Murder is the unlawful, unprecedented killing of another human being. In 2009 alone, there were 16,799 homicides in the United States (FASTSTATS). Of those 16,799 deaths, 11,493 were committed using a firearm (FASTSTATS). The portrayal of movie murder is considerably close to what actual murders have become in real life. Movie murders have become a more common phenomenon that now sensationalizes and glamourizes capital crimes.
The movie Goodfellas gives a clear cut, realistic depiction of mafia and gang related murders in a way that not only furthers the public’s disdain for these crimes, but also shows sensationalistic views of horrible acts committed by these men for selfish reasons. The film Goodfellas is a movie about three pivotal men in the 1960’s and 70’s mob life in New York. The film follows the life of Henry Hill, a local boy, who is taken under the wing of local mob leader Paul “Paulie” Cicero, and his associates Jimmy Conway and Tommy DeVito.
The movie shows these four men escalating from committing petty crimes of car jacking and robbery to murder and drug trafficking. (Goodfellas) People speculate that murders amongst gangs are usually set in motion because of disrespect, collecting/owing a debt, and as a silencing tool. Rarely are gang/mafia murders just for no reason. Killing someone for no reason can result in greater consequences for you. In the movie Goodfellas there were disrespect kills, when someone is killed for disrespecting another crime family or just plain old lack of respect.
Disrespect kills were of William “Billy Batts” Devino, Michael “Spider” Gianco, and Tommy DeVito Billy Batts, a made member, “a wiseguy who has earned the trust and respect in order to get this honor, and if another family ever lays a hand on a made man that other man is dead,” (Goodfellas) of the Gambino Family, had just been released from prison after doing six years. He had not seen Tommy since he was a teenager and made a comment about how Tommy used to shine his shoes. Tommy took offense to the comment and made a vow to kill Batts, which he did two weeks later. He beat the man unconscious with the butt of a . 8 revolver and finished him off later in the night with a shovel and tire iron. The buried him under a dog kennel in Connecticut and six months later had to move the body elsewhere. (Goodfellas) In the movie they don’t give an end location. In reality, Billy Batts was killed because Jimmy had taken over his loan shark business while Billy was in jail and he did not want to give the business back over (Fox). Although the murder was the idea of Jimmy, ultimately Tommy paid the price for it. Hill said they never actually shot Billy, but instead stabbed him to death (Pilegge). Once he was dead they buried him under a dog kennel.
Six months after he had been dead they had to relocate the body and Billy Batts ended up being crushed in a mechanical compactor at a New Jersey junkyard (May). Another person who got caught up in Tommy’s way of dealing with disrespect was a kid named Michael “Spider” Gianco. The same year he murdered Billy Batts, he killed a bartender while at a game of cards. He pulled his gun and told the kid to dance while laughing he accidentally shot the kid in the foot. A couple of days later, when the kid returned to work, he started to make fun of the kid’s injuries that he had inflicted.
Irritated, Spider suddenly told Tommy “Go fuck yourself,” (Goodfellas) immediately Tommy pulled his gun and shot Spider three times in the chest killing him instantly. He was buried in the cellar. This murder seems to be an accurate depiction to the actual murder of Spider (Fox). In the movie, the murder of Tommy DeVito was called to become a made man. When he showed up at the appointed location he was shot in the head (Pilegge). When Jimmy called to check if it had happened yet, Hill didn’t know who he spoke to but he knew something bad happened. In real life, Tommy was said to have been killed by Gotti himself (Pilegge).
His murder took a long time, as Gotti wanted DeSimone to suffer for all that he had done. His wife reported him missing about two weeks after his death. His body was never found (Pilegge). The media’s portrayal of murder and the criminals who commit them dramatically alters the public’s perception of violence. On the news, all that is portrayed are violent crimes. News outlets of all forms show crimes, like murder, burglary, and drug trafficking, as headlining news and they ultimately end up becoming not so headlining anymore. Television shows display a much more realistic depiction of violent crimes committed today.
Shows like “Law and Order” display scenarios of crimes that are not real, but seem real due to great acting and realistic special effects of the times. Along with fiction TV shows, there are nonfiction shows like “Snapped” and “I Almost Got Away With It,” which show actual pictures and footage of crimes that were committed. Media outlets display murder and violence so much that it is no longer looked at as breaking news. It becomes a more common offense that is not taken as serious as it should be. Movie murders are becoming more realistic with every movie that is made.
The skill, technology, and expertise that producer’s use when editing these movies is beyond imaginable. The movie Goodfellas shows how closely related murders can be to the actual murders committed, and the reasons why they commit them. The ever-constant and ever-changing world of pop culture will ensure that real crimes of today will become the box office hits of tomorrow.
“FASTSTATS-Homicide. ” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 19 Oct. 2012. Web. 26 Nov. 2012. <http://www. cdc. gov/nchs/fastats/homicide. htm>. Fox, Josh. Top 10 Hitmen of the Sicilian Mafia. ” Listverse. com. N. p. , 7 Apr. 2012. Web. 26 Nov. 2012. <http://listverse. com/2012/04/07/top-10-hitmen-of-the-sicilian-mafia/>. [Goodfellas–trailer]. Dir. Martin Scorsese. Perf. Robert Deniro, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci. Warner Bros. , 1990. DVD. May, Allan. “The End of Tommy DeSimone. ” The Lufthansa Heist Revisited Crime Library on TruTV. com. TruTV, n. d. Web. 26 Nov. 2012. <http://www. trutv. com/library/crime/gangsters_outlaws/gang/heist/12. html>. Pilegge, Nicholas. Wiseguy: Life in the Mafia Family. N. p. : Simon & Schuster, 1985. Print.