How Goodfellas Changed Henry Hill’s First Arrest (& Made It Better)

admin2021January 8, 2023

Goodfellas showed Henry Hill’s first arrest when he was a teenager, but in real life, Hill’s first arrest happened differently. Here’s how.

Goodfellas saw Henry Hill’s (Ray Liotta) rise and fall as an associate of the Lucchese crime family, but his first arrest was actually very different, and Goodfellas made it better. Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas is based on Nicholas Pileggi’s nonfiction book Wiseguy, which tells the true story of mob associate Henry Hill. However, even though Goodfellas is based on a true story and on real-life characters, it made various changes to their stories (and even their names) in order to tell a more engaging and cohesive story.


At the beginning of Goodfellas, the audience gets to see a young Henry Hill (played by Christopher Serrone) who starts working for Paul Cicero’s (Paul Sorvino) crew by running errands for them. These tasks quickly escalate and soon Henry finds himself involved in his first criminal activities, which inevitably lead to his first arrest. This is a key moment in Goodfellas as it’s when Henry earns the respect of Paulie’s crew, especially that of Jimmy “The Gent” Conway (Robert De Niro), but in real life, Hill’s first arrest happened very differently, and Goodfellas actually made it look a lot more interesting than it truly was.

Related: Goodfellas: Why Henry Hill Wasn’t Killed By The Mob

How Henry Hill’s First Arrest Really Happened

Goodfellas young Henry Hill Jimmy Conway

In Goodfellas, young Henry starts working alongside a young Tommy DeVito, and one day, they are selling cigarettes when the cops arrive, and they weren’t among those on Jimmy’s side. Tommy runs away to tell Paulie and company that they were caught and they got Henry, while the latter keeps quiet and never reveals who he works for. Henry is later praised by Jimmy for not saying anything to the cops, delivering the now classic line “never rat on your friends and always keep your mouth shut”. However, Hill’s first arrest in real-life didn’t happen that way, and he wasn’t even working with Tommy at the time (Henry Hill was actually seven years older than Tommy DeSimone), and it wasn’t really an interesting situation.

Hill was first arrested when he was 16, when he and Lenny, Paul Vario’s son who was also underage, tried to use a stolen credit card to buy snow tires for Tuddy’s wife’s car (Tuddy being Paul’s brother). When Hill and Lenny returned to Tuddy’s place, two police detectives apprehended Hill. Just like in Goodfellas, Hill only gave the authorities his name and nothing else, and thanks to Paul’s attorney, Hill was released on bail. Hill’s refusal to talk to the authorities earned him the respect of Jimmy Burke and Paul, with the former seeing great potential in the young boy.

By changing Hill’s first arrest and adding Tommy and Jimmy (as he was the one who got the cigarettes and told them to sell them), Goodfellas made this event a lot more significant, as it showed the loyalty between Tommy and Hill as well as how much Jimmy trusted him even before he refused to talk to the authorities, making the rest of the movie a lot more meaningful.

Other Henry Hill Stories Goodfellas Changed

Goodfellas Henry Hill Ray Liotta

Henry Hill’s first arrest isn’t the only thing about his story that Goodfellas changed. Among the biggest changes is that Henry and Tommy didn’t grow up together, but they did work together when they were older. Henry actually wanted out multiple times but failed to distance himself from the mob, and just like in Goodfellas, his only way out was by cooperating with the FBI. Goodfellas also skipped the part where, at 17, Hill joined the United States Army as the FBI was investigating organized crime, but he eventually returned to keep working for Paul and his people. Goodfellas gets many things right about Henry Hill’s life, but it also either skipped, embellished, or changed many others.

Next: Goodfellas: Why Paulie Didn’t Want Henry To Deal Drugs

Source link


Leave a comment

Name *
Add a display name
Email *
Your email address will not be published