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Donnie Brasco (1997)

7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 181,150 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:

Donnie Brasco. Based On A True Story. 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:

| |

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

Lefty's real name is Benjamin, which means "son of the right hand" in Hebrew. See more »

Goofs

In the car, Lefty shows Donnie a newspaper photo of the Carmine Galante crime scene. In the next scene, they pull up to Sonny's club, and small piles of snow are on the sidewalk. Galante was killed in July 1979, so there should be no snow on the ground. See more »

Quotes

Lefty: When they send for you, you go in alive, you come out dead, and it's your best friend that does it.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Sopranos: A Hit Is a Hit (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Dance with Me
(1977)
Written by Peter H. Brown (as Peter Brown) and Robert Rans
Performed by Peter H. Brown (as Peter Brown)
Courtesy of Rhino Records
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Superb mafia drama. Deeper, and rings truer than most.
11 March 2004 | by (Oz) – See all my reviews

First rate mafia drama connects on a deeper level than most. Its cinematography may not have the moody, noirish atmosphere that makes The Godfather so appealing, but despite its slick Hollywood look, it seems to attain such penetrating truth (this, perhaps, has a little to do with its being based on a book by the real life main character). The central situation of the aging mafia man taking under his confidence and vouching for an undercover FBI agent, and that a bond forms between the two men is a great one. The performances are absolutely superb. Particularly the two men who the story centres on, Joe Pistone, a.k.a Donnie Brasco (Johnny Depp, going for realism in this role, is incredible. It begins and ends with a closeup of his eyes - this movie would be nothing without him) and mafia man "Lefty" (Pacino, who gives us one of his finest characterisations - best bit, his close-up after Donnie is asked to shake hands by a certain character on a certain boat). The vividness of the characters in this movie seems to owe a great deal to the superb screenplay (again, credit to the real-life source material). Recurring catch-phrases make it easy for us to get to know characters, and wonderful little touches give the story such a resonance, and make it ring true: like Lefty's smoking inside the car when driving with Brasco and accusing Brasco of trying to kill him with the draft when he opens a window to let some smoke out, and the portrait of Lefty, the opposite of how we imagine a mafia veteran, as a vulnerable, often emotional man.

Deserves at least four stars. Recommended to anyone (except, obviously kids, for a few scenes unsuitable to them).


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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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