This week marks the 25th anniversary of what many consider to be Martin Scorsese’s best film and the best mob movie ever made — Goodfellas. Based on Nicholas Pileggi’s true-crime book, Wiseguy, an account of real-life Lucchese crime-family associate Henry Hill. The film has become a pop-culture mainstay, inspiring everything from The Sopranos to The Simpsons.
But while you may have seen Goodfellas a dozen times and know every line of the famous “shinebox scene,” do you know the story of Michael Imperioli’s trip to the ER or Paul Sorvino’s Ray Liotta slap? Dice up some garlic and put on the red sauce. We’re digging up some wiseguy-worthy bits of trivia about one of the greatest mob movies ever made.
A number of actors were considered for the starring role of Henry Hill.
Goodfellas gave Ray Liotta his biggest role, but the part wasn’t just handed to him. Scorsese and his producers batted around a number of names before deciding on Liotta after nearly a year of deliberation. Those considered included better-known actors like Sean Penn, Alec Baldwin, and even Tom Cruise. Baldwin later admitted to Howard Stern that he felt Liotta did a much better job than he could have done.