When news broke that former mobster-turned-FBI informant Henry Hill had died, my thoughts quickly turned to the movie that made him famous among the masses: "Goodfellas." For me, "Goodfellas" ranks among those rare films that stops me in my tracks and beckons me to watch, even if it's already halfway over by the time I stumble upon it on TV.
Alex Berlinerho / AP file
"Goodfellas" cast members Paul Sorvino, left, Ray Liotta, center, and the real mob informant Henry Hill, whose gangland experiences inspired the story, eat baked ziti, swap stories and recall director Martin Scorsese's acclaimed mob movie during a reunion dinner in Los Angeles on Aug. 16, 2004.
Ray Liotta's portrayal of the despicable, yet strangely sympathetic Hill is the best performance of the actor's career. Lorraine Bracco, who played Henry's wife Karen, carried just about every scene she was in. And the rest of the cast: Joe Pesci, Robert De Niro, Frank Sivero, Paul Sorvino ... the IMDB page reads like a who's who of mob films. Does it get any better? Fuhgetaboutit!
The acting, storytelling and directing are simply incomparable, which leads me to declare that "Goodfellas" is, quite simply, the best mob movie of all time. (At the 63rd Academy Awards, somehow it lost out to "Dances With Wolves" for best picture.)
Certainly there are "Godfather" devotees who will take issue with this, and that's fine, because we want to hear from you! Take the discussion over to Facebook and weigh in on what you think is the best mob movie you've ever seen.
If you need a little inspiration, you can glance at this list of Top Mob Movies from AMC. They happen to put "Godfather" parts I and II at the top, and "Road to Perdition" lands in the No. 3 spot with "Goodfellas" falling into fourth place. Someone might need to get whacked for that!