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Good Fellas Essay

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During the years of adolescence, children tend to conjure up ideas of what life will be like as an adult. Some dream of becoming a firefighter, some a teacher, but young Henry Hill is not like most children. He dreams of becoming a mob member and spends his time fantasizing about the cars and women that will come with the title.

In the film Good Fellas, Martin Scorsese uses repetitive violence and poor decisions to show Henry Hill that material possessions and status are not of importance when you are reprimanded by the law, and further, how people in society tend to become blind by fortune and do not think about the consequences they could face by their actions.

Scorsese creates a strong sense of what life is like for an Italian American, who is involved in the Mafia. Between the mass amount of mob movies and the reality shows available on cable, the stereotypes of Italians are not too keen.

Before meeting an Italian American, a person who is over interested in food, tan, loud, hot tempered and obnoxious comes to mind. In some cases even a visual of a mob member. In this movie, Scorsese focuses on the way the mob members dress and eat, which helps create a strong image for the viewer of what is important to these characters. Once Henry started to become involved in the mob’s activities, he started to dress like them, “You look like a gangster,” his mother was appalled by his appearance. This is the first time the stereotype of how a member of a mob dressed is acknowledged.

Henry shows up on the door step of his parent’s house at a young age, wearing a pressed suit and sparkling black dress shoes. He had used his earnings from the restaurant to make what he thought was an everlasting impression and to show his growing status. Shortly after Henry marries Karen, she is invited to a mob wife’s hostess party. She shows up in a designer dress and notices that “these women appear to be wearing thrown together pants suits and wearing worn makeup,” to her disgust. Later as the movie progresses Karen herself begins to adapt to this look as well.

This is scene when appearances become less important and survival according to the demands of the mob is more of a focus. The aspect that never changes is how important a good meal is no matter what is going on around them and focus on the present tense. Even when Henry and Tommy have a man in the trunk, they think nothing of parking the car in a residential driveway to have a hearty meal with Tommy’s mom. Whenever life takes a turn for the worse, all is lost and the men are in prison, they still manage to prepare a five coarse meal. It is the only thing that gives them a sense of home.

The members of the mob lived on the code of respect; if this was forgotten then they were forfeiting the safety that comes with being part of the crew. They were to respect the Boss and listen to whatever advice that was given. If a member were to go against him, there were consequences, “murder was the only way to keep everyone in line, if you got out of line, you got wacked,” there was no room for mistakes. It was seldom that a second chance would be granted. Once a member of the mob worked their way to the top and proved that they were loyal, they were treated extremely well.

Not only did people within the mob know their status but onlookers knew as well. Henry enjoyes the amount of respect he received, he was not at the top but still had the power. He “didn’t have to wait for [his] fresh bread at the bakery, neighbors didn’t park in their driveway anymore, and the kids in the neighborhood would carry [his] mother’s groceries home for her. ” This was just the beginning because as Henry grew older, he received this kind of treatment everywhere he went. Life was good. The luxuries Henry had did not come from volunteering within the community or going to college to earn a degree.

These men were well known but not for their good doings. Henry explains it as being as an easy job, “if we wanted something we just took it, if someone complained they got hit so bad they didn’t again,” violence and crime was the only way to go for them. The people within the community feared them and if the police came after them, they would just pay them off or murder them and dispose of the body so it could not be pinned back on any of them. In order to become completely untouchable from the outsiders as well as the members within the mob, although, they needed Pauly.

These members would go to Pauly for help, when they could not go to the police. The only problems with this is Pauly is not cheap and they needed to play by his rules. If his help was needed, he was to be paid weekly and no excuse was good enough for not having his cut when it was due. Scorsese uses violence and crime to show there was more to life than the money and fun that came along with it. It takes a bit of dirty work to get high end items if the hard work isn’t done to allow for the high end job. The members of the mob and their wives see life a bit differently than the typical working American.

Henry’s wife Karen addresses this by saying “Our husbands are not Brain Surgeons; they were blue collar guys who go out and cut a few corners. ” She did not see anything wrong in what Henry does as long as he comes home and treats her with all the luxuries she has become accustomed to, nothing else mattered. Henry and his accomplices did not think anything was wrong with how they lived. They enjoyed themselves and were aware of the consequences, but did not fret about them, “no one goes to jail unless they want to,” Pauly offered protection and as long as the rules were followed there was nothing to worry about.

In order to get by, Henry would do everything from boot leg cigarettes, steal cargo, deal drugs and would kill anyone who gets in the way. The two that must be followed were, do not kill a Made man, which is a boss, unless you have permission and make sure you pay Pauly. Henry was living a fabulous life until he started making some bad decisions, got careless and broke the rules. Now the consequences that have been threatened have caught up with him and are starting to give him a rude awakening of what life really can be like for the average person, who does not belong to a powerful family, such as his.

Henry was living life day by day and getting by doing whatever he pleases. He had the respect, the power and the wealth that he dreamt of as a young boy. But in the end it didn’t add up, he was left with nothing. All due to a few bad decisions, the materialistic rubbish and money caused Henry to be blinded from what truly should be important in life, he had cut off relationships with all of his real family and now had no one to turn to.

Pauly had warned him not to get involved in the scandal that his two close accomplices Tommy and Johnny were getting involved in, but after Henry gets put into prison, he runs out of resources and needs money fast. “When you go away you are on your own,” because Pauly did not help Karen, while Henry was in jail he decides that instead of asking Pauly for help when he gets out he would take care of this misfortune of his own. He doesn’t feel as if he owes Pauly anything because Pauly did not offer help when he needed him the most. Henry locates Tommy and Johnny and creates a multimillion dollar plan.

The problem that surfaces is that it will be hard to keep everyone involved quiet and some of the help decided to spend their cut of the money right away which started to draw some unwanted attention. Tommy and Johnny cannot have this become an issue, so “months after the robbery, they were finding bodies left and right, “it was obvious that there was something going on and it was starting to catch up with Henry. Pauly eventually caught up with them and had his men kill Tommy. Henry began to notice he was being followed and he thought he had everything under control but he was wrong.

The Federal Government caught up with him “and now it’s all over, I am and average nobody. ” In order for Henry to stay out of prison he had to become a victim of the Witness Protection Program and confessed everything, from the beginning, involving everyone and every detail. He no longer had the power or money he once had. None of it mattered anymore and he now regrets the poor decisions he had made that lead him in this direction. If he would have just listened to Pauly, he may still be living the life he once had.

The director uses this end result of regret as the main theme of the movie. It holds as a message, a man may be blessed with good fortune but one bad decision can turn it all around. This film was based on a true story. The main character relives the life of the real Henry Hill to show the general public that it is okay to live life day by day and enjoy what comes with it but make sure that the consequences are acknowledged and be prepared for the outcome of the actions taken. All can be lost by a few bad decisions and there is no going back.

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