The cast of Goodfellas includes two very important people to Martin Scorsese: his parents, Catherine and Charles Scorsese. Here’s where to spot them.
Goodfellas has various cameos, but there are two that are particularly special as they are director Martin Scorsese’s parents – here’s where to find them. Throughout his career as a filmmaker, Martin Scorsese has explored a variety of genres, but he continues to be best known for his crime movies, mostly those about the mob. While he has made many memorable gangster movies, the one that continues to be regarded as his best is Goodfellas, released in 1990.
Based on the book Wiseguy by Nicholas Pileggi, Goodfellas chronicles the life of Henry Hill (Ray Liotta), from his days as a teenager running errands for Paul Cicero (Paul Sorvino) and his crew to his full involvement with the Lucchese crime family and later his decision to become an FBI informant. Goodfellas was a critical success, earning multiple awards, including an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for Joe Pesci, who played Tommy DeVito, and getting praise for its story and performances. The movie has a cast full of big names and counted with cameo appearances from many actors, but there are two that, even though weren’t exactly actors, are the most important and closest to Scorsese’s heart.
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Martin Scorsese has a list of recurrent actors, most notably Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio, but two that are often forgotten or overlooked are his parents, who appeared in many of his movies, though in minor roles. Catherine and Charles Scorsese weren’t left out of Goodfellas, and their son gave them characters that were somehow linked to Henry and his crew: Catherine played Mrs. DeVito, Tommy’s mother, and Charles played Vinnie, a member of Paulie’s close circle.
Although Goodfellas is all about Henry’s story and thus the movie pays more attention to him and his family than others, it made sure to include Tommy’s mother whenever possible. Catherine Scorsese’s Mrs. DeVito appears briefly at Henry’s wedding, telling her son “why aren’t you more like Henry”, who found a nice girl and was going to settle down, and again when Jimmy Conway (De Niro), Henry, and Tommy stop by her house as they needed a shovel to get rid of the body of Billy Batts, and they ended up staying for dinner – a scene that was almost completely improvised. Charles Scorsese’s Vinnie also appears at the wedding, but only from behind, and he was sitting in front of Tommy and his mother. Vinnie appears two more times in Goodfellas: first, in the scene where Henry explains how they lived in prison, where Vinnie is seen preparing the sauce (which Henry felt had too many onions), and later when Tommy is killed, as he’s one of the men who took him to the house.
Catherine and Charles Scorsese were not professional actors nor were they involved in the film industry prior to their son embarking on a career in film, and ventured into acting when their son cast them in his projects – Catherine’s debut was in the short film It’s Not Just You, Murray! and Charles’ in the documentary Italianamerican, in which the Scorseses talked about their experiences as Italian immigrants in New York City. The cameo appearances of Martin Scorsese’s parents in Goodfellas are bigger than some of their previous appearances in their son’s movies, and especially Catherine’s appearance became unforgettable thanks to the aforementioned dinner scene.
Next: Goodfellas: How The Gambino Crime Family Knew Tommy Killed Billy Batts
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