February 14, 2010 - Robert De Niro gets top billing but Ray Liotta is the real star in this fact-based mob drama from 1990. Martin Scorsese directs an all-star cast that includes Paul Sorvino, Lorraine Bracco and Debbie Mazar. Joe Pesci won an Oscar for his role as Tommy DeVito.

Liotta plays Henry Hill. He joined the mob when he was a teenager then, years later, turned rat. De Niro is Jimmy, the wiseguy who helped teach Henry the ropes, and Sorvino plays Paul Cicero, the older, wiser mob boss. Bracco is Karen, Henry’s wife.

Henry seems to have it all – money, a wife, a mistress – until he gets sent to prison for roughing up a man who ends up having a relative with FBI connections. Once behind bars, Henry starts dealing drugs to help make ends meet. After his release, he sticks with the drug business even though Cicero warns him not to. Hill should have heeded that warning.

Overall review: *** There are plenty of nicknames to go around, and just about everyone gets their hands dirty in one way or another. Even the wives have to be wise to the ways of the wiseguys if they want to stay alive. My main problem is that the movie seemed to drag, but that may have been a function of watching it on AMC, where it aired for three hours with frequent commercial breaks.