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Posing as jewel broker Donnie Brasco, FBI agent Joseph D. Pistone (Johnny Depp) is granted entranceinto the violent mob family of aging hit man Lefty Ruggiero (Al Pacino). When his personal and professional lives collide, Pistone jeopardizes his marriage, his job life and, ultimately, the gangstermentor he has come to respect and admire. From acclaimed director Mike Newell (Four Weddings and a Funeral), and featuring an extraordinary supporting cast including Michael Madsen, Anne Heche, BrunoKirby and James Russo.
- Exclusive featurette: "Donnie Brasco: Out from the Shadows"
- Original featurette
- Five deleted scenes with optional director's commentary and intro
- Photo gallery
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"Donnie Brasco" stars Al Pacino and Johnny Depp, and was directed by Mike Newell ("Four Weddings and a Funeral"), It tells the story of FBI Special Agent Joseph D. Pistone (played by Johnny Depp), who successfully infiltrated one of New York's great Mafia families in the late 1970s, and spent six years undercover, gathering vital intelligence that was used by the U.S. Justice Department to severely diminish the Mafia's power throughout the country. Posing as Donnie Brasco, a jewel thief, Pistone was befriended by Benjamin "Lefty" Ruggerio (played by Al Pacino) , a low-level soldier in the Bonanno crime family. So successful was Pistone in penetrating the Bonanno family, that he was actually proposed to become a Mafia "made man" shortly before the FBI terminated "Operation Donnie Brasco" in 1981.
"Donnie Brasco" is certainly different than your "average" gangster flick. Instead of focusing on the rich and powerful Mafia crime lords, this film depicts life in the lower echelons of organized crime in New York, mostly through the eyes of "Lefty" Ruggerio. Here's a man who's at best an average "earner," but who's filled with ambition. He is frustrated when he's continually passed over for promotion by younger, less experienced men. When he befriends "Donnie Brasco" (Pistone), he quickly develops a strong fatherly affection for the younger man. For his part, Donnie Brasco becomes so emotionally entangled with the people he's investigating (especially Ruggerio) that he begins to lose sight of why he's there: to help bring these criminals to justice.
"Donnie Brasco" is a reasonably accurate portrayal of Pistone's experiences within New York's Mafia. It is very well acted, with especially brilliant performances from Al Pacino, Johnny Depp, Michael Madsen, and Anne Heche. The language is raw, there are graphic scenes of violence, and a few liberties are taken with historical facts, (most notably the fate of Ruggerio), but none of that in any way detracts from the film's entertainment value. The Extended Cut of "Donnie Brasco" adds about 20 minutes to the film's runtime, with scenes added so seamlessly that I found it nearly impossible to tell the difference from the original theatrical release.
"Donnie Brasco" is an excellent film in every way. Highly recommended.
The movie is pretty good and so are the excellent performances by cast especially Al Pacino playing the part as lefty Ruggiero Mafia hit man and Jonny Depp as the undercover agent Joseph D. Pistone Alias Donnie Brasco , The DVD is just as good if not better with special features : directors commentary , exclusive featurette , Donnie Brasco out from the shadows , deleted scenes with optional commentary , original featurette , photo gallery , talent files , theatrical trailers and pamphlet that's not included in the Blu Ray than again for the price is Good value .
The story is very engaging and genuinely intriguing; you learn a lot about the wiseguy lifestyle and the undercover operations of the FBI. There are many scenes that are extremely tense; I constantly asked, "how will Donnie get out of this one?!?" I really enjoyed the last 30 minutes of the film, especially when you realize how deep their connection was. Never a dull moment as the film masterfully blends immersive dialogue, intense situations, and some brutal violence throughout, with some comedy occasionally tossed in. Johnny Depp and Al Pacino have amazing performances; Al Pacino particularly kept a consistent and realistic character throughout. The film also has a great soundtrack.
The blu-ray of this film is excellent. The picture and sound quality are superb, considering the age of the film, and match the best prints around/recently released. This is the definitive version of this film.
Overall, Donnie Brasco is a must-watch for fans of gangster/crime dramas; in fact, it's a must-watch for film fans in general. A superb and immersive storyline, magnificent performances, and an excellent soundtrack, don't skip this film.
Donnie Brasco has strong violence and blood, and brief nudity.