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The gangster movie Goodfellas was originally released as a motion picture in 1990. Nicholas Pileggi based it on the book Wiseguy; the screenplay was by Nicholas Pileggi and Martin Scorsese; and it was directed by Martin Scorsese. Gangster movies are traditionally in the film noir style…
In this essay I will be looking at how Goodfellas conforms to the Hollywood tradition of using the film noir style in conveying a gangster story, as well as how it differs from the tradition.
The story begins by showing a Brooklyn kid's desire to be a gangster as a respected means to the American Dream; a life choice no different from wanting to be a fireman. Of course the boy's parents did not agree and he was starting fires, not putting them out. This was the movies first difference from the film noir approach. This is more light-hearted than usually portrayed by film makers of crime dramas. The story goes on to tell of how the boy forewent normal school to learn the dos and don'ts of the mob. Although crime was definitely shown in Goodfellas, it was presented as being
rewarding and mutually beneficial to all involved. It was presented as an opportunity open to anyone smart enough to get involved. That included crossing guards, truck drivers and cops. The narrator referred to it as glories times. Presenting crime with crossing moms from the elementary school, not just rough looking bad guys, reinforced the lighter touch to a crime drama. There was strong comedy included in the beginning and continued throughout the film. ...
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