I Found Henry Hill in Witness Protection (Well, Sort Of)
Finding the filming location from the final scene of Goodfellas.
Spoiler alert: At the end of Martin Scorsese’s 1990 Mafia epic Goodfellas, Lucchese crime family associate Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) finds himself forced to enter the Federal Witness Protection Program (“WITSEC”) along with his family. In the final scene of the film, the camera trucks down his new block in an unidentified, cookie-cutter suburb of somewhere, America. It stops on Hill stepping out of his front door to get the paper, as he tells us in his voiceover that he gets to live the rest of his life like a schnook.
Henry’s new location is never spoken, but an Ohio license plate and the copy of the Youngstown Vindicator newspaper that Henry picks up place him in Youngstown, Ohio. Nicknamed Mobtown, USA, Scorsese chose this town for its own connections to Mafia history.
In real life, Hill wound up in Omaha, Nebraska; then Independence, Kentucky; then Redmond, Washington.
However, neither Ohio nor any of those real WITSEC locations were where this scene was shot. Goodfellas shot over the spring and summer of 1989; primarily in Queens, Long Island, and other parts of New York State, as well as New Jersey. While I’ve covered many of the Queens locations used in the movie, the location used for Hill’s (fictional) WITSEC home has remained mostly a mystery… until now.
What Was Known
The only information online about where this scene was shot is on IMDb, where its location is listed as Marlboro, NJ. There’s no info anywhere else to corroborate this, but it was the only lead to go off of.
The first thing of note in the scene is a few rows of suburban houses on streets diverging from each other. It looks like a new housing development, as multiple new homes are being built. Henry’s block looks like a straight row of houses, wheres the houses behind it (some seen from the front, some from the back) sit on two blocks that veer off from each other a bit.
The Moving Truck
The biggest clue comes next — a moving truck briefly seen passing through between houses. The company, Birardi Movers, is a real moving company in Old Bridge, NJ — 15 minutes from Marlboro, where IMDb says the scene was shot.
Henry’s new house has a multi-colored brick facade with a garage/driveway on the left and a unique array of windows on its left side. The house to its left has the reverse setup — a garage on its right side.
The house in the background is worth noting, too: two dormer windows with a chimney and skylight between them, and another scattered array of windows similar to those on Henry’s house. Noting the car parked on the right in what we can assume is a driveway, we seem to be looking at the back of the home.
Going off these leads, the next thing to do was browse Google Maps’ 3D aerial view for similar-looking houses — two houses with driveways next to each other, or one with two dormers & a chimney — and then try to match up details further on Google Street View.
I happened to get lucky and find the house in some 15 minutes, indeed located right in Marlboro, NJ . Pro-tip: Immediately write down the address of an obscure location you’ve been looking for once you find it. If you just leave a tab open on Google Maps for a few days, you’ll lose it, forget the address, and be unable to recreate the same luck you had flying around the skies of Marlboro from a bird’s-eye view. So, rediscovering the house quickly called for another idea.
The Newspaper Search
Searching Newspapers.com for new housing developments that were popping up in Marlboro, NJ around 1989 (when Goodfellas was shot), I came across a few real estate listings for homes for sale in something called the “Greenbriar Development”. Googling more about the Greenbriar community, I was able to narrow down the general area within Marlboro where the house was located, and re-found the house in a matter of minutes after that.
Here’s the Witness Protection Program home of the man formerly known as Henry Hill. (Again, in the movie. Not in real life.)
All the details from the above clues match up perfectly: two houses with reverse setups, the house with dormers in the background, the bricks.
The house that stood in for Henry’s new home in the Witness Protection Program was filmed at 14 Benchley Drive, in Marlboro Township, New Jersey.
NOTE: This is a private residence. Respect the owners, respect the property, no trespassing, etc. It’s probably also worth reiterating that this isn’t where the actual Hill family lived in Witness Protection, because, well, duh.
For more obsessive coverage of Goodfellas filming locations, check out these other pieces I wasted my timing writing:
Astoria on Film: Revisiting the Locations of “Goodfellas” 30 Years Later
In the summer of 1989, Martin Scorsese captured the Astoria neighborhood . Three decades later, not much of it is left.