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Donnie Brasco (1997)

R  |   |  Biography, Crime, Drama  |  28 February 1997 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 211,987 users   Metascore: 76/100
Reviews: 232 user | 112 critic | 21 from

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



(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 overview, first billed only:
Tim Curley (as Zeljko Ivanek)
Walt MacPherson ...
Ronnie Farer ...


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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


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:





| |

Release Date:

28 February 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Brasco  »

Box Office


$35,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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


$41,954,997 (USA) (13 June 1997)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (extended cut)

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


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 »


The shaving cream on Jilly, who gives Donnie the thumbs up, changes between shots. See more »


Lefty: A wise guy's always right; even when he's wrong, he's right.
See more »


Referenced in Person of Interest: The Perfect Mark (2013) See more »


(The Gang That Sang) Heart of My Heart
Written by Ben Ryan
Performed by Lou Monte
Courtesy of The RCA Records Label of BMG Entertainment
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A deeply moving and beautiful movie.
13 November 1998 | by (Essex, England) – See all my reviews

I read movie magazines regulary and I came across a review for "Donnie Brasco". I read it and thought "I would like to see that". It isn't really a well known film and I didn't remember it coming out in the cinema. So there I saw it, in my local video rental store, near the bottom shelf and just one copy. I rented it and I watched it. And I have to say it is one of the finest movies I had ever seen. It has drama, comedy, sadness and violence and continues to entertain the viewer until the opening of the end credits.

The beauty of the film is that although Pacino plays a member of the mob you end up with sympathy with him due to his loyalty to Donnie (Depp). Pacino plays Lefty well. The movie is very funny in parts and sad in others. Lefty is a very funny character and is hard not to like. Michael Madsen is my favourite actor and although you don't see enough of Sonny Black in contrast to his importance in the book, what you do see of him is enjoyable. Although the film ends differently to that in the book it shows the workings of the mafia well. A splendid over-looked movie with a great cast and an atmosphere that drags you in. Yet you have to read the brilliant book to get the full story.

67 of 81 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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