My Filmviews

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The Many Faces of… Joe Pesci

It’s almost weekend and as you have come to expect from me it means a new installment of “The Many Faces of…”, this week starring Joe Pesci. He was born February 9, 1943 in Newark, New Jersey. He went to Belleville High School and started acting at a young age. He appeared in plays when he was five and when he was ten he appeared on the TV show Startime Kids.

He stopped acting though and became a barber in the sixties. At the same time he played in several bands and released a record under the name “Joe Ritchie” (he would release another one in 1998 on which he even rapped on the track Wise Guy). He even did a comedy act, but allegedly wasn’t very successful.

He made some small appearances on TV, but it was his small role in the movie The Death Collector which was noticed by Robert de Niro, who convinced Martin Scorcese to cast him in Raging Bull. Through the years Pesci has appeared in a lot of movies, but is best known for his roles in various gangster movies and successful franchises as the Lethal Weapon and Home Alone series. He retired from acting in 1999, but did appear in The Good Shepherd and Love Ranch.

overview roles

Click to enlarge


From left to right: Hey, Let’s Twist!, The Death Collector, Raging Bull, I’m Dancing as Fast as I Can, Eureka, Easy Money, Once Upon a Time in America, Tutti dentro, Half Nelson, Man of Fire, Moonwalker, Lethal Weapon 2, Backtrack, Betsy’s Wedding, Home Alone, The Super, JFK, My Cousin Vinny, Lethal Weapon 3, Tales From the Crypt, The Public Eye, Home Alone 2, Jimmy Hollywood, With Honors, Casino, 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag, Gone Fishin’, Lethal Weapon 4, The Good Shepherd, Love Ranch.

Picking a favorite is a no brainer for me, it’s his role in Goodfellas. Funny how?

What’s your favorite Joe Pesci role?

Category: Movies
  • Nick Powell says:

    Opened up your blog, get absolutely terrified of a giant Joe Pesci looking at me.

    July 27, 2012 at 6:53 am
  • Lesya says:

    Of course, he was totally great in Casino and Goodfellas, but the child in me says that the favorite role has to be in Home Alone :)

    July 27, 2012 at 12:54 pm
    • Nostra says:

      Yeah, that role was iconic as well, that sparkling tooth is something you won’t forget.

      July 30, 2012 at 9:54 am
  • Eric says:

    I didn’t know he actually retired from acting. For me, when I think of Pesci I think of Casino, Goodfellas and… Home Alone. Pesci’s head on fire is one of the more memorable film moments from my youth. :)

    July 27, 2012 at 5:00 pm
    • Nostra says:

      Me neither, until I saw the gap in his filmography :)

      July 30, 2012 at 9:54 am
  • sati says:

    His work in Casino is one of my all time favorites!

    July 27, 2012 at 10:24 pm
    • Nostra says:

      Haven’t seen that movie for way too long, have to rewatch it!

      July 30, 2012 at 9:56 am
  • Mark Walker says:

    Nice one Nostra. Gotta go with Goodfellas or Casino but I think he was great in Raging Bull as well. He played off DeNiro really well and I think it helped DeNiro’s performance also. He was such a head strong little shit.

    July 27, 2012 at 11:14 pm
    • Nostra says:

      Yeah, amazing performances and the guy knew how to curse….him and Samuel L. Jackson should team up ;)

      July 30, 2012 at 10:24 am
  • Mark Walker says:

    By the way, I don’t seem to be getting emails of your recent posts. Any ideas? I’ve tried clicking and unblocking the follow button. Hopefully that helps.

    July 27, 2012 at 11:16 pm
    • Nostra says:

      I hope it’s working again? I saw a cofirmation mail that you subscribed again…

      July 30, 2012 at 10:24 am
      • Mark Walker says:

        Hopefully that should do it then. I didn’t realise I had missed so many of your posts. I must have been coming across as ignorant. Anyway, I’ll stop by regularly to see if I’m missing anything further but hopefully I should get the email notification from now on.

        July 30, 2012 at 10:46 am
        • Nostra says:

          Let’s hope it does. Did you get the mail today about the Monday Question?

          July 30, 2012 at 10:52 am
          • Mark Walker says:

            Looks like I didn’t get that either. I’ll need to look into this further. Do you have a subscribe by email button anywhere?

            July 30, 2012 at 12:53 pm
  • jackdeth72 says:

    Hi, Nostra and company:

    ‘Raging Bull’, ‘Goodfellas’ and ‘Casino’ are Pesci’s best roles. Though I do enjoy his take on New York City photographer, Arthur ‘Weejee’ Felig. There are some things wrong with the film, but if iis a highly stylized, well executed period piece. Naturally, Barbara Hershey looks great in anything.

    Pesci, like Ernie Kovacs has a face that doesn’t look complete without a cigar stuck in it. And that gimmick works well here.

    July 28, 2012 at 8:17 am
    • Nostra says:

      Hahaha, yeah nicely put…cigars fit him well!

      July 30, 2012 at 10:25 am
  • rorydean says:

    Great coverage of one of the iconic character actors of the last quarter century. I particularly enjoyed the photos you compiled and the featured pic was also a good choice, warm, inviting, a chance to see maybe the real guy without all the acting masks in place. He’s a bit of a chameleon, not so much in gesture but attitude – the stuff they can’t teach you in acting school. Drop by and say hello.

    Btw, funny how he’s instantaneously recognized for his Gangsta films, a role he almost turned down in Raging Bull but De Niro pressed the introduction to Marty and the rest is history.

    July 28, 2012 at 8:56 am
    • Nostra says:

      Thanks a lot!

      July 30, 2012 at 10:28 am
  • Sam Fragoso says:

    Many faces, same performance — no matter how much I relish in the masculinity of Casino and Goodfellas, he’s operating and working the same role.

    Like Rory said, great coverage Nostra. I think it’s fair to proclaim you the winner of the Best Blogathon award next year :D

    July 28, 2012 at 10:17 pm
    • Nostra says:

      Maybe in those movies, but his performance is different I think in Home Alone for example

      July 30, 2012 at 10:29 am
  • Josh says:

    His performance in Goodfellas is a close second, but I have to go with Casino.

    July 29, 2012 at 12:04 am
    • Nostra says:

      It’s very close…it’s just that I saw Goodfellas more than I did Casino

      July 30, 2012 at 10:30 am
  • Raghav says:

    My Cousin Vinny is brilliant and one of my all time favourites. Although I like JP as an actor in most films that he has done. Goodfellas is another great performance.

    July 29, 2012 at 4:20 am
    • Nostra says:

      Still have not seen My Cousin Vinny, probably need to!

      July 30, 2012 at 10:30 am
  • Nostra says:

    Mark Walker :

    Looks like I didn’t get that either. I’ll need to look into this further. Do you have a subscribe by email button anywhere?

    I don’t think Worpress has those, it’s the checkbox at the bottom “Notify me of new posts via email”. Maybe a good idea to check your Spam box? I recently had it with all the blogathon posts. Else you can go to manage subscriptions on WordPress and check the settings there…

    July 30, 2012 at 3:02 pm
  • ckckred says:

    My favorite role of his is Tommy DeVito in GoodFellas. It’s one of my all time favorites, and Pesci is absolutely fantastic in it.

    July 31, 2012 at 4:15 pm
    • Nostra says:

      Yeah, he’s such a joy to watch…actually one of the main reasons I love the movie so much

      August 3, 2012 at 11:52 am
  • r361n4 says:

    Lol, love the shout out to Little Joe Sure Can Sing, I knew it from a reference Aziz Ansari made in one of his recent stand-up specials. Now I feel the need to finally see Goodfellas…

    August 1, 2012 at 10:33 pm
    • Nostra says:

      I never heard of it before, but was nice to find out he has done some recording too. Yeah, you really should check out Goodfellas!

      August 3, 2012 at 11:53 am
  • Dan says:

    I always find it astonishing that the crazy guy who portrayed those psychotics in Scorsese’s Casino and Goodfellas is the same bumbling idiot in Home Alone! He’s a great actor!

    August 7, 2012 at 2:58 pm
    • Nostra says:

      Yeah, shows he’s a great actor indeed!

      August 21, 2012 at 5:51 pm

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