‘Goodfellas’ is a 1990 biographical crime drama that follows the rise and fall of mobster Henry Hill and his associates. Directed by Martin Scorsese, the film is based on Pileggi’s 1985 non-fiction book ‘Wiseguy.’
Opening in around 1985, the film’s multi-decade storyline follows Hill from his early days as a fresh criminal through his meteoric rise and chaotic later years. The film is widely considered one of the greatest depictions of mob life, and its complex narrative is brought to life with almost startling ferocity. The film’s slick backdrop goes a long way in complementing the story. Let’s take a look at the filming locations that were used to bring ‘Goodfellas’ to life.
Goodfellas Filming Locations
‘Goodfellas’ was filmed predominantly in New York City, using many of the metropolis’ iconic spots. The film gets a lot of its character from the Big Apple, and the crew spent significant time filming in a mind-boggling number of locations around the city. Some scenes were also seemingly shot in Chicago, as well as in nearby New Jersey.
Principal photography reportedly commenced on May 3, 1989, and wrapped up by August 9. Now let’s take a look at the specific locations used to bring the film to life.
Queens, New York City
‘Goodfellas’ was filmed almost entirely in New York’s many iconic boroughs and neighborhoods. The production crew spent a long time shooting in Queens, which is apparent in the many different spots of the borough seen in the movie. Young Henry Hill’s home, seen at the beginning of the movie, was depicted using the residence at 2409 Thirty Second Street in Astoria. Also, the diner near which Henry and Tommy steal a tractor-trailer in the film is located nearby at 6935 Astoria Boulevard, Jackson Heights.
Other filming locations in Queens include Babbage Street on Richmond Hill and the nearby Salerno’s Restaurant on 11711 Hillside Avenue. The Spartan Diner on 7320 Grand Avenue in Maspeth and Neir’s Tavern at 87-48 78th Street in Woodhaven were also used by the production. A few scenes also seem to have been shot at nearby JFK International Airport.
Some studio filming was also seemingly undertaken in the vicinity at Kaufman Astoria Studios on 3412 36th Street in Astoria. Another diner on 56-26 Maspeth Avenue was also briefly used for shooting a few scenes.
Brooklyn, New York City
Several unmistakable Brooklyn spots can also be seen throughout the movie, and rightly so! The crew shot Henry and Karen’s wedding scene at The Oriental Manor on 1818 86th Street in Brooklyn. Collaros Italiano Restaurant on 2758 Coney Island Avenue & Avenue Y stood in for the exterior of the Bamboo Lounge. The crew also filmed around some other locations in Coney Island and at Brooklyn’s iconic prospect part.
Scenes depicting the Jimmy Conway meeting were shot on Smith Street in the Red Hook neighborhood in northwest Brooklyn. The Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn and areas around the Gowanus Canal were also used in a few shots.
Interestingly, scenes depicting the Tampa Zoo in Florida where Henry and Jimmy attempt to collect a debt were also filmed in Brooklyn. The Prospect Park Zoo at 450 Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn stands in for Tampa Zoo in the movie.
Manhattan, New York City
How can a film that shoots in the Big Apple, even a one centered on famous mobsters, not lens at least a few scenes in Manhattan? The ‘Goodfellas’ crew spent time shooting at the famous Copacabana Nightclub on 10 East 60th Street on the East Side of Manhattan. Other well-known landmarks in the borough that were used as filming locations include the George Washington Bridge, Foley Square, and Fifth Avenue.
A few scenes were reportedly shot at the Hawaii Kai Restaurant on Broadway on 49th Street. The New York State Supreme Court Building (originally called the New York County Courthouse) at 60 Center Street in the Civic Center neighborhood of Manhattan also appears in the movie.
Staten Island, New York City
Scenes were shot around Richmond Avenue on Staten Island. Specifically, the scene with the shopping mall depicting a paranoid Harry was shot in the borough. The crew also filmed around 2995 Richmond Avenue.
Long Island, New York
Filming continued in nearby Long Island, with scenes shot in Atlantic Beach and Oyster Bay. The Catalina Beach Club on 2041 Park Street is the fancy beach club depicted in the movie. The Richmond Hill station (closed since 1998) of the Long Island Railroad was also used as a backdrop for a few scenes.
New Rochelle, New York
This city in Westchester County also hosted the film crew for a short time as they shot scenes depicting Karen’s parents’ house on 19 Alfred Lane. Bruce’s home was depicted using a nearby residence on 14 Alfred Lane. The filming on Alfred Lane was predominantly near the intersection with Sussex Road.
Locations in New Jersey
Some crucial scenes were filmed in the neighboring state of New Jersey. Henry and Karen’s home after the former’s prison time was depicted using the property on 1080 Inwood Terrace in Fort Lee, Bergen County.
The film’s closing scene, which sees Henry go out to pick up the newspaper, was reportedly shot in Marlboro Township in Monmouth County. A few scenes were also shot in a section of the Palisades Interstate Parkway, which spans New York and New Jersey.
Though there are a few reports of the crew filming in Chicago as well, others claim that the iconic gangster film was shot entirely in New York and New Jersey. Thus, it remains unconfirmed whether scenes were actually shot in Chicago or not.
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