When the now-classic Goodfellas was released nationwide 25 years ago on Sept. 21, 1990, it wasn’t the only mob movie on the block.
As Richard Corliss noted in a review of the lot for TIME, Goodfellas shared the multiplexes with such movies as Miller’s Crossing to The Godfather Part III. The reason, he suggested, had less to do with any cultural factor than it did with a few particular Hollywood preferences:
What’s going on here? Why is Hollywood once again married to the Mob? It’s not that the genre is especially popular these days. (The Untouchables was the only gangster blockbuster of the ’80s.) Nor is it that the Italian underworld taps a nerve in today’s body politic. Drug lords, often black or Hispanic, are the civic scourge of the moment, and they get their movie due only in Abel Ferrara’s rancid, megaviolent King of New York, in…
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