Skip to main content

The 10 Unsung Heroes Of Goodfellas

Bruce (Mark Evan Jacobs)

Luckless, geeky, neighbourhood acquaintance of Karen who pops up in stringbean tennis kit and is awkwardly introduced to Henry as the couple bask by a holiday pool.

His later attempted rape of Karen takes the prize for Most Ill-Advised Sexual Advance In Movie History, prompting a steaming Henry to visit his upscale suburban house and repeatedly flatten his nose with a gun-handle.

In front of his mates.

Henry asking Karen to hide the gun is the beginning of her loss of innocence. ("I have to admit, it turned me on...")

Pete The Killer (Peter Cicale)

Scorsese's virtuoso pan around the mob bar early in the movie is accompanied by a nostalgic voiceover from Henry, clocking a procession of immaculately groomed minor wiseguys

As the Marty-cam flits from character to character (Jimmy Two-Times - "Gotta go get the papers, get the papers..."), he settles for two seconds on the not-so-subtlely nicknamed Pete...

"I took care of that thing for ya..."

Brr.

Henny Youngman

Real-life classic, corny one-liner comic who performs for Henry and Karen at the Copa.

"So I said, 'Where do you want to go for your anniversary?' She said, 'I want to go somewhere I've never been before.' I said, 'Try the kitchen!'"

Snare-roll, cymbal hit.

Wonderfully, Youngman's autobiography is titled 'Take My Life, Please'.

He died in 1998 and we really hope that's the phrase on his gravestone...

Sandy (Debi Mazar)

Dirty-sexy coke-queen friend of Henry's mistress with whom he exchanges a smouldering gaze during a tour of their chi-chi shag-pad.

Paying Sandy a visit during the manic, Stones-soundtracked phase leading to his arrest, Henry succumbs to a post-snort knee-trembler - and mortally sets back his timing for a secret gun-running trip.

She's also partly responsible for the ruining of his special sauce. Literally, not euphemistically.

Stacks Edwards (Samuel L. Jackson)

Memorably executed by Tommy as part of Jimmy's post-heist purge, Stacks is the guitar-playing truck-driver ("Everybody loved Stacks") who gets clumsy and leaves an incriminating trail.

When Tommy and coffee pot-wielding sidekick come calling, Stacks just about manages to wriggle into his pants before Tommy tags him from behind ("You'd be late for your own fuckin' funeral!")

Cue Henry voice-over with manic slo-mo of a mad-eyed Tommy pumping in a few extra bullets.

Sonny Bunz (Tony Darrow)

Hangdog restaurant owner who, after a head-busting encounter with Tommy, turns to boss Paulie for protection, hinting that it'd be a good thing if Paulie had the feisty firebrand whacked.

Heart-stopping, laser-eyed glare from Paulie.

"I shouldn't have said that, I'm sorry..."

Paulie's 'protection' turns out to be a touch toxic - intercepting deliveries, milking the tills dry and generally being totally unsympathetic to the struggles of a small business... ("Place got hit by lightning, huh? Fuck you! Pay me!")

Spider (Michael Imperioli)

Scorsese uses the gawky waiter's chilling double confrontation with Tommy as a revisit of the iconic 'Funny, how?' scene, illustrating how Tommy becomes more unhinged and reckless as the movie progresses.

First time, Spider gets the "Dance, motherfucker!" treatment and takes a bullet in the foot.

Second, he critically misreads Tommy's jokes about the foot bandage and talks back, provoking Tommy to aim higher.

And yes. Christopher from The Sopranos.

Tommy's Mother (Catherine Scorsese)

Scorsese gave his dear mum a cameo role in most of his movies right up to her death in 1997.

Here, she's the beautifully judged comic foil to the post-murder skulking of Tommy, Henry and Jimmy, discovering them like naughty schoolboys as they stumble around her kitchen looking for body-disposal implements.

She fixes up a typically Italian late-night banquet and, in a semi-improvised moment, brings out her latest watercolour for an insightful critique from Tommy ("I like this. One dog goes one way, one dog goes the other way and this guy's sayin', 'Whaddaya want from me?'")

Billy Batts (Frank Vincent)

He's just come out of prison and he hasn't seen Tommy for a long time.

He's just breaking his balls a little bit. ("Shoe-shine Tommy, that's what they'd call him...")

But Tommy gets "fresh" and uses his (immaculately shined) shoes to repeatedly stamp on Billy's head. ("Fake old tough guy! You bought your fucking button!")

No more shines, Billy.

Morris 'Morrie' Kessler (Chuck Low)

Is he something special? A schmuck on wheels?

Pretty much. Morrie is the doomed head-rug vendor who breaks Jimmy Conway's balls and meets a murky end (back-seat garrotting).

His culling is crucial because it shows how Jimmy, Henry and Tommy think they've gotten away with the Billy Batts murder and can dish out whackings as casually as they slug whisky.

Remember: don't buy wigs that come off at the wrong time.