Masterful but brutal gangster tale isn't for kids.
Parents recommendPopular with kids
  • Review Date: January 26, 2009
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1990
  • Running Time: 146 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

This movie is about amoral, unethical, and illegal behavior. The characters lie, cheat, steal, gamble, abuse drugs, maim, torture, and kill. In almost all cases, they show no guilt or remorse. Instead they are driven by an unwavering loyalty to the most violent and powerful among their peers. It's a striking example of "mob mentality." Women are treated as sexual objects and second-class members of the society.


From start to finish violence is at the forefront of this film. There are frequent vicious beatings, incidents of domestic abuse, point blank shootings, and stabbings with both knives and icepick. In addition, the audience will witness psychopathic outbursts, blood spurting and gushing in scene after scene; a father beats his son with a belt; numerous men are executed with shots to the head.


Several scenes show passionate kissing and touching as foreplay to sexual intercourse. Oral sex is implied but not actually in full view. Adultery is shown to be part of the gangster lifestyle.


Profanity and cursing is pervasive throughout. "F--k" in all forms is used in nearly every scene. There are also several ethnic slurs uttered, including the "N" word and ugly references to Jews.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Seen here, the consumption of cigarettes, cigars, and alcohol are integral components of the mob lifestyle. There are frequent sequences of social drinking taken to the extreme and leading to drunken misbehavior and even violence in some instances. A leading character's descent into drug addiction is graphically shown. Cocaine use is explicit in several scenes.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is a movie for mature filmgoers. Violent behavior, vicious characters, and profane language occur from the very first frames and throughout. Multiple scenes involve the terrorizing of innocent people, savage beatings, and graphic killing, including several shottings to the head at point-blank range. Drunkenness, drug use, adultery, thievery, corruption, graft and dishonesty are the lesser crimes in this intense, realistic movie. It is a film without any heroes or positive role models.

What's the story?

From the mid-1950s as a young teen, to the 1980s as a broken, recovering drug addict in fear for his life, the real-life Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) was a member of the Mob. In Henry's words, "I belonged," and that to him meant everything. In lockstep with the icy, controlled violence of Jimmy Conway (Robert De Niro) and the unbalanced savagery of Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci), Henry traveled in style, breaking laws, abusing those he loved, untouched by corrupt cops and revered by fawning hangers-on. Only when Henry's mistakes, fueled by drug addiction and paranoia, led to certain awareness that his days in organized crime were numbered did Henry turn himself in to the FBI, rat on his friends, and talk his way into the witness protection program.

Is it any good?


Martin Scorsese's classic tale of mob life in New York City is a stunning, vivid look at the ugliness and depravity of a subculture that has been glamorized, sanitized, and romanticized in countless other films. This is the real deal.

Nothing prepares an audience for the raw amorality and insanity of this crew. No movie has better shown how the "goodfellas" create a community wholly isolated from the rest of society by its own warped values and staggeringly amoral code. In scene after scene, Scorsese and his team bring this magnetic evil to life.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what all the violence in this movie tell you about its characters. What happens when a close-knit group of people considers itself above the law? Using Henry Hill and Karen Hill as examples, how do the filmmakers show the mob's influence on the values and behavior of its individual members? How does it change them? What do you think the filmmakers are trying to say about peer pressure and going along with "the gang." Why do you think there are no real "good fellas" in this movie?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:September 19, 1990
DVD release date:March 26, 1997
Cast:Joe Pesci, Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro
Director:Martin Scorsese
Studio:Warner Bros.
Run time:146 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:thematic material, violence, and sexual content

This review of Goodfellas was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

  • Violent mob drama doesn't pull any punches.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 17 years old Written byGoodFellas1223 April 14, 2011

Good movie. Ages 13+ if your kids have a thick skin and are not sensitive, they can handle it.

GoodFellas is my favorite movie. GoodFellas is very violent, portrays every Italians as a mobster, im 100 percent Italian and im 13, i think 13 and above can watch this. Excellent movie. Expose your children to this kind of stuff early in life, they grow a nice thick skin on them. Great movie, sit down, Watch it with you or one more person, the more people that your with, the more distracting. Watch it at night. when your not tired. Enjoy, Prepare yourself for the best movie ever
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 13 years old Written byVictorfilth818 August 31, 2010
Awesome film enough said
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 14 years old Written byCaptainFilmz7 February 28, 2009

Fabulous Movie, not for kids

Goodfellas was a fantastic mob movie! Very similar to the entire Godfather Trilogy, but WAY more explicit. The mobsters murder their enemies constantly, the main character becomes dependent on cocaine, and women are treated horribly. Overall though, if you can handle this movie with maturity, you should be fine. This was a great movie, don't get me wrong.


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Star Wars Guide