The 'Goodfellas' Scene That Made Ray Liotta a Superstar - Rolling Stone
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The ‘Goodfellas’ Scene That Made Ray Liotta a Superstar

Actor’s coked-up and paranoid portrayal of Henry Hill proved he would never be a schnook

With his gruff, tough-talking persona, Ray Liotta created numerous scenes throughout his career, but one stood out early on that showcased his superstardom. What started as a trip to the store turns into a heart-pounding scene through the lens of Ray Liotta’s coked-up paranoia as Henry Hill in Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas. It’s one of many extraordinary film portrayals through his career fans will be revisiting and reflecting on after Liotta died on Thursday at the age of 67.

In the famous scene, he and wife Karen (Lorraine Bracco) react to the sound of helicopters and get moving to pick up cocaine for cooking and deliveries, but things get a bit derailed by some folks in Hill’s fast-paced gangster life (and there’s stops for doing some rails themselves, too). “Unfuckingbelievable. All of them, every fucking girl in my life,” he complains after telling Lois (Welker White) to follow his advice, which includes calling from an outside line so the Feds don’t hear their plans. Of course, she blows that off and calls from the house.

“I’ve had a couple people come up to me who were users and they said they would cue up that scene just to remember what that stuff could do to you,” Liotta told GQ of the quick-cut sequence.

Spoiler: The scene is indicative of the real-life Hill’s quest to never be a schnook as his character said in the last scene: “I’m an average nobody. I get to live the rest of my life like a schnook” following the ratting out of his mobster friends and entering witness protection program. And in the helicopter scene, Liotta also proved he was no ordinary actor.

Hill, who died in 2012, was a fan of Liotta’s portrayal based on his book with Nicole Pileggi, Wiseguy. When rumors circulated about a sequel, he said, “Yeah, there is a lot of interest in it. Scorsese doesn’t do sequels, so it is about finding the right director and writer attached to it,” he said in an interview. “Of course I don’t see anyone else but Ray Liotta playing me again but you know it’s a long arduous process to get something done in L.A.”

In This Article: Flashback, Ray Liotta

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