For having never seen what is considered one of the best films of all time, and by a director that I respect immensely, my first viewing was an absolute treat. Being based on a true story, Scorsese creates a world that is very relatable, even through the extreme scenarios that these characters endure. Let's just say that Pesci deserved his Oscar and it is funny and disturbing in all the right places. Excellent.
Excellent atmosphere with great "old" music hits and acting. The direction has the usual high quality that we are used to get from Martin Scorsese and the plot demands more viewing in order to get all details and understand every character motives as there is a lot of information going through the narration making this also a thinking man's mafia movie that demands my full attention like a filmed novel on the screen.
I prefer Casino. The Stone/DeNiro relationship is richer than Henry/Karen. Pesci's character is less of a cartoon and gets more space to fuck shit up. Plus it says everything Goodfellas has to say and whole lot more. That said, the hyperspeed 'rise' section of this, with all the horrifying details peppered throughout and barely dwelled on for more than half a second, is some of the best shit ever.
Good fellas can easily be considered one of the greatest films ever made during the 90's. What makes it so brilliant, you ask? Without a doubt, it's number one quality is it's PLOT. Utterly captivating from the first scene the plot delivers one of the best cinematic experiences you will ever encounter. This film has run its course and stood the test of time as a cult classic that has transcended several generations.
Scorsese is the master of by the book film making and this is incredibly technically well-crafted, although I find it disappointing that he consistently lacks the courage to take stylistic or thematic risks - but it's fine. The flow of the script does wonders for what might be the greatest ensemble performance in film, with Ballhaus framing the psychopathic depravity with a touch of subtle artistry.