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Donnie Brasco (1997)

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

Director:

Mike Newell

Writers:

Joseph D. Pistone (book), Richard Woodley (book) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
2,565 ( 153)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Al Pacino ... Lefty
Johnny Depp ... Donnie
Michael Madsen ... Sonny
Bruno Kirby ... Nicky
James Russo ... Paulie
Anne Heche ... Maggie
Zeljko Ivanek ... Tim Curley (as Zeljko Ivanek)
Gerry Becker ... Dean Blandford FBI
Robert Miano ... Sonny Red
Brian Tarantina ... Bruno
Rocco Sisto ... Richie Gazzo
Zach Grenier ... Dr. Berger
Walt MacPherson Walt MacPherson ... Sheriff
Ronnie Farer Ronnie Farer ... Annette
Terry Serpico ... Strip Club Owner
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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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Italian | Japanese

Release Date:

28 February 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Brasco See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$35,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$11,660,216, 2 March 1997, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$41,909,762

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$124,909,762
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (extended cut)

Sound Mix:

SDDS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Mike Newell recalled that the first scene Pacino and Depp had together was a scene in a car where they discuss 'Lefty' possibly getting out of the mob at 'Pistone's' suggestion. During several takes, Depp would fart very loudly, ruining the scene and causing Pacino to become increasingly angry with Depp. Eventually, Depp reached under his seat and pulled out a whoopee cushion that he had been using. Pacino broke up laughing and Newell realised it was Depp's intention to break the ice and tension between the actors and the two stars subsequently had a close relationship and friendship for the rest of the shoot. 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 Donnie's while in his car] Who the fuck am I? Who am I? I'm a, a spoke on a wheel. And so was he, and so are you.
See more »

Connections

References Scarface (1983) See more »

Soundtracks

The Tranquil Prairie
Written and Performed by Curt Sobel
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
one scene really gives us a leg up on everything
25 May 2006 | by lee_eisenbergSee all my reviews

On one level, "Donnie Brasco" might just look like another mafia movie. But it's not. It tells the story of FBI agent Joe Pistone (Johnny Depp), who in the late 1970s was hired to infiltrate the mafia. So, he got acquainted with hit-man Benjamin "Lefty" Ruggiero (Al Pacino). But lo and behold, Joe got too much into the mafia lifestyle, to the point where it dominated his life and kept him from his family. And no one ended up with a very good reward at the end.

Both Depp and Pacino are about as intense as we expect them to be, with good support from Michael Madsen, Bruno Kirby, James Russo, Anne Heche and Zeljko Ivanek. With his hair all greased back, Depp looks like the ultimate mafioso. I should identify that there are two scenes that will probably make your skin crawl: the leg scene, and what they do to the Japanese waiter.

But don't get me wrong. This is a really good movie. It's certainly a less glamorized view of mafia life than most of Al Pacino's movies, and Johnny Depp was certainly showing the same flair for acting that he has brought to the screen for the past 16 years. Very well done.


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