The story covers a period of nearly three decades in the life of real-life New York mobster Henry Hill (played by Ray Liotta), and the soundtrack features popular songs partly as a hint to the audience about when the events are taking place. Both Liotta and Lorraine Bracco (who plays his wife) provide voice-over narration.
It’s a decent film with limited though shocking violence, but I think it might be a bit overrated.
Joe Pesci and Robert De Niro get the best roles, Pesci as a cheerful but temperamental borderline sociopath and De Niro as Pesci’s best friend, an Irish-American gangster who seems like a nice enough guy (for a mobster) but isn’t.
Scorsese’s mom plays the mother of Joe Pesci’s character and Scorsese’s dad plays a long-time gangster Liotta spends time with in prison. A former federal prosecutor involved in the Hill case plays himself in the film. So, briefly, does Henny Youngman.
Two of the actors later had prominent roles in The Sopranos. Lorraine Bracco was Tony Soprano’s psychiatrist, and Michael Imperioli, who gets shot in the foot by Pesci, later played Tony Soprano’s young protégé Christopher, who in an early episode of The Sopranos himself shoots a guy in the foot and says, “It happens.”