7.8/10
239,774
239 user 121 critic

Donnie Brasco (1997)

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 2 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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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:

In 1978, the US government waged a war against organized crime. One man was left behind the lines. 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) (2 March 1997)

Gross:

$41,909,762 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (extended cut)

Sound Mix:

|

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Joseph D. Pistone said of the film, "If I had one thing to say, there should have been more Anne Heche in the actual script." See more »

Goofs

When Santo Trafficante is on the boat talking to Sonny Black, and says "You gotta show a little respect, ay?", his mouth does not match the words he says. See more »

Quotes

Lefty: [to Annette, after having been sent for] And listen to me, if Donnie calls... , tell him... if it was gonna be anyone, I'm glad it was him. All right?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Holiday (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Love Machine
(1976)
Written by Warren Moore and William Griffin
Performed by The Miracles
Courtesy of Motown Record Company, L.P.
By Arrangement with Polygram Film & TV Licensing
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

An absorbing, well made gangster movie.
17 September 2003 | by (Todmorden, England) – See all my reviews

Mike Newell is the weirdest choice for director of a Mafia drama, but he actually makes a terrific fist of it, delivering one of the very best gangster movies ever made. Johnny Depp, Al Pacino, Anne Heche and Michael Madsen are all in top form in front of the camera, too.

Depp plays undercover FBI agent Joseph Pistone in this intriguing true story. Pistone is trying to infiltrate his way into a mob family in order to gather evidence against them. He assumes the identity of "Donnie Brasco" and slowly but surely earns the love and trust of an old-pro hit-man named Lefty Ruggiero (Pacino). As the months go by, Pistone's marriage begins to fall apart as he is away from his wife (Heche) pretty much all the time. The line between his real life and his undercover life blurs together and he finds himself dangerously close to being seduced by the violent Mob lifestyle.

Donnie Brasco is an extraordinary film in many ways. As already mentioned, the performances are note-perfect. But there's so much more to it than that. The late 70s period details are impeccably captured; the dialogue is extraordinarily raw and realistic; the moral dilemma facing Depp is achingly, agonisingly conveyed. It's such a powerful picture, completely involving, that by the end you find yourself wrapped up in Pistone's predicament, asking yourself what decisions you would make in the same circumstances. Very few movies genuinely inspire you to debate the whats, whys and wherefores of the main character and his actions... but with Donnie Brasco, that's just what you'll find yourself doing.


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