At the the end of Goodfellas Henry looks into the camera and "gets shot" by Joe Pesci.

Why does he look to into the camera and "gets shot" by Joe Pesci?

I understand how meaningful the name of the song is but I don't understand the rest. I have heard it's related to The Great Train Robbery. Is this true?

  • 2
    You have too many questions here...narrow it down to just one.
    – Paulie_D
    Commented Jun 9, 2019 at 19:38
  • 3
    He doesn't get shot by a gangster. He sees a vision of Joe Pesci shooting at him. I think the idea is that he sees how exciting his gangster life was and now he's forced to live as a nobody ... a schnook.
    – user59020
    Commented Jun 10, 2019 at 2:13
  • @RandyZeitman Surely that's an answer?
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Jun 10, 2019 at 14:32

1 Answer 1


There are two meanings.
One, set in the story: Henry says "Got to live the rest of my life like a schnuck". And smiles. Then "we" get to see the reason why he smiles. He get to live because he is in witness protection. Something for what Tommy would have killed him.
Second one is cinematic homage: scene like this appear in The Great Train Robbery (1903). A scene that have no actual correlation to whole movie apart from realism (as stated by production company). This serve as a counterweight to Henry/Ray breaking the fourth wall by looking directly at camera. Which is then followed by "facts" about future life of Henry. So it give audience a feel that the movie they just have seen is based on real life events.

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