GoodFellas – 25th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray Review)

GoodfellasOn May 5, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (WBHE) will release GoodFellas on 2-Disc Blu-ray featuring a new documentary with interviews from Robert De Niro, Leonardo DiCaprio, Harvey Keitel, Ray Liotta and more, and a 36-page photo book exploring the films far-reaching influence. The book also includes a letter written by Martin Scorsese. The 25th Anniversary Blu-ray release of GoodFellas, cited by film critic Roger Ebert as the best mob movie ever, has been remastered from a 4K scan of the original camera negative, supervised by Martin Scorsese. The Blu-ray release also includes Digital HD with UltraViolet. Fans can also own GoodFellas on Digital HD via purchase from digital retailers.

Goodfellas (1990)


GoodFellas explores the criminal life like no other movie. Following the rise and fall of a trio of gangsters over 30 years, its an electrifying, fact-inspired tale of living and dying. Based on the true-life best seller Wiseguy by Nicholas Pileggi, the film earned six Academy Award® nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director and was named 1990s Best Film by the New York, Los Angeles and National Society of Film Critics. In 2000, GoodFellas was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the US Library of Congress.

When it comes to the essentials, in terms of mob films, of course the go to is always Francis Ford Coppola’s first two Godfather films.  But, since its release in 1990, GoodFellas has constantly challenged that mantle.  Whether or not its better is besides the point.  When you can have yourself constantly brought up whenever The Godfather is mentioned, you’re doing quite all right.  The voices in approval may never approach the pair of 70s film’s consensus and it doesn’t have to.  GoodFellas adds, follows, pays tribute to and is just an overall outstanding experience in American filmmaking from one of  cinema’s great auteurs.

Right off the bat, this film takes a genre you’ve already been made familiar with it, but spruces it up with a fresh take and an enthusiastic voice.  While looking at it today, newcomers may not be able to appreciate it’s originality in technical areas.  This film’s storytelling, editing and feel breathed a whole new life into the mob movie.  Its not worried about being safe and “prestigious”, more focused on some energy, looseness and being a bit more “modern” with its characters and dialogue.  In turn, by setting this precedent, it in itself is forming its own prestige.  What Scorsese does here with GoodFellas is still making its waves today.  From Quentin Tarantino to The Sopranos (Seriously, its GoodFellas: The Series and in hindsight the movie looks like an audition for the show for many actors), you can see the love, inspiration and influence its had on not only its genre, but others and many filmmakers as well.  Heck, even Scorsese seemed to channel back to this movie with The Wolf Of Wall Street.

This movie felt like it should have launched Ray Liotta into super-stardom.  GoodFellas would have been the two punch to Field of Dreams the year prior’s one.  He’s pretty terrific here, and full embodiment of a performance.  Maybe its because he’s primarily an observer until the final twenty minutes that make it feel like he’s in the shadows even though he’s our guide.  He’s always observing some more interesting, unpredictable and intriguing characters instead of being his own.  Whether it be Joe Pesci’s batshit crazy Tommy, De Niro’s Jimmy or his crazy wife in a terrifically entertaining turn by Lorraine Bracco.  We’re with Henry and watching moreso than really noticing him.  Or, it could be Liotta’s movie choices following didn’t lead to outstanding merits (Hello, Dumbo Drop!).  He’s still a steadily busy working actor today in a range of low profile to high profile projects.  So, he’s doing fine.  And that De Niro cat…well…we’ll see if he takes off one of these days finally (wink).

While I fancy myself a Godfather man, GoodFellas is still a sensational movie and worthy of being held up with it.  It’s not just a great mob movie, its a great movie period.  One of the finest and most notable films from cinematic legend, Martin Scorsese.  Its twenty five years old this year and it still feels like it could hold its own with any film today as is.  The film runs the gamut on the great films checklist and has pretty much everything covered, from the acting, direction, costuming, editing, script, you name it.  Oh yeah, forgot to mention, this film is incredibly quotable.  You know, like “F*** you, pay me!”

Goodfellas 1


Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Clarity/Detail:  GoodFellas has had a 4K restoration that has been overseen and approved by Martin Scorsese himself.  Fans and collector’s have been clamoring for this for years, as each new release of the film on Blu-ray has been the same disc with new packaging.  In testing days, I was selected to be the first person to do 3rd party quality control on the first HD-DVD titles.  The first one of which was GoodFellas (The other was Million Dollar Baby, for those who care).  I was remarkable not too impressed with the film’s look.  Now, 9 years later, I sit reviewing this new one and its now at the satisfactory level I was hoping for during the first viewing.  A sharp, clean and detailed image.  Everything is crisp and well defined here.  In the original release there was a scene that had a scratch or streak through every frame in the print.  That is no longer present here in this new transfer.

Depth:  Movement is smooth, background imagery is more clear than every.  There’s a real great sense of space and freedom to every environment.

Black Levels: Blacks are rich and deep.  They help to define the image and bring about some great shading in the darkness.  No real detail lost and no crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: Colors feature a nice palette that looks wonderful on display here.  Red is a strong, popping color but never gets to the extreme of bleeding.  Colors for the most part look natural and lifelike.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones are consistent and accurate.  Close ups feature some eye-popping detail with medium and far still having enough to impress and please.

Noise/Artifacts:  A nice healthy fine layer of grain throughout.  They’ve done a good job cleaning things up but keeping a look that purists will admire intact.

Goodfellas 2


Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, French 2.0 Dolby Digital, German 2.0 Dolby Digital, Italian 2.0 Dolby Digital, Spanish 2.0 Dolby Digital, Portuguese 2.0 Dolby Digital, Czech 2.0 Dolby Digital, Hungarian 2.0 Dolby Digital, Polish 2.0 Dolby Digital, Russian 2.0 Dolby Digital, Thai 2.0 Dolby Digital, Turkish 2.0 Dolby Digital, Japanese 2.0 Dolby Digital (Not listed on menu, only through accessible by surfing audio)

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, Spanish SDH, Portuguese, Japanese, German SDH, Cantonese, Czech, Dutch, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian SDH, Korean, Mandarin, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Thai, Turkish

Dynamics:  I’m pretty sure there’s been nothing done here with the 5.1 mix for the movie, just the video transfer.  Its a great track that keeps you on your toes by being loud, abrupt and constantly rocking itself out.  There was nothing really wrong with it on the previous releases, so why fix or redo anything.  Its hard to imagine the film really sounding better than this.

Low Frequency Extension:  Punches, crashes and gunshots get a boost that could cause you to have a little bit of a jolt.  The songs in the film and engines humming also get some love from the sub.

Surround Sound Presentation:  Some decent stuff here.  The club scenes get some good ambiance and character from the rear speakers.  Front channels give a great depiction of the action onscreen via movement or volume placement in the mix.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is clean and clear.  The narration is a few ticks louder than everything else, as expected.

Goodfellas 3


GoodFellas – 25th Anniversary Edition is a 2-disc set that comes with an Ultraviolet Digital Copy of the film.  It also includes a letter from Martin Scorsese and a hardcover booklet featuring an essay and photos on GoodFellas.  This release ports over all commentaries and featurettes from the previous Blu-ray/DVD releases of the film.

Disc 1

Audio Commentary

  • By Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci, Lorraine Bracco, Nicholas Pileggi, Michael Ballhaus and Thelma Schoonmaker
  • By Henry Hill and Ed McDonald

Disc 2

Scorsese’s GoodFellas (HD, 29:54) – A brand new retrospective mini-documentary (produced by Brett Ratner) featuring interviews with cast & crew members including Scorsese, De Niro, Liotta, Bracco, Thelma Schoonmaker, Nicholas Pileggi and Irwin Winkler.  The likes of Leonardo DiCaprio and Harvey Keitel also chime in here and there.  It features plenty of production and behind the scenes photos as well. Note that all the warning cards play after this one.

Getting Made (HD 29:39) – This is the older featurette on making the film and Martin Scorsese featuring interview with cast and crew.

Made Men (HD, 13:55) – Actors and filmmakers talk about their love of the film and its legacy.  Jon Favreau is here, because after Swingers, he kinda has to be right?

The Workday Gangster (HD, 8:00) – This one features the guy the book was about and discusses how accurate the film is to the real life story.

Paper Is Cheaper Than Film (HD, 4:30) – Goes over Scorsese’s notes and blocking pictures he drew on the script.

Public Enemies: The Golden Age Of The Gangster Film (HD, 1:45:13) – The full length feature documentary on the hey-day of the gangster films

I Like Mountain Music (HD, 7:02) – A Merrie Melodies cartoon.

She Was An Acrobat’s Daughter (HD, 8:39) – Another Looney Tunes cartoon.

Racketeer Rabbit (HD, 7:55) – One more Looney Tunes animation.

Bugs And Thugs (HD, 7:14) – Last but not least, another carrot chomping Looney Tunes jam.

Trailer (HD, 1:30)

Goodfellas 5


Goodfellas has become one of those used and abused titles from Warner that seems to get a release every year to year and a half merely refurbishing the same exact disc over and over.   However!  This time its actually got something worthwhile to boast.  Goodfellas has a brand new transfer overseen by Scorsese himself, something fans and Blu-ray enthusiasts have been clamoring for since its first release.  It also features a new documentary and great packaging.  If you’ve never owned Goodfellas before, now’s the time to pull the trigger.  If you already own it, THIS is the one for which to double dip.



Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

1 Response to “GoodFellas – 25th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray Review)”

  1. Brian White

    Awesome coverage and great review here Brandon!

    You did this remarkable title justice!