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The 50 Greatest Movie Endings of All Time

36. GoodFellas (1990)

Director: Martin Scorsese
Screenwriter: Nicholas Pileggi and Martin Scorsese

Martin Scorsese throws every filmmaking technique he can think of up on the screen for GoodFellas and all of it sticks—like a perfectly cooked pot of pasta. Just to name a few, flashback, voiceover, and one legendary tracking shot are all employed to ingenious effect to tell the true story of Lucchese crime family member Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) and his 25-year career inside the mob.

Hill's career comes to a screeching halt when a drug arrest forces him to rat out his cohorts and enter into the Witness Protection Program. As the movie winds down and the camera circles the courtroom during Hill's testimony, one might think that Scorsese has used every last trick he's got...until Hill breaks the fourth wall to tell us exactly how his story ends: "I'm an average nobody." In the final exuberant bit of style, Scorsese quotes the end of The Great Train Robbery, with a jump cut to Joe Pesci shooting the viewer full of lead.

Side note: That's not exactly true. Hill and his family were actually kicked of out the Witness Protection Program in the 1990s because of the many crimes he committed while under federal protection. Hill passed away last year. —JW

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