Falling down a YouTube wormhole, I came across this old making-of documentary on the Martin Scorsese gangster staple movie Goodfellas (1990).
Its typical fair throughout, with some interesting tidbits if you’re a fan of the film and some now vintage interviews with its stars.
At the 20:00 minute mark in the clip below, Joe Pesci recalls getting geared up for the infamous scene in which his character, Tommy, savagely murders a young club bartender named Spider (Michael Imperioli), who has openly disrespected him.
This is a clip from Goodfellas, so expect some adult language:
When Tommy shoots Spider in the foot earlier in the movie, he uses a snub-nosed revolver. When he kills him, he uses a 1911 pistol.
Here’s what Pesci had to say about that scene and the gun:
“It was the most frightening thing, I was out of my body for a minute, and, you know, I had to put myself in a frame of mind to really kill someone. I made them put full loads in the gun, in the .45, because I wanted to hear the echo, I wanted to feel the gun really kick like a real .45.
“The silence after the last shot range out was more deafening than the gun.”
Let’s take a look at all the guns in Goodfellas
A few characters in the movie use the gangster staple Smith & Wesson Model 36 snub-nosed revolver chambered in .38 Special.
The J-frame handgun was introduced in 1950 and is still in production today. Small frame revolvers have long been popular with members of organized crime because of their light weight, concealability, and reliability.
In the movie’s opening, Jimmy Conway (Robert De Niro) uses a Model 36 to finish off Billy Batts in the trunk of a car.
Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) is seen to keep a 36 under the driver’s seat of his car. He tucks it into his waistband and uses it to pistol whip Karen’s neighbor, who tried to take advantage of her. Henry walks back across the street to gives Karen (Lorraine Bracco) the bloodspattered revolver to hide.
Tommy carries a 36 as his firearm of choice throughout the movie. he uses it to beat Billy Batts (Frank Vincent), hitting him s hard the cylinder pops out, and he also uses a similar if not the same gun to shoot Spider in the foot.
During the poker games, we can clearly see Tommy has his Model 36 tucked into his waistband on the left and an M1911A1 .45 ACP pistol hanging from a shoulder holster on his right side.
This is exactly how the real Tommy DeSimmone carried, hence his nickname, “Two Gun” Tommy.
Later, Tommy uses an M1911A1 with a Commander-style ring hammer to shoot Stacks Edwards (Samuel L. Jackson) in his apartment.
Tommy is also seen using a Smith & Wesson Model 66 snub when shooting through the paper bag in the hijacking scene and when he shoots at the camera near the end of the movie in a shot that is a tribute to the classic shot of an Old West outlaw shooting his six-gun at the camera in The Great Train Robbery (1903).
Smith & Wesson Model 64 and Model 60
When Karen wakes Henry up with a revolver to the face after discovering he’d been cheating on her, at first it’s a Smith & Wesson Model 64, which is anachronistic because that gun wasn’t introduces until 1981, and this part of the film is set in the early 1970s.
In some shots, the gun becomes a Model 60, which you can tell because of the five-shot cylinder.
During what you could call the downslope of the movie, at the end of Henry’s day of paranoia and chaos which ultimately sees him arrested on some heavy charges, a police officer puts a gun to his head as he gets into his car. It’s a chromed Browning Hi Power 9mm pistol, which was popular in the 1970s among some police officers because of hits high capacity compared to other 9mm pistols on the market.
After his arrest, Henry is basically in a prolonged state of paranoia, since pretty much everyone he knows has a motive to kill him, knowing he’s facing some serious charges and could possibly testify against them in exchange for protection from the government. At one point, we see him asleep with a small automatic in his hand.
The Astra Constable is a Spanish-made loose copy of the Walther PPK.