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Donnie Brasco
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Customer Reviews:

  • Donnie rules! Three thumbs up.
    It's a good freakin' film, fuhgedaboudit! If you love Goodfellas, you'll really like Donnie Brasco....more info
  • NOT SO GOOD FELLAS
    DONNIE BRASCO is a highly accurate and in depth look at the complexities involved in undercover police work. Based on the true story of Joe Pistone, BRASCO gives us an excellent cast, headed by Al Pacino and Johnny Depp, in showing us the underworld of the Mafia through the eyes of the guys on the lower end of the stick. Depp in his undercover role as a wiseguy to Pacino, endangers his married life (Anne Heche in a strong performance), and finds himself becoming attached to Pacino, in spite of what he knows is going to happen in the future. Michael Madsen gives one of his best performances as Johnny Black, a mover who wants to take Depp away from Pacino. The film's complexities question Depp's role, especially when he tries to get Pacino to get out of the picture. Pacino is brilliant and manages to make a guy who has killed over 25 people sympathetic, and Depp is amazing in this unusual role, giving Brasco the audience's compassion in his role of the betrayer. A fine gangster film well directed by Mike Newell....more info
  • Read the book, the movie does a great job
    You know it really shows what a Class-A type of guy Pacino is (don't get me started on how much he is a bad ass, I love the guy!) he humbles himself from going from the top mobster ever (Michael Corleone) to a mere soldier (Lefty Ruggerio). Awesome acting, captivating story, Depp does an remarkable job as Pistone, I highly recommend the film. ...more info
  • "WHEN THERE IS WORK TO BE DONE.... CALL LEFTY" EVEN THE GODFATHER HIMSELF WAS INTIMIDATED..............
    Filmed entirely in NYC and some in N.J. "Donnie Brasco" is one suspensful realistic gangster film. Excellent classical soundtrack by composer Patrick Doyle. Great acting from Al Pacino and Johnny Depp portraying real life gangster Benjamin Ruggierio, and N.Y.P.D. officer Joeseph D. Pistone. I swear at times watching this movie Pacino and Depp were the charachters and forgot that these superstar actors were acting. The late Bruno Kirby plays an excellent but lovable gangster. Mike Madsen plays a tough authentic, believable Boss Sonny Black. The story for "Donnie Brasco" was taken from the real eyewitness, and experiences of former cop Joe D. Pistone. From what I've read, and from what I've seen on tv documentaries on the real "Donnie Brasco", this movie is portrayed as close to the eyewitness accounts and experiences of Joseph D. Pistone as possibly could be portrayed. Director Mike Newell did an incredible job not only directing, but going to the real Little Italy in Manhatten and speaking to real life gangsters to get a real feel of the life that real mobsters lead. Newell really did his research on Donnie Brasco, as the result is one fine realistic gangster movie. Believe me there is nothing Hollywwood about this gangster movie. "Donnie Brasco" may not be as good as "The Godfather" movies or "Goodfellas" but as I will tell you, it is more authentic than any of the afore mentioned movies. Donnie Brasco is gory at times. There is a scene were Donnie (officer Joe D. Pistone) was forced to cut up dead human bodies to get rid of the evidence. During this time, when the real Joseph D. Pistone was undercover (1976-1981) real gangsters in NYC were performing these horrible acts. During these times real life gangsters like Roy Demeo and his Gang were performing these violent acts at will and made quite a name for themselves in La Cosa Nostra. Even the N.Y.C. Godfather himself Paul Castellano was very intimidated by the likes of Roy Demeo and his savage gang. Castellano although intimidated, tolerated Demeo for his awesome earning rackets. "Donnie Brasco" brings this horrific gangster act to life as well as the illegal money rackets going on at this time. Director Mike Newell read up on Roy Demeo and his Gang and brought their actions to the screen and left Hollywood make believe far behind. All I can say is watching "Donnie Brasco" made me see the guts undercover officer Joseph D. Pistone had. It really took a special person to do what Joe did. For all his troubles, all Pistone got was a $500.00 check, a medal and a several year stay in the Witness Protection Program. Joe D. Pistone lives in annomity today as there is still a price on his head. "Donnie Brasco" is highly recommended viewing as it is portrayed realistically and authentically. Director Mike Newell definintly left the hollywood gangster out of this film........
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  • Blu-ray classic
    I loved this movie on standard DVD but the difference the High Def transfer makes is breath taking The blacks are ink blank, the sets and surroundings really pop out at you. A must have for high def customers...more info
  • Depp stirkes again
    This movie is based on a true story, and so gives us morally conflicted characters-too morally conflicted, if I can be picky (and I can). I like realism in a movie, but not at the expense of a good story, and while the descent of FBI agent into the world of mobsters is compelling, the end of the movie doesn't wrap up in the nice package I would have liked. I do recall being really interested in the particulars of how Depp infiltrates the mob, and I think that revealing those details is what the film has to offer. Depp and Pacino both give solid performances....more info
  • Fantastic Flick!
    If you like mob movies this one is for you! Johnny Depp's best....more info
  • Pales
    Viewing this movie shortly after seeing "Goodfellas" and two years worth of "The Sopranos" may have been an error on my part. "Donnie Brasco" just isn't as good. I can't put it in simpler terms. All of the Sopranos characters are three dimensional, and one develops a certain empathy for them, if not admiration of their values. They laugh, live, drink, live. The same for Goodfellas. There is nothing even two dinensional in Brasco. Not one of the characters ever breaks from the fake tough guy scowl.

    The acting isn't the problem. The movie has a fine cast. The flaw is in the writing. For example, the character played by Al Pacino is a petty, small time cog in the mob, from start to finish, with one notable moment. Brasco doesn't really change much from an FBI agent, trying to pass as a criminal.

    In short, I just wasn't convinced in the sense that I am convinced by Tony Soprano et al. or by the trio of comrades in arms in Goodfellas. Perhaps I would have had a higher regard for the subject film if there were not much, much better films about the mob. Forgettaboutit....more info
  • One of the best movies of all time
    "Donnie Brasco" is definitely one of my top 10 movies. It's not so much because it's a movie about the Mafia, but because the humanizing performance both Pacino and Depp give in this memorable film.

    Of course, the story is simply great -- and made for the movies -- because it's based on a true story. Some of the events seem a little farfetched; e.g., when Lefty queries Donnie about the boat and then just walks away from it. But somehow, the film never loses its magnetism, as it keeps the audience guessing and worrying about the agent's fate, and Lefty's fate.

    Pacino's performance here is one of his best. There's a bit of over-acting in some scenes, but overall, he makes Lefty a likeable mobster that we even come to pity and root for. Pacino just seems to much more believable as Lefty than godfather in "Godfather 3." Depp's performance as the undercover agent is also strong, but lacks some depth.

    BTW, whether you liked this film or not, you should definitely read the book, "Donnie Brasco," written by the FBI agent. The film is actually very different from the book. I won't give anything away, since both the film and book are totally worthwhile....more info
  • the mafia, from the grotty, nickle and dime perspective
    This is one of the great realist mafia films: you see guys in stalled "careers" making bad decisions and desperate to score in order to placate greedy bosses. Their world is dangerous and empty, utterly lacking in trust and glamour. Enter Donnie, who exploits a mark's frustrations and some of the good side of his character, an older man who is willing to mentor him in the ways of the wise guys. While you catch glimpses of the bosses, who exude an arrogant malevolence, it is all about their bag boys, the "spokes on the wheel." There is nothing romantic about their world.

    The acting in this film is truly superb, in particular the chemistry between Pacino and Depp. Warmly recommended....more info
  • Deep Inside the Mob
    The depth of feeling, the subtlety of expression in the acting of Al Pacino, Johnny Depp, and Anne Heche--and many others--in this extraordinary film has no equal in any other film about organized crime that I know of. While other gangster films--even some of the best--seem to worship violence, romanticize thuggery, and idealize both good and evil, this one tells the story of real, complex people struggling with their real, complicated lives. The fact that those lives do not resemble ours very much at all makes the film fascinating, but not foreign or artificial in any way. It may be that Donnie Brasco is less well-known than it should be because it bursts the bounds of its genre....more info
  • This is pretty much the worst movie I've ever seen
    This was one of the worst movies I've ever seen. The dialog was unbearable. I felt embarrassed for the director, actors, etc. as I watched it. I can't believe a piece of trash like this has gotten such good reviews. Aside from unrealistic plot points, idiotic characters, and ugly script, there are simple technical mistakes, including a camera flash going off during the scene when Madsen threatens to 'wack' Depp. Also there are several continuity errors through the film that made me literally cringe. Lastly, the score for the film is ridiculously overbearing through the entire film. It was as if it had been composed for some B horror flick. This is my advice, take Donnie Brasco and put it back on the shelf and find a copy of Good Fellas if you want to see a great mob film.GoodFellas...more info
  • SENSATIONAL MOB FLICK...GRIM AND GRITTY...
    This griity and grim mob flick, deftly directed by Mike Newell, is based upon the true story of FBI undercover, Joe Pistone, who. as his alter ego "Donnie Brasco", infiltrated the mob for a number of years, resulting in its eventual decimation. So artfully did the real Joe Pistone infiltrate and so well did he do his job, that he and his family were obliged to enter the witness protection program for their safety, as a contract was ultimately put out on Joe Pistone's life.

    Here, Johnny Depp, plays the role of Joe Pistone/Donnie Brasco. He is terrific in the role, and the viewer watches him become absorbed by the lifestyle of the mobsters with whom he associates. He is befriended by "Lefty" Ruggierro, artfully played Al Pacino. Shifty and
    common, "Lefty" typifies your low level made guy, the guy on the fringes doing the dirty work, a real bottom feeder. He is the guy who does the hits, and he is the guy the higher ups look to whack when something goes wrong. It is not an enviable or glamourous life, as has been made out by other films, such as the "Godfather" and "Goodfellas". The existence of "Lefty" and the legions like him is gritty and grim, always a bridesmaid and never a bride.

    "Lefty" takes Brasco under his wing and vouches for him. He shows Brasco the ABCs of becoming a "made" guy. "Lefty" himself wants to move up in the mob hierarchy. It soon becomes painfully obvious that that ain't gonna happen. One cannot help feel a little sorry for "Lefty", so limited is his world view and so at the mercy of others. Still, "Lefty" gives Donnie some invaluable lessons on mob etiquette. He also unburdens himself to Donnie, treating him as if he were his adopted son. The bond between the two men grows. As this happens, Donnie finds himself being pulled more and more into the world of mobsters, until his old and new reality begin to merge.

    As he distances himself drom his wife (Anne Heche) and family, Brasco is thrust into a maelstrom of mob violence that threatens to tear him apart and consume him. He tries to get "Lefty" to go straight and retire, in hope of avoiding his betrayal. It is to no avail. Brasco, in for a penny, in for a pound, now stands to become a "made" guy himself. It is only at the eleventh hour that an intervention set up by the FBI plays itself out, setting up the betrayal of "Lefty". It is a sad moment for Brasco, as he knows that "Lefty" has just been handed a death sentence at the hands of the mob for vouching for an FBI agent. It is Brasco's ultimate salvation, however, as he was on the brink of committing an unpardonable act, one in which he would have crossed the line and from which there would have been no turning back. It is a decision that was, luckily for him, taken out of his hands.

    Al Pacino gives the defining, superlative performance in this film. Anne Heche is sensational as the put upon, concerned wife, who watches her husband change into someone she can barely recognize. Johnny Depp, likewise, gives a stellar performance as the angst ridden FBI undercover agent. All in all, a terrific film with a stellar cast and well worth having in one's collection....more info
  • Great movie; unusually prescient commentary
    It is hard to believe the best organized crime movie set in the U.S. would be directed by a British director, but that is exactly what you find here. Donnie Brasco eschews the melodrama of lots of mafia films and creates a personal, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and social film all in one--and to top it off it's aesthetically brilliant, and Al Pacino reaches somewhere (not sure where) and creates the most on target portrayal he or just about any actor has done on film. I say this as an actor--and serious actors can tell when an actor 'gets it' or not. It's not clear whether Mike Newell helped him, but Newell provides a min-course in film directing through his commentary--it's the best commentary I've ever heard--and demonstrates, despite what critics don't like to admit (or perhaps don't want to know)that an articulate artist can explicate a work of art better than a critic who is not an artist. This is not an anti-critic rant; just an observation I've made from reading both sides of the equation. ...more info
  • A Gangster Film To Not Fuggedabout
    With all of the gangster films that have come out over the years my first reaction to "Donnie Brasco" was "Oh, no! Not another one!" Mike Newell's film is an original addition to a genre that has been mined many times but as proven here still has some life to it. Johnny Depp portrays Joe Pistone, an F.B.I. operative who goes undercover to infiltrate the mob using the alias Donnie Brasco. He is taken under the wing by Lefty Ruggiero(Al Pacino), a mob lifer who has spent his career on the fringes of the organization without being made. Through this association Pistone gains access to other aspects of the mob. The film deftly portrays the pressures that Pistone faces from his activities undercover and the strain that it is putting on his home life. Also, you can a sense that Pistone is starting to enjoy his life as Donnie Brasco. Depp adds another great character to his evergrowing gallery of great performances without overplaying it. Pacino, who has assayed this genre many times, gives a low-keyed effective performance. One can feel a sense of empathy for his character for all the disappointments in his life. Michael Madsen also delivers a chilling performance as mobster Sonny Black....more info
  • WOW!
    What else can I say that hasn't already been said? I only just got into Johnny Depp late last year and I've been trying to see the many different roles that he's played over the years. Depp turns in one OUTSTANDING performance as FBI agent Joseph D. Pistone a.k.a Donnie Brasco. He gets accepted into a mob family and soon becomes "like them". This was my first film I've seen of Al Pacino's. Pacino was fantastic as Lefty Ruggiero. Both lead actors turned in the most amazing performances, I was so happy! I loved this movie so much! It was actually the first mob film I've seen. I also liked Michael Madsen's performance as Sonny Black, he was great! This is a must buy for any Pacino or Depp fan!...more info
  • MOBSTER MORALITY
    Well, the acting is great but the acting in the film is not what I intend to write on.

    With Donnie Brasco we have one more film attempting to paint mobsters as moral and honorable. The primary mobster in this film is named Lefty who is played by Al Pacino. Lefty is a man who by his admission has murdered 26 men. Despite this fact Pacino and director Mike Newell go to great length attempting to demonstrate Lefty's honorable character.

    In the Special Edition DVD of this film Newell provides a commentary. One of the things he speaks about is how the film is a tragedy because it show Donnie Brasco's moral center being corrupted by associating with the mosters he is assigned to bring down. I believe, however, that the true tragedy is the lengths that films such as this one and many others go to attempt to portray members of organized crime who have no problems with taking human life as decent and even normal individuals. Could that not be a tragedy worth a film of its own?

    To further support the fact which I am attempting to exress Newell admits or even brags on the commentary that while filming Donnie Brasco they had a mobster on staff. Although I find this shocking I do not find it as shocking as the fact that Newell has appears to have no ethical problem with this.
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  • A great film that got me thinking...Can it be that easy to infiltrate the Mafia
    Just kidding, that aside, i watched this simply because of the fact that it is based on a true story. It's not more of 'a' true story but the most infamous story in American history. I noticed that 'true stories' that are diverted into films always become some of the most epic films ever seen, and sometimes it can be embarassing i.e Ed Wood and Pollock. Donnie Brasco, maybe one of the most famed and celebrated films of the late 90s was also the most brilliantly acted from the entire cast. From extras to supporting roles such as the fantastic Michael Madsen and his rendition of Sonny Black.

    The story is fast paced, often changing the relationship between characters and bringing out the actors out of their shells to purly shine. This is not a big review because there's not much to say but that this is truly fine work and one of the most unforgettable and controversial stories in the United States. ...more info
  • Great Movie, got even Better!
    I have owned this movie in the past, but it was on VHS!
    This is how the movie was meant to be seen and heard! The Picture Quality is top notch, and the Uncompressed Audio track makes this Movie felt and heard!

    After 10 yrs the picture was awesome, my wife even commented on the clarity, which always helps justify a purchase!

    If you haven't seen this in awhile, get the Blu-Ray! It is well worth it!...more info
  • True, but Sad Movie.
    Sorry, but I did not like this movie. It was sad more than anything. I know Lefty was a killer and criminal, I could not help but feel sorry for him when he realized that his pal, "Donnie" was really an undercover officer. He had to play it off in front of his associates like it was nothing. The saddest part was when he realized that they were going to come get him, so he tells his wife to tell "donnie" that he liked working with him and doesn't regret it just in case he were to call. Then he goes into the next room to leave his watch, wallet, and some stuff behind for his wife before leaving their home because he could not tell her what was going down, and just had to face the inevitable. I know that he was a criminal, but it was still too sad to watch.

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  • Lefty And "Don The Jeweler"
    As real as it gets and the ultimate mafia film based on the real life story of undercover FBI agent Joseph Pistone. Two of Hollywood's great character actors go at it head to head in a life of syndicate crime in the big city, - Al Pacino and Johnny Depp give outstanding gangster performances as Lefty Ruggiero(Pacino) and Joe Pistone, alias - Don the jeweler(Depp),and Pistone's wife is played out brilliantly by Anne Heche, and a fine surrounding supporting cast gives us a realistic idea what it takes to survive in the mob and as a law enforcer playing on the inside of their deadly game. The real Joe Pistone was so caught up and involved with the mafia, Pistone was hesitant to leave ,of course now there's a big price on his head,a must see and own film,this special edition of DONNIE BRASCO is loaded with extras and an interview with Joe Pistone,1997,16x9 widescreen....more info
  • "Forget about it", you'll love this one!
    This is one of my favorite Depp or Pacino movies. These two make a great mob/ wiseguy flick that delivers on all fronts. Good suspense, great acting, great plot, and its all based on a true story. Not to mention the sound and picture quality on this edition! If you like mob or gangster movies and you have an HDTV, then you owe it to yourself to pick up a copy of this release, pronto!...more info
  • Successfully blends fact & fiction
    After reading Joseph Pistone's wonderful book Donnie Brasco I couldn't wait to see this movie. Although this movie is based on Pistone's book, many scenes are fiction. The main difference between the book & the movie is that it WAS NOT Lefty Ruggiero that Pistone became so close to, it was Sonny Black. That's okay, though, this movie is very entertaining & features an outstanding cast: Johnny Depp, Al Pacino, Anne Heche (who gets FAR too little screen time but is terrific nevertheless), & especially Michael Madsen, who's one of my favorite actors. The acting is great, the script is believable, & the music is fabulous. Johnny Depp gives one of his best performances & Al Pacino is awesome as usual. The special edition dvd has two brief but informative documentaries as well as deleted scenes, director's commentary, photo gallery, & trailers. For those that enjoy mafia movies this is an absolute must-have....more info
  • What, no Oscar?
    What? No Oscar? That was my reaction the first time I watched DONNIE BRASCO, a gritty true story about FBI agent Joe Pistone, who infiltrated the New York mafia, at the risk of his life and his family. Johnny Depp gives a top performance in the title role as Pistone assumes the identity of Donny Brasco, a jewel broker who spends two years workingn his way into the confidence of Lefty Ruggiero (Al Pacino.)

    The best overall strength of this fine film is it's honesty in de-glamorizing mob life and showing the wise guys as struggling to earn, not having a fun-fun-fun crime spree. Brutal murders and the equally brutal economy of late 70's NYC seem to compliment each other.

    BRASCO also has a touching soundtrack and interesting cinematography, which often mimics surveillance camera work.

    But the best element of this fine film is Al Pacino's role. He turns Lefty, a mob soldier who has killed over two dozen men, into a rather sad and totally sympathetic character. You'll quite possibly cry at the end.

    If you have any interest at all in the mobster flick genre, you must get this opus. The DVD has some fine extra-- subtitles, deleted scenes, interviews, original trailers, etc. Do order it!...more info
  • MASTERPIECE.
    This movie is exceptional. Nothing, absolutely nothing and no one falters in this film except for the acadamy for not recognizing it. Mike Newell did a marvelous job and the actors are superb. I've always admired Pacino as an actor and his choices but here in this film he is a true artist. This performance proves that Pacino's talents are truly a gift and are limitless. And Johnny Depp what a terrific surprise. I knew he was talented with the roles he's played but he's finally a grown up here and showing such grown up abilites. I loved watching him and Pacino together. Their chemistry is amazing. Like I said this movie is a masterpiece. Its real, its deep and its special. This movie should have given Pacino his second oscar and Johnny Depp his first. Cause its a winner!...more info
  • Donnie Brasco
    Based on the real-life Joe Pistone's memoirs, Mike Newell's "Donnie Brasco" offers one of the freshest takes on the gangster film since "GoodFellas," capturing gritty street life in 1970s New York City as well as the melancholy mood of the times. In one of the great roles of his late career, Pacino excels as Mafia nobody Lefty, combining a wise guy's street swagger with a loving, fatherly air as he takes Donnie under his wing. Depp is equally strong as the conflicted cop, dutifully mining information but increasingly strained by his dual life--so much so that the cracks start showing. A gritty, poignant drama of divided loyalties....more info
  • Classic
    What a combo. When this movie was made, Depp was emerging as a truly great actor, alongside the great Al Pacino. Fantastic!...more info
  • Donnie Brasco Movie ~ DVD
    WOW!!! To these two actors!! This movie really brings out Johnny Depps acting ability. If you like Goodfellows you will absolutely love this movie. Grab a bowl of popcorn, a soda, and get ready for the adventure it takes you one. Mafia at it's best. ...more info
  • A look at the inner-workings of la cosa nostra

    This film portrays a realistic look at the inner-workings of the Mafia, where respect is earned and rats are burned. I would argue that it is good that it lacks the romanticism of the Godfather, b/c that film was a fairy tale.

    I was refreshed by the multidimensional role of lefty (played by Pacino). You see the hard-nosed street-toughened gangster and then you see a more vulnerable side to his character.
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  • Pacino and Depp in an under-rated Mob movie
    Usually when one thinks of Mafia movies, only the name of Scorsese and Coppola come up, but not this movie directed by the Brit Mike Newell (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire; The Awakening). Once again Pacino plays a mob figure but still it's quite different from Michael Corleone and Tony Montana--he's Lefty Ruggero, a small time loser/hood who hasn't quite achieved status in the mob, who has a girlfriend and a son who is a junkie. Into his world comes Joe Pistone (Johnny Depp) who poses as a jewel dealer but is in reality an FBI informer who insinuates himself into the mob when Lefty vouches for him. Not only that but Lefty in sense adopts him as his surrogate son by protecting and coaching him in the ways of the mob. More than just a gangland saga like "Goodfellows" or "The Godfather", "Donnie Brasco" is a intimate love story between two men which ends in tragedy and torment for both. For Pistone as "Donnie", it is that sooner or later he will betray Lefty and for Lefty, it's only a matter of time before he knows he'll be whacked. There are also solid portrayals by Michael Madsen, the late Bruno Kirby and James Russo as the wise guys. Also the Blu-ray is excellent in sound and visuals. Do pick this one up--you won't forgetabout it!! ...more info
  • Donnie Brasco
    It's a superb movie -- one of the best depicting the true picture and psyche of the mafia. Johnny Depp is oustanding and Al Pacino gives one of his best performances ever in this movie. ...more info
  • Loved it!
    Although I haven't read the book from which this movie is based on, I loved "Donnie Brasco." Also, this movie was a blind buy. I've heard good things about it, so I decided to buy it. I was sceptical as to what this movie would be like, because I always had this vision that Johnny Depp was a "pretty boy" romantic actor. However I did like him in "Secret Window," the only other movie I've ever seen him in. Neeless to say, I was impressed with his performance in this movie. I wasn't expecting him to come close to standing with my favorite actor, Pacino. In this movie, however, Depp showed that he can stand toe-to-toe with the best in the business. Of course, Pacino was excellent in this movie also. I also enjoyed Michael Madsen (better known for his role as Mr. Blonde in "Reservoir Dogs") although, the entire movie I wass waiting for something as memorable as the infamous "ear scene" from "Reservoir Dogs" from him. All in all, I have to say that "Donnie Brasco" is a great, underrated movie, and is now amongst my favorites. ...more info