The Godfather and Goodfellas are both considered “mafia movies”. Both of these films portray some form of organized crime committed by Italians. They mutually romanticize the mob lifestyle and depict it with pure clarity. Although both of these movies portray the lives of the same kind of people, they are more than just a simple characterization. Violence plays a major role in each of these films. The Godfather and Goodfellas are obviously very similar. However, they also have several aspects that differ from one another.
In both The Godfather and Goodfellas, violence penetrates the daily lives of both Henry Hill and Michael Corleone.
Although violence is a key factor of each of the movies, Goodfellas is more brutal in comparison to The Godfather. In the film Goodfellas, Henry Hill was exposed to the gangster lifestyle since he was very young. In the film Henry says, “As far back as I can remember, I wanted to be a gangster”. His out-of-control partner, Tommy is one of the most violent characters in the film.
Blood shed is frequently joked about in this movie. In one of the scenes, Tommy was telling a story in a restaurant. After the story Henry laughs and tells Tommy that he is funny.
Upon hearing this, Tommy gets defensive and loses his temper. For a moment Henry is nervous because he knows Tommy’s violent personality. However, he realizes that hw is joking and they all laugh about it. Tommy proceeds to wave his gun around and joke about killing Henry.
This scene proves that murder is taken lightly in this movie. Another violent act is when Tommy brutally beats a mobster named Billy Batts to death. He kills Billy for insulting him about his younger years as a shoe shine boy. In this scene even Henry looks appalled. Tommy shows no remorse as they hide the evidence of Batts’ body.
He continues to surprise the characters with his short temperedness and violence. Another shocking vicious act is when he kills Spider because he was disrespecting him. This scene leaves both the viewers the characters in the film appalled. There are many scenes in Goodfellas with a great deal of blood shed. Many of these murders happen spontaneously and are not organized. Some of these scenes are shocking, primeval, and appalling. These moments leave the viewers stunned and disoriented. Unlike Goodfellas, the violence in The Godfather occurs mysteriously and almost magically.
The organized crimes and murders simply occur without any mistake in this film. One of the bloody scenes that portray this is the one where Woltz’ bed is covered in blood. This scene was very slick the way Tom Hagen slipped away without being noticed by anyone. Hagen’s visit was to intimidate Woltz by proving that if he had to kill him, he would be able to. Another very violent act was Sonny’s death. This plan was organized carefully by Don Emilio Varzini with the help of Carlo Rizzi, his brother-in-law. Earlier in the film Sonny had beaten Carlo after he heard Carlo was abusing his sister Connie.
To get back at him, Carlo viciously beats Connie using his belt. When Sonny hears of this he speeds to Connie’s apartment. As he approaches, Barzini’s men surround Sonny and viciously shoot him to death. This act was also thought out very cautiously by masterminds. Towards the end of the movie, the planned killing of the five other mob leaders is revealed. Michael orders all of the head of the families to be killed so he can be the top Don. Although this scene is violent, it is masked by the ceremony of Michael becoming Connie’s son’s godfather.
The mass murder was perfectly planned to take place at the right time and place. Every slaughter and violent act in The Godfather is carefully intentional and prearranged by their specific mastermind. Unlike The Godfather which portrays Mafia dons, Goodfellas shows the lives of the criminals who exist on a lower level. Both Henry Hill and Michael Corleone face murders and beatings every day. Goodfellas is more upfront and brutal towards violence in comparison to The Godfather. The violent acts in Goodfellas are appalling and unpredictable.
It perfectly portrays the ferociousness of the characters, specifically Tommy. Unlike Goodfellas’ obviously violent and vicious blood scenes, The Godfather is more sneaky and slick. The violence in this movie, while prevalent, is well masked and planned. Each murder was clearly thought out and intentional. Violence is one of the key components in a mobster’s life. The characters in both The Godfather and Goodfellas face murder in their mob lifestyles frequently. Although violence is dominant in both of these films, each film has a different way of portraying these bloody scenes.