Goodfellas" is a dramatization of life in the New York Mafia. It is based on the accounts of real life ex-gangster turned state evidence. He tells his story from when he was hired by a wiseguy as a teenager in the fifties, to the time he is put in the witness protection program in the seventies.The movie portrays the spirit of the Mafia and demonstrates their distinctive values, customs,gangster like lifestyle.
The Mafia is groups of criminals that developed for the purpose of protecting those who can not go to the police for protection. Its roots can be traced back to Sicily, where the Mafia was based on the premise that any member suffering an injustice was to take personal vengeance while avoiding all contact with legal authorities. Even in the modern day American Mafia, each family ruled it's own territory and when others from outside the territory interfered they were dealt with through violent methods.The wiseguys paid for their protection by paying the head of their local family. This payoff was also known as paying tribute to the boss.
Many of the Mafia's morals and policies were identified throughout the movie. Some of the informal rules held by the Mafia were the codes of trust and silence. In other words, never rat on a friend and keep your mouth shut. These rules were highlighted when the narrator, Henry Hill, had his first arrest. He was brought to court, defended by a Mafia paid lawyer and after his release he received praise and money from the family for honoring the code. This was considered his Mafia graduation and as important as losing his virginity.
It was alsocommon for the mob to buy thier way in and out of the trouble with bribes to local authorities and officials. Because of fear and respect of family members in the community, it was very easy to persuade the authorities to look the other way when crimes were committed.
Mafia business transactions were usually done face to face as a one to one communication. No one but the two parties talking knew what was said....