Goodfellas

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
Goodfellas Movie Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Violence, swearing, drugs, and more in gangster classic.
  • R
  • 1990
  • 146 minutes

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 22 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 77 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

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.

Violence

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.

Sex

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.

Language

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.

Consumerism
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.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Martin Scorsese's Goodfellas, while a classic, isn't for kids. From start to finish, it's full of brutal violence, cruel characters, and strong language. Innocent people are terrorized and beaten. Killings are graphic -- including several execution-style shootings. This intense, realistic movie also has lots of drinking (sometimes to excess), drug use, cheating, theft, corruption, and dishonesty. And it doesn't have any heroes or positive role models.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 9-year-old Written byBobby G. April 18, 2020

Mature but very good gangster drama

Violence 7/10. Shootings with mild to strong amounts of blood. Stabbings. A man is kick almost to death, his body seen bruised and bloody. A man beats another m... Continue reading
Adult Written byChris_Feher April 8, 2020

A Decent Film to Pass Some Time

Honestly, I though it was a bit overrated, but I would still recommend it to people who either like Scorsese's work or just like gangster movies in general... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byHenry Hill15 February 4, 2018

One of my favourite films

I love this movie - it's brilliant. I first watched it aged 13 and was amazed by it and it quickly became one of my favourite films. I think that mature te... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byTom Cruise Fan August 14, 2015

"Goodfellas" movie review

"Goodfellas" is one of my ten favorite films of all time. It is absolutely sensational. This is my favorite Martin Scorsese film. "Goodfellas... Continue reading

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?

This classic tale of mob life in New York City is a stunning, vivid look at the ugliness and depravity of a subculture that’s 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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what all the violence in Goodfellas tells 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

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