“As far back as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be a gangster.” So reads the tagline for Goodfellas, Martin Scorsese’s take on the life of New York mobster Henry Hill, released today in 1990. Ray Liotta stars as hitman-turned-informant Hill, with all-star performances by Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci. Goodfellas has rightly earned its place in mafia film lore; its name alone is enough to merit instant recognition. But Scorsese did more with Goodfellas than create rich characters and a who-will-survive suspense. His use of unconventional editing–slow motion, jump cuts, music that didn’t seem to fit the scene–was unusual for a gangster film. Many edgy shoot-em-up movies in the years following, especially from directors like Quentin Tarantino, copped their style from Goodfellas.
Awards: Joe Pesci took home an Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his portrayal of a loose-cannon mobster. The movie also earned nominations for Best Director, Editing, Writing and Best Picture.