7.6/10
165,693
263 user 62 critic

Sleepers (1996)

After a prank goes disastrously wrong, a group of boys are sent to a detention center where they are brutalized. Over ten years later, they get their chance for revenge.

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Writers:

(book), (screenplay)
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1,425 ( 517)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Geoffrey Wigdor ...
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Storyline

As children, Lorenzo Carcaterra - Shakes to his friends - Michael Sullivan, Tommy Marcano, and John Reilly were inseparable. They grew up in Hell's Kitchen, a far from perfect neighborhood, one filled as Shakes says with scams and shake downs, but one where the rules were known by its residents. The one adult who they admired was Father Bobby Carelli, who understood them as kids more than most adults and more than he himself would like to admit. In 1967, their lives would change forever when a typical teenage prank went wrong which led to the four of them being sentenced to various terms at Wilkinson Home for Boys, a reformatory. There, they were physically, emotionally and sexually abused primarily by Sean Nokes, the head guard of their cell block, and fellow guards Ralph Ferguson, Henry Addison, and Adam Styler, although there were other caring figures of authority at the home including other guards. Their time at the home affected the four, not all who were able to emerge from the ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Four friends have made a mistake that will change their lives forever. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, graphic violence and two scenes of strong sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

18 October 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Los hijos de la calle  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$44,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$12,305,745, 20 October 1996, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$49,100,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$165,615,285
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| |

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Author Lorenzo Carcaterra has claimed that his book, on which the film is based, is a true story of his childhood. When the New York legal community went on record stating that no cases resembling the events of his book could be found in any court records, Carcaterra refused to discuss it. Carcaterra's school attendance records show he couldn't have been in prison for as long as he said, and he couldn't have been in prison at the dates given for certain events in the book. David Stout, a New York Times reporter who did a story on the controversy, said in an interview that he could find nothing in the newspaper's extensive library, or anywhere else, that resembled the case. See more »

Goofs

After the trial, Mike enters the subway at the BMT Chambers Street station (under the Municipal Building). The station signs are of 1990s type, not from the early 1980s. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Lorenzo: This is a true story about friendship that runs deeper than blood. This is my story and that of the only three friends in my life that truely mattered. Two of them were killers who never made it past the age of 30. The other's a non-practicing attorney living with the pain of his past - too afraid to let it go, never confronting its horror. I'm the only one who can speak for them, and the children we were.
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Connections

Referenced in Bad Girls: Episode #6.4 (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

I'll Never Stop Loving You
Performed by Doris Day
Written by Sammy Cahn and Nicholas Brodszky
Courtesy of Columbia Records
By Arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Overlooked perfection
17 February 2011 | by See all my reviews

A well-adapted, epic story of the childhood innocence of four boys brutally snatched away, and the subsequent revenge that took place so many years later. Perfectly paced, it is a long film whose length is never an issue; exciting courtroom drama, realistic sense of time and place, gritty yet sleek cinematography, and convincing performances from a cast that is actually to die for: Jason Patrick, Billy Crudup ("Big Fish") Dustin Hoffman, Robert De Niro, Kevin Bacon, Minnie Driver and Brad Pitt in the same movie; it is a rare lineup. This is not to mention the young leads, who are completely convincing in heavyweight roles.

Leading the pack was Brad Renfro, whose passing in the same month as Heath Ledger was unfortunately nowhere near as noteworthy, and sadly is still a shock, for some, to learn of! If one is to go back and watch not only this film, but "The Client", "Apt Pupil" and the indie hit "Ghost World", one can see another talent that was perhaps not as widely recognised as that of Ledger, but just as unfairly snubbed short, and just as worthy of our recognition.

Barry Levinson puts together a film here that could easily be mistaken for a Scorsese work, and that may be the only criticism, if it is even that! Well drawn characters, electrifying, often emotional drama, the story never in a rush but never feeling laborious, this is an overlooked work of perfection.


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