7.8/10
250,834
236 user 124 critic

Donnie Brasco (1997)

Trailer
1:30 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
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 »
Reviews
Popularity
2,676 ( 140)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Carlito's Way (1993)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A Puerto Rican former convict, just released from prison, pledges to stay away from drugs and violence despite the pressure around him and lead on to a better life outside of N.Y.C.

Director: Brian De Palma
Stars: Al Pacino, Sean Penn, Penelope Ann Miller
Blow (2001)
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

The story of how George Jung, along with the Medellín Cartel headed by Pablo Escobar, established the American cocaine market in the 1970s in the United States.

Director: Ted Demme
Stars: Johnny Depp, Penélope Cruz, Franka Potente
Serpico (1973)
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

An honest New York cop named Frank Serpico blows the whistle on rampant corruption in the force only to have his comrades turn against him.

Director: Sidney Lumet
Stars: Al Pacino, John Randolph, Jack Kehoe
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

An exceptionally adept Florida lawyer is offered a job at a high-end New York City law firm with a high-end boss - the biggest opportunity of his career to date.

Director: Taylor Hackford
Stars: Keanu Reeves, Al Pacino, Charlize Theron
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A prep school student needing money agrees to "babysit" a blind man, but the job is not at all what he anticipated.

Director: Martin Brest
Stars: Al Pacino, Chris O'Donnell, James Rebhorn
A Bronx Tale (1993)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A father becomes worried when a local gangster befriends his son in the Bronx in the 1960s.

Director: Robert De Niro
Stars: Robert De Niro, Chazz Palminteri, Lillo Brancato
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A man robs a bank to pay for his lover's operation; it turns into a hostage situation and a media circus.

Director: Sidney Lumet
Stars: Al Pacino, John Cazale, Penelope Allen
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

During the era of Prohibition in the United States, federal agent Eliot Ness sets out to stop ruthless Chicago gangster Al Capone, and because of rampant corruption, assembles a small, hand-picked team to help him.

Director: Brian De Palma
Stars: Kevin Costner, Sean Connery, Robert De Niro
The Insider (1999)
Biography | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A research chemist comes under personal and professional attack when he decides to appear in a "60 Minutes" expose on Big Tobacco.

Director: Michael Mann
Stars: Russell Crowe, Al Pacino, Christopher Plummer
Insomnia (2002)
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Two Los Angeles homicide detectives are dispatched to a northern town where the sun doesn't set to investigate the methodical murder of a local teen.

Director: Christopher Nolan
Stars: Al Pacino, Robin Williams, Hilary Swank
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

In the midst of trying to legitimize his business dealings in New York City and Italy in 1979, aging Mafia Don Michael Corleone seeks to avow for his sins, while taking his nephew Vincent Mancini under his wing.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Stars: Al Pacino, Diane Keaton, Andy Garcia
Casino (1995)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A tale of greed, deception, money, power, and murder occur between two best friends: a mafia enforcer and a casino executive, compete against each other over a gambling empire, and over a fast living and fast loving socialite.

Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone, Joe Pesci
Edit

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
Edit

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 »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Italian | Japanese

Release Date:

28 February 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Brasco See more »

Edit

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 »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Joseph D. 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 six years. His family was moved across the country after nine months. He rarely saw them. See more »

Goofs

During one of Pistone's meetings with other FBI agents at Katz's Deli, several Hasidim are at the restaurant. Katz's is not kosher, so Hasidim would never eat there. See more »

Quotes

Joe Pistone: [to Maggie in their garage] All my life I've tried to be the good guy, the guy in the white fucking hat. And for what? For nothing. I'm not becoming like them; I am them.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Graceland: Guadalajara Dog (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Thump It Up
Written and Performed by Curt Sobel and Gary Schreiner
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

A good gangster film with strong emotional under currents
2 May 2004 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

In the late 1970's, FBI agent Joe Pistone poses as jewel expert Donnie Brasco to win the trust of ageing mob middleman Lefty Ruggiero. As time passes Donnie gets tighter and tighter into the mob, rising up when boss Sonny Black gets bumped up. While Donnie puts his life at risk, his real life crumbles as he never sees his wife or children. As he moves upwards, his friend Lefty is bypassed time and time again. As Donnie gets deeper, the FBI start to worry and want to extract him - something that cannot be done without exposing himself and condemning Lefty to death.

Now that Pirates of the Caribean has made him a bankable star as well as a good actor I decided to dig out some of my old Depp videos and watch them. I have been a Depp fan since the mid-90's when I saw Arizona Dream, Ed Wood and Don Juan all in a period of 6 months -I realised then that this was not only a very talented guy but also one who seemed happy to do whatever interested him rather than whatever was going to make money. This film is in a well known and fairly reliable genre - the Italian American gangster movie but has the strength that it is an engaging true story. The plot follows Joe as he gets in deeper, is suspected, gets involved in battles between bosses and eventually starts to lose himself and forget what side he is actually on. Even though this is a true story, it still basically goes where we expect mob films to go, but it manages to rise above the clichés by having some very good characters and emotional themes.

The whole gangster thing works and is gripping, but it is the relationship dynamics between Joe and Lefty that made it more interesting. The element of going `native' when undercover has been done plenty of times, but it is the combination of this being fact and Depp's great performance that makes it work well here; we feel for Joe a great deal. On the flipside the film also allows us to feel for the mob, or at least one of them. The majority of the mobsters are the usual stereotypes but Lefty is written with a great deal of sympathy - he is a middleman, taking the risks, doing the dirt but always passed over and having to beg money to keep his bosses happy. These are tragic characters and the film is not the slightly glamorous gangster lifestyle that Pacino has experienced in his Godfather roles. These two characters are well written and it is their subplots that makes the film better than the central plot (which itself is also very good).

Depp is good and his performance is solid even if it doesn't really rank up their with his best - he lacks his usual flair but he gives the material it's dues. Pacino is of course, wonderful. His character is a far cry from his Godfather work and he manages to bring such pathos to Lefty that it is impossible not to feel for him. The support cast may not have as much in the way of character but they all do well in their roles. Madsen, Kirby, Ivanek, Heche, Miano and others all give good support, but it is Pacino and Depp's film - which is a good thing.

Overall, the fact that this is a true story makes it more interesting but, while I was watching it I wasn't really thinking about it and was just enjoying the gangster film itself. The basic story is a well worn one but is still delivery well by Newell (who was a very unusual choice for director), but it is the emotion threads involving Joe and Lefty that make the film much more than just another gangster film.


113 of 132 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 236 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed