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Why Frank Sinatra Stopped ‘My Way’ From Appearing in ‘Goodfellas’

Why Frank Sinatra Stopped ‘My Way’ From Appearing in ‘Goodfellas’

Martin Scorsese wanted to feature Frank Sinatra’s My Way in his mafia classic Goodfellas, but Sinatra refused because he wanted the public to stop associating him with the mob.

The 1990 film is one of Scorsese’s most iconic career highlights. The movie, which stars A-listers such as Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, and Joe Pesci earned four Oscar nods, including Best Picture and Best Director. Peschi took home the trophy for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. It also sits on several Best Movies of All Time charts.

While many classics find fame long after their theatrical releases, Goodfellas was a clear success from the start. So one would assume everyone in the entertainment business would have wanted their names attached to it. But when Scorsese asked Sinatra to hand over the rights to use his legendary song during the final credits and on the soundtrack, he was staunchly against it. 

The FBI Suspected Frank Sinatra Had Mafia Ties

The reason Frank Sinatra didn’t want to be associated with Goodfellas links back to an interesting 40-year-plus entanglement he had with the FBI. Rumors of mob connections followed Ol’ Blue Eyes throughout his career. So the feds kept a tight watch on him and gathered thousands of pages of reports that detailed his conversations, daily activities, and personal and business associations, especially with Chicago mob boss Sam Giancana, who was Sinatra’s close friend, according to The History Channel. Those documents went public after Frank Sinatra died in 1988.

The government suspected that the Rat Pack singer helped orchestrate the assassination of Fidel Castro. It also believed he was “a dope racketeer,” among many other allegations. Sinatra was never tried for his nefarious connections, but he wasn’t exactly cleared of them either. He did, however, furiously reject that he was involved with organized crime. After being tailed by the FBI for nearly his entire adult life, he was determined to stop fueling the fire. 

“Sinatra would never let Marty use his music, which is too bad because Marty may do the ultimate biopic of him,” Scorsese’s longtime editor, Thelma Schoonmaker, told Express in 2010. “Why didn’t he let us? Because he didn’t want to be associated with the Mafia. Which, of course, he was!”

In the end, Sinatra didn’t get away from the film entirely, though. Scorsese ended up using Sid Vicious’ cover of his song instead.