Ray Liotta will be remembered for that. After all, it’s the film that will be remembered by most of those involved. “Goodfellas” is one of the greatest films of all time. Not just his genre or his era. At all. And right in the middle is Ray Liotta. His track record as a leading actor isn’t nearly as stellar as his supporting roles, but when you’ve got an excellent film like Goodfellas under your belt, the rest pretty much evens out: His portrayal of gangster Henry Hill was so compelling that even the director Martin Scorsese has attempted to reconstruct him a few times differently in later films, “Casino” and “The Wolf of Wall Street.” As the narrator alone, his voice carries you through this film with a vibrant energy.
“Goodfellas” takes all of that mania from “Something Wild” and puts it into a character who’s more of a true human being than a force. He’s intimidating, funny, pathetic and crazy and I can’t think of anyone who could have played that role. It will forever remain a mystery why he wasn’t even nominated, let alone won, an Oscar for his performance in Goodfellas. Every obituary for Ray Liotta you see today has the caption “Goodfellas star,” and with good reason. For this film to be the masterpiece it is, it needed Ray Liotta.
Goodfellas is available to stream on HBO Max.