In a Martin Scorsese film, some of his trademarks consist of frequent and elaborate profanity-laced dialogue; explicit depictions of sex, drugs, and alcohol; and a distinct ability to make on-screen violence memorable. Another skill he employs is his usage of music as part of his storytelling. He’s used music from every genre in most of his movies as integral parts of the story, sometimes quite frequently. I mean, how many times has he used “Gimme Shelter” by the Rolling Stones?
His 1990 opus Goodfellas is him using all of his tricks at the time, and then some, to their fullest extent. More than 25 years later, the film retains its highly acclaimed status and is considered one of the upper-echelon gangster films. In the scene below, mobster Billy Batts (played by Frank Vincent) is celebrating his homecoming at a bar after a long stint in jail. As a made man in the Mafia, he enjoys all sorts of perks and immunity from civilian life. He flaunts like a schoolyard bully towards mob associates Jimmy Conway (played by Robert DeNiro), Henry Hill (played by Ray Liotta), and especially the hot-tempered Tommy Devito (played by Joe Pesci in an Oscar winning performance).
Billy demeans Tommy and mercilessly trolls him until he loses it. Pesci’s angry dialogue as Tommy is hilarious as is Billy’s taunt at 2:24. Of course, the three men get Batts loaded on booze and alone in the bar and beat the breaks off of him while the pop-folky track “Atlantis” by Donovan is playing in the background. Conway looks like he’s doing “The Robot” when he’s kicking and stomping a mud hole in Batts and if you didn’t think Tommy was a psychopath before this scene, just wait til his final line at the end of this scene and Henry’s facial expression.