Casino (1995) Poster



Close associates of the people portrayed in the film were on the set constantly, providing crucial and pivotal information.
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The costume budget for the film was one million dollars. Robert De Niro had seventy different costumes throughout the film, Sharon Stone had forty. Both were allowed to keep their costumes afterwards.
The character of K.K. Ichikawa (Nobu Matsuhisa), the Japanese highroller, is based on the life of high roller Akio Kashiwagi. During the 1970s and 1980s, Kashiwagi was a big scene at Las Vegas casinos. By the end of the 1980s, however, Kashiwagi had used up his casino credit, owing many casino executives, among them Donald J. Trump, millions of dollars. He was murdered in his house in Tokyo by the yakuza (Japanese mafia) in 1992.
Joe Pesci's wife (at the time of filming), Claudia Haro, played Trudy, the co-hostess and band leader of "Ace's High". Haro and Pesci divorced and she remarried. She was convicted in 2000 of two counts of attempted murder for hiring a hitman to try and kill her other ex husband a stuntman.
When James Woods heard that Martin Scorsese was interested in working with him, Woods called Scorsese's office and left the following message: "Any time, any place, any part, any fee."
Most of the conversations between Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci were improvised. Martin Scorsese would tell them where to start and where to end. The rest was up to them.
The casino scenes were shot at the Riviera between 1:00 a.m. and 4 a.m., so as not to get in the way of the real gamblers. Although the casino didn't want the shoot to interrupt its business, that didn't prevent it from trying to lure more punters inside by putting up a large banner that said, "Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone, and Joe Pesci filming the new movie 'Casino' inside!"
Martin Scorsese stated before the film's release that he created the "head in the vise" scene as a sacrifice, certain the MPAA would insist it be cut. He hoped this would draw fire away from other violent scenes that would seem less so by comparison. When the MPAA made no objection to the vise scene, he left it in, albeit slightly edited.
Most of James Woods' lines were improvised. Including the phone call with Ginger after her wedding. Originally, Woods was not supposed to speak during that scene. Woods came up with idea that Lester would be with a prostitute and doing cocaine while on the phone with Ginger.
The "f" word is said four hundred thirty-five times, including in the narration, 2.4 times per minute on average. The film held the record for the most uses of the word until the release of Summer of Sam (1999), which also had a reported four hundred thirty-five uses. The recorded was later broken by The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), which had close to six hundred uses.
To avoid the continuity problems that accompany a chain-smoking movie character, Robert De Niro always held his cigarettes the same distance from the lit end so that their lengths never appear to change.
Martin Scorsese directed this movie in such a way that just about every scene Pasquale Cajano (Remo) is in, a bright spotlight shines down upon him, but no other cast members in the scene. This is clearly evident during the final scene between the mob bosses.
While the movie begins by stating it is based upon a true story, it never names the real-life casino involved. The "Tangiers" casino is fictional. The story is based upon the history of the Stardust casino, a fact well documented in the Las Vegas history books. Martin Scorsese discreetly documents this fact via the soundtrack, in which the song "Stardust" is heard three different times. An instrumental version plays during Ace and Ginger's wedding, and a vocal version is heard during the scene where Remo asks Marino if Nicky and Ginger are having sex, and also during the end of the final credits.
The character based on Anthony Spilotro (Nicky Santoro) is placed in the Black Book. However, in real life, Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal (the inspiration for Sam "Ace" Rothstein) was the one placed in the Black Book, and was run out of Las Vegas.
The gangster gasping for breath as he is buried is played by an animatronic.
Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal hated the scene of Sam "Ace" Rothstein (Robert De Niro) juggling on his television show. Rosenthal maintained that he never juggled on his show, and felt that the scene made him look foolish.
The producers said that one of the most difficult things about filming this movie was finding people who would tell them how to cheat in the casino.
Joe Pesci bore some natural resemblance to Tony "The Ant" Spilotro, upon whom his character was based. In make-up, he looked even more like Spilotro, so much so that, according to Pileggi, when Pesci entered the casino where the movie was being shot, some pit bosses who'd had personal dealings with Spilotro "almost fainted".
Martin Scorsese hired real parolees from that era as plot consultants, as well as various F.B.I. Agents who had busted said parolees.
The two Deputies that come to Sam's house when Ginger rams his car were real Clark County Deputies. They were working security on the movie set. One of them (Randy Sutton), was featured on C.O.P.S. (1988).
This is the third Martin Scorsese film in which Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Frank Vincent appeared following Raging Bull (1980) and Goodfellas (1990).
Sharon Stone encouraged the actress who played her daughter to annoy James Woods constantly.
"There's no plot at all", Martin Scorsese said in an interview included on the Blu-ray. "It's three hours, no plot. So you know this going in. There's a lot of action, a lot of story, but no plot."
Sharon Stone spent many long workdays in agony while filming scenes for this film. She had back trouble due to an old injury, and the gold and white beaded gown she wears during a casino scene weighed forty-five pounds.
In the scene where Ginger is using the phone booth, Sharon Stone was at such an anxiety state, portraying her character, that Martin Scorsese was sitting on the floor outside the shot, holding her hand.
Sharon Stone once told her acting coach, "I want to be good enough to work with Robert De Niro."
Oscar Goodman (Sam "Ace" Rothstein's attorney) is a lawyer who defended several reputed mobsters with Las Vegas connections. In June of 1999, he was elected Mayor of Las Vegas.
Martin Scorsese said that his favorite shot in the film is the overhead shot of Sharon Stone at the craps table when she is throwing chips up in the air.
In the Blu-ray commentary, Sharon Stone relates the story of how she came to be in the film. She says her first two auditions for Martin Scorsese ended up being cancelled for various mundane reasons-Scorsese was held up by another meeting, that sort of thing-and Stone's paranoia convinced her that he was blowing her off. When the director's people contacted her to try it a third time, she turned them down and went out to dinner with a friend instead. Scorsese tracked her down and showed up at the restaurant where she was dining to make a personal appeal.
Nicole Kidman, Melanie Griffith, Rene Russo, Cameron Diaz, Uma Thurman, and Michelle Pfeiffer were considered for the role of Ginger. Traci Lords was seriously considered after an excellent audition. Madonna was almost cast, but Sharon Stone convinced Director Martin Scorsese to give her the role.
This was the first Martin Scorsese film that was edited digitally.
Kevin Pollak later thanked Martin Scorsese for "painting him into one his masterpieces."
Robert De Niro decided that Ace should hound Ginger about every last dollar she spent.
The scenes outside the fictional Tangiers was filmed in front of the Landmark Hotel across from the Las Vegas Hilton, the Landmark was imploded shortly after filming.
Martin Scorsese directed the film as part of a two picture deal with Universal Studio because of their help and support with the release of The Last Temptation of Christ (1988). The other movie in the deal was Cape Fear (1991).
As they were shooting scenes in Las Vegas set in the 1970s, the husband of an elderly woman extra was given a period correct leisure suit to wear by the Wardrobe Department. However, instead of providing the woman with period clothes, they told her, much to her chagrin, that her out-of-date attire was just fine.
Don Rickles (Billy Sherbert, Tangiers Casino Manager and right-hand to Sam "Ace" Rothstein) also appeared on the real-life The Frank Rosenthal Show (1977) opposite Frank Sinatra during his time as a Las Vegas performer. The show was depicted in the film as "Aces High".
The eighth Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro film. The Irishman (2019) is their ninth.
Joe Pesci's character (Nicky) is based upon the real-life person Anthony Spilotro. Several scenes and minor details about his character were taken directly from the book "Casino" by Nicholas Pileggi. One example is when Nicky is nervously discussing the police and F.B.I. watching him. Pesci is seen biting the cuticles of his thumb when talking about the situation. Thus, is in direct reference to a testimony from Frank Cullota, "He used to chew on the cuticle of his right thumb. If you looked at it sometimes it was all raw and chewed away." (Pg. 163 from "Casino")
This movie was filmed entirely in the Las Vegas valley. The casino and office scenes were filmed in the famed Riviera Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas strip, and the driving scene in the beginning of the movie was filmed on Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas, which is no longer open to automobile traffic.
Although the film received a lot of criticism for its excessive violence and few considering it to be a rehash of Martin Scorsese's earlier movie Goodfellas (1990), it received a lot of positive reviews from many critics (in particular Sharon Stone's performance received critical acclaim which earned her a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Drama and an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress) and was a worldwide box-office success.
Writer Nicholas Pileggi completed the novel after filming had already begun.
According to Alan King, Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal, upon whom Sam "Ace" Rothstein (Robert De Niro) was based, wanted Richard Widmark to play the lead in the film. However, Widmark was eighty-years-old by that time, and, therefore, not a practical choice.
Martin Scorsese originally intended to use the song "House of the Rising Sun" by The Animals over the opening credits.
To set the mood, Martin Scorsese told Sharon Stone to watch three movies before filming started: Valley of the Dolls (1967), A Woman's Vengeance (1948), and The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928).
Michelle Pfeiffer turned down the role of Ginger because it was too similar to her role in Scarface (1983).
None of the scenes of the bag man going into the counting room to collect the money to bring back to the bosses were actually filmed inside the counting room of the Riviera casino. All of the counting room scenes were filmed on a set that was built, because the movie company was not allowed to film inside the counting room in the real Riviera casino.
To give Production Designer Dante Ferretti an idea of the look, Martin Scorsese screened Ocean's 11 (1960) for him.
Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese dropped out of Clockers (1995) to make this film.
Because he did not know how the powers-that-be in the West operated, Martin Scorsese asked L.Q. Jones to completely re-write the scene where Commissioner Pat Webb (L.Q. Jones) meets Sam "Ace" Rothstein (Robert De Niro) to ask him to rehire Don Ward (John Bloom). Jones in an interview said he was pleasantly surprised by this request, as he had worked with many directors who never wanted anyone to mess with the script.
The scene between Sam (Robert De Niro) and Pat Webb (L.Q. Jones) in Ace's office was re-written by L.Q. Jones upon Martin Scorsese's request, because Scorsese felt that he had not written the western cowboy character very well.
Senator (Dick Smothers) is partly based on Nevada Senator Harry Reid, who was chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission. The scene in which Sam "Ace" Rothstein is denied a license by the Nevada Gaming Commission, was based on a December 1978 hearing, when Harry Reid was the commission's Chairman. Some of Reid's statements are used in Smothers' dialogue. The scene was shot in a real courtroom in the Clark County Courthouse, which was later closed in 2005.
To date (summer 2009) this is the last theatrical movie to be censored by Swedish authorities. The scene cut is the infamous "head in the vise" scene.
Gene Siskel was one of the few critics to give this film a negative review. His colleague Roger Ebert, on the other hand, awarded it four out of four stars.
Among other Las Vegas regulars, veteran comedy headliners Alan King, Don Rickles, and Dick Smothers appear in major, non-comedic roles.
Don Rickles said of his character, "Billy Sherbert is a combination of guys I've known. It didn't take a great amount of concentration on my part, because I grew up in this town."
In Goodfellas (1990), Joe Pesci played a character named Tommy DeVito. This the same name as the actor who plays the crooked poker dealer.
When originally sent to the MPAA, it was given an NC-17 rating due to the graphic violence in the film. Later, it was edited down to an R-rating.
Martin Scorsese once said that the most difficult aspect of filming was depicting the relationships of the main characters.
The blackjack cheat who gets away with the "warning" and is credited as Winner in the closing credits is played by Associate Producer and First Assistant Director Joseph P. Reidy.
The jewelry store owner who gets robbed by Nicky's boys is an actual Las Vegas jeweler. His line "I just got a shipment of diamonds from Israel" was not in the script.
In preparation for filming, Robert De Niro met Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal, the man on whom his character is based.
When Nicholas Pileggi decided to write a book about Las Vegas, he researched the story of Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal and became very interested. At first, however, Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal was not interested in Pileggi's idea to write a book about him. It was only after Rosenthal read that a movie would be adapted from the book by Martin Scorsese, and that it would star Robert De Niro, that he became interested, because he loved Goodfellas (1990) and De Niro's performance in the film.
As this was to be Director of Photography Robert Richardson's first collaboration with Martin Scorsese. Scorsese suggested that they watch a series of movies from his private collection. He was hoping to convey to his new Director of Photography the general "look" he was eager to capture for this movie. Both men viewed, and discussed, T-Men (1947), Raw Deal (1948) and Slightly Scarlet (1956), all shot by John Alton. Scorsese felt that Alton's photographic style in these films epitomized the film noir aura he wanted Richardson to recreate for this movie.
Frank Marino (Frank Vincent) was based on Frank Cullotta.
This shoot marked Cinematographer Robert Richardson's first experience working in the Super 35 format. He later claimed to have been "terribly disappointed" by the quality of the release prints, and did not return to the format until Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003).
Costume Designer Rita Ryack said that the costumes are meant to reflect the nature of the story. Meaning that as the story becomes more chaotic, the colors of the costumes become more chaotic.
According to Sharon Stone, Joe Pesci championed her being in the film.
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All of the dealers in the film worked in Las Vegas.
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One of Las Vegas' most flamboyant casino operators, Bob Stupak, was originally cast to have a non-speaking role as a member of the Nevada Gaming Commission. However, when he demanded that he have some lines, he was quickly replaced.
The movie is based on the career of casino boss Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal as portrayed by Robert De Niro's character Sam "Ace" Rothstein.
Martin Scorsese and Thelma Schoonmaker did twenty cuts of the scene between Vinny Vella and Catherine Scorsese in the grocery store.
Martin Scorsese cast Sharon Stone because she had a "determination to lose herself in the character."
In the courtroom scene with Anna Scott, Las Vegas attorney John Momot plays himself.
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The scene in the grocery store between Vinny Vella and Catherine Scorsese was filmed on the last day of principal photography.
Blackjack dealer Nick Mazzolla, who was confronted by Nicky, was the same blackjack dealer for Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise in Rain Man (1988), as well as the War dealer to Chevy Chase in Vegas Vacation (1997).
When Ginger asks Ace for twenty-five thousand dollars while they are having breakfast at home, she shakes a carton of empty Anderson milk. The Anderson dairy is a real Las Vegas milk producer, and even the logo on the carton was appropriate for the late 1970s and early 1980s.
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Ginger's driving a 1975 Mercedes-Benz SL. This model was nicknamed Der Panzerwagen, because it was as heavy as a tank.
The house used by Sam (Robert De Niro) and Ginger (Sharon Stone) was purchased by ex hip-hop mogul Marion "Suge" Knight in 1996.
Martin Scorsese screened a rough cut for Nicholas Pileggi and Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal, on whom the character played by Robert De Niro is based. Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal was very pleased with the film.
Sharon Stone didn't use a body double in the film."That house had marble hallways, and my legs would just be black and blue and green."
German Cinematographer Michael Ballhaus was originally scheduled to shoot this movie, but because of various start date delays, he accepted an offer to shoot Wolfgang Petersen's Outbreak (1995) instead.
This is the last time Director Martin Scorsese would work with Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Frank Vincent. It would also be the last time he directed his mom, Catherine Scorsese, and work with Title Designer Saul Bass.
Though this was the first joint venture Martin Scorsese had with Robert Richardson, it wasn't the first time the men had met. Scorsese interviewed Richardson when he was after the Director of Photography position on Cape Fear (1991), a credit that ultimately went to Freddie Francis.
The screenplay for this movie went through sixteen drafts.
The scenes inside the Riviera Casino were filmed during the first six weeks of the shooting schedule.
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Bob Newhart was considered for the role of Andy Stone.
Amber Smith audition for the role of Ginger. Though not cast, Robert De Niro liked her audition so much, he cast her in Faithful (1996), which he produced, and referred her to Abel Ferrara for a role in The Funeral (1996).
Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
After Oscar Goodman was elected Mayor of Las Vegas, the Four Queens Hotel and Casino created a five dollar and a twenty-five dollar casino chip with his portrait.
Sasha Semenoff, the orchestra leader seen on the "Aces High" television show, is a well-known Las Vegas local. He has performed in Vegas for nearly fifty years. His quartet played the Dunes hotel in the mid 1960s. In 2003, he entertained diners at The Venetian with his violin.
Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci appeared in Goodfellas (1990), A Bronx Tale (1993), Raging Bull (1980), Once Upon a Time in America (1984), The Good Shepherd (2006), and The Irishman (2018).
Ginger wears a Bob Mackie dress that was later sold at an auction for thirteen thousand two hundred dollars.
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Martin Landau mentioned in a 1995 interview after winning an Oscar, that he was offered a role in the film, but he turned it down because he thought that "there was nothing to the part."
Nicholas Pileggi pitched the story to Universal Pictures.
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Given that L.Q. Jones was a veteran of many western movies, Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro were said to be in awe of him when he first appeared on the set. Jones said in an interview, that the first scene he filmed was the courtroom scene where Rothstein is denied his gaming license.
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Released a month before Heat (1995), also starring Robert De Niro. Surprisingly, both movies are almost three hours each and take place in different states, making it interesting that De Niro would have time to make both movies released so closely.
The sunglasses that Robert De Niro wears in the scene when he meets Joe Pesci in the desert were selected by Mr. De Niro.
Robert De Niro and Alan King appeared in Night and the City (1992).
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Sharon Stone has said of the James Woods character Lester Diamond, "Lester really is Ginger's heart. He is the love of her life".
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In this film, a character drops dead of a heart attack after finding out that he's going to be arrested. In Goodfellas (1990), a woman talks about someone dropping dead of a heart attack after finding out that a relative had been arrested.
Casting Director Ellen Lewis suggested casting Kevin Pollak, and Martin Scorsese agreed.
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Al Capone is mentioned twice in regards to the Black Book. Robert De Niro played Capone in The Untouchables (1987).
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The film cast includes two Oscar winners: Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci; and two Oscar nominees: Sharon Stone and James Woods.
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According to L.Q. Jones, the scene of Sam "Ace" Rothstein's gaming license hearing took two days to film.
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One song used in the film, "Walk on the Wild Side" by Jimmy Smith, was also used in Martin Scorsese's The Color of Money (1986).
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After Ginger is arrested by the F.B.I., a sequence of the rest of the arrests follows. In Santoro's arrest, a television is featuring a Gregory Peck and Walter Gotell fight during a party scene from The Boys from Brazil (1978). Peck had appeared in Scorsese's remake of Cape Fear (1991) four years earlier.
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The film was released five days after Martin Scorsese's fifty-third birthday.
The scene where the computer is discovered by Sam and the security staff is based on the Keith Taft invention named "David". Taft's own son was back roomed and stripped down by a casino's floor.
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Martin Scorsese, who admired comedians, cast many individuals who had a background in stand up comedy in non-comic roles in "Casino," including Don Rickles, Alan King, Kevin Pollak, Dick Smothers, Steve Allen, and Anthony Russell.
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As of 2018, features Sharon Stone's only Oscar nominated performance.
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The film was released on the thirty-second anniversary of the J.F.K. assassination.
Included among the American Film Institute's 1998 list of the four hundred movies nominated for the Top 100 Greatest American Movies.
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Frank Cullotta: The gray-haired hitman in sunglasses near the end of the movie. He was the Chief Lieutenant of Tony Spilotro in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Cullotta entered the Witness Protection Program before the "cornfield incident" took place and was not present, unlike Marino.


The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

When Nicky Santoro (Joe Pesci) is pushed into the hole in the cornfield, Pesci broke the same rib he broke during Raging Bull (1980).
In the original script, Lester (James Woods) was supposed to be shot in the desert by Nicky (Joe Pesci) as a favor for Sam (Robert De Niro).
The last line spoken is "And that's that." The same line was also spoken by Charles Scorsese in Goodfellas (1990), after the scene when Tommy is shot in the back of the head.
The "head in a vise" scene is taken from an anecdote in the book "Casino" unrelated to the main story, describing mob enforcer Tony Spilotro's interrogation of a low-level gangster named Billy McCarthy, who had committed the unauthorized murder on the Scalvo brothers, a pair of high-ranking mobsters within Spilotro's crime organization. Trying to get McCarthy to give up the identity of the man who helped him kill the Scalvos, Spilotro first beat McCarthy, then stabbed him in the testicles with an icepick, before finally shoving his head in a vise and crunching it to five inches wide. McCarthy didn't give up the name of his partner, Jimmy Miraglia, until Spilotro tightened the vise in such a way that one of Billy's eyes popped out. Amazingly, McCarthy survived the head crushing long enough for Spilotro to kill him by dousing him in lighter fluid and setting him ablaze. Spilotro remarked later in life, "Billy McCarthy was the toughest guy I ever met." (Jimmy Miraglia was subsequently killed and put in the trunk of his own car, along with Billy's corpse).
The real-life Santoro brothers, Anthony and Michael Spilotro, weren't killed in a cornfield, but in an Illinois basement, where they'd gone believing Michael was going to be inducted into the Mafia.
At the end, Joe Pesci is killed by Frank Vincent. Both actors previously appeared in Goodfellas (1990), where Vincent was killed by Pesci.
Body Count: twenty-five.
The scenes of the casino being imploded at the end of the film were that of The Dunes in October 1993 and January 1994. The spectacular event took place in front of more than two hundred thousand spectators, and was the first of its kind to create such a spectacle.
After Nicky is barred from Vegas casinos, Ace and Nicky meet sixty miles outside Vegas at a bar called the Idle Spurs. The telephone number seen on the front sign of the Idle Spurs was the correct telephone number for the Idle Spurs Tavern in Las Vegas (at 1113 South Rainbow Boulevard, near the intersection of Charleston Boulevard). The telephone number remained in service years after the movie was made. The number is now disconnected.
Sam "Ace" Rothstein's vehicle during the bombing scene is a 1981 Cadillac featuring the ill-fated "V 8-6-4" engine. Offered for only one year, the engine was meant to save fuel by shutting off unneeded cylinders. This can be seen in the dashboard shot of the "MPG Sentinel" and its "Active Cyls" button at the end of the movie.
The scene in which Andy Stone (Alan King) was shot and killed was filmed in the parking lot outside of a Ruth's Chris Steakhouse.
Joe Pesci is killed by the same guy that he killed in Goodfellas (1990).

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