When the controversial “The Wolf Of Wall Street” began screening last month, references and comparisons to Martin Scorsese’s other two narration-heavy crime epics were hard to miss. So it makes a sort of perverse sense that, not long after we hear about Jordan Belfort’s continuing legal troubles with the government, comes this bit of news (via Newsweek) concerning the real life-counterparts of characters in “Goodfellas” getting into some legal trouble for their criminal misdeeds.
“These are the guys Jimmy put together for what turned out to be the biggest heist in American history: The Lufthansa heist.” So begins the section the 1990 film that culminates in that instantly iconic montage of corpses set to the piano exit of Derek & The Dominoes’ “Layla.” The 1978, $6 million airport heist has been unsolved for over thirty years, most likely due to actions not unlike that famous montage.
That all changed yesterday, however, with the FBI’s surprise announcement of the arrest of Vincent Asaro — along with four others — in connection with the heist among an assortment of other mob-related crimes like murder and extortion. Despite the late Jimmy “The Gent” Burke — portrayed so winningly by Robert DeNiro in the film — routinely being rumored to be the mastermind of the heist, the New York Times reports Asaro’s been “charged with the robbery itself as well as with planning it.” If you’re looking for a clearer look at what the case entails, the Times piece does a great job of laying it out a great quote from Asaro’s lawyer accusing the FBI of conspiring with Scorsese to create material for a “Goodfellas” sequel.
Check out some clips from “Goodfellas” dealing with the heist, from the assembly of the crew to the grisly aftermath (including the “Layla” montage), as well as a nearly half-hour doc on the real-life job.