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the film opens with three men driving in their car late at night on a highway in the car are henry hill ray liotta, jimmy conway robert deniro and tommy devito joe pesci jimmy and tommy are asleep when henry hears a loud thumping noise trying to figure out the source of the sound henry suddenly realizes they need to stop and check the trunk when they open it we see a beaten man wrapped in several bloody tablecloths an enraged tommy stabs the man several times with a kitchen knife and jimmy shoots him four times with a revolver henry slams the trunk lid shut and we hear a voiceover henry say as far back as i can remember i always wanted to be a gangster in a flashback scene, henry narrates that as a boy he idolized the lucchese crime family gangsters in his blue collar, predominantly italian neighborhood in east new york brooklyn and in 1955 quit school and went to work for them the local mob capo, paul cicero paul sorvino based on the actual lucchese mobster paul vario and ciceros close associate jimmy conway de niro based on jimmy burke help cultivate henrys criminal career henry is teamed up with the young tommy and the two sell cartons of cigarettes, given to them by jimmy, to employees of a local factory, a crossing guard and some cops while selling them, two detectives show up and confiscate the load arresting henry tommy slinks away to tell tuddy pauls brother henry goes to court and is given a slap on the wrist jimmy gives him a substantial reward for his silence and the rest of the gang greets henry with joyful acceptance as adults, henry and tommy joe pesci in his academy award winning performance conspire with conway to steal some of the billions of dollars of cargo passing through john f kennedy international airport they help out in a key heist stealing over half a million dollars from the air france cargo terminal the robbery helps henry gain more of ciceros trust, to whom henry gives a sizable cut of the haul however because henry is half irish, he knows he can never become a made man, a full member of the crime family nor can jimmy conway who is also irish henrys friends become increasingly daring and dangerous conway loves hijacking trucks, and tommy has an explosive temper and a psychotic need to prove himself through violence at one point, he humiliates an innocent and unarmed young waiter spider played by an unknown michael imperioli, asking spider to dance la the oklahoma kid then shooting him in the foot a few nights later when spider stands up to an extremely intoxicated tommy, tommy egged on by jimmy suddenly draws his gun and shoots spider in the chest, killing him instantly jimmy is angry with tommy for shooting spider but tommy is completely indifferent, callously asking where he can find a shovel to bury the dead man henry also meets and falls in love with karen lorraine bracco a no nonsense young jewish woman they go to the copacabana club two to three times a week the film depicts this in a famous continuous steadicam shot karen feels uneasy with her boyfriends career, but is also turned on by it henry and karen eventually marry to marry her, henry and karen convince her parents that henry is half jewish in june 1970 tommy aided by jimmy conway brutally murders billy batts frank vincent, a made man in the competing gambino crime family, over a simple insult batts uses on tommy the murder is a major offense that could get them all killed by the gambinos if discovered henry, conway and devito bury batts corpse in an abandoned field the car trunk scene that opens the film when they discover six months later that the land has been sold, they are forced to exhume, move, and rebury the badly decomposed body henrys marriage deteriorates when karen finds he has a mistress, janice rossi played by the late gina mastrogiacomo karen confronts a sleeping henry with a gun as he wakes up as soon as she lowers the gun, henry subdues her and screams that he has enough on his mind having to worry about being whacked on the street without waking up with a gun in the face after beating and dangling a debt ridden florida gambler over a lion cage at the lowry park zoo in tampa, henry and jimmy are caught and sent to prison for four years the guys sister was a typist for the fbi there, henry deals drugs to the other prisoners to keep afloat and to support his family when he returns to them, he has a lucrative drug connection in pittsburgh cicero warns henry against dealing drugs, since mob bosses can get hefty prison sentences if their men are running drugs behind their back henry ignores cicero and involves tommy and jimmy as well as karen and his new mistress, sandy debi mazar in an elaborate smuggling operation about the same time december 1978 jimmy conway and friends plan and successfully carry out a record 6, 000, 000 heist from the lufthansa cargo terminal at jfk international airport soon after the heist jimmy grows increasingly paranoid when some of his associates foolishly flaunt their gains in plain sight, possibly drawing police attention, and begins having them killed off worse, after promising to welcome tommy into the lucchese family as a made ma the elder members of the family coldly shoot him in the head in retaliation for billy batts death and his reckless behavior in an extended, virtuoso sequence titled sunday, may 11th, 1980 all of the different paths of henrys complicated mafia career collide he must coordinate a major cocaine shipment cook a meal for his family placate his mistress, who processes the cocaine he sells cope with his clueless babysitter drug courier lois avoid federal authorities who unknown to him have had him under surveillance for several months and satisfy his sleazy customers, all the while a nervous wreck from lack of sleep and snorting too much of his own product

Rev. Shakes Spear is America’s Favorite Propagandist.

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