Goodfellas : Billy Batts - Pretty Stupid Mistake

Billy Batts - Pretty Stupid Mistake

SPOILER

So we can all agree that killing Billy Batts, a made man, was a pretty huge mistake, and given what ultimately happens to Tommy, it was in hindsight his downfall. What I don't understand is why do Jimmy and Henry, who are far more rational than Tommy, participate in the murder. I assume they all know he's a made man. There really should have been a scene added of one of the two of them pulling Tommy aside and saying "Listen, you can't kill this guy. He's made. Or, if you are gonna do something, at least leave us out of it."

Instead, the two of them just blindly go along with Tommy's lead. Tommy says "Keep him here" and then the two of them just unquestioningly join in in killing this guy. And yeah, I get that Tommy is one of their best friends and they're really loyal to him, but, from what we're told in the narration, killing a made man is suicide. Yes, Tommy is a psychopath who I have no problem believing would go after Batts, but the other two were definitely smart enough to go "Killing a made man on a complete whim because of a random comment he made in a bar while half-drunk? That's not worth risking our lives over. Sorry, Tommy, you're on your own."

And as someone else posted in these comments, when Batts's murder eventually is traced to Tommy, it's kind of a miracle that it doesn't get traced to the other two as well. Henry and Jimmy came this close to getting whacked.

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Re: Billy Batts - Pretty Stupid Mistake

The other question I have is why did Henry allow Billy's "welcome home" party to take place at his bar in the first place?

Jimmy was running Batts' business while he was in jail, so one would think as rivals there would be some animosity there, but perhaps I don't have the full story.

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Re: Billy Batts - Pretty Stupid Mistake

I'm currently reading the Wiseguy book, and this was also the question I had. I know Tommy was a loose cannon who didn't care, but I also couldn't figure out why Henry and Jimmy joined him instead of trying to stop him.

Re: Billy Batts - Pretty Stupid Mistake

Keep in mind that Wiseguy (and therefore Goodfellas) is Henry's account of what happened. And Henry was a pathological liar. So we dont know how much or little Henry was involved. Henry might have been the one to pull the trigger for all we know (though I doubt it). He also may have had little at all to do with it (my belief).

I tend to believe that most of what we see in Goodfellas was at least somewhat close to the truth. But usually when things dont make much sense, its because there was something left out or changed by Henry.

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Re: Billy Batts - Pretty Stupid Mistake


it's kind of a miracle that it doesn't get traced to the other two as well.
Just on that point, once Paulie gave a name that was it. No interrogation or investigation, no tracing anything. The Gambinos had their revenge and Jimmy and Henry keep kicking up.

Hey! You're not old enough to drink! Now go and die for your country!!!

Re: Billy Batts - Pretty Stupid Mistake

Hmm, I don't know. As I see it, people knew the only one of the three who had a "reason" to kill Batts, was Tommy, due to the shine box incident. People saw how Tommy reacted, and those people probably talked to others about it. Under normal circumstances, people probably wouldn't have thought about it that much, it was a stupid incident which was over. But given the fact that they knew Tommy was a loose canon psycho, they probably thought that was reason enough for him to whack Batts. They knew Jimmy and Henry was very close to him, but that didn't necessarily mean they had taken part in killing and getting rid of Batts. That's why I don't think anything happened to them.

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Re: Billy Batts - Pretty Stupid Mistake


There really should have been a scene added of one of the two of them pulling Tommy aside and saying "Listen, you can't kill this guy. He's made. Or, if you are gonna do something, at least leave us out of it.


Henry looked very concerned when he saw Tommy come back into the bar. He came out from behind the bar and met Tommy who was about half way to where Batts and Jimmy were talking. Tommy brushed past Henry and, well you know the rest.

Re: Billy Batts - Pretty Stupid Mistake

Once again, check out "Casino" to see Billy Bats get his sweet revenge. Batter up, Tommy!

Re: Billy Batts - Pretty Stupid Mistake

As great as that scene was it never rang true to me either. You'd think that Jimmy and especially Henry would've defused the situation as their involvement could've potentially made them targets. And over something that wasn't even severe or egregious. All Batts did was insult Tommy alittle bit. It's not like he killed his mother or something.

Re: Billy Batts - Pretty Stupid Mistake

In reality, Jimmy had taken over Batts' rackets while he was inside, and Jimmy being the greedy, vicious thug that he was, didn't want to give them up to Billy upon his return. He planned to eventually whack him out, and the insults toward Tommy just escalated the situation.
According to Henry Hill, Tommy was an extremely short fuse, and he would snap at a moment's notice. People were usually nervous around him, and even light hearted jokes would set him off. Once Tommy started in on Batts, Jimmy just backed him up.

"Oh yeah, one more thing....where can I get a pizza?."

Re: Billy Batts - Pretty Stupid Mistake


In reality, Jimmy had taken over Batts' rackets while he was inside, and Jimmy being the greedy, vicious thug that he was, didn't want to give them up to Billy upon his return. He planned to eventually whack him out, and the insults toward Tommy just escalated the situation.
According to Henry Hill, Tommy was an extremely short fuse, and he would snap at a moment's notice. People were usually nervous around him, and even light hearted jokes would set him off. Once Tommy started in on Batts, Jimmy just backed him up.

Yeah. There's a documentary on youtube called Henry Hill the real goodfella that confirms this.

It also says the restaurant it happened in belonged to Henry and that he planned to escape from the mob by starting the restaurant. But then the mob guys like Tommy and Jimmy took it over and Billy Batt's death was the point where Henry found out they would never let him out of the mob. The horrified look on Henry's face when they start beating up Billy Batt's in the restaurant is probably a nod to this fact. Here's a link to the part of the documentary that talks about it.

https://youtu.be/5RoFmHR8S3Y?t=988

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Re: Billy Batts - Pretty Stupid Mistake

If Henry thought starting a restaurant would get him out of the mafia then he was deluding himself. The only way you leave and there is no guarantee that it works is leave and break off all contact with your old contacts including family.

Re: Billy Batts - Pretty Stupid Mistake

Well, I guess they thought that Tommy was their friend and since Billy Batts was not in their "family" it was right to help Tommy out. They tried to cover up the murder so none of them would get into trouble. Eventually, Tommy must've been traced to the killing and they used the made process to get the revenge. Maybe they didn't know Jimmy and Henry were involved too, or because they didn't do the actual killing, they were spared.

Re: Billy Batts - Pretty Stupid Mistake

And to further complicate things, Tommy allegedly tried to rape Karen while Henry was in prison, which enraged Paulie because he was also having an affair with Karen at the time!
So, Paulie had a lot of ammunition to take to the Gambino family table.

"Oh yeah, one more thing....where can I get a pizza?."
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