Never Rat on Your Friends and always… Pick Goodfellas Over The Godfather


Michael Jordan or Lebron James, Joe Montana or Tom Brady, orange juice or apple juice; All questions debated to this day regarding which is better. Possibly the most important question of all: which is better, Goodfellas or The Godfather. 


Both The Godfather and Goodfellas are regarded as some of the best, most influential movies ever made. Many claim that The Godfather tops Goodfellas because it was made years before and somewhat put mob/mafia movies on the map. It is agreeable that without The Godfather there would be no Goodfellas, but because it set the stage for movies such as Goodfellas, it does not mean that it is the better film. 


Goodfellas tops The Godfather for a few reasons: it has better cinematography, better soundtrack/music, better character development, and is more immersive. Every shot in goodfellas has meaning and symbolizes something important in the story. The movie is filled with long tracking shots, close ups, freeze frames, etc. For example, whenever the main character, Henry learns a valuable life lesson there is a freeze frame in the moment he learns the important lesson. Long tracking shots like Henry and his girlfriend walking through the Copacabana immersed us in their world and made us feel more a part of it. 

Goodfellas has arguably one of the best soundtracks of any movie. The movie contains a number of classic songs from the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. The music is very closely tied to Henry’s feelings and his mind. When Henry is young the majority of the songs are love songs. The songs are used to show his love of the lifestyle and the power that comes with it. However as Henry gets older and falls out of love with that lifestyle the style of music shifts. When Henry begins using drugs the songs shift to shorter clips of loud rock songs. This symbolizes the drugs and how they are making his mind race. 

The character development is unmatched in Goodfellas. We see Henry as a child wishing to be a mobster, then he slowly becomes part of the life, and loves it. But then he begins to lose the love he once had. We also see the troubles Henry puts his family through, especially his wife Karen to us who acted perfectly with an incredible performance. Similar to Henry, we also see Karen fall in love with him and the lifestyle but fall out of love with both as they grow older.

 All of these elements put together make Goodfellas very immersive and real. We can feel the tension, and the anger, along with every other emotion.