The Italian mafia and lifestyle of those involved has been a fascination for the American audience for a long time. This is evidenced by the numerous accounts of the events and experiences of the mafia based on numerous television and film screenings. The violence and death, material possession and luxury, as well as the concept of family are evident in these movies. However, most movies seem to glorify the lifestyles of these individuals. Fewer movies and television programs fail to capture the realities of the characters. Goodfellas is one exception to this. The movie shows that every decision made does have some consequences in the end. People will not always get what they want in life. Success through crime is limited for a time. Eventually, one has to face the consequences of the decisions made in life. The characters in the movie develop as the plot continues to thicken. As the movie shows, not every Italian mafia story has a good fairy tale concept.

Goodfellas tells the story of several Italian men, their families, friends, and acquaintances. The protagonist in the movie, Henry Hill, also serves as the narrator. He describes his inspirations as a child, noting that he had always wanted to be a gangster. There is a lot of violence in the movie, as the characters seek to demonstrate their loyalty to their groups and as they seek to attain material possessions. They want to live in luxury and acquire as much wealth as they can without working hard for it. The characters seem to frown on those who have normal jobs, as they do not seem to know how they benefit. The only way of achieving wealth through laziness is by engaging in crime. The characters do not hesitate to do this as they are engaged in various acts of violent crime. The element of Camaraderie and loyalty are evident in the movie. Henry chooses to go to jail other than betray his friends and partners in the mafia. However, when he starts taking drugs in large quantities, he seems to lose his focus and he ends up betraying his friends.

The movie is clearly meant for mature audiences who understand, and are able to deal with all the violence. Life in the mafia is difficult though it might seem glorified. Much as the characters get to experience the good life in terms of having most of their desires granted, they also have to sacrifice a lot to have that kind of life. They sacrifice their emotions and feelings for humanity because of the atrocities they have to commit. The characters seem to consider killing other people as part of their life experience. At one time, two of the characters kill and bury someone only to exhume the body and bury it again somewhere else. The level of violence in the movie demonstrates or seems to communicate lack of respect for human life. Another issue concerns the characters use of offensive language. Almost all the characters in the movie use some form of offensive language. Another issue concerns adulterous affair.

The various actors in the movie play their part in demonstrating their characters as people belonging to the mafia. They portray the level of power and authority that comes with being associated with the mafia. This happens from the very beginning, as a young Henry describes why he wants to be a gangster. The mafia has power over the local police and they rule their neighborhoods. They seem to get whatever they want in most cases, and they can use their power to have their way. They do not like messing around with other people. They will use whatever means they can to ensure that they get rid of those who want to be a hindrance. Karen plays her part as the wife of a gangster. She no longer lives the life she knew before she met Henry. She decides to become part of the inside world and she accustoms herself to that. She sees her husband’s attributes in light of the fact that he is a gangster and she does not judge him on moral grounds. She says that she is proud that her husband does not spend all his time lazing around the house but that he works hard at whatever he does.

Those who belong to the mafia have no other ambition in life other than to gain control and power. They want to be recognized by their peers and to be feared by the society. The characters in the movie do not seem to have any other objectives and aspirations in life, other than engaging in acts that solidify their power. They want to evoke the sense of power by varying the crimes they engage in. In one case, they steal and burn a store so that they can collect the insurance. They have found ways of corrupting the system and the police do not bother with them any more. In a sense, by the time the movie ends, Henry has indeed realized the ambitions he had as a young boy. He has become a gangster and he has experienced a life of luxury.

The movie evokes varied emotions on the audience based on the complicated and all round scenes. On one hand, the characters are violent and one experiences a sense of justice when they have to face the consequences of their action. However, one feels that the characters should face harsher punishments because they have caused untold suffering and they have committed grave crimes. One cannot understand why Henry and his friends should enjoy their lives while they are criminals whose sole intent in life is to continue stealing and killing. Once in prison, the characters are even allowed to have their own kitchen and other benefits. Hence, in reality, they never see any point in reforming their ways. They are not denied the freedom of doing whatever they want to do. This explains them going back to their old ways once they are released from prison. This elicits feelings of anger on the part of the audience, especially if one is concerned about justice being served. On the other hand, one gets to know the characters at a deeper level as the movie continues. One also feels a sense of pride once he experiences the existing loyalty between the characters. Even though Henry is arrested and even jailed in the beginning, he refuses to betray his partners.

The movie is based on the book Wiseguy written by Nicholas Pileggi, which tells the real life story of Henry Hill. Hill was involved with the mafia and Pileggi conducted several interviews with him. Hill joined the mob as a young boy and he performed various errands for mafia. He entered the witness protection program when he agreed to testify against the mafia. Like the character in the movie, Hill participated in the Lufthansa heist. He was aware of all the details and he revealed this in the interview. These events are captured in the movie, although the film does add some cinematic elements. The director has tried to relay the real events as they happened in the movie. The movie is based on the streets of New York, where the events described in the interviews happened.

The movie is a reflection of the effect of early influences in a person’s life. Hill was not interested in following in the footsteps of his parents, who were hardworking citizens. He did not see any virtues associated with this kind of life. His parents could not afford the same luxuries as those who were engaged in the mafia could. The desire for material possession and the power associated with being in the mafia were major pull factors for the young Hill. He saw the mob as his heroes and he aspired to be like them. The movie offers several lessons. Unlike other movies, which have moral lessons and some of the characters emerge as heroes for doing the right thing, Goodfellas chooses to show the realities of life.

The movie is more concerned with showing the gray areas of people’s lives. For instance, gangsters and other criminals are considered evil doers in the society. However, in the movie, they are shown as people with emotions and good intentions for their families and their loved ones. The mafia is not always bound by friendships. Sometimes, people have to work towards realizing their own self-interests. Henry decided to do this when he entered the witness protection program.

Every choice made has consequences. Eventually, every person will have to deal with the decision he or she has made in life. The movie depicts the realities of life. Life is balanced in the sense that people experience challenges while at the same time they do have moments of humor and inspiration. They are able to realize their goals and the objectives in life. Despite the lack of moral lessons in the movie, the characters do manage to do their best in their chosen paths of life. The movie is a reflection that the decisions in life can be morally ambiguous. The opportunities that people have in life can dictate the way they end up living their lives. Henry was a hard worker but he was in the wrong profession. This meant that he always worked hard at doing the wrong things hence he never got real satisfaction and contentment in his life.

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