While “mafia” and “family” are two words that are used rather interchangeably amongst mobsters, one of the more interesting aspects of GoodFellas, and a point that isn’t often written about, is that of the three main mobsters we get to know in the film—Henry, Jimmy, and Tommy—only one of them (the entertainingly unhinged Tommy) has the kind of bloodline that will allow him to advance in the operation. Because of their partial Irish heritages, neither Henry nor Jimmy would ever be allowed to officially ascend to the rank of “made man.” Regardless of how much they honor the family code, they’ll always be on the periphery, dedicating their lives (and risking the lives of their families) to a group that will never truly accept them as members. This is one of the ways in which this movie most differs from The Godfather, in which “family” is a literal term.