Goodfellas Theory Reveals Henry Hill Ratted On Tommy

Although Goodfellas is based on a true story, that hasn’t stopped viewers from coming up with a variety of theories about the story’s biggest mysteries, and one of those suggests that the one who betrayed Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci) was none other than Henry Hill (Ray Liotta). The gangster genre is home to some of the best movies in film history, and among those is Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas, which is widely regarded as not only one of the best gangster movies ever but also Scorsese’s best work not only from the genre but in general.


Released in 1990 and based on the book Wiseguy, by Nicholas Pileggi, Goodfellas chronicles the life of Henry Hill (Ray Liotta), from his days as a teenager running errands for Paul Cicero (Paul Sorvino) and his crew in a Brooklyn neighborhood to his full involvement with the Lucchese crime family, culminating with his decision to become an FBI informant and enter the witness protection program. During his time in the mob, Henry met some of the biggest names in the gangster world and became close to many of them, most notably Jimmy “The Gent” Conway (Robert De Niro) and Tommy DeVito, with whom he committed a number of crimes, though in some cases, he was just a witness.

Goodfellas showed some of the crimes committed by Henry, Jimmy, and/or Tommy, but only the latter was killed for his actions. Out of the three, only Tommy was eligible to become a “made man”, and he was tricked into believing he was on his way to becoming one, but he was actually taken into a room to be executed as retribution for the murder of Billy Batts (Frank Vincent). This left a big question as it was never revealed how the Gambino family knew Tommy was responsible for Billy Batts’ death, and so a number of theories have emerged, including one that suggests it was Henry who ratted on his friend.

Theory: Henry Hill Ratted On Tommy For Killing Billy Batts

Billy Batts was a made man in the Gambino crime family, who had known Tommy for years. In Goodfellas, Batts had just been released from prison and was paying a visit at the nightclub owned by Henry at the time. There, he started bothering Tommy by making fun of his past as a shoeshiner, and as Tommy was a very explosive and impulsive man, Batts ended up pushing him over the edge. Tommy left with his date and returned some time later, when only Henry, Jimmy, and Batts were at the club, and attacked Batts with Jimmy’s help, killing him. The three of them then buried Batts’ body in upstate New York as the murder of a made man, without the permission of the boss of the family he’s part of, invites retribution. Tommy’s actions eventually caught up with him and he was killed, though how the Gambino family knew Tommy was the one who killed Batts remains a mystery.

A theory posted on Reddit suggests the one who ratted on Tommy was none other than Henry. The author of the theory bases their idea on Henry becoming an FBI informant at the end of Goodfellas, as he ended up ratting on Paulie’s crew (and Paul himself), which led to them spending the rest of their lives in jail, so he could have turned against Tommy first. The author adds that it’s unlikely Jimmy would have ratted on Tommy given how much he appreciated both Tommy and Henry, but the latter could have betrayed his friend as a way to protect himself as he was already involved in shady drug businesses.

Did Henry Have Reasons To Betray Tommy?

Based on what’s shown in Goodfellas, Henry didn’t really have reasons to betray Tommy, which makes it unlikely that he would have told the Gambino family he was the one behind the murder of Billy Batts, but in real life, Henry definitely had reasons. Henry Hill revealed that his wife, Karen Hill (played by Lorraine Bracco in Goodfellas), had an affair with Paul Vario (Paul Cicero in the movie) while Henry was in jail, and Karen told Paul that Tommy had tried to rape her. It’s widely believed, then, that it was Paul Vario who told the Gambino crew about Tommy and Billy Batts’ murder, and while Karen’s affair with Paul and the attempted rape are not mentioned in Goodfellas, that could have been a reason for Henry to rat on Tommy.

What Happened to the Real Tommy DeVito?

The real Tommy DeVito was Tommy DeSimone, an associate of the Lucchese crime family, who as shown in Goodfellas, was involved in the Lufthansa heist. DeSimone committed a number of murders, including that of William “Billy Batts” Bentvena, in 1970, and Ronald Jerothe in 1974, who was a protégé of John Gotti, an associate of the Gambino crew back then. DeSimone was reported missing by his wife in January 1979 and was never found, so it’s believed that he was murdered by the Gambino family in retaliation for the murders of Batts and Jerothe, though who killed him remains a mystery. The two biggest theories around DeSimone’s death are that Thomas Agro was the one who pulled the trigger, while Henry Hill himself affirmed that it was John Gotti who killed Tommy. Details around Tommy’s death continue to be a mystery, and Goodfellas added to it.

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