We’re sure you don’t need any more convincing of Martin Scorsese‘s genius, but the filmmaker displayed an astounding level of foresight and inventiveness when working on the script for what is arguably his best movie, Goodfellas.
The thriller movie tells the story of Henry Hill, played by the late Ray Liotta, who enters a life of crime just as he’s always dreamed of doing. As if often the case with crime stories like this, the dream doesn’t last forever, and Henry’s life soon turns into a nightmare.
The ‘90s movie features one of the most iconic scenes in the history of cinema. It’s as simple as Robert De Niro‘s character Jimmy Conway standing in a bar, smoking a cigarette, and staring menacingly, but it’s truly perfect. A big part of the success of this scene is in the music, with the song Sunshine of Your Love by Cream providing the soundtrack for this epic moment.
In a video shared by omidfilms on YouTube, screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi explained how one word changed everything for the Goodfellas screenplay: “We were writing this scene where De Niro is standing at the bar with a cigarette. As I’m typing that stuff, [Scorsese] says ‘Put in Cream.’ I said, ‘What cream?’ He says, ‘Just write that, write down Cream.'”
“I was like ‘what cream, what are you talking about?’ and he goes, ‘Just put it, just put it, do me a favour, just put it.’ So I type in ‘cream,’ and while we’re typing the scene [Scorsese] is already listening to the music,” Pileggi added.
Scorsese offers further context to how the scene ultimately plays out with the track by Cream, saying: “I didn’t know what I was gonna get, but when I saw the rushes, I saw that gleam in [De Niro’s] eyes and I synced that to the guitar. Conway, the De Niro character, decides at that point, why should he give anything to anybody… why shouldn’t he just keep it all for himself?”
And that right there is how movie magic was made. Check out our list of the new movies coming your way this year to see when we can expect Scorsese’s next collaboration with Leonardo DiCaprio and 2023 Oscar winner Brendan Fraser in Killers of the Flower Moon.