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Donnie Brasco (1997)

R  |   |  Biography, Crime, Drama  |  28 February 1997 (USA)
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 207,580 users   Metascore: 76/100
Reviews: 227 user | 111 critic | 21 from Metacritic.com

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

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(book), (book), 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Donnie
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Tim Curley (as Zeljko Ivanek)
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Walt MacPherson ...
Ronnie Farer ...
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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 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 <pwong@nt.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Donnie Brasco. Based On A True Story. See more »

Genres:

Biography | Crime | Drama

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:

| |

Release Date:

28 February 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

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:

|

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Donnie and Nicky read the newspaper headline about the boss getting killed, the picture shows mob boss Carmine Galante, who was killed in back of a Brooklyn, N.Y. restaurant in 1979. See more »

Goofs

Set in the 1970s, but the National Debt Clock appears in the background in one scene. See more »

Quotes

Donnie Brasco: [Joe's kids are giving him the silent treatment] I bet you can't get through breakfast without saying three words
Daughter: [beaming up at him] You lose!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Uncle: Episode #2.6 (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Heart Of Glass
(1975)
Written by Deborah Harry and Chris Stein
Performed by Blondie
Courtesy of Chrysalis Records, A Division of EMI
Under License from EMI-Capitol Music Special Markets
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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Explain why the FBI bosses visited the pool room near the end frogca
Anne Heche ruined this movie Senor_Frickin_Braggis
Anybody feel sorry for Lefty? mastersslave74
The last scene with lefty. renoprog-1
Why go to your death? ladydesdemonna
Pacino or Depp? sobol4ever-1
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