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Ray Liotta | Source: Getty Images
Source: Ray Liotta | Source: Getty Images

51 Ray Liotta Quotes: Inside And Outside Of Mob Cinema

Dayna Remus
Nov 03, 2022
04:20 P.M.
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Henry Hill's iconic laugh from "Goodfellas" is still reverberating after the late Ray Liotta took on what is still seen as his most iconic role as the American mobster. However, Liotta was so much more than one character, and there is more to him than just acting. Read these 51 quotes to find out about the man behind the laugh.

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Beyond mobster Henry Hill in "Goodfellas", Ray Liotta took on other dark characters whose charm hid their more sinister sides. Some of these roles included former convict Ray Sinclair in "Something Wild," as well as brothers "Hollywood Dick" Moltisanti and Salvatore "Sally" Moltisanti in 2021's "The Many Saints of Newark."

While many view Liotta as a stock villain in cinema, he has played more gentle roles, too, such as Shoeless Joe Jackson in "Field of Dreams" and Gino in 'Dominick and Eugene."

Read the following 51 quotes to explore the nuances of this legendary performer.

Ray Liotta’s quote: "There's not a day that goes by that I don't hear somebody mention 'Goodfellas'… unless I stay home all night. It's defined who I am, in a sense." | Image: AmoDays

Ray Liotta’s quote: "There's not a day that goes by that I don't hear somebody mention 'Goodfellas'… unless I stay home all night. It's defined who I am, in a sense." | Image: AmoDays

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Ray Liotta Quotes on Acting and His Career

"I never ever wanted to be an actor." — Ray Liotta

"As soon as I became proactive in producing my own stuff, I started getting other roles." — Ray Liotta

"Research is good, to a degree, to learn how to hold a gun. You want to look like you know what you're doing and get a basic sense. But your imagination is all you need. They say that the imagination is more powerful than knowledge." — Ray Liotta

"You know, it was a small, independent movie, and with Paramount becoming involved, it was obviously a good thing, but you can't put a round peg in a square hole." — Ray Liotta

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"I was on a soap opera before that for three years, where I was the nicest guy on earth." — Ray Liotta

Ray Liotta's quote: "I'm a big believer that the script is your bible." | Image: AmoDays

Ray Liotta's quote: "I'm a big believer that the script is your bible." | Image: AmoDays

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"I didn't start acting until I was in college, which was in the '70s." — Ray Liotta

"I've done a few movies where I really liked the project, but I wasn't sure about the director, and I still did it, and my instinct was right in the beginning. Even though it was a good story, the guy still didn't really know what he was doing." — Ray Liotta

"I would like to do a lot more of it, I feel comfortable with it, and basically, it's all in the writing. I'm not a personality type actor, I need a good script in order to be funny, but it's definitely something that I like doing." — Ray Liotta

"My dad said, 'Go to college and take whatever you want.' So, I went to the University of Miami. When I got up to the line at registration, I saw that you had to take math and history. I said, 'There's no way I'm taking math and history.' And right next to it was the line for the drama department." — Ray Liotta

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"You know, I started out really hot out of the box. Then I've definitely had an up-and-down career. And when things started cooling off again, it frustrated me." — Ray Liotta

Ray Liotta’s quote: "I'm really glad I took on the challenge of playing Sinatra, as scary as it was. I learned somewhat about myself — that I could do it, and I knew what was bothering me — the fears that I had." | Image: AmoDays

Ray Liotta’s quote: "I'm really glad I took on the challenge of playing Sinatra, as scary as it was. I learned somewhat about myself — that I could do it, and I knew what was bothering me — the fears that I had." | Image: AmoDays

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"I like to think that even with some of the more intense ones, sometimes there is humor in there; you try to make a complete human being, whether the guy is good or bad." — Ray Liotta

"The script and a good one tells you everything that you need to know." — Ray Liotta

"...taking on Sinatra. That was, uh, very intimidating. I didn't know that much about him. I'm not an imitator. You know, to do him without going into caricature was harder than maybe what [the others had to do]. Sammy has a certain pattern, and Dean had a certain pattern; Frank was just so much more raw. I didn't think I look like him; I had to sing the songs. I mean, I'm really glad I did it, but at first, it was just terrifying for months. All I did was listen, watch, or read about Sinatra." — Ray Liotta

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"When I read Copland, I really wanted Stallone's part." — Ray Liotta

"If you start acting and you start thinking about and worrying about what other people are going to say about it, you'll never really fully commit to who it is and what it is that you're playing." — Ray Liotta

Ray Liotta’s quote: "Acting is playing pretend, playing a children's game at an adult level, but with children's rules." | Image: AmoDays

Ray Liotta’s quote: "Acting is playing pretend, playing a children's game at an adult level, but with children's rules." | Image: AmoDays

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"I do certain things that, maybe, nobody else knows why I'm doing. But it's all it all has to do with to grow as an actor." — Ray Liotta

"My career has been up and down, and I like it much better being up." — Ray Liotta

"I wasn't crazy about the way things were going. I wanted to be a little more proactive with my career instead of waiting for something to come to me, so I formed a production company with my wife [Michelle Grace] and a partner, Diane Nabatoff, and changed agents I really just wanted to clean house and start fresh. The first script I got was 'Narc,' and I really responded to it; it reminded me of a 70s-type movie; I really liked the characters; I didn't anticipate the ending. I wanted to go that way and really get proactive with my career take some control in it and redirect it in a direction that I liked." — Ray Liotta

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"I'm really glad I took on the challenge of playing Sinatra, as scary as it was. I learned somewhat about myself — that I could do it, and I knew what was bothering me — the fears that I had." — Ray Liotta

"I'm a big believer that the script is your bible." — Ray Liotta

Ray Liotta’s quote: "If you start acting and you start thinking about and worrying about what other people are going to say about it, you'll never really fully commit to who it is and what it is that you're playing." | Image: AmoDays

Ray Liotta’s quote: "If you start acting and you start thinking about and worrying about what other people are going to say about it, you'll never really fully commit to who it is and what it is that you're playing." | Image: AmoDays

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"You know how they have stand-ins when they're doing the lighting? I always do my own standing-in. That way, I stay in the zone, and nobody asks me anything except to move left or right." — Ray Liotta

"Acting is playing pretend, playing a children's game at an adult level, but with children's rules." — Ray Liotta

"'Something Wild' was my first movie. I was in an acting class and on a soap opera for three-and-a-half years in New York I moved to L.A. at 25, and nothing was really going on for like a five-year period. I was still in acting class; I was in class all through 'Goodfellas.'" — Ray Liotta

"Suddenly playing the charming bad guy was my thing." — Ray Liotta

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Ray Liotta's Quotes on His Personal Life

"It came time to go to college. My dad said, go wherever you want. Take whatever you want. He just really believed in getting out and being exposed to different things." — Ray Liotta

Ray Liotta’s quote: "I've only been in one fight in my whole life... in 7th grade, yet everyone thinks I'm a maniac." | Image: AmoDays

Ray Liotta’s quote: "I've only been in one fight in my whole life... in 7th grade, yet everyone thinks I'm a maniac." | Image: AmoDays

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"What I really am is a homebody. I was a homebody even before I had a family. My days are filled with home stuff." — Ray Liotta

"I just know what it's like being an East Coast person, being from New Jersey." — Ray Liotta

"If I think something's funny, I think it's funny." — Ray Liotta

"I'm emotionally in tune with my feelings and what people mean to me, and I have no trouble saying it and relating to it." — Ray Liotta

"It is more difficult to maintain friendship with people that you work with five minutes ago than from many years ago. For some reason, we've just remained friends; we talk to each other all the time. For a while, for years, we spent New Year together." — Ray Liotta

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Ray Liotta’s quote: "I played pretend games as a kid, army, whatever, but I never wanted to be an actor." | Image: AmoDays

Ray Liotta’s quote: "I played pretend games as a kid, army, whatever, but I never wanted to be an actor." | Image: AmoDays

"I'm amused by a lot of things. I love humor. I'm constantly joking around." — Ray Liotta

"I've only been in one fight in my whole life... in 7th grade, yet everyone thinks I'm a maniac." — Ray Liotta

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"I played pretend games as a kid, army, whatever, but I never wanted to be an actor." — Ray Liotta

Quotes of Ray Liotta's Opinions about Movies and Actors

"I know when I go to a movie I want to experience something, whether to laugh, to cry, to feel bad." — Ray Liotta

"Bad guys stand out in people's minds. If you think about De Niro or Pacino, you're not going to say 'Stanley & Iris'; you are not going to say, 'Author! Author!.' Even with Brando, you are going to say 'The Godfather' or 'Street Car.' It is the edgier characters that are remembered. That's my rationalization." — Ray Liotta

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Ray Liotta’s quote: "I think people like watching edgy things." | Image: AmoDays

Ray Liotta’s quote: "I think people like watching edgy things." | Image: AmoDays

"Nothing. It's just make-believe. I don't think it's good to personalize it. If you do, it's limiting. The actors that do personalize it are the ones that always seem the same in every movie they do." — Ray Liotta

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"The best way to learn anything is through a movie because you have so much time to do it and you have great people teaching you." — Ray Liotta

"Today some actors get a little full of themselves about what they're doing." — Ray Liotta

"There are a lot of actors who will watch the monitors. They'll do a scene, and then the director will look back to see if he got whatever he wanted. I just find it odd to sit there and watch yourself. But if you can be objective, I can see how it's really useful as a tool, especially if you're doing something physical." — Ray Liotta

"I think people like watching edgy things." — Ray Liotta

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Quotes of Ray Liotta's Many Outlooks on Life

Ray Liotta’s quote: "I subscribe to the theory that luck is when preparation meets opportunity."  | Image: AmoDays

Ray Liotta’s quote: "I subscribe to the theory that luck is when preparation meets opportunity." | Image: AmoDays

"A stare is really nothing more than what you're thinking inside." — Ray Liotta

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"There's nothing worse than working with somebody who doesn't know what they're doing, especially if you've had experience. It gets really frustrating." — Ray Liotta

"Not like Chinese food, where you eat it, and then you feel hungry an hour later." — Ray Liotta

"You don't do anything thinking that it's going to stick." — Ray Liotta

"I subscribe to the theory that luck is when preparation meets opportunity." — Ray Liotta

Ray Liotta’s Quotes about "Goodfellas" and Gangs

Ray Liotta’s quote: "To me, being a gangster was better than being the President of the United States." | Image: AmoDays

Ray Liotta’s quote: "To me, being a gangster was better than being the President of the United States." | Image: AmoDays

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"Mafia guys are all just insecure people who want their money." — Ray Liotta

"There's not a day that goes by that I don't hear somebody mention 'Goodfellas'… unless I stay home all night. It's defined who I am, in a sense." — Ray Liotta

Quotes of Ray Liotta's Varied Opinions

"People have all these preconceptions about me. Whereas if you look at the roles, Henry Hill was the nicest guy in 'Goodfellas!' I was a nice guy, too, in the comedy 'Heartbreakers.' And I was a really sweet father to Johnny Depp in 'Blow!'" — Ray Liotta

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Ray Liotta’s quote: "Not all journalists are really journalists. They ask such stupid questions sometimes, especially the newer ones." | Image: AmoDays

Ray Liotta’s quote: "Not all journalists are really journalists. They ask such stupid questions sometimes, especially the newer ones." | Image: AmoDays

"To me, being a gangster was better than being the President of the United States." — Ray Liotta

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"Okay, there was an edginess to the guy [Henry Hill], but he never killed anyone. All he did was beat up the guy who was harming [his] girlfriend. And a major point in the film was how he couldn't be made because he was part Irish and part Italian. But then they also say I'm Italian, and I'm mostly Scottish with a bit of Italian. So, it doesn't track sometimes." — Ray Liotta

"Not all journalists are really journalists. They ask such stupid questions sometimes, especially the newer ones." — Ray Liotta

Ray Liotta’s quote: "Mafia guys are all just insecure people who want their money." | Image: AmoDays

Ray Liotta’s quote: "Mafia guys are all just insecure people who want their money." | Image: AmoDays

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In May of this year, Liotta died in his sleep at 67 years old. At the time of his death, he was in the Dominican Republic, where he was busy shooting a film called "Dangerous Waters."

However, before he passed, he made sure not to leave empty-handed, collecting many awards during his lifetime. This included but was in no way limited to a 2005 Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for his role in "Time of Death" and Best Supporting Actor for 1986's "Something Wild." While he didn't win an award for Henry Hill in "GoodFellas," the character remains timeless in the mafia genre.

If there is anything close to mob series and movies from the 1990s, it's the series "Peaky Blinders." Read the following quotes by the show's main character, Thomas Shelby.

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