Voice-over in Goodfellas

  1. As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster.

  2. To me, being a gangster was better than being President of the United States.

  3. Even before I first wandered into the cabstand for an after-school job, I knew I wanted to be a part of them. It was there I belonged.

  4. To me it meant being somebody in a neighborhood full of nobodies.

  5. They weren't like anyone else. They did whatever they wanted. They'd double-park in front of the hydrant and nobody ever gave them a ticket. In the summer when they played cards all night, nobody ever called the cops.

  6. Tuddy Vario ran the cabstand and a pizzeria and a few other places for his brother, Paul, who was the boss over everybody in the neighborhood.

  7. Paulie might have moved slow, but it was only because he didn't have to move for anybody.

  8. At first, my parents loved that I found a job across the street. My father, who was Irish, was sent to work at the age of eleven, and he liked that I got myself a job. He always said American kids were spoiled lazy.

  9. And my mother was happy after she found out that the Varios came from the same part of Sicily as she did. To my mother, it was the answer to her prayers.

  10. I was the luckiest kid in the world.

  11. I could go anywhere.

  12. I could do anything.

  13. But it wasn't too long before my parents changed their minds. For them, the cabstand was supposed to be a part-tie job, but for me, it was full-time.

  14. My father was always pissed off. He was pissed that he had to work so hard. He was pissed that he made such lousy money. Be was pissed that there were seven of us living in a tiny house. But after a while, he was mostly pissed that I hung around the cabstand. He said they were bums and that I was a bum. He said I was going to get into trouble. I used to say I was only running errands after school, but he knew better. He knew what went on at the cabstand and, every once in a while, usually after he got his load on, I had to take a beating. But by then, I didn't care. No matter how many beatings I took, I wouldn't listen to what he said. I don't think I even heard him. The way I saw it, everybody has to take a beating some time.

  15. That was it. No more letters from truant officers. No more letters from school. In fact, no more letters from anybody. How could I go back to school after that and pledge allegiance to the flag and sit through good government bullshit.

  16. Hundreds of guys depended on Paulie and he got a piece of everything they made. It was tribute, just like the old country, except they were doing it in America. All they got from Paulie was protection from other guys looking to rip them off. That's what it's all about. That's what the FBI can never understand -- that what Paulie and the organization does is offer protection for people who can't go to the cops. They're like the police department for wiseguys.

  17. People locked at me differently. They knew I was with somebody.

  18. I didn't have to wait on line at the bakery on Sunday morning anymore for fresh bread. The owner knew who I was with, and he'd come from around the counter, no matter how many people were waiting. I was taken care of first.

  19. Our neighbors didn't park in our driveway anymore, even though we didn't have a car. At thirteen, I was making more money than most of the grownups in the neighborhood. I had more money than I could spend. I had it all.

  20. One day some of the kids from the neighborhood carried my mother's groceries all the way home for her. It was out of respect.

  21. It was the first time I had ever seen anyone shot.

  22. I remember feeling bad about the guy. But I remember feeling that maybe Tuddy was right. I knew Paulie didn't want anybody dying in the building.

  23. It was a glorious time. Wiseguys were all over the place. It was before Apalachin and before Crazy Joey decided to take on a boss and start a war. It was when I met the world. It was when I first met Jimmy Burke.

  24. He couldn't have been more than twenty-four or twenty-five at the time, but he was already a legend. He'd walk in the door and everybody who worked the room went wild. He'd give the doorman a hundred just for opening the door. He shoved hundreds in the pockets of the dealers and who ran the games. The bartender got a hundred just for keeping the ice cubes cold.

  25. Jimmy was one of the most feared gays in the city. He was first locked up at eleven and was doing hits for mob bosses when he was sixteen. Hits never bothered him. It was business. But what he really loved to do was steal. I mean, he actually enjoyed it. Jimmy was the kind of guy who rooted for the bad guys in the movies. He was one of the city's biggest hijackers. Clothes. Razor blades. Booze. Cigarettes. Shrimp and lobsters. Shrimp and lobsters were the best. They went fast.

  26. And almost all of them were gimmie's.

  27. HENRY (V.O.) By the time I grew up, there was thirty billion a year in cargo moving through Idlewild Airport and we tried to steal every bit of it.

  28. You've got to understand, we grew up near the airport.. It belonged to Paulie. We had friends and relatives who worked all over the place and they tipped as off about what was coming in and what was going out.

  29. If any of the truckers or airlines gave as trouble, Paulie had his people scare then with a little strike. It was beautiful. It was an even bigger money-major than numbers, and Jimmy was in charge. Whenever we needed money, we'd rob the airport. To us, it was better than Citibank.

  30. There was Jimmy and Tommy and me. And there was Anthony Stabile, Angelo Sepe, Fat Andy, Frankie the Wop, Freddy No Nose, Pete the Killer, Nicky Blanda, Mikey Franzese, and Johnny Echoes, who got that nickname because he said everything twice. Like*, "You wanna get the papers, get the papers."

  31. For us to live any other way was nuts. To us, those goody-good people who worked shitty jobs for bum paychecks, who took the subway to work every day and worried about their bills, were dead. They were suckers. They had no balls. If we wanted something, we just took it. If anyone complained twice, they got hit so bad they never complained again. It was routine. You didn't even think about it.

  32. Now the guy's got Paulie for a partner. Any problems, he goes to Paulie. Trouble with the bill? He can go to Paulie. Trouble with the cops? Deliveries? Tommy? He can call Paulie.

  33. But now the guy has got to come up with Paulie 's money every week, no matter what. Business bad? Fuck you, pay me. You had a fire? Fuck you, pay ma. The place got hit by lighting? Fuck you, pay me. Also, Paulie could do anything. Especially run up bills on the joint's credit. Why not? Nobody's gonna pay for it anyway.

  34. As soon as the deliveries are made in the front door, you move the stuff out the back and sell it at a discount. You take a two hundred dollar case of booze and sell it for a hundred. It doesn't matter. It's all profit.

  35. And, finally, when there's nothing 1 left, when you can't borrow another buck from the bank or buy another case of booze, you bust the joint out.

  36. You light a match.

  37. I had a meeting with Tuddy around eleven o'clock and here I am a back-up guy.

  38. I couldn't wait to get away. I was ordering the dessert when they were eating dinner. When they were having coffee, I was asking for a check.

  39. KAREN (V.O.) I couldn't stand him. I thought he was really obnoxious. He kept fidgeting around.

  40. KAREN (V.O.) Before it was even time to go home he was pushing me into the car ...

  41. KAREN (V.O.) ... and then pulling me out. It was ridiculous. But Diana and Tommy had made us promise to meet them again on Friday night. We agreed. Of course, when Friday night came around, Henry stood me up.

  42. KAREN (V.O.) We were a trio instead of double- date that night, but I made Tommy take me looking for him.

  43. She's screaming on the street and I mean loud, but she looked good. She had these violet eyes. I remember she's screaming, but mostly I'm looking at her eyes. They were just like Elizabeth Taylor's. That's what everybody said.

  44. Air France made me. We walked out with four hundred and twenty thousand dollars without a gun. And we did the right thing.

  45. KAREN (V.O.) One night Billy Daniels sent us champagne. There was nothing like it. I didn't think that there was anything strange in any of this -- you know, a twenty-one-year-old kid with such connections.

  46. KAREN (V.O.) He was an exciting guy. He was really nice. He introduced me to everybody. Everybody wanted to be nice to him. And he knew how to handle it.

  47. MARTY'S TV (V.O.) They'll stay put even in a typhoon. And I should know. I'm the president of the company."

  48. KAREN (V.O.) I know there are women, like my best friends, who would have gotten out of there the minute their boyfriend gave them a gun to hide. "Fha! You and your gun. Get out of here, who needs you?" That's what they would have said to him. But I didn't. I've got to admit the truth. It turned me on.

  49. KAREN (V.O.) It was like he had two families. The first time I was introduced to them all at once, it was crazy. Paulie and his brothers had lots of sons and nephews and almost all of them were named Peter or Paul. It was unbelievable. There must have been two dozen Peters and Pauls at the wedding. Plus, they were all married to girls named Marie, and they named all their daughters Marie. By the time I finished meeting everybody. I thought I was drunk.

  50. KAREN (V.O.) We weren't married to nine-to-five guys, but the first time I realized how different was when Mickey had a hostess party.

  51. (continuing over dialogue) They had bad skin and wore too much makeup. I mean they didn't look very good. They looked beat- up.

  52. KAREN (V.O.) You never saw teeth like that where I was growing up and the stuff they wore was thrown together and cheap. A lot of pants suits and double-knits. And they talked about how rotten their kids were and about beating them with broom handles and leather belts, but that the kids still didn't pay any attention. When Henry picked me up, I was dizzy.

  53. KAREN (V.O.) After a while, it all got to be normal. None of it seemed like crimes. It was more that Henry was enterprising. That he and the guys were making a few bucks hustling, while other men were sitting on their asses waiting for handouts. Our husbands weren't brain surgeons. They were blue collar guys, and the only way they could get extra money, real extra money, was to go out and cut a few corners.

  54. KAREN (V.O.) And we were also very close. I mean, there were never any outsiders around. Absolutely never! And being together all the time made everything seem even more normal.

  55. KAREN (V.O.) There was always a little harassment. They always wanted to talk to Henry about this or that. They'd come with their subpoenas and warrants and make me sign. But mostly they were just looking for a handout. A few bucks to keep things quiet, no matter what they found.

  56. KAREN (V.O.) I always asked them if they wanted coffee. Some of the wives, like Mickey Burke, used to curse at them and spit on the floor. Imagine. She'd spit on her own floor. That never made any sense to me. It was better to be polite and call the lawyer.

  57. KAREN (V.O.) The woman played cards. When my kids were born. Jimmy and Mickey were always the first at the hospital.

  58. KAREN (V.O.) When we went to the Islands or Vegas for vacation, we always . went together.

  59. For most of the guys, killing got to be accepted. They were routine. Murder was the only way everybody stayed in line. It was the ultimate weapon. Yon got out of line, you got whacked. Everyone knew the rules.

  60. But sometimes, even if people didn't get out of line, they'd get whacked. Hits just became a habit for some guys. It didn't take anything to get yourself killed.

  61. Guys would get into arguments over nothing and before you knew it, one of them was dead. They were shooting each other all the time. Shooting people was a normal thing. It was no big deal.

  62. But we had a problem with Billy Batts. This was a touchy thing. Tommy had killed a made man. Billy was a part of the Bambino crew and untouchable.

  63. Before you could touch a made guy, you had to have a good reason. There had to be a sit-down. And you better get an okay, or you'd be the one who got whacked.

  64. Saturday night was for wives, but Friday night at the Copa was always for the girlfriends.

  65. I set up Linda in an apartment around the corner from the Suite. That way I was able to stay over a couple of nights a week. Karen was home with the kids anyway and she never asked any questions anyway.

  66. Linda and I were having so much fun, she started screwing up at work, and I had to straighten out her boss a little bit.

  67. KAREN (V.O.) She wouldn't open the door. I rang her bell. Still, she wouldn't open. I rang her bell for two hours, and she kept on hiding.

  68. KAREN (V.O.) But still I couldn't hurt him. How could I hurt him? I couldn't even bring myself to leave him.

  69. KAREN (V.O.) The truth was, that no matter how bad I felt, I was still very attracted to him. Why should I give him up to someone else? Why should she win?

  70. VARIO (V.O.) You go with Jimmy, instead. Get away for a few days. Relax.

  71. VARIO (V.O.) Enjoy yourselves. Have a good time. Then, when you get back Monday, you go home to Karen.

  72. They must really feed each other to the lions down there, because the guy gave the money right up and we got to spend the rest of the weekend at the track. (pause and genuine shock) But then, I couldn't believe what happened.

  73. When we got home, we were all over the newspapers. At first, I didn't even know why we got picked up.

  74. Then, I found out, that the guy we roughed up turned out to have a sister working as a typist for the FBI.

  75. Who could believe it? Of all the fucking people. She gave up everybody. Jimmy. Me. Even her brother.

  76. It took the jury six hours to bring us in guilty. The judge gave Jimmy and me ten years like he was giving away candy.

  77. Dinner was always a big thing. We had a pasta course and then meat or fish. Paulie did the prep work. He was doing a year for contempt and he had a system for doing garlic. He used a razor and he sliced it so thin it used to liquify in the pan with a little oil.

  78. Vinnie was in charge of the tomato sauce. I felt he put in too many onions, but it was a good sauce anyway.

  79. Johnny Dio did the meat. He didn't have a broiler, so Johnny did everything in pans. He smelled up the joint something awful and the hacks used to die.

  80. Everybody else in the joint was doing real time, all mixed together, living like pigs.

  81. We lived alone, we owned the joint. Even those hacks who we couldn't bribe would never rat on the guys who did.

  82. It took me about a week of sneaking around before I could unload the Pittsburgh stuff without Paulie finding out. But when I did, it was a real score. I started using Robin's place to mix the stuff and even with Robin's snorting more than she mixed, I could see this was a good business. I made twelve thousand dollars in my second week and I had a down-payment on my house. All I had to do was every once in a while, tell Robin I loved her.

  83. It was perfect. As long as I kept getting the stuff from Pittsburgh, I knew Paulie would never find out. But within a couple of weeks it got to be so big I needed help. I got Jimmy and Tommy to come in with me.

  84. And these are the guys.

  85. Tommy and Sepe were going to grab the outside guard and make him get us in the front door.

  86. Frenchy and

  87. Joe Buddha had to round up the workers.

  88. Fat Louis had to keep than tied up and away from alarms.

  89. Even Stacks got in on it. He was supposed to steal the panel truck and afterwards compact it by a friend of ours in Jersey.

  90. RADIO NEWS BROADCASTER (V.O.) ... and nobody knows for sure just how much was taken in the daring pre-dawn raid at the Lufthansa cargo terminal at Kennedy Airport. The FBI says two million dollars. Port Authority police say four million dollars, the city cops say five. How much maximum? That they won't say. So far, Lufthansa has not said anything, but they've promised to break their silence soon with a press conference, and WINS will be there to cover it live from the scene of the heist at JFK when they do. It looks like a big one. Maybe the biggest this town has ever seen. Stay tuned ...

  91. Stacks was always crazy. Instead of getting rid of the truck like he was supposed to, he got stoned, went to his girlfriend's and by the time he woke up, the cops had found the truck. It was all over the television. They even said they came up with prints off the wheel. It was just a matter of tine before they got to Stacks.

  92. Jimmy was cutting every link between himself and the robbery, but it had nothing to do with me. I gave Jimmy the tip and he gave me some Christmas money. From then on I kept my mouth shut. I knew Jimmy. He had the cash. It was his. I know he kicked some money upstairs to Paulie, but that was it. It made him sick to have to turn money over to the guys who stole it. He'd rather whack them. Anyway, what did I care? I wasn't. asking for anything and, besides. Jimmy was making nice money with me through my Pittsburgh connections. But still, for months after the robbery, they were finding bodies all over.

  93. When they found Sepe in the meat truck, he was frozen so stiff it took them two days to thaw him out for the autopsy.

  94. Still, I never saw Jimmy so happy. He was like a kid. We had money coming in through my Pittsburgh people and after a while even the Lufthansa thing began to calm down. But the thing that made Jimmy so happy that morning was that this was the day Tommy was being made.

  95. Jimmy was so excited, you'd think he was being made. He must have made four calls to Tommy's house. They had a signal all set up so he'd know the minute the ceremony. was over.-

  96. Jimmy and I could never be made, because we bad Irish blood. It didn't even matter that my mother was Sicilian. To become a member of a crew, you've got to be one hundred percent Italian So that they can trace all your relatives back to the old country.

  97. It's the highest honor they can give you. It means you belong to a family and a crew. It means that nobody can fuck around with you. It also means you can fuck around with anybody, as long as they aren't also a member. It's like a license to steal.

  98. As far as Jimmy was concerned, with Tommy being made, it was like we were all being made. We would now have one of our own guys as a member.

  99. Except, they didn't make Tommy that day.

  100. They killed him. It was revenge for Billy Batts.

  101. I was going to be busy all day. I had to drop off some thirty-eights at Jimmy's to match some silencers he had gotten. I had to pick up my brother at the hospital and drive him back to the house for dinner and then I had to pick up some new Pittsburgh stuff for Judy to fly down to some customers I had near Atlanta.

  102. Right away I knew he didn't want them. I knew I was going to get stuck for the money. I only bought the damn guns because he wanted them. And now, he didn't want them. I didn't say a thing. Jimmy was so pissed he didn't even say goodbye.

  103. I knew my Pittsburgh guys always wanted guns, and since I was going to see them later in the afternoon to pick up a delivery, I was pretty sure I'd get my money back.

  104. I knew my Pittsburgh guys always wanted guns, and since I was going to see them later in the afternoon to pick up a delivery, I was pretty sure I'd get my money back.

  105. He took mercy on me. He gave me ten milligrams of Valium and sent me home. My plan was to drop off my brother at the house and pick up Karen.

  106. I was cooking dinner that night. I had to start braising the beef, pork butt and veal shanks for the tomato sauce. It's Michael's favorite. I was making ziti with the meat gravy, and I'm planning to roast some peppers over the flames, and I was putting on some string beans with the olive oil and garlic, and I had some beautiful cutlets, cut just right, that I was going to fry up before dinner just as an appetizer. I was home for about an hour. My plan was toStart the dinner early, so Karen and I could go unload the guns that Jimmy didn't want, and get the package for Judy to take to Atlanta latex that night. I kept looking out the window and the helicopter was gone. I asked Michael to watch the sauce, and Karen and I started out.

  107. Now I'm sure we're being tailed. My plan was to go to her mother's and unload the guns. Who needed them in the trunk with all this heat?

  108. My plan was I had to get home and get the package ready for Judy to take on her trip. Also, I had to get to Robin's house to give the package a whack with some quinine. Plus, I knew Robin was gonna get on my ass. Then I had the cooking to finish at home, and I had to get Judy ready for the trip.

  109. HENRY (V.O.) So, what does she do after she hangs up with me? After everything I had told her? After all her yeah, yeah, yeah, bullshit? She picks up the phone and calls from the house. Now, if anybody was listening, they'd know everything. They'd know that a package was leaving from my house and they'd even have the time and the flight number. Thanks to her.

  110. As soon as I got home, I started cooking. I had a few hours until Judy's flight. I told my brother to keep an eye on the stove. All day long, the poor guy's been watching helicopters and tomato sauce. I had to drive over to Robin's place, mix it once and get back to the gravy.

  111. What could I do? If she insisted, I had to drive her home for her goddamn hat. I threw the package in the kitchen and went to take her hone.

  112. For a second I thought I was dead, but when I heard all the noise, I knew they were cops, only cops talk that way. If they had been wiseguys, I wouldn't have heard a thing. I would have been dead.

  113. All day I thought the guys in the helicopter were just local cops busting my balls over Lufthansa, but they turned out to be Narks. They had been on me a month. Phone taps. Surveillance.

  114. KAREN (V.O.) (her turn to be annoyed) At least Jimmy and Mickey want to help. I talk to Mickey every day. That's more than I can say for the rest.

  115. KAREN (V.O.) (her turn to be annoyed) At least Jimmy and Mickey want to help. I talk to Mickey every day. That's more than I can say for the rest.

  116. KAREN (V.O.) I told Jimmy the cops took our cars and froze our bank accounts and he offered to get me some money. Be wants to know what's happening. You gotta meet him.

  117. Fuck Jimmy and the money. Didn't I tell you I gotta get out of here first. I gotta straighten every- thing out with Paulie or I'm dead.

  118. Karen finally got her mother to put her house up for my bail. I was out.

  119. HENRY (VO CONTD) I remember I had this feeling I was going to get killed right outside the jail. I knew Paulie was still pissed at me and he's such a hothead I was afraid he might have me whacked before he calmed down. And I was also worried about Jimmy. Jimmy knew if Paulie found out he was in the drug deals with me, Paulie would have Jimmy killed even before me. This is the bad time. I didn't feel safe until I got home.

  120. So now my plan was to stay alive long enough to sell off the dope that the cops never found and disappear for a while until I got things straightened out.

  121. Thirty-two hundred bucks. That's what he gave me. Thirty-two hundred bucks for a lifetime. It wouldn't have paid for the coffin.

  122. KAREN (V.O.) Jimmy just stood there on the sidewalk. It felt funny. I started walking down the block, but I noticed the stores were empty.

  123. KAREN) (V.O.) I got a bad feeling. I just kept walking.

  124. If you're part of a crew, nobody ever tells you that they're going to kill you. It doesn't happen that way. There aren't any arguments or curses like in the movies. Your murderers come with smiles. They come as your friends, the people who have cared for you all your life, and they always come at a time when you are at your weakest and most in need of their help. So I met Jimmy in a crowded place we both knew. I got there fifteen minutes early and I saw that Jimmy was already there. He took the booth near the window so he could see everyone who drove up to the restaurant. He wanted to see if I had been tailed.

  125. He was jumpy. He hadn't touched a thing. In the old days, Jimmy would have ordered doubles and eaten it all. On the surface, of course, everything was supposed to be fine. We were supposed to be discussing my case, just like we always would, but I had a feeling Jimmy was trying to sense whether I was going to rat him out to save my neck.

  126. Jimmy had never asked me to whack somebody before, but now he's asking me to go down to Florida and do a hit with Anthony.

  127. That's when I knew I would never have come back from Florida alive.

  128. It was easy for all of us to disappear. My house was in my mother- in-law's name. My cars were registered to my wife. My Social Security cards and driver's licenses were phonies. I've never , voted. I never paid taxes. My birth certificate and my arrest sheet, that's all you'd ever have to know I was alive.

  129. The hardest thing for me was leaving the life. I still love the life. We were treated like movie stars with muscle. We had it all just for the asking.

  130. Our wives, mothars, kids, everybody rode along. I had paper bags filled with jewelry stashed in the kitchen and a sugar bowl full of coke next to the bed.

  131. Anything I wanted was a phone call away. Free cars and the keys to a dozen hideouts flats all over the city. I'd bet twenty, thirty grand over a weekend ...

  132. ... and than I'd either blow the winnings in a week or go to the sharks to pay back the bookies.

  133. It didn't matter. When I was broke I just went out and robbed some more. We ran everything. We paid off lawyers. We paid off cops. Everybody had their hands out. And now it's all over.

  134. And that's the hardest part. Today everything is different. There's no action.

  135. I have to wait around like anyone else. Yon can't even get decent food. Right after I got hare I ordered some spaghetti with marinara sauce and I got egg noodles and ketchup.

  136. I'm an average nobody. I get to live the rest of my life like a schnook.