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9 Life Lessons Every Guy Can Learn From Goodfellas

Goodfellas is one of the best movies ever made, but it offers education as well as entertainment. Below are nine of the most important messages you should hold on to after watching Martin Scorcese’s classic for the 500th time. So read on and pay attention, you rat, you.

Everybody takes a beating sometimes.


When you learn it: After Henry’s dad finds out that his son has been skipping school to make sandwiches and park cars for the gangsters, little Hank gets a few good shots with a belt.

Why it’s important: If you’re going to get anywhere good in life, you’re going to have to piss some people off along the way. Eventually, one of those people will probably end up kicking your ass. You have to be able to take your beating and move on. Or, just do what Joe Pesci does and shoot everyone who looks at you funny.

Respect is extremely important.


When you learn it: Paully doesn’t have to lift a finger against anyone and yet he has stacks of cash being hand delivered to him every day. The best kind of respect is the green kind you can use to buy stuff like prosciutto and spaghetti.

Why it’s important: If you gain enough respect from those around you, eventually you’ll run shit. Plus, you learn real fast when you don’t give the right amount of respect to the guys that demand it. Usually, you end up in the trunk of a car with time to think about what you have done.

Never rat on your friends.


When you learn it: After Henry gets nabbed selling smokes out of the back of a car, he keeps his mouth shut in court, earning him some sincere kudos from De Niro and the rest of the pudgy, but formidable gang.

Why it’s important: Whether you’re a crime boss, a petty thug or even a millionaire rapper, snitching isn’t cool. Even if it gets you off the hook with the cops, you’re still going to come out of the joint with a bunch of angry ex-buds wanting to turn your legs into bean bags using big metal pipes.

Always keep your mouth shut.


When you learn it: It’s the second rule De Niro gives Hank after he beats his charges.

Why it’s important: The less everybody knows about your (and your friends’) business, the better off you’ll be. After the first heist at Idlewild airport, Paully gives Hank a wad of money and says, “Anybody asks you where you got it, you got it in Vegas playing craps.” Since I first saw that scene, that’s where I tell people I get all my money. It keeps them out of my business and helps me cover up the fact that my main source of income is sperm donation.

Read the following five lessons at Screenjunkies.