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Details At A Glance

Category Gangster Theatrical Trailer(s) Yes, 2
Rating Other Trailer(s) None
Year Released 1990 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time 139 minutes Other Extras Cast & Crew Biographies
Production Notes
RSDL/Flipper Flipper (69:39)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Movie
Region 4 Director Martin Scorsese

Warner Home Video
Starring Robert De Niro
Ray Liotta
Joe Pesci
Lorraine Bracco
Paul Sorvino
Case Snapper
RRP $29.95 Music  

Pan & Scan/Full Frame None MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Dolby Digital 5.1
16x9 Enhancement No Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
French (Dolby Digital 2.0 )
Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0 )
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.85:1    
Macrovision Yes    
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Italian for the Hearing Impaired

Plot Synopsis

    GoodFellas is a story of life in the Mafia over a period of 30 years. We follow Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) through his progress in the Mafia, along with James 'Jimmy' Conway (Robert De Niro), Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci) and Paul 'Paulie' Cicero (Paul Sorvino). We also see the effect that Henry's work has on his marriage to Karen (Lorraine Bracco).

    I find it difficult to describe the plot for this movie in any more detail - this is a movie that needs to be experienced rather than explained. It is epic, and brutal, and it will invoke emotions in you of sadness, anger, and despair. It is told in a very narrative style, almost like a documentary at times.

Transfer Quality


    The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.85:1. It is not 16x9 enhanced. This is the first Warner Bros disc released to the Australian Region 4 market which is not 16x9 enhanced. It is also a flipper. Having said that, the Region 1 version of this disc is also not 16x9 enhanced and is also a flipper. There is talk of this disc being remastered in Region 1 in the anamorphic format, and being placed on a dual layer disc, but there is no definite time line for this to occur.

    The transfer was surprisingly sharp and clear, though it was quite obvious that there was significantly less resolution than a 16x9 enhanced disc. This was most obvious during vertical pans, where line structure was clearly visible. 16x9 enhanced discs do not show any line structure at any time on my display device. The overall brightness of the transfer is quite low - in fact I felt that the peak white level on this transfer was probably set a little bit too low. I would advise either turning up the contrast to watch this movie, or watching this movie in darkness. Shadow detail was a little lacking compared with contemporary transfers, but was quite satisfactory nonetheless. No low level noise was apparent.

    The colours were variable in their saturation. The darker scenes tended to be oversaturated, but in more normal lighting conditions the colour saturation was spot on. This is more a characteristic of the film stock used to shoot this movie rather than a characteristic of the transfer, but it was somewhat irritating nonetheless.

    Some slight pixelization was apparent during some of the still frames. Film-to-video artefacts consisted of moderate amounts of aliasing on the typical aliasing culprits; car chrome and venetian blinds. This was worse than would be expected from the best 16x9 enhanced transfers, but remained quite acceptable at all times. Film artefacts were quite troublesome, especially early on in the film but these settled down during the transfer. There is a large vertical scratch in the movie on Side B, from 4.01 to 4.08 which is right in the middle of the frame and extends the full height of the frame. A few minutes later, there are a number of brief large vertical scratches visible as well, but these are not particularly bothersome.

    This disc is a flipper, with the side change occurring at 69:39. This is badly placed in the midst of some very intense on-screen action, and is very disruptive to the flow of the movie. RSDL formatting would have been preferred enormously with this movie.


    There are three audio tracks on this DVD - English Dolby Digital 5.1, and Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded soundtracks in French and Italian. I listened to the English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack which is the default soundtrack.

    Dialogue was almost always clear and easy to understand, though I missed a few words here and there. This was probably as much due to the thick New York accents being used rather than because of any dialogue level problem.

    There were no audio sync problems.

    The music is comprised of standards of the appropriate era and a symphonic score. It is frequently present and adds nicely to the ambience of the movie.

     The surround channels were reasonably frequently in use, albeit only with music, and rarely with a special effect such as a gunshot. I did not detect any split surround effects whatsoever. Overall, the soundtrack was not particularly enveloping, but neither was it all front-and-centre.

    The .1 channel was used moderately for music and occasional special effects.


    There are only limited extras on this disc. The same extras are on both sides of the disc. Oddly, the extras are 16x9 enhanced.


    The menu design is a very plain Warner Bros menu. The menu is 16x9 enhanced. Only limited scenes can be selected from the menu.

Theatrical Trailer

    There are two theatrical trailers on this disc. They are presented at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced and with somewhat muffled Dolby Digital 2.0 sound.

Production Notes

    These are quite brief.

Cast & Crew Biographies

    These are quite detailed, but not all that many of the cast and crew are featured.


    GoodFellas is a great gangster movie. The disc is marred slightly by the fact that it is not 16x9 enhanced and by the fact that it is a flipper, but this should not discourage you from purchasing what is otherwise an excellent disc.

    The video quality is surprisingly good for a non-16x9 transfer. There are some minor issues with the overall brightness of the movie being a little low, darkly rendered scenes being a little oversaturated with colour and with some areas where film artefacts are problematic, but there is nothing about this disc which should preclude you from purchasing it if you like the movie, unless you are a die hard hater of flippers.

    The audio quality is surprisingly good, though not at all as enveloping as current soundtracks tend to be.

    The extras are very limited.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Michael Demtschyna
10th March 1999

Review Equipment
DVD Pioneer DV-505, using S-Video output
Display Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 4:3 mode, via the S-Video input. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Amplification 2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer
Speakers Philips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Yamaha B100-115SE subwoofer