Joe Pesci and Ray Liotta Debunked Long-Standing Rumor About One Scene in Goodfellas That Proves Martin Scorsese is a Genius

Martin Scorsese is not the kind of director that allows spontaneous improvisation on the sets

Joe Pesci and Ray Liotta Debunked Long-Standing Rumor About One Scene in Goodfellas That Proves Martin Scorsese is a Genius


  • A scene from the classic film Goodfellas was long-believed to have been improvised by the two stars
  • Ray Liotta and Joe Pesci debunked the theory stating that Scorsese doesn't allow spontaneous improvsiation
  • The revealed that the scene was thoroughly practised before being added to the script
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Martin Scorsese is a director with some of the most iconic movies under his name, the latest being Killers of the Flower Moon. Having worked with so many actors and renowned filmmakers, Scorsese developed a reputation for being one of the most talented directors in Hollywood. One of his films, Goodfellas, quickly became a sensation amongst fans, standing as a cult classic movie to date.

Martin Scorsese
Martin Scorsese via Instagram

The movie had elements that fit well with the audience and it easily charmed its way to the top. It is both thrilling and nerve-wracking. It keeps the audience on their toes and knows how to build their characters properly. However, there had been a theory regarding one popular scene of the film being improvised. Joe Pesci told the truth behind it.

Also Read: Leonardo DiCaprio’s $30,000,000 Payday From Killers of the Flower Moon is Not Even Close to Highest Paid Role in Hollywood


Joe Pesci Opens Up About One Improvised Scene in Martin Scorsese’s Film

There were many scenes in Goodfellas that stood apart in a way only Martin Scorsese makes possible. One such scene was that of Joe Pesci’s character lunging onto Ray Liotta’s character after being termed a ‘funny guy.’ As per a video shared via Omidfilms, the actor explained just how seriously the scene was taken.

Joe Pesci in Goodfellas
Joe Pesci in Goodfellas

“You don’t improvise on camera when we’re shooting. They all think that Marty just doesn’t do anything. That he lets say, ‘Okay go ahead.’ And he sits there like this,” Pesci tilted his head. “And enjoyed it, you know. It’s not true. I mean it’s so crazy to think that you can go in there and make a movie like that.”

Pesci talked about how Scorsese is not a director to lets his actors do whatever they please without proper frame or direction. He was a professional who would not tolerate stuff that could catch people off guard easily. So when it came to improvised scenes, they were to be worked on before the cameras began to roll so that they could either be perfected or removed as per the reaction received.

Also Read: “He has marvellous screen presence”: Martin Scorsese Heaps Rare Praise on One Actor He Has Worked With Who Reportedly Turned Down Marvel


Goodfellas’ Iconic Scene Was Not Improvised

In the video via Omidfilms, it was further revealed that the scene was practiced several times before it was finalized. It was later added to the script to accommodate the idea without any proper flaws or issues. Once the entire process had been done, the scene was left to be filmed on camera.

Joe Pesci FandomWire
Joe Pesci in The Irishman (2019)

“I was able to ask the co-writer to record several takes, maybe 4-5 takes between Ray and Joe of this dialogue. I then took that and re-wrote that. Which was then inserted into the script.” He continued, “Once we had the improv, we had to lock it.”

Although it was not exactly improvised, it was a later addition to the script that changed as well as added to the story and the powerful acting both Ray Liotta and Joe Pesci portrayed.

Also Read: “I just didn’t grow up that way”: Martin Scorsese Found ‘The Sopranos’ Unwatchable Despite Being Himself Accused of ‘Glamorizing’ Mafia in Hollywood

Adya Godboley

Written by Adya Godboley

Articles Published: 1596

An avid writer fluent in everything Marvel, Adya Godboley is an Assistant Anime Content Lead for FandomWire. She has rich experience in critically analyzing all that is said in between the lines. Hopelessly obsessed with Greek Mythology, she is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Arts in English. Adya has written over 1400 articles on various topics expressing her passion and love for all things entertainment, from superheroes to anime and the occasional gacha games.