Donnie Brasco

Sony/Columbia Released 1997


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Movie Summary

Mike Newell

Donnie Brasco is an American mob and crime drama made in 1997 by Mike Newell and starring Johnny Depp, Al Pacino and Michael Maden. Based on a true story, the film follows FBI agent Joseph Pistone (Depp) a star agent in organized crime unit who goes in an undercover operation to infiltrate the notorious crime family, the Bonanno family. He takes the alias "Donnie Brasco" and is immediately befriended by Lefty Ruggiero (Pacino) a "made" hit man who's own life is unstable and on the brink of falling apart. Lefty introduces and adopts him to the family's life, vouching for him to the likes of Dominick "Sonny Black" Napolitano (Madsen), the dangerouscrime boss. After a few months of mafia life, the lines between that and his real one blur. He is pushed to the edge so much he has trouble losing himself to the life of crime, or being exposed. With his marriage on the rocks, and the FBI breathing down his back, he is forced to make a final decision of which path to chose. He also bears the guilt that when this inevitably ends, his new found family and Lefty, will be brought down hard. This incredible true story was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.



Metacritic Score

  • 90

    The New York Times Elvis Mitchell

    Crackling good... the best crime movie in a long while.

  • 70

    Variety Todd McCarthy

    The psychological dimensions of the story remain underrealized, but the loaded central premise and intimate focus the film sustains combine for a very involving and dramatic piece ...

  • 40

    Los Angeles Times Kenneth Turan

    That bland, opaque quality is a disadvantage here; whatever else [Depp] is capable of, making audiences feel his pain is not at the top of the list.

Michael Madsen

Michael Madsen

Sonny Black

Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp

Donnie Brasco / Joseph D. 'Joe' Pistone

Paul Giamatti

Paul Giamatti

FBI Technician

James Russo

James Russo


Robert Miano

Robert Miano

Sonny Red

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


More Info About This Movie


Crime, Cop Shows, Mobsters, Thrillers, keeping secrets