Goodfellas directed by Martin Scorsese (1990) is a gangster film based on the true story of Henry Hill and his friend during the time frame of 1955 to 1980. In this gangster film we get to follow Henry, who narrates the movie, and an Italian gangster mob in New York starting in the mid-1950s. Henry starts the story by saying “as far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster” and we follow him as a young boy working for Paulie and his friends. Henry is fascinated with the glamorous gangster lifestyle and the feeling of belonging somewhere with the gang and quickly becomes caught up in the gangster life. Henry meets Karen, who he later marries and starts a family with. Henry and the other guys get themselves deeper and deeper into problems with robbery and murder and at one point they end up in prison. With the help of Karen, Henry starts to deal drugs which quickly escalates after the Lufthansa robbery, and Jimmy starts to kill off most of the crew. Henry gets more and more dependent on drugs and he starts making mistakes, he’s arrested after a drug deal with his associates in Pittsburgh goes wrong. Henry realizes that Jimmy is out to kill him and decides to enroll in the witness protection program with Karen and their family. The couple have to say goodbye to the glamorous lifestyle and Henry says “I’m an average nobody. I get to live the rest of my life like a schnook.”
Goodfellas is narrated by Henry and is full of freeze frames that help introduce characters or put emphasize on key plot points in the film. For example, when Henry first meets Karen there is a freeze frame of them at the date and Karen comes in as the narrator and tells us what she first though of Henry. The freeze frames allow us to understand what the characters where thinking in different situations. Goodfellas also uses photo montages to establish the passage of time and important events. It’s a dynamic film with a complex story line that has you on the edge of your seat trying to figure out what will happen next.