25th Anniversary of 'Wiseguy,' Book 'Goodfellas' Film Based On

The real Henry Hill, left, and Ray Liotta, who played the
Luchese mobster turned informant in 'Goodfellas.'
Twenty-five years after its initial publication, Nicholas Pileggi's Wiseguy remains one of the key memoirs about life in the Mafia. Pileggi adapted his book for the screen, and director Martin Scorsese shot the film 'GoodFellas' in 1990 ('Wiseguy' had already been used as the title of a Mafia film, a quite bad one).

The story follows the rise and fall of true-life Brooklyn gangster Henry Hill — "a little cog" in the Lucchese crime family who turned FBI informant after a drug arrest, reports NPR.

"He was sort of a soldier in Napoleon's army," Pileggi remembers in the article, noting that his approach to the book sprang from the notion that "it might be interesting to see that world from the point of view of the soldier."

The other key part of Hill's appeal as a subject, Pileggi explains, is that he was "no dummy."

Read full article, For One 'Wiseguy,' A Permanent Place In Mobster Lore : NPR: