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Sleepers (1996)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Thriller  |  18 October 1996 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 146,205 users   Metascore: 49/100
Reviews: 248 user | 68 critic | 18 from

After a prank goes disastrously wrong, a group of boys are sent to a detention center where they are brutalized; over 10 years later, they get their chance for revenge.



(book), (screenplay)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:


Four boys growing up in Hell's Kitchen play a prank that leads to an old man getting hurt. Sentenced to no less than one year in the Wilkenson Center in upstate New York, the four friends are changed by the beating, humiliation and sexual abuse by the guards sworn to protect them. Thirteen years later and a chance meeting lead to a chance for revenge against the Wilkenson Center and the guards. Written by

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Four friends made a mistake that changed their lives forever. See more »


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:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

18 October 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Los hijos de la calle  »

Box Office


$44,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$12,305,745 (USA) (18 October 1996)


$53,300,852 (USA) (24 January 1997)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Barry Levinson:  [Ralph Tabakin]  Ralph (Warden) has appeared in every Levinson picture from Diner (1982) to Liberty Heights (1999). See more »


In the scenes where the adult Shakes and Mike meet in Queens, a train of "Redbird" subway cars is shown passing above them on the "7" line. In 1981, these cars were not yet painted red; they were still painted in their original "World's Fair" colors (turquoise and white) or else were painted all-white. See more »


[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.
See more »


References The Count of Monte Cristo (1956) See more »


Tainted Love (Where Did Our Love Go)
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Written by Ed Cobb (as Edward C. Cobb), Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Eddie Holland (as Edward Holland Jr.)
Courtesy of Mercury Records
By Arrangement with PolyGram Film & TV Licensing
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

24 August 2003 | by (NY) – See all my reviews

I really liked this movie. Great acting, great direction, great plot!

As another reviewer pointed out, the movie indeed has 3 parts. before,at and after the correction center. All three parts are equaly gripping. Except that the part in the correction center is very dark and disturbing.

Brad Pitt shines in a small role he has. So does Jason Patrick. Hoffman has his ususal confused charisma. Rest of the supporting cast is excellent too. Especially the denizens of hell's kitchen. Kevin Bacon looks realy menacing. But the person who realy shows his caliber again is de niro. He has one of these rare "non-swearing" roles of his. There is a scene where Jason Patric tells the story of the abuses they faced, and the camera focusses on Robert De Niro's face. Only thing changes is his eyes, from sharp and focussed at the first, you see them widening and then you see some trace of tears. Great! This scence reminds me of Omar Shariff standing on a balcony while soldiers start mayhem on the streets, in Dr. Zhivago.

A good care has been taken in getting child stars and adult stars look pretty similar.

Only thing li'll bit out of the place is constant referance to Count of montecristo. The revenge in the book is "sweet lasting revenge" where in this movie its straight shot. But heck! this is real life!

the last night the friends spend together is also really touching.

my rating 9/10.

98 of 120 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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