When The Godfather hit theaters 1972, it defined, in many people's minds, the trials and tribulations of the Mafia elite. In well-to-do mansions with shadowy rooms, mobsters negotiated business deals and contract killings. The Corleones were at the top of their food chain; they were the men who gave orders to keep their hands clean.
That said, when Goodfellas came out in 1990, it was a revelation. The film's characters were not mythic characters, cloistered behind iron gates and trimmed bushes. These were the working class, blue-collar, street-level guys, doing all the dirty work in the outer NYC boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn. This was the Mafia with its glamour stripped away. There were no morally good people in this universe—just criminals with varying levels of decency and scruples.
Director Martin Scorsese envisioned this film as a documentary-style production covering three decades in the mob; it even has a voiceover to elaborate on the action unfolding in front of you. Here are 20 trivia facts about the making and release of Goodfellas.