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Sleepers (1996) More at IMDbPro »

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Sleepers -- 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.


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Popularity: ?
Up 193% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Writers (WGA):
Lorenzo Carcaterra (book)
Barry Levinson (screenplay)
View company contact information for Sleepers on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
18 October 1996 (USA) See more »
When friendship runs deeper than blood See more »
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. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Nominated for Oscar. Another 1 win & 4 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Interesting drama but provides no moral discussion or ethical complexity, never questioning the right or wrongs of the actions See more (260 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Kevin Bacon ... Nokes

Billy Crudup ... Tommy

Robert De Niro ... Father Bobby

Ron Eldard ... John

Minnie Driver ... Carol

Vittorio Gassman ... King Benny

Dustin Hoffman ... Danny Snyder

Terry Kinney ... Ferguson

Bruno Kirby ... Shakes' Father

Frank Medrano ... Fat Mancho

Jason Patric ... Shakes

Joe Perrino ... Young Shakes

Brad Pitt ... Michael

Brad Renfro ... Young Michael

Geoffrey Wigdor ... Young John

Jonathan Tucker ... Young Tommy

Peter Appel ... Boyfriend
Joseph Attanasio ... Male Juror (as Joe Attanasio)

Gerry Becker ... Forensics Expert
Casandra Brooks ... Young John's Mother
William K. Butler ... Juanito (as William Butler)

Eugene Byrd ... Rizzo
Rose Caiola ... Juror
Pasquale Cajano ... Superintendent
Robert W. Castle ... Priest
John Di Benedetto ... Tony (as John DiBenedetto)

Jeffrey Donovan ... Addison
Drew Eliot ... Business Man #1
Reuben Larry Elliot ... Business Man #2 (as Reuben Larry Elliott)
George Georgiadis ... Hot Dog Vendor

Marco Greco ... Waiter

Saverio Guerra ... Man #1
Don Hewitt ... James Caldwell
Ben Hammer ... Judge Weisman

Paul Herman ... Court Bailiff
Frank Inzerillo ... Hanging Man

Lennie Loftin ... Styler
Chuck Low ... Dance Judge (as Chuck Lewis Low)
Peter Mahoney ... Priest #2 (as Father Peter Mahoney)
Ruth Maleczech ... Woman at Subway Station
Juan Maria Jr. ... Davy

Danny Mastrogiorgio ... Nick Davenport (as Daniel Mastrogiorgio)

Mary B. McCann ... Sister Carolyn (as Mary McCann)
Pat McNamara ... Guard

Peter McRobbie ... Lawyer
Conrad Meertins Jr. ... Inmate #2
Gina Menza ... Jury Forewoman

Dash Mihok ... K.C.
Michael P. Moran ... Judge #1
Rocco Musacchia ... Salvatore

Mick O'Rourke ... Man in Tub
Carmine Parisi ... King Benny's Boy

James Pickens Jr. ... Marlboro

Wendell Pierce ... Little Caesar
Salvatore Paul Piro ... Mimi
Monica Polito ... Young Carol
Angela Rago ... Shakes' Mother

Sean Patrick Reilly ... Young King Benny
Peter Rini ... Frank Magcicco

Larry Romano ... Man #2
Gayle Scott ... Confessional Woman
Tom Signorelli ... Confessional Man

John Slattery ... Carlson
Henry Stram ... Prison Doctor
Ralph Tabakin ... Warden
Mary Testa ... Nun
Jenique Torres ... Davy's Sister

Patrick Tull ... Jerry the Bartender

Aida Turturro ... Mrs. Salinas

Joe Urla ... Carson (as Joseph Urla)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Zachary Ansley ... Burly Man (uncredited)

Michael J. Burg ... Court Officer (uncredited)

Maria Deasy ... Marine Widow (uncredited)

Brian Donahue ... Market Diner Westie (uncredited)

Peter Gerety ... Juvenile Lawyer (uncredited)
Carlo Giuliano ... Customer (uncredited)

Justin Halliwell ... Kid in Cafeteria (uncredited)

Michael Harkins ... Fat Mancho's Buddy #1 (uncredited)

Matthew Hoffman ... Neighborhood Boy (uncredited)

Billy Malone ... Wiseguy (uncredited)

James Rosin ... Neighborhood Man (uncredited)

Todo Segalla ... Lawyer (uncredited)

Anthony Sinopoli ... Receiving Communion (uncredited)

Barry Squitieri ... Juror (uncredited)
Kevin Richard Sullivan ... Boy in Cafeteria (uncredited)

George Vincent ... Pallbearer (uncredited)

Directed by
Barry Levinson 
Writing credits
Lorenzo Carcaterra (book)

Barry Levinson (screenplay)

Produced by
Lorenzo Carcaterra .... co-producer
Peter Giuliano .... executive producer
Steve Golin .... producer
Barry Levinson .... producer
Gerrit van der Meer .... associate producer
Original Music by
John Williams 
Cinematography by
Michael Ballhaus 
Film Editing by
Stu Linder 
Casting by
Louis DiGiaimo 
Production Design by
Kristi Zea 
Art Direction by
Tim Galvin  (as Timothy Galvin)
Set Decoration by
Beth A. Rubino 
Costume Design by
Gloria Gresham 
Makeup Department
Jean Ann Black .... makeup artist: Mr. Pitt (as Jean A. Black)
Verne Caruso .... additional hair stylist
Scott W. Farley .... key hair stylist
William A. Farley .... hair department head
Carl Fullerton .... makeup department head
Ilona Herman .... hair stylist: Mr. De Niro
Ilona Herman .... makeup artist: Mr. De Niro
Christine Leiter .... key makeup artist
Henry Philip Leto .... additional hair stylist (as Henry P. Leto)
Production Management
Tim Clawson .... executive in charge of production
Blair Daily .... post-production supervisor
Joel Hatch .... production supervisor
Amy Herman .... assistant unit production manager
Glenn Kiser .... post-production supervisor: Propaganda Films
Linda Shamest .... post-production supervisor
Lucille Smith .... production supervisor (as Lucille Masone Smith)
Gerrit van der Meer .... unit production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Sam Hoffman .... second assistant director
Joseph P. Reidy .... first assistant director (as Joe Reidy)
Danielle Rigby .... second second assistant director
Neri Kyle Tannenbaum .... second second assistant director
Kristi Zea .... second unit director
Art Department
Mark Bachman .... principal signwriter
Joseph Badalucco Jr. .... on-set dresser (as Joseph Badallucco)
John Canterella .... set dressing coordinator
Barbara Clark .... construction office coordinator
William Durnin .... set dresser
James C. Feng .... assistant art director
John R. Ford .... assistant props
Robert Griffon Jr. .... property master (as Robert J. Griffon Jr.)
Brent Haywood .... construction foreman
Kalina Ivanov .... storyboard artist
John R. Johnston .... construction foreman
Nicholas Lundy .... assistant art director
Charles E. McCarry .... assistant art director
John McDonnell .... assistant property master (as John B. McDonnell)
Ken Nelson .... construction coordinator
Addison Pettit .... assistant art director
Chuck Potter .... buyer (as Charles M. Potter)
Miriam Schapiro .... art department coordinator
Karl Shefelman .... storyboard artist
Robert Topol .... master scenic artist
M. Tony Trotta .... camera scenic artist (as Tony Trotta)
Dave Weinman .... lead man (as David Weinman)
Eric M. Klein .... construction (uncredited)
Julian Laverdiere .... special illustrator (uncredited)
Timothy Main .... carpenter (uncredited)
Richard Vilas Montesanto .... scenic artist (uncredited)
Theodore Suchecki .... set dresser (uncredited)
Sound Department
Richard Beggs .... sound design: Skywalker Sound
David Boulton .... adr mixer
Lindakay Brown .... assistant sound editor
Nicole Bugna .... sound design coordinator
Dean Drabin .... adr mixer
Tony Eckert .... foley mixer
Ken Fischer .... Sound F/X Editor
Sue Fox .... adr editor
Ben Gold .... assistant sound editor
J.R. Grubbs .... assistant sound editor
Lora Hirschberg .... re-recording mixer
Joel Holland .... sound recordist
Tim Holland .... supervising sound editor
Richard Hymns .... additional adr editor
Tod A. Maitland .... sound mixer
Frank 'Pepe' Merel .... foley recordist
Gary Rydstrom .... re-recording mixer
Susan Sanford .... assistant sound editor
Michael Silvers .... dialogue editor
Ewa Sztompke .... dialogue editor
Dennie Thorpe .... foley artist
Jana Vance .... foley artist
Jerome R. Vitucci .... boom operator
Hugh Waddell .... additional adr editor
Marian Wilde .... foley editor
Special Effects by
Mark Bero .... special effects assistant
Wilfred Caban .... special effects foreman
Carmen M. Campolo Jr. .... special effects assistant
Steven Kirshoff .... special effects coordinator (as Steve Kirshoff)
Michael Wood .... special effects assistant
Visual Effects by
Lori Arnold .... coordinator: ILM
Scott Balcerek .... visual effects editor
Noel Brevick .... digital technician: ILM
Eric Chauvin .... digital matte artist: ILM
Lisa Drostova .... rotoscope artist: ILM
Amanda K. Montgomery .... digital technician: ILM (as Amanda Montgomery)
Joshua Pines .... digital compositor: ILM
Thomas Rosseter .... compositing supervisor: ILM (as Tom Rosseter)
Heidi Zabit .... rotoscope artist: ILM
Joseph Badalucco Jr. .... utility stunts (as Joe Badalucco Jr.)
Bob Colletti .... utility stunts
Danny Downey .... utility stunts
Michael Finnerty .... utility stunts (as Mike Finnerty)
Tim Gallin .... utility stunts
Rusty Hanson .... utility stunts
Don Hewitt .... utility stunts
Jery Hewitt .... stunt coordinator
Dave Martin .... utility stunts
David Brian Martin .... stunt double
Michael Russo .... utility stunts (as Mike Russo)
Derrick Simmons .... utility stunts
Gary Evans .... stunt driver (uncredited)
Donald John Hewitt .... stunt double: Dash Mihok (uncredited)
Mick O'Rourke .... stunts (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Florian Ballhaus .... camera operator: "a" camera
James Bartolomeo .... camera trainee
Jerry DeBlau .... gaffer (as Jerry W. DeBlau)
Michael Finnerty .... grip (as Mike Finnerty)
Brian Fitzsimons .... best boy grip (as Brian J. Fitzsimons)
Dennis Gamiello .... key grip
Peter Girolami .... electrician
Brian Hamill .... still photographer
Larry Huston .... Steadicam assistant
Edward W. Lowry .... dolly grip (as Edward Lowry)
John Lowry .... key rigging grip
Martin Lowry .... dolly grip: "b" camera
Bobby Mancuso .... first assistant camera: "b" camera
Larry McConkey .... Steadicam operator
Kevin McKenna .... video assist operator
Peter Norman .... camera operator: "b" camera
Tim Norman .... second assistant camera: "b" camera
Heather Norton .... second assistant camera: "a" camera (as Heather M. Norton)
Michael Papadapolous .... electrician
Peter John Petraglia .... best boy electric (as John Petraglia)
Noah Prince .... rigging electrician
Lowell Schulman .... electrician
Susan Starr .... first assistant camera: "a" camera
Kevin P. Williams .... second rigging grip
Lee Ayrton .... shop electrician (uncredited)
John Bonnin .... crane operator: Akela crane (uncredited)
Eric M. Klein .... grip: construction (uncredited)
Gábor Kövér .... camera operator: "b" camera (uncredited)
Eric Leigh .... electrician (uncredited)
Anthony S. Lenzo .... underwater camera operator (uncredited)
Dan Mahoney .... rigging grip (uncredited)
Mark Melendez .... electrician (uncredited)
Casting Department
Lou DiGiaimo Jr. .... casting associate (as Louis J. DiGiaimo Jr.)
Brett Goldstein .... casting associate
Marco Greco .... casting associate
Grant Wilfley .... extras casting
Susanna Lo .... casting associate (uncredited)
Jamie Mullins .... casting assistant (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Daniel J. Adkins .... extras set costumer
Cathie Filian .... costumer (as Catherine Bush Cain)
Joan Kaufman .... costume buyer
Wallace G. Lane Jr. .... costume assistant
Marcia Patten .... extras wardrobe supervisor
Lauren Press .... costumer: women
Chuck Velasco .... costume supervisor
Michael Anzalone .... set wardrobe (uncredited)
Jan Finnell .... costumer (uncredited)
Harvey Hubbell V .... wardrobe assistant (uncredited)
Roseann Milano .... wardrobe (uncredited)
Lawrence Tarzy .... set costumer (uncredited)
Editorial Department
Blair Daily .... associate editor
Mark Daily .... first assistant editor
John F. Lyons .... apprentice editor
David Orr .... color timer
Amanda Pollack .... assistant editor (uncredited)
Location Management
Alex Cohn .... locations department
Mark Kamine .... locations department
Robin F. Samson .... locations department
Jonathan Schwartz .... location assistant
Gary Scott .... locations department
Joseph Zolfo .... location assistant
Michael Kriaris .... location scout (uncredited)
Marce Sterner .... location scout (uncredited)
Music Department
Sandy DeCrescent .... orchestra contractor
Allan Mason .... songs supervisor
Susan McLean .... score recordist
Shawn Murphy .... score mixer
John Neufeld .... orchestrator
Frankie Pine .... music clearance
Dawn Soler .... executive in charge of music: PolyGram Filmed Entertainment
James Thatcher .... musician
Kenneth Wannberg .... music editor (as Ken Wannberg)
Tom Boyd .... musician: oboe soloist (uncredited)
Mike Deasy .... musician: guitar (uncredited)
George Doering .... musician (uncredited)
Transportation Department
Henry S. Avelin .... transportation co-captain (as Henry Avelin)
John Featherstone .... driver
Kevin Flynn .... transportation co-captain
William K. Gaskins .... driver (as Willie Gaskins)
Kevin Keefe .... transportation captain (as Kevin K. Keefe)
Steven Szucs .... driver
Francis Volpe .... driver
Bobby Marsh .... driver (uncredited)
Other crew
Toni Baffo .... assistant: Mr. Levinson, post-production
Jill Bianchini .... assistant: Mr. Pitt
Brian Brown .... craft service
Lashan Browning .... assistant: Mr. Guilano
Cynthia Carriere .... production assistant (as Cynthia Doyle Carriere)
Robin Chambers .... assistant: Mr. DeNiro
Timothy Donohue .... production assistant (as Timothy S. Donohue)
Kevin P. Faherty .... set supervisor (as Kevin Paul Faherty)
Kate Fujimoto .... production assistant
Nancy Gianzero .... assistant to head of production (as Annunziata Gianzero)
Marlus Harding .... production office assistant (as Marlus C. Harding)
Stephen Hauser .... assistant: Mr. Levinson
Ellen Hofstadter .... accounting supervisor (as Ellen Hofstadter-Shapiro)
Barrett Hong .... shop supervisor (as Barrett P. Hong)
Danielle Katz .... production assistant
Nancy Kolomitz .... production assistant
Adam Leichtman .... production assistant
Joseph Lombardi .... payroll accountant
Mary McCusker .... acting coach
Charles Mcdonald .... title designer
Kiersten Pilar Miller .... production assistant
Tim Monich .... dialect coach
John P. Murchison III .... production secretary
Rocco Musacchia .... community relations
Eric Myers .... unit publicist
Christine M. Norton .... assistant: Mr. Hoffman
Sargent Pillsbury .... assistant: Mr. Coin
Julie Pitkanen .... script supervisor
Michael Pitt .... production assistant
Angela Quiles .... production coordinator
Shea Rowan .... key set production assistant
Howard Samuelsohn .... dialect coach
Bart Schoudel .... production office assistant
Jonathan H. Shaw .... production assistant
Shawnna Thibodeau .... production assistant
Steve Altes .... stand-in: Mr. Eldard (uncredited)
John D. Bair .... stand-in: Kevin Bacon (uncredited)
Leonard John Bruno .... clearance and product placement (uncredited)
Charlie Puritano .... researcher (uncredited)
Abdur Rahman .... production assistant (uncredited)
Jodi Shapera .... first assistant accountant (uncredited)
Melissa Unger .... personal assistant: Robert De Niro (uncredited)
David Wenzel .... stand-in: body double (uncredited)
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Rated R for language, graphic violence and two scenes of strong sexual content
147 min
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Argentina:16 | Australia:MA15+ | Australia:M | Canada:14 (Nova Scotia) | Canada:AA (Ontario) | Finland:K-16 | France:12 | Germany:16 (bw) | Iceland:16 | Italy:T | Netherlands:16 | New Zealand:R16 | Norway:15 | Philippines:PG-13 | Portugal:M/16 | Singapore:PG (original rating) (cut) | Singapore:M18 (re-rating) | South Korea:18 | Spain:18 | Sweden:15 | UK:15 (original rating) | UK:18 (video rating) (1997) | USA:R

Did You Know?

Director Trademark: [Barry Levinson] [Ralph Tabakin]Ralph (Warden) has appeared in every Levinson picture from Diner (1982) to Liberty Heights (1999).See more »
Anachronisms: In a scene set in fall 1981, a theater marquee for "Dreamgirls" is visible. This production did not open until December 20 of that year, after the fall.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 »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in "NCIS: False Witness (#8.10)" (2010)See more »
Hurdy Gurdy ManSee more »


Is the film based on a true story?
See more »
22 out of 37 people found the following review useful.
Interesting drama but provides no moral discussion or ethical complexity, never questioning the right or wrongs of the actions, 28 May 2006
Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom

As boys growing up in Hell's kitchen Tommy, John, Lorenzo and Michael, were raised in a harsh world despite the moral guidance of the streetwise Father Bobby. Carefree but always in trouble, one prank goes too far and sees a passer-by killed and the boys sent away for 18 months to a young offenders home. Once there they are subjected to cruel and persistent sexual abuse and beatings from the guards, led by Sean Noakes. Years go by and the friends drift apart – with Tommy and John becoming gangsters. When the pair spot Noakes in a bar they kill him and walk out, but are picked up later by the police and charged with murder. With revenge on their minds, DA Michael takes the case with the aim of making getting his friends off while also exposing Noakes for who he was; meanwhile Lorenzo sets out to help him with the set-up, while also taking revenge on the rest of the guards.

Sold on the back of the heavy star cast, I went to see this film at time of release and must admit that I wasn't that impressed by it that much. Rewatching it recently I had no reason to change my mind with a film that lives on the surface and, although providing some powerful moments to get the audience on its side, has much a simplistic moral outlook that it significantly damages the telling of the story. The use of narration makes the film drag and this is particularly evident in the first stage where the boys are free. The second stage is more interesting and disturbing as it documents the abuse suffered by the boys – although in my opinion is far too safe and sanitised with the cop-out that the memories are buried too deep in our narrator's mind to recall clearly. The final third brings matters to a close and is easily the most engaging as many viewers will find the flow of the story enough to hold their interest.

However for me what I couldn't shake off was the lack of questioning in the film; other than a thoughtful Father Bobby silently wrestling with his conscience (in just one scene!) the film never even hints that what the men might be doing is morally wrong. Now it may well be that the circumstances means that they were fully justified but the fact that the film never even broaches the subject and just expects us to get behind the cold revenge of Michael et al was a problem for me. Wouldn't the moral complexity of their actions be worth looking at, even if the outcome was the same wouldn't it have been more interesting if the audience were being pushed to ask questions of themselves? Very likely the answer is yes, but with Levinson driving we are not to know; for him this is a straight drama with right defeating wrong in a manner that makes for a nice courtroom drama.

The simplicity of the writing and delivery leaves the cast with very little to do in the main group of roles. Patric is flat and dull – qualities that could easily describe his narration which is delivered to the general detriment of the film. Pitt is equally as poor, with little to get his teeth into. Eldard and Crudup just seem to enjoy their minor roles alongside such a starry ensemble. With such weak turns from the main players, Bacon easily dominates the film with a monstrous character that he makes larger that life. Not comparable to his much better turn as a child abuser in a much different film recently, but he still dominates the middle section of the film. De Niro sleep walks a character that is so simplistic that it looks like Father Bobby had been developed using Microsoft Paint; he is a welcome presence but adds little. Hoffman is OK but again is just a nice addition to the cast. Minnie Driver is present for some reason I didn't get but the only performance that gets close to being interesting is that of an older Kinney; despite everything else he gets the closest to producing genuine interest in me (sadly the film has no interest beyond him doing this as part of moving the story forward).

Overall then a star-heavy film that wears it's worthy credentials on its sleeve and refuses any debate or examination in favour of a straight drama. The cast find themselves with little to do with such a simplistic approach from Levinson and nobody can lift the material even if some of them stick in the mind much longer than others. I'm sure that the story has enough to engage the casual viewer but those looking for depth or shades of grey in the morally complex tale will be found wanting – to Levinson there is none of that here – just wrongs that can be righted by any means necessary. As a result though, it is a lesser film and one that made little impression on me.

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