Food figures prominently in both The Godfather and Goodfellas — the two most significant gangster movies of our time — and its presentation is usually associated with violence or death. The former has the restaurant execution of police captain McCluskey, Clemenza cooking the spaghetti dinner, and “Leave the gun, take the cannoli.” Goodfellas has the late-night (and post-murder) meal made by Tommy’s mom (played by director Martin Scorsese’s mother, Catherine) and, our favorite, the prison dinner. Yes, it’s more about the food prep than the actual eating, but this scene manages to be instructive (illustrating the perks enjoyed by well-connected capos in federal custody), unsettling (the tight close-ups of Paul Sorvino’s hands delicately slicing the garlic), and — when they finally sit down to eat — improbably mouth-watering.
INTERESTING FACT: The inmate who can’t stop adding too many onions to the sauce? He’s played by Martin Scorsese’s father, Charles.
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