writes, "He abhorred unnecessary violence (the kind he hadn't ordered), [[PragmaticVillainy mainly because it was bad for business]]."
** [=DeVito=]'s real life counterpart, Tommy De Simone, was even nastier than he's portrayed. The final straw that led to his murder was trying to rape Karen Hill while her husband was in prison.
** The movie leaves out the tiny fact that in real life Jimmy liked to shake down people by locking their kids in the fridge, or other stuff like cutting his wife's annoying ex-boyfriend into pieces, as well as numerous other murders. He and Paulie also ripped off the robbers and other guys involved in the Lufthansa heist- nobody got more than a $50,000 cut and most got less (out of a $6 million robbery). They still got murdered for the connection.
** In the film, Hill says that Jimmy had never asked him to kill anybody. Though Hill is an accomplice after the fact on several murders, he never personally kills anyone. In RealLife, Henry Hill did personally kill at least three people, so this crosses over with UnreliableNarrator.
* HonoraryUncle: 'Uncle' Paulie and the offspring of the wiseguys have a very avuncular relationship.
* HookersAndBlow
* HopeSpot: Henry feels relieved when Jimmy says to forget about the plans to whack Morrie, and notes Morrie is sitting there with them not knowing how close he was to being killed. [[spoiler: Tommy then stabs him in the back of the neck in the very next scene.]][[note]]According to real-life Henry: "Now I know why Jimmy wanted to whack Marty. It's a matter of half a million bucks. No way Jimmy was going to deny himself half a million dollars because of Marty Krugman [the character Morrie was based on]. If Jimmy killed Marty, Jimmy would get Marty's half a mill."[[/note]]
* HowWeGotHere
* IJustShotMarvinInTheFace: Played straight by Tommy, then subverted when he intentionally kills Spider.
* IJustWantToBeBadass: Henry's iconic narration:
-->'''Henry:''' As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster. To me being a gangster was better than being President of the United States.
* InMediasRes: The story starts in the middle of the Billy Batts situation, then it jumps to Henry's origins and continues chronologically from there.
* {{Jerkass}}:
** Tommy [=DeVito=] to the point of being a [[TheSociopath sociopath]]. Jimmy and Henry (although less so) are not far behind either. Zigzagged with Jimmy "the Gent", who is polite and tries to talk down Tommy's impulsive tendencies several times, notably with Billy Batts (at first).
* JewishMother: Karen's mother. When she first meet Henry, the first thing she says to him is "Karen tells me you're only half-Jewish." Henry is half-Italian, half-Irish, and was wearing a cross before Karen hurriedly made him cover it up so she wouldn't see it. She later berates Henry quite justifiably for staying out too late, but her daughter is an enabler and gets angry for it.
* JumpCut: Used prominently during the last part of the movie to emphasize Henry's agitated state.
* KarmaHoudini: {{Subverted Trope}}-[[spoiler: Henry Hill avoids prosecution and mob retribution, but he will spend the rest of his life Brought Down To Normal, forever pining for the Glory Days. In real life, Hill's life was a mess for many years before going into rehab]].
** Jimmy is sent to jail due to an unrelated charge (presumably the point shaving done at Boston College). He never pays for killing a made man alongside Tommy. (The real life Burke died of cancer in prison in 1996.)
* KickTheDog: Tommy's treatment of Spider.
* KilledMidSentence: [[spoiler:Morrie]]. [[MotorMouth Unavoidable]]; "I thought he'd never shut the fuck up. What a pain in the ass."
** Also [[spoiler: Tommy]]: "[[OhCrap Oh n--]]"
* KillEmAll: Jimmy eventually wants to cut every link between himself and the heist.
* KitschyLocalCommercial: Morrie's.
* LaserGuidedKarma:
** [[spoiler: Tommy's]] death.
** Henry's fate. He always wanted to be a big man - he moans he's a nobody, a schnook at the end who can't even get good pasta anymore.
* LaughablyEvil: Tommy
* ALighterShadeOfBlack: In a movie about hardcore gangsters, Henry is the least callous and abominable of the lot.
* LittleNo: [[spoiler:Tommy, as he realizes he's about to get whacked. He doesn't even finish saying it.]] Spoken with the volume of a LittleNo but with the emotion of a BigNo.
* LuxuryPrisonSuite: Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary. Which actually has the nickname of "Mafia Manor."
* TheMafia: Ironically, none of the main trio ever get "made" and become official members of the Mafia. Henry and Jimmy both have non-Italian heritage (they're Irish), so they're never even eligible, and Tommy, who has Sicilian parents, seems like he's about to be made [[spoiler: but is whacked for his murder of Billy Batts instead]].
* ManlyTears: [[spoiler:Jimmy after he finds out that Tommy was killed.]]
* MightyGlacier: "[[TheDon Paulie]] might have moved slow, but it was only because Paulie didn't have to move for anybody"
* TheMillstone:
** Most of the trouble the main characters get into is because Tommy would shoot anybody for so much as looking at him funny.
** Lois the babysitter. [[spoiler: Henry repeatedly tells her to make a drug call '''''outside''''' of the house. She ignores him, and singlehandedly ends up getting his drug operation busted.]]
* AMinorKidroduction: The film starts showing how Henry Hill enters the wiseguy's world during his childhood. After a few minutes it {{AgeCut}}s to [[TimeShiftedActor Ray Liotta]].
* TheMistress: Janice Rossi and later Sandy hook up with Henry. The other main characters don't seem to have one -Tommy is unmarried- but a ''goomah'' apparently comes with the job description.
-->'''Henry''': Saturday night was for wives... but Friday night at the Copa was for the girlfriends.
* [[{{Montages}} Montage]]: The whole film is basically this. Scorsese said he was trying to make "The first film ever made that was a long trailer."
* MuggingTheMonster:
** Karen is assaulted by her neighbour, prompting a violent retaliation from Henry.
** An inversion is alluded at the wedding; Karen is concerned about a bag of money-gifts but Henry is amused and confident that nobody is going to rob a mob party.
** The wiseguys extort a man whose sister happens to work as a typist for the FBI. Jail ensues.
* MythologyGag: Joe Pesci beating Frank Vincent like in ''RagingBull'' (Vincent's character surname was Batts too). Scorsese would deliver the punchline to the joke in ''{{Film/Casino}}''... somehow.
* TheNapoleon: Tommy, by default due to Pesci's actual stature. The real-life inspiration was a large, beefy guy.
* {{Narrator}}s : Henry. Karen occasionally.
* NeighbourhoodFriendlyGangsters: The gangsters in the beginning who [[EvilMentor nurture]] the young Henry are portrayed in a positive light (which makes sense once you think of the point of view it is from), but they are definitely not good guys, as they beat a mailman because he delivered a report card to Henry's house, and have Henry destroy a few cars for them.
* NiceToTheWaiter:
** Subverted with Jimmy, who is shown handing out $100 bills like confetti to waiters, bartenders, and doormen, but he's still a completely ruthless psychopath who kills people at the drop of a hat.
** Henry provices a straight example at the Copacabana, handing out $20 bills and being friendly with the service.
** The evil side of the trope is played straight by Tommy, who physically assaults them and boasts about it. Deadly with Spider, a young bartender with an entry-level job echoing Henry's past.
* NoHoldsBarredBeatdown: The beating of Billy Batts. So intense that Jimmy dents his shoes.
* NonIndicativeName: The wiseguys aren't wise, good or even [[YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness fellas]].
* NoodleIncident: The reaction of the Florida man by threatening to toss him to the lions for a midnight snack makes Henry ponder if that hasn't happened a few times before. Made funnier by the lions seeming to have a look of "Ooh, dinner time again".
* NotUsingTheZWord: A la ''Film/TheGodfather'', the word "Mafia" is rarely, if at all used.
* OffingTheMouth: Tommy beats Billy Batts to death because Billy "breaks his balls" over being a former [[ShoeShineMister shoeshine boy]].
* OffscreenMomentOfAwesome: The execution of the Air Fance and Lufthansa [[TheCaper huge heists]] is not explicitly shown. There's some planning and location shots, but most of the information is given via {{exposition}}.
* OffscreenVillainy: It's mentioned in passing that Paulie was sent to jail on a charge of contempt. Given his line of business, it may double as JusticeByOtherLegalMeans, but at that point he's only serving a year.
* OhCrap: [[spoiler: Tommy]] gets just enough time for one [[spoiler:before being shot in the back of the head.]]
* TheOner: The famous EpicTrackingShot that starts as Henry leaves his car with the valet and follows he and Karen as they enter the Copacabana through a rear entrance, down a corridor, through the kitchen and into the nightclub as their table is set up and comedian Henny Youngman starts his act. It lasts three minutes. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Sr-vxVaY_M Watch it here]].
* OneSteveLimit: Averted during the wedding scene. "Seems like all of them were named Peter or Paul, and they were all married to a Marie."
* ParkingProblems: Henry cites being able to double park in front of fire hydrants as one of the cool things gangsters could do. Also, after he begins working with the gang, he mentions that neighbors no longer parked in their driveway, even though they didn't have a car.
* PayEvilUntoEvil[=/=]KickTheSonOfABitch:
** Henry beats a neighbour who groped Karen and then pushed her out of a car when she hit him back. The guy is probably one of the few non-mobster characters that deserved this.
** [[spoiler: Tommy. According to Henry, he got shot in the face so his mother couldn't have an open casket funeral.]]
* PetTheDog:
** During his teenage segment, Henry helps a random guy who shows up with a bullet wound. He provides some aprons for the bandages and tellingly, he's called out by his boss: "You wasted eight fucking aprons on this guy."
** Tommy shows at least a trace of humanity thanks to his relationship with his mother.
** Henry is genuinely worried about Morrie and does his best to calm him down, because Henry knows that Jimmy -at the very least- is going to beat the guy senseless if he keeps complaining. [[BaitTheDog Played with]] in that Henry enjoys watching Jimmy kicking Morrie afterwards.
* PistolWhipping: Done by Henry on the guy who assaults his wife.
* PragmaticVillainy:
** The mob bosses frown on drug dealing, but mainly because it'll bring the full wrath of the federal government on them.
** After Tommy murders Billy Batts and the trio begin getting ready to dispose of the body, he turns to Henry and says, sincerely, "I didn't mean to get blood on your floor."
* PrettyInMink:
** Some of the wives wear fur, although the fact that they were either stolen or bought with stolen money makes this overlap with FurAndLoathing
** One of the gangsters buys his girl a fur coat with his cut of the Lufthansa cash. Jimmy flips out over it because he told everybody not to buy anything big that attracts attention. This is implied to be one of the reasons why Jimmy becomes paranoid and starts killing the accomplices.
* PrettyLittleHeadshots: Averted with [[spoiler:Tommy's murder]]. Henry even notes that they shot him in the head so that his mother couldn't give him an open casket at the funeral. Overlaps with NotInTheFace.
* ProperlyParanoid: While being hooked on drugs makes him overly manic, a lot of Henry's paranoia [[spoiler: towards Jimmy and the Cops]] turns out to be valid.
* RageBreakingPoint: After watching Morrie's [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6G6yVIHvsIE wigs commercial]], Jimmy feels like he's been patient long enough and viciously demands his money from Morrie.
* RagsToRiches: Henry and Tommy, former shoe shinner. The actual Tony Bennett song of the same name is the soundtrack during the initial narration.
* RealMenCook: The wiseguys take cooking very seriously during their incarceration.
* RiteOfPassage: Getting pinched for the first time is a cornerstone for any mafioso. When Henry "pops his cherry" (gets arrested and judged) he's greeted with joy by the wiseguys in the aftermath, as he has kept his mouth shut, proved to be reliable and thus entered a new level.
* RomanAClef: Somewhere between this and VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory.
* RootingForTheEmpire: In-universe: "Jimmy was the kind of guy who rooted for the bad guys in the movies"
* SanitySlippage:
** Jimmy takes a level in sociopathy. This is what leads him to eliminate any links between Luftansa and himself.
** Henry's coke-fueled paranoia later in the film.
* SeanConneryIsAboutToShootYou: In a ShoutOut to ''Film/TheGreatTrainRobbery''
* SelfFulfillingProphecy: [[spoiler: When Henry is busted for drug dealing, his mob friends begin to cut ties with him in fear that he's going to rat them out to the police. Feeling cornered and fearing that his former friends will try to have him killed, Henry has no choice but to join the federal Witness Protection Program.]]
* SequelHook: In a bit of closure, the FBI has [[http://www.aol.com/article/2014/01/23/reputed-mobster-pleads-not-guilty-in-lufthansa-heist/20814717/?icid=maing-grid7%7Chtmlws-main-bb%7Cdl1%7Csec1_lnk3%26pLid%3D433956 arrested]] Bannano mob boss Vincent Asaro for his involvement in the Lufthansa heist. An attorney stated they were sending the script over to Scorsese for ''Goodfellas 2''.
* SexyDiscretionShot: Happens between Henry and Linda after driving her home to her apartment. We then see the still shot of the apartment building minutes until the scenery changes to morning light.
* TheSeventies: The part of the movie where [[spoiler: everything goes wrong for Henry Hill and the mob as a whole.]]
* ShoeShineMister: The film features a scene in which Tommy [[spoiler: brutally beats and knifes Billy Batts to death]] for insulting him about being a shoeshine boy in Tommy's younger days.
* ShootTheMessenger: The wiseguys are about to lose the young Henry as an associate due to his truancy issues, so they solve the problem by roughing up the mailman who delivers the troublesome non-attendance school letters to Henry's house and father.
* ShoutOut:
** To ''Film/TheGreatTrainRobbery'', no less. Tommy [[SeanConneryIsAboutToShootYou shoots at the camera]] in the final scene.
** ''The Oklahoma Kid'' and ''{{Shane}}'' are part of the dialogue during [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8wJt59Q6So "The Spider Situation".]]
* SurveillanceAsThePlotDemands: Justified. The regular police are easily bribed to look the other way, but when drug traffic comes into play, the Narcotics detectives, wiretapping and helicopter surveillance cannot be shaken off.
* TheSixties: The part of the movie where [[spoiler: Henry works his way into a comfortable position in the mob and times are good.]]
* SoundtrackDissonance: A number of songs, including "FrostyTheSnowman."
* SpiritualSuccessor:
** ''Film/{{Casino}}'' is sometimes summed up as ''Goodfellas'' [[RecycledInSpace in Las Vegas!]].
** ''Series/TheSopranos'' isn't subtle in its attempts to pick up where ''Goodfellas'' leaves off in its demythologising of the Mafia. A truly impressive amount of the cast of that show had parts of varying significance in this film. In case it wasn't obvious enough, their first choice to play Tony Soprano was Ray Liotta.
** Scorsese noted that ''Film/TheWolfOfWallStreet'' does for white-collar crime what ''Goodfellas'' and ''Casino'' do for organized crime.
* AStormIsComing: The fact that Henry becoming a drug dealer and an addict is [[spoiler: the spiral that eventually makes him fall from grace, flip and collapse the main Paulie's organization]] is very subtly hinted via the usage of the song [[MeaningfulName ''Gimme Shelter'']] when his new activities are being introduced.
* SurroundedByIdiots:
** Paulie's organization goes down because Henry disregards his explicit and learned command about ignoring drugs, and in turn Henry is caught because his incredibly dumb mule drops the ball by making a drug related call from inside Henry's house, after being repeatedly instructed against this. Scorsese discusssed that this series of mistakes is [[RealityIsUnrealistic seen as unlikely]] by a portion of viewers, [[LostAesop hurting the "crime does not pay" aesop]] of the story.
** Played with after the heist. Jimmy is appalled by the SuspiciousSpending of his gang and realizes that idiocy runs rampart below him, so he begins to severe his links, for reassurance. But it's also made clear Jimmy is pretty paranoid and was likely to kill his subordinates anyway.
* TensionCuttingLaughter: Done famously after a prolonged scene where Tommy appears to be offended at being called "funny" by Henry. Finally Henry realizes that it's a joke and bursts into laughter, breaking all the tension.
* ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill: Billy Batts is bleeding in the trunk, but he's still alive. So Tommy stabs him '''eight''' times. Then Jimmy goes ahead and shoots him four times. And then the title screen comes in.
* ThouShaltNotKill: In a movie about gangsters, the main character Henry does not kill anyone. Not a soul. He buries bodies, steals things, beats people to a pulp, but he doesn't kill anyone. Justified in that, not being Italian on his father's side, he had no chance of becoming a "made man," and thus was more useful without having committed murders. In reality Henry did commit three murders for the mob.
* TitleDrop: Henry explains that "good fella" is code for mobsters referring to fellow members. The title of the original book, ''Wiseguy'', is also dropped.
* TooDumbToLive: [[spoiler: No, Tommy, you don't kill a made man without the go-ahead from the boss.]] Sorry.
* TookALevelInBadass: Henry starts doing petty errands for the Mafia as a teenager. Some time afterwards, he's setting cars on fire. A criminal escalation which doubles as TookALevelInJerkass.
* {{Troll}}: Tommy's iconic "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E84VqqCPI7w Funny how?]]" rant where everybody fears for Hill's life is really him just screwing around with Henry. Tommy would be TheGadfly if only he wasn't a ''reputed'' sociopath who enjoys terrorizing people.
* TrouserSpace: When the police are breaking down the door at Henry's house, we briefly see Lorraine Bracco's belly, as she hides a gun in her panties.
* TrueCompanions: Who have no problem killing each other to save their hides. What else do you expect from mobsters?
* TrunkShot: When Henry, Tommy and Jimmy realize that Batts is still alive in the trunk and they pop it open.
* TruthInTelevision: The dialogue between Henry and Karen Hill and Ed [=McDonald=] is directly lifted from their real-life conversation.
* {{Ubermensch}}: The wiseguys are above the local laws and look down on the average Joe, who is viewed as a chump, what with having to do honest hard work for a living.
* VerbalTic: "And then there was Jimmy [[MeaningfulName Two-Times]], who got that nickname because he said everything twice, like 'I'm gonna go get the papers, get the papers.'"
* VertigoEffect: During the last, tense meeting between Jimmy and Henry in the diner.
* VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory: The film is based on Henry Hill's memoir ''Wiseguy''. However, Scorsese takes a lot of liberties to tell a good story. Henry Hill still said it's 95-99% accurate at almost any given time. It's more like RomanAClef. Particular deviations include:
** Angelo Sepe is portrayed as murdered and found hanging in a meat truck freezer for his involvement in the Lufthansa Heist. In RealLife, this is how Richard Eaton was murdered (after being personally tortured by Jimmy) for stealing $250,000 and skimming even more being laundered (he had no involvement with the heist), while Angelo Sepe was both not a victim of the Lufthansa Heist and was actually ''the one carrying out all the murders'' (he was murdered later on by a hit squad for robbing a Lucchese-affiliated drug trafficer).
** Louis Cafora and his wife are shown to be found dead in the Pepto Bismal-pink [[CoolCar 1979 Cadillac Coupe DeVille]] by kids playing in a parking lot. In actuality, their bodies were never found, and the the car was a Fleetwood (it really was pink, though, and he actually drove it to a meeting near an FBI investigation).
* VillainousBreakdown: The scene after he gets busted when Henry finds out that Karen flushed cocaine worth $60 000 down the toilet so the cops wouldn't have found it. This breakdown in particular happened in 2 stages: he was first angry at her for throwing it away, then he breaks down crying realizing that his life as a mobster is over.
* VillainAntagonist: This film, like many others with a EvilVersusEvil scenario, is characterized by the lack of a clear and specific antagonist. Different characters serve as antagonists in various scenes, but there is no a BigBad for the movie as a whole.
** However, Tommy and Jimmy are the BigBadDuumvirate, Paul Cicero is the BiggerBad (although more sympathetic than Tommy and Jimmy) and the police/the law are the {{Hero Antagonist}}s.
* VillainProtagonist: Henry Hill
* WhatAnIdiot: Henry's mule/babysitter is insistently told to leave the house in order to make a drug related phone call. ''And what does she do? She phones from the house''. [[spoiler: The police are wiretapping everything.]] Bitterly lampshaded in-universe by Henry.
* WhereAreTheyNowEpilogue: The end titles relate the fate of the characters as of 1990. It's accompanied by the half-ironic, half-unapologetic [[TheSexPistols Sid Vicious]]' version of "My Way".
* WhoWatchesTheWatchmen: Frenchy, the brains behind the Air France robbery, is amused when he's asked about the security of the airport. He ''is'' the security, the midnight-to-eight man.
* WitnessProtection: [[spoiler: Where Henry ends up. The real Henry Hill left witness protection some time after the film was released. He says that everyone who would want him dead is long gone, and now gangsters who do contact him want him to read their screenplays. Hill died in June 2012 from heart-related health issues.]]
* YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness: Jimmy does this to [[spoiler:everyone involved in the Lufthansa heist except Henry and Tommy]].
* YourCheatingHeart: Henry Hill abandons his family and moves with his mistress for a while. Paulie mildly calls him out on it. Henry's infidelity is a BerserkButton for Karen, at first.
* YouRemindMeOfX: When the three protagonists stop at Tommy's mother's place intending to get a shovel, only to end up staying for dinner, a painting there joyfully reminds them of Billy Batts, [[spoiler: who at that moment is lying in the trunk of their car, half-dead]].
----