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 led 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 <email@example.com>
Joe Pistone said in an interview in the special features on the DVD that he was suppose to be undercover for a few months; it ended up being 6 years. His family was moved across the country after 9 months; he rarely saw them. See more »
When Brasco calls his family from Miami in 1979, the pay phone is clearly labeled "25 cents for local calls". Local pay phone calls in Florida were 10 cents until 1985. See more »
I'm tellin' ya, Donnie... nothin' but nothin' but right.
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In a world filled with overheated, and frequently overpraised, gangster movies, it seems to me that Mike Newell's 'Donnie Brasco', the story of a cop who goes undercover to infiltrate the mob, is arguably overlooked. Based on real life events, it contains great performances from Johnny Depp and Al Pacino, a complex but coherent plot, addresses universal themes (divided loyalties, the evolution of human relationships and behaviour) and the ending is genuinely moving. Perhaps it's not fast-paced enough for devotees of the genre; more likely it "fails" this audience for its very success in portraying the mafia as fundamentally pathetic, whereas most gangster pictures at least partly buy into the glamorous myth. But for me, this a superior film to Scorcese's 'Goodfellas', with a faint note of very black comedy that sounds behind the slaughter. Recommended.
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