Donnie Brasco

Donnie Brasco

4.2 8
Director: Mike Newell

Cast: Johnny Depp, Al Pacino, Michael Madsen

     
 

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This drama about an undercover cop who learns the hidden dangers of working his way inside the mob was based on a true story. Joe Pistone (Johnny Depp) is an FBI agent who is given an assignment to infiltrate the Mafia; calling himself Donnie Brasco, he befriends Lefty Ruggiero (Al Pacino), a low-level mob hit man whose personal life is in tatters. Lefty's marriage is… See more details below

Overview

This drama about an undercover cop who learns the hidden dangers of working his way inside the mob was based on a true story. Joe Pistone (Johnny Depp) is an FBI agent who is given an assignment to infiltrate the Mafia; calling himself Donnie Brasco, he befriends Lefty Ruggiero (Al Pacino), a low-level mob hit man whose personal life is in tatters. Lefty's marriage is falling apart, his son is a junkie, and his health is failing, which only adds to his growing disillusionment about having spent 30 years with the Mafia (and killing 26 people) with little to show for it. But in Donnie, Lefty sees someone who can succeed where he failed; he takes the young man under his wing, and under Lefty's tutelage Donnie quickly rises through the ranks of organized crime; however, the longer he plays the role of the gangster, the more Joe Pistone finds himself becoming Donnie Brasco in his increasingly rare off hours; it drives a wedge between himself and his wife (Anne Heche) and children, and Joe realizes that a break in character among the hoodlums he's come to know could mean a death sentence for himself and his family. Just as importantly, Joe has come to regard Lefty as a close and trusted friend, and Joe realizes that when the day comes where he has to turn in his Mob associates, he'll be ending Lefty's life as surely as if he put a slug in his head himself. The supporting cast includes Michael Madsen as Sonny, Lefty's boss, and Bruno Kirby as Nicky, one of Sonny's henchmen. The real-life Joe Pistone today lives under an assumed name with a 500,000-dollar contract on his life still in effect.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Johnny Depp plays an undercover FBI agent who infiltrates the New York Mafia in this real-life crime thriller based on the memoirs of racket buster Joseph Pistone. It's Depp's least quirky starring role to date, and he's surprisingly effective in it. Donnie Brasco paints a realistic, uncompromising picture of mob life not unlike Martin Scorsese's Good Fellas, although Mike Newell's direction avoids stark melodrama and injects humanity into the mobsters whenever possible. His approach is justified by the remarkable work of Al Pacino, whose portrayal of a minor soldier overshadows Depp's generally subtle acting in the lead. Pacino is utterly convincing as a none-too-bright thug who values camaraderie and loyalty, and more than a few viewers will empathize with him. Anne Heche, given limited screen time, is also effective as Donnie's long-suffering wife, who fears for her husband's safety as he becomes deeply involved with the mobsters. Well scripted, with fine actors interpreting colorfully drawn characters, Donnie Brasco makes a welcome addition to the gangster-movie canon. The Special Edition DVD is loaded with extras that include theatrical trailers, deleted scenes, an isolated music score, a weblink and an exclusive featurette entitled "Donnie Brasco: Out From the Shadows."
All Movie Guide
Focusing on the nuts-and-bolts world of an everyday mobster and the undercover cop with whom he forms a doomed camaraderie, Donnie Brasco achieves an accessible mix of entertainment and reality. Director Mike Newell was previously best-known for the romantic comedy Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994), and he admirably switches gears without losing his knack for character-driven storytelling. Johnny Depp proves his versatility in the lead role of a family-man cop whose made-up mobster alter ego gains him acceptance in The Family; opposite him, Al Pacino crafts a fascinating, world-weary gangster, distinct from the mobsters he's played in the past. His Lefty is a far cry from the slick, bright Michael Corleone, but the character eventually comes to the similar realization that life among wise guys doesn't always translate into a life of wise decisions.

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Product Details

Release Date:
02/03/1998
UPC:
0043396825130
Original Release:
1997
Rating:
R
Source:
Sony Pictures

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Johnny Depp Donnie Brasco/Joe Pistone
Al Pacino Lefty Ruggiero
Michael Madsen Sonny Black
Bruno Kirby Nicky
James Russo Paulie
Anne Heche Maggie Pistone
Robert Miano Sonny Red
Brian Tarantina Bruno
Gerry Becker Dean Blandford
Zeljko Ivanek Tim Curley
Paul Giamatti FBI Worker
Zach Grenier Dr. Berger

Technical Credits
Mike Newell Director
Paul Attanasio Screenwriter
Aude Bronson-Howard Costumes/Costume Designer
Donald Graham Burt Production Designer
Patrick Doyle Songwriter
Louis Di Giaimo Casting,Producer
Brett Goldstein Casting
Alan Greenspan Executive Producer
Jon Gregory Editor
Mark Johnson Producer
Barry Levinson Producer
Tod A. Maitland Sound/Sound Designer
Patrick McCormick Executive Producer
Gail Mutrux Producer
Leslie Pope Set Decoration/Design
Joseph P. Reidy Asst. Director
David C. Robinson Costumes/Costume Designer
Jefferson Sage Art Director
Peter Sova Cinematographer

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