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Before Joe and Anthony Russo made filmmaking a family affair, it was Oscar-winning director Martin Scorsese's territory. Practically every film Scorsese has done involved his family in some way. One of his greatest collaborators was his late mother Catherine Scorsese, who appeared in multiple films made by her son. But her most well-known role was that of Tommy’s mother in the 1990 film Goodfellas. Recently, the director revealed a sweet fact about her cameo.
For many Martin Scorsese fans, Goodfellas is considered one of the best gangster/mafia films. Viewers still quote entire scenes from the Scorsese classic, but a loyal fan will know of his mother’s cameo in the film. Decades after the Oscar-nominated film was released, Scorsese said the following about his late mother’s small, but memorable appearance:
Martin Scorsese’s gangster films are known for their violence, but oftentimes, it’s hidden sweet moments in his films that steal the show. The interaction between Scorsese’s mother, Joe Pesci, Robert De Niro and Ray Liotta served as a sweet mother-son moment amidst the chaos. The fact she improvised most of the scene made it even better. Sometimes, even a tough guy needs his mother, as evident by that scene.
During his Entertainment Weekly interview, Martin Scorsese delved more into his mother’s improvisation in the memorable scene. All the actors followed Mrs. Scorsese’s lead, according to the Oscar winner. The director said this about the feeling and timing of the beloved Goodfellas scene:
Being on-screen with Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Ray Liotta in a Martin Scorsese film would intimidate most novices but not Mrs. Scorsese. She held her own in the scene while dictating the direction and flow. Knowing the entire scene was improvised made it even more memorable. While she’s no longer with us, it’s nice to know her cameo will last forever on film thanks to her prolific son. To watch this memorable moment, you can stream Goodfellas on HBO Max (which you can sign up for with this link (opens in new tab)) and Prime Video.
A boy from Greenwood, South Carolina. CinemaBlend Contributor. An animation enthusiast (anime, US and international films, television). Freelance writer, designer and artist. Lover of music (US and international).
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