Study Guide

Goodfellas Scene 5

Scene 5

Scene 5

The Roof, the Roof, the Roof Is on Fire!

  • Time stamp: Idlewild Airport, 1963.
  • Henry and Tommy are all grown up, in front of an airport-adjacent diner watching a plane fly overhead.
  • Henry tells us that the airport was basically their ATM. The way they saw it, the airport belonged to Paulie. His associates worked all around the area and would tip them off. Jimmy ran the whole operation. Because, stealing.
  • A truck driver pulls up and heads into the diner past Henry and Tommy. While he gets a to-go order, Henry and Tommy drive off with the truck. Then, the truck driver hustles back into the diner and acts miffed that his ride vanished, blaming it on two African-Americans.
  • Cut to the exterior of the Bamboo Lounge. Inside, Henry introduces the whole crew as the camera pans around the restaurant. These men have more nicknames than a high school football team.
  • There's Fat Andy, Freddy No Nose, Jimmy Two Times, Grumpy, Sleepy, Doc—okay, we may have made those last three up.
  • Henry pushes a rack of fur coats back into the kitchen. They're hot. Literally and figuratively.
  • Henry and the whole crew dine at a large table. He tells us that, for them, to live any other way—you know, like a law-abiding way—was nuts. Regular guys who commuted and worried about rent were suckers. If Henry and his pals wanted something, they just took it.
  • At the table, Henry looks nervous. A guy shows up at the Bamboo Lounge, and Henry and Jimmy rush over to meet him. The guy, Frenchy, tells them about a huge haul coming in on Air France. We're talking $500,000—cash.
  • Jimmy is worried about the security. Fear not, says Frenchy. He is the security.
  • Back at the table, Tommy is holding court. Everybody thinks he's hilarious. Henry tells Tommy he's funny, and the record scratches. Tommy lays into Henry, demanding to know precisely how he's funny. Does Henry think he's a clown?
  • It turns out that Tommy is just giving Henry a hard time. Phew. That was scary. Tommy is a real hothead.
  • Sonny, the restaurant owner, comes up and asks if maybe Tommy could think about paying his $7,000 tab. Bad timing, Sonny. Tommy breaks a bottle over his head.
  • Incidentally, $7,000? That's a lot of meatballs. Especially in 1963.
  • A bruised and battered Sonny appeals to Paulie, asking him to talk to Tommy. Paulie says there's nothing he can do.
  • Sonny asks Paulie to get in on the restaurant business. Paulie is not interested at first, but he ultimately agrees to be a partner in the Bamboo Lounge.
  • Henry tells us that, for Sonny, the upside of having Paulie for a partner is that now everything will run smoothly. The downside? He has to pay Paulie on the regular. No matter what. No exceptions.
  • Henry explains how it all goes down. Basically, Paulie can do whatever he wants with the Bamboo Lounge: run up huge tabs, move merchandise through it, eat all of the maraschino cherries, the works. Then, when Sonny can't pay Paulie anymore, they burn the joint down. That's exactly what we see happen.
  • Outside, Tommy and Henry wait for the Bamboo Lounge to catch fire. Tommy asks Henry to do him a favor and go on a double date with him. The girl he's into won't go out alone. Henry begrudgingly says OK.
  • While they argue like BFFs, the Bamboo Lounge finally starts to smoke, and they speed off.