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The Real Goodfellas

Although the actual release date was in September, there are already tributes to the movie Goodfellas for its 25th anniversary. Martin Scorsese’s film was based on the book Wiseguys, which told about FBI informant Henry Hill and the Lucchese crime family. One of the plot points was the infamous Lufthansa heist of 1978.  

The Lufthansa Heist at Kennedy International Airport in 1978 is The Rolling Stones of crime. Criminals aren’t supposed to be allowed to reap the spoils of their crimes, but the Lufthana heist made a lot more money than just the original $6 million ($20 mil if you account for inflation), which is the biggest heist in American history. The Lufthansa heist has, so far, produced two made for TV movies, The 10 Million Dollar Getaway, which I’ve never seen, and The Big Heist, which happened to be on a couple weeks ago in all its Donald Sutherland Irish accent mashup glory.  Goodfellas, directed by Martin Scorsese, is of course a gangster classic. The Beatles of crime is, of course, the Gallo Profaci wars, which launched the stories of The Godfather.

The film Goodfellas changed the names of the characters in the nonfiction book, and altered details for dramatic reasons. Den of Geek tells us who is who and what happened to them, in a list profiling the actual gangsters that the characters in Goodfellas were modeled after. While they were quite entertaining onscreen, you wouldn’t want to cross them in real life.


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