In the movie Goodfellas 1990 we see a scene where James (Rober Di Niro) holds Morris's neck by a telephone cable asking him to return his money. Few moments after this starts, the phone rings.

How could the phone ring when Morris was holding the receiver in his hand? Doesn't it give the "engaged" tone?

Please find the moment here at 1:18 sec

1 Answer 1


Looks like an old-style office phone, flick a switch to answer, rather than use the cradle. The cradle itself may simply be 'somewhere to hang the phone' & not be part of the circuit at all.

You see & hear him reach down & click something at about 1:21.
We never actually see him switch off the last call, but many times he turns towards the phone on the desk/table, out of shot. Unfortunately he doesn't mirror that in the reverse angle, so let's just say 'he did it while we were watching Di Niro'

I used to operate one back in the 70s, but it's too far back to remember much detail.

If I recall correctly, they were known as PBX systems - Private Branch Exchange.

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