Berlinale: Programme

Film file



Goodfellas - Drei Jahrzehnte in der Mafia

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Henry Hill dreamt of becoming a New York gangster, even at the age of 11. He actually manages to work his way up in the Cosa Nostra from runner to much-feared loan enforcer. Working with Jimmy and Tommy, two violent mobsters, he achieves wealth and a good position in the Irish-Italian underground milieu. But after serving a prison sentence, Henry gets involved in the drug trade and his “career” starts to take a nose dive … The film’s plot is initially set up structurally with spying eye detail shots, before an extreme close-up shows us the protagonist – Goodfellas is largely told from his perspective. The visual style is marked by the use of the hand-held camera and Steadicam, which draws the audience into an almost “first person” experience of events. In one famous tracking shot, the camera follows Henry and his new girlfriend Karen for three minutes through the basement corridors and kitchen of the Copacabana until they emerge into the club and their table is set up directly in front of the orchestra. For Scorsese’s film about Henry’s increasingly dirty dealings from the 1950s to the 1970s, Michael Ballhaus consciously went for a lighting look that he himself called “dirty”.

USA 1990, 146 min


Martin Scorsese


Robert De Niro
Ray Liotta
Joe Pesci
Lorraine Bracco