Last Sunday was the 20 year anniversary of the release of what is arguably one of the best movies ever made (gangster or otherwise), Goodfellas. To celebrate, GQ has put together a really stellar narrative conversation built out of quotes from almost sixty people involved in the production, from the most recognizable cast to the most unsung crew members.

The article is a ten-page monster, but it’s worth every bit of your time to read it, and tells the story of one of those wonderful productions where everyone involved knows they’re doing something special. The anecdotes range from funny, to interesting, to downright frightening as they describe eating real Italian everyday, using actual money and jewels for props and legit gangsters for extras. My favorite portion might be about the achievement of capturing one of the greatest single shots in the history of motion pictures.

“Larry McConkey (Steadicam operator): The impression I had when Marty walked us through the Copacabana shot was that this is going to be the most boring, worst thing I’ve ever done. We’re walking across the street, down the stairs, down a hallway, in the kitchen…. What is this shot about?

Marty watches the first rehearsal, and the only thing he said was, “No, no! When the table comes in, it’s got to fly in! I came here as a kid and I saw this!” They’d flip on a tablecloth, the lamp goes on top of it, somebody plugs it in, they put down the plates… It was like a magic act.”

Take a few minutes to celebrate this extraordinary film that has enabled Martin Scorsese to continue his career with such prestige, and has contributed more than its fair-share to the bank of all-time great film moments. The articles is here.

Nicholas Pileggi (co-writer): Mob guys love it, because it’s the real thing, and they knew the people in it. They say, “It’s like a home movie.”

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