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Donnie Brasco (1997)

7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 192,630 users   Metascore: 76/100
Reviews: 223 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 | mole | 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:

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

Donnie bets his kids $20 that they can't get through breakfast without saying three words, and is daughter replies "you lose." The scene is based on a famous incident involving writer Dorothy Parker and President Calvin Coolidge, known as "Silent Cal" for his quiet manner and hatred of small talk. Parker, seated next to Coolidge, turned to him and said "Mr. Coolidge, I've made a bet against a fellow who said it was impossible to get more than two words out of you." Coolidge allegedly replied "You lose." See more »

Goofs

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

Quotes

Maggie Pistone: God, why do you hate me when I love you so much?
Donnie Brasco: You think I hate you? I don't hate you. This job is eating me alive. I can't breathe anymore. And if I come out, this guy Lefty dies. They're gonna kill him because he vouched for me. Because he stood up for me. I live with that every day. That's the same thing if I put the bullet through his head myself, you understand? I spend all these years trying to be the good guy, you know? The man in the white fuckin' hat. For what? For nuthin'. I'm not ...
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Donnie Darko (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Deep Purple
(1933)
Written by Mitchell Parish and Peter De Rose
Performed by Vic Damone
Courtesy of Columbia Records
By Arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
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
Why go to your death? ladydesdemonna
anyone else wish the movie ended with lefty closing the door? devilsplaythang
Pacino or Depp? sobol4ever-1
Why the hell did the FBI agent show Donnie's FBI photos to the mob? brobb-3
Was Lefty going to kill Donnie.... jonesmorrell
in the begining of the movie,,, just wondering ransid86
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