Power Rankings of the Top 25 Characters in Martin Scorsese's 'Goodfellas'

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In case you missed the 25th Anniversary of the Goodfellas release back in September, real life history has finally caught up with the boys involved in the infamous Lufthansa Heist, one of the largest cash heists in American History. 

Yeah, $6 million is a lot of money for any era, but certainly back in 1968 when Vincent Asaro gave his blessing to Jimmy "The Gent" Burke (played by Robert De Niro in the film) to orchestrate the heist at Kennedy Airport (then known as Lufthansa Airport). 

If you didn't hear the news, Vincent Asaro has officially been charged with pocketing a cut of that heist, and his trial began this week. 

It's one more nail in the coffin of omertá; the mafia code of silence that's slowly fallen away due to the frail psyches of snitches and rats. We're not condoning organized crime or obstruction of justice, but something twisted in us can absolutely relate to Tony Soprano killing Big Pussy Bonpensiero. 

He was wearing a wire. Same reason Fredo goes on a long fishing trip in the middle of Lake Tahoe and never returns. The same reason Matt Damon gets Wahlberg'd in The Departed. Two-timing, double-crossing rats. 

How have we finally caught Asaro after so much time? You guessed it. A rat wearing a wire.  

Now, there are many reasons why you would want to do a power ranking of this film's characters: Scorsese's amazing, De Niro's amazing, the two of them are teaming up with Joe Pesci and Al Pacino for a mob movie, power rankings are pretty awesome in general... we could go on and on forever. 

We're doing it now because it's been 25 years since the epic film came out, it's almost Scorsese's birthday, and, well, we want to. But before you jump into it and start screaming, "Why the hell is Stacks Edwards at 22?!" you need to take the following into account:

This power ranking doesn't forgive incompetence when it comes to the execution and aftermath of the Lufthansa Heist. Actually, there isn't a level of incompetence that's forgiven, which is why Lois starts the list off at 25. 

Things get pretty predictable at the end, but you might find yourself wondering why peripheral characters that never said a word in the movie are so high up. This list considers power in the family dynamic, the narrative crux of the story, and overall impact on the quality of the film.

We're not math people, but we also considered some variation of a formula that has the significance of the role as determined by the impact of the screen time (what they did with the time they were afforded) divided/multiplied/something-or-othered-by the impact on the plot.

Finally, let's face it, we're going to deal with cultural factors that play into the family dynamic, so there are certain things that we just have to agree as more important than other things. 

Things like stirring the sauce. 


25. Lois

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Oh, Lois. Why did you do everything over the phone? Why did you forget your hat? 

We have so many why questions, like, why does she look like Han Solo in this scene?


24. Bruce

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Attempted rape is never cool, Bruce. You should be 25, but we still haven't forgiven Lois for that damn hat. Which hat was she talking about? Was it the bucket/fishing hat she was wearing earlier? How is that your lucky hat? 

Anyways, Bruce is the scum of the Earth for A) trying to rape Karen, B) pushing her out of the car when the rape didn't go so well. 


23. Sandy

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WASH THE DISHES. Seriously. What are we, bakin' a cake here?

Say it again, Sandy. Wash. The. Dishes. 


22. Stacks Edwards


Samuel L. Jackson... If you hadn't gotten stoned and forgotten to move the truck, you wouldn't be dead. 

Okay, not entirely true, but you are the first link in a very weak chain of ineptitude, and that's why you're at 22. 


21. Sonny Bunz

wedogangsters "He's treatin' me like I'm a fuckin' half-a-fag or somethin' I mean Paulie this is no way to live. This cocksucker's an arch-criminal." Paulie: "What do you want me to do, shoot him?" Sonny: "That wouldn't be such a bad idea" Paulie: just stares Sonny: "I'm sorry I didn't mean to say that it's just that he's scaring me that's all" #goodfellas #sonnybunz #movie #classic #1990 #lucchesefamily #mafia #cosanostra #mobsters #gangsters #gangster #mobster #robertdeniro #joepesci #thegodfather #frankvincent #rayliotta #martinscorsese


You might have had to look him up. He's here because he let himself get fleeced. 

Sure, he was way out of line for bad mouthing Tommy directly to Paulie, but dude, you get the mob involved in your small business just to deal with an unruly customer? Weak. 


20. Johnny Roastbeef

misterjustint DON'T BUY ANYTHING #Goodfellas #JohnnyRoastbeef #PinkCadillac #WeddingPresent #JimmyConway #ClassicScene #ClassicMovie #Wiseguy #LufthansaHeist #Classic #ItsInMyMothersName


It doesn't matter if it's a wedding gift for your wife, it doesn't matter if it's in your mother's name. Jimmy says don't flash the money, you keep the money out of sight.

Of course, the Christmas scene at the bar is one of the best scenes in the movie, especially Johnny's stammer-filled exchange with Jimmy. 


19. Frankie Carbone

frankbelike14 I fell asleep with the windows open and woke up like... #makethatcoffeetogo #guybuysatwentythousanddollarmink #Iwokeuplikethis #frankiecarbone #freezing


You may or may not have recognized him from his previous work with Robert De Niro in The Godfather Part II. He's Vito's earliest friend in America, the dude who drops the hots he had for the theater chick when Don Fanucci holds a knife up to her throat. 

He has two of the better moments in the movie: "Come on. Make that coffee to go," and, "Hey Frank, let's chop him up." Yes, he's trying to make coffee to go after Tommy just gunned down Stacks Edwards, and yes, he was about to get out of the car to chop Morrie up in the parking lot.

And the fur coat he bought for his girl immediately after the Lufthansa heist. That was a big problem. 


18. Karen's Mom

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"What kind of people are these?"

Early on she tries to warn Karen. Of course, had she seen Henry's necklace on their first official date, she might have stopped Karen from seeing Henry altogether, being Jewish and all. 

Then again, Karen would always have been turned on by crime and violence, so they were a match made in heaven. 


17. Spider

themwordfilm The #MWordFilm star #MichaelImperioli in one of his first roles, #Goodfellas! #TBT


Spider was slow. Spider kind of stuttered. Spider stood up for himself even after Tommy shot him in the foot. 

Spider really wasn't that bad of a waiter, so that's why he sits just inside the Top 20. 


16. Henry's Dad

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"You wanna grow up to be a bum?"

The most vicious kitchen belt beating of all time? Maybe. 

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