Goodfellas 25th Anniversary Screening

‘Goodfellas’ Cast Reunites for 25th Anniversary

“For as long as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster.”

On Saturday night, a roar of applause met Henry Hill’s seminal line from the start of Goodfellas. Gathered to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the mob classic, the Beacon Theater’s sold-out crowd went on to cheer for many of the film’s now-iconic lines and characters—from Jimmy Two Times and Billy Batts to, of course, Jimmy Conway and Tommy DeVito. The screening—a newly remastered print from the original camera negative, and supervised by director Martin Scorsese—brought the 14th Annual Tribeca Film Festival to a close in apropos fashion.

Unable to attend the festivities due to shooting his new film Silence in Taipei, Scorsese pre-taped an introduction—ever in his chatty and deadpan style—to kick-off the night. Following the two-and-a-half-hour presentation of the movie, cast members Robert De Niro (also one of Tribeca’s founders), Lorraine Bracco, Ray Liotta, Paul Sorvino, and Nicholas Pileggi—who authored the book Wise Guys, upon which the script he co-wrote with Scorsese is based—joined Jon Stewart on stage for a Q&A.

The highlights:

Robert De Niro reading the email that Joe Pesci sent to say he was unable to attend:

“Fuck, fuck, fuckity, fuck, fuck.”

And then translating it:

“Dear Bob, Sorry I couldn’t be there. Love, Joe.”

Goodfellas Dinner Scene
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Martin Scorsese (via his pre-taped intro) on the famous meal-in-the-middle-of-the-night-at-Tommy-DeVito’s-mom’s-house scene—played by Scorsese’s own mother Catherine:

“It would be nice to know, and some of you do know, there were only one or two written lines, about showing the painting. The rest was pretty much what it was like, being around my mother and Joe and Bob and Ray, and just her son coming home to say hello to her with his friends.”

Ray Liotta on meeting the real Henry Hill for the first time at a bowling alley in the Valley in California:

“There’s Henry, I knew him from pictures, and the first thing he said was: ‘Thanks for not making me look like a scumbag.’ I’m like, ‘Did you see the movie?!’”

Host Jon Stewart on Lorraine Bracco’s portrayal of Karen Hill:

“Karen scared the shit out of every guy I knew, but we loved her.”

Paul Sorvino on nearly quitting the production:

“I was really lost. What do you do? I called my agent up and said, ‘Get me out!’ Then I was going to fix my tie [in the mirror] and I saw this guy [doing mob boss, Paulie’s cold stare] and it scared the hell out of me. That’s the guy!”

Scorsese on debuting the crime drama to audiences:

“I remember the previews were one of the worst experiences of my life—we had three of them and they were all in California…It seemed that the audience had to be prepared for what it was, but there was a lot of controversy.”

Ray Liotta on the iconic ‘I’m funny. Funny how?’ scene:

“In rehearsal, Joe [Pesci] was telling a story. We had two weeks’ rehearsal, which is totally rare in a movie. And Joe was just telling a story about what happened to him in Queens, where some guy said something—and it had to be a connected guy—and the guy said, ‘What, do you think I’m funny?’ And he told the story. And how Marty works, who knows, he’s just a genius guy. And really, the scene starts when the [restaurant owner] comes up and [Pesci] hits him on the head with the glass. And so Marty decided to put that [part] in front of that. And we improv-ed it, rehearsed it, and we made it up as it happened.”

Scorsese addressing co-screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi:

“Remember that nice Italian restaurant in Tribeca that we used to go to? And then when the film came out, the owner of the restaurant said we’re not allowed in anymore because we apparently denigrated a certain ethnic group for the picture?”

De Niro on the cast:

“We had a connection. Even though you haven’t seen each other for a while or very long, you still feel connected when you get back together. As we are tonight.”

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