C Goodfellas: Martin Scorsese
1. Think about the themes and issues that are raised in the film. Brainstorm 3 themes and 3
issues. As this film was made at the end of the 1980s, what does it tell you about the
culture/society of 1980s America?
2. How is this different than what was being shown to us in The Godfather?
3. What values are being communicated by Scorsese via his film? What makes you think this?
(Use examples from the film).
4. If we think about the Codes and Conventions of the Gangster genre that we’ve looked at so
far, how does Goodfellas fit into the Gangster genre? Remember that codes are systems
of signs done both technically and symbolically that create meaning and
conventions are the generally accepted ways of doing something.
5. Here are some quotes from the film, use them to discuss what they tell us about 1980s
a. ‘As far back as I can remember I always wanted to be a gangster.’
b. ‘Anything I wanted was a phone call away. Free car. The keys to a dozen hideout
flats all over the city. I bet twenty, thirty grand over a weekend and then I’d either
blow the winnings in a week or go to the sharks to pay back the bookies.’
c. ‘When I was broke, I’d go out and rob some more. We ran everything. We paid off
cops. We paid off lawyers. We paid off judges. Everybody had their hands out.
Everything was for the taking. And now it’s all over.’
d. ‘We did the right thing, we gave Paulie his tribute.’
e. ‘Today everything is different. There’s no action. I have to wait around like
everyone else. Can’t even get decent food. Right after I got here I ordered some
spaghetti with marinara sauce and I got egg noodles and ketchup. I’m an average
nobody. I get to live the rest of my life like a schnook.’
6. How has the relationship between the Gangster genre in Goodfellas and society changed?
What makes you think this? (Use specific examples from the film).
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