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Donnie Brasco (1997)

7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 180,908 users   Metascore: 76/100
Reviews: 220 user | 112 critic | 21 from Metacritic.com

An FBI undercover agent infilitrates the mob and finds himself identifying more with the mafia life to the expense of his regular one.

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(book), (book), 1 more credit »
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Title: Donnie Brasco (1997)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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Walt MacPherson ...
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Storyline

This true story follows FBI agent Joe Pistone as he infiltrates the mafia of New York. Befriending Lefty Ruggiero, Pistone (under the name Donnie Brasco) is able to embed himself in a mafia faction lead by Sonny Black. Ruggiero and Pistone become tight as the group goes about collecting money for 'the bosses'. Eventually, the group become big time when Black himself becomes a boss, all the while Pistone collects evidence. However, the trials and tribulations of the undercover work become more than Pistone can bear. His marriage falls apart and to top it off, the mafia suspect a mole in the organization. The real dilemma is afforded to Pistone, who knows if he walks away from the mafia, Ruggiero will be the one punished. Written by P. Wong <pwong@nt.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

mafia | fbi | undercover | fbi agent | money | See more »

Taglines:

In 1978, the US government waged a war against organized crime. One man was left behind the lines. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some strong graphic violence, pervasive strong language and brief nudity and sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

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Release Date:

28 February 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Donnie Brasco  »

Box Office

Budget:

$35,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$11,660,216 (USA) (28 February 1997)

Gross:

$41,954,997 (USA) (13 June 1997)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (extended cut)

Sound Mix:

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Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Michael Madsen impulsively proposed to, and married, DeAnna Madsen during a two-day break in filming. According to Michael Madsen, Al Pacino was disgusted by his impulsiveness. The Madsens remain happily married. See more »

Goofs

Many 1990s cars and trinkets are visible. See more »

Quotes

Donnie Brasco: Twenty years you know a guy, you fuckin' whack him out just like that over a lounge? That's beautiful.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Footpath (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Don't Bring Me Down
(1979)
Written by Jeff Lynne
Performed by Electric Light Orchestra
Courtesy of Jet Records/Epic Records
By Arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Depp and Pacino in terrific movie
17 September 2004 | by (The Hague, Netherlands) – See all my reviews

For some reason a Johnny Depp movie is always interesting. Whether it is a biopic about Ed Wood, a dark fairy tale about a man with scissors instead of hands, a movie about the greatest lover the world has ever known or a adventurous story about pirates, Depp's performance alone makes it worth seeing. Here he plays FBI-agent Joe Pistone who goes undercover using the name Donnie Brasco. He becomes a wiseguy with the help of Lefty (Al Pacino), who is sort of a loser wiseguy who desperately needs to be a mentor because most of his mafia family members look down on him. Donnie comes as a gift from heaven and it does not take long before Lefty trusts Donnie completely. The problem for FBI-agent Donnie is that he's starting to like Lefty as well.

The movie is a gangster movie but has its focus on the relationship between Lefty and Donnie and sometimes on other relationships. Donnie, or Joe, is married to Maggie (Anne Heche) who he hardly sees. He can not exactly tell her what he is doing and sometimes stays away for a couple of weeks. She pretends she is a widow to deal with it. We also learn about the relationships in the mafia family, including new boss Sonny (Michael Madsen).

The fact that this movie is more about the people and their relationships than about the events is a good thing. Sure movies like 'Goodfellas' are terrific but to see something a little different from time to time is nice as well. If you make a movie about people and their emotions you need to have some good performers to make the scenes believable. I already mentioned Depp but of course we have Pacino here as well. His Lefty is a memorable character and it is Pacino who makes sure that happens, but the fact that Depp is as good and especially believable as heavyweight Pacino says something. Of course we have Madsen who was probably the only right actor for the macho mobster Sonny.

Director Mike Newell seems to be a strange choice for this sometimes very violent and bloody story since he directed the terrific but sweet 'Four Weddings and a Funeral'. Fortunately it turns out he is the right man for this material, probably because its real subject is not gangsters but, like I said before, the relationships between the characters. 'Donnie Brasco' has enough to offer for people who like the gangster-genre, but even if you are normally not a big fan there is still a chance you might like it.


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Message Boards

Recent Posts
anyone else wish the movie ended with lefty closing the door? devilsplaythang
Why go to your death? ladydesdemonna
Pacino or Depp? sobol4ever-1
Was Lefty going to kill Donnie.... jonesmorrell
Why the hell did the FBI agent show Donnie's FBI photos to the mob? brobb-3
Why did Lefty kill Nicky? mpoconnor7
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