Donnie Brasco

1997

Joseph D. Pistone
(a.k.a. Donnie Brasco)

PHOTO GALLERY

SOUND CLIPS

MOVIE TRAILER


GENERAL INFORMATION

Posing as jewel broker Donnie Brasco, FBI agent Joseph D. Pistone (Johnny Depp) is granted entrance into the violent mob family of aging hitman Lefty Ruggiero (Al Pacino). When his personal and professional lives collide, Pistone jeopardizes his marriage, his job, his life and ultimately the gangster mentor he has come to respect and admire.

Director: Mike Newell

Cast: Al Pacino, Johnny Depp, Michael Madsen, Bruno Kirby, James Russo, Anne Heche, Zeljko Ivanek, Gerry Becker, Robert Miano, Brian Tarantina

Awards & Nominations:

1998 ACADEMY AWARDS (OSCAR):
Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium: Paul Attanasio (Nominated)

1997 BOSTON SOCIETY OF FILM CRITICS AWARDS:
Best Actor: Al Pacino (Won)
Best Director: Mike Newell (3rd Place)
Best Film (3rd Place)

1998 BROADCAST FILM CRITICS ASSOCIATION AWARDS:
Best Picture (Nominated)

1998 EDGAR ALLAN POE AWARDS:
Best Motion Picture: Paul Attanasio (Nominated)

1997 EUROPEAN FILM AWARDS:
Screen International Award: Mike Newell (Nominated)

1997 NATIONAL BOARD OF REVIEW:
Best Supporting Actress: Anne Heche (Won)

1998 USC SCRIPTER AWARD:
Joseph D. Pistone, Richard Woodley, Paul Attanasio (Nominated)

1998 WRITERS GUILD OF AMERICA:
Best Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published: Paul Attanasio (Nominated)


ABOUT THIS MOVIE

(Compiled by Julie)

Quotes from Johnny Depp:

"The thing is, these are real people in real situations. They're very strong family guys with a tremendous sense of pride and a tremendous strength - it's just that they're on the opposite side of the law. I think that the movies over the last twenty-five years have portrayed them as thugs, villains or murderous animals, and our idea of what they are has been misled. The guys I met were not like that at all."
--Johnny Depp
Empire Magazine
1997

"[Joe Pistone's] a fascinating guy. Initially, I thought we wouldn't see eye to eye. I pictured him as one of those John Wayne characters who would be a little difficult to stomach. What I found instead was a real man, that image that you have in your head when you're growing up what a real man is supposed to be."
--Johnny Depp
Empire Magazine
1997

"Joe was the real thing, I'm just pretending. On a film set, you get however many takes you need to get it right. Joe got just one and he would have to hit his mark every time."
--Johnny Depp
Empire Magazine
1997

"I did meet some very heavy underworld figures through this project, and the thing is, I liked them very much, along with some very heavy upper echelon FBI guys who I could also identify with. They happened to be at cross purposes, enemies. But they do have a lot in common. Growing up we've all been taught the good/bad guy mentality. But it all boils down in the end to the same game - survival."
--Johnny Depp
Empire Magazine
1997

"Donnie Brasco was a motherf*cker of a movie. I spent a lot of time with the real Donnie Brasco, Joe Pistone. Brasco was his undercover name. He's got an interesting rhythm to his speech. I did my best to get that. I put great pressure on myself to make it f*cking right for the guy. He lived it. I was just pretending."
--Johnny Depp
Vanity Fair
February 1997

"As far as I'm concerned, I always try to do something a little bit different every time, and this movie has been the greatest challenge I have ever had to face, for obviously I had a tremendous sense of responsibility towards Joe. I had to be totally honest."
--Johnny Depp
Studio Magazine
April 1997

"The thing that really impressed me when I first faced him was his stature. I told myself : "Oh my God ! I will have to work out a little!" And so I started at once body building and ate everything that was passing by... I was drinking milk shakes all the time in order to put on weight."
--Johnny Depp
Studio Magazine
April 1997

"Al [Pacino] is this unbelievable guy. The work he's done on Donnie Brasco is exceptional. Really, he's a master."
--Johnny Depp
Studio Magazine
April 1997

"To me, [Joe Pistone] is the answer to this eternal question you ask yourself when you are a child : 'What is a man supposed to be?' You know, this kind of big question you ask yourself, looking at your dad. Joe succeeded in being this ideal. With no hesitation, no fear, he's done it. And that makes him definitively a hero."
--Johnny Depp
Studio Magazine
April 1997

Quotes from others:

"I think the role interested [Johnny] because of the complex nature of the character."
--Mike Newell
Empire Magazine
1997

"Yes, we were concerned when we looked at his work. But Johnny is one of those actors who performs like a long distance runner. In any film, you stay with him throughout in anticipation of the finale. Here he plays a young man who pretends to be someone he isnt. His underlying character is initially very cold, but the prolonged exposure to Lefty ultimately makes him human, a transformation which takes place over the course of the picture."
--Mike Newell
Empire Magazine
1997

"I wanted to work with Johnny Depp more than anything. And what with Mike Newell directing, I was totally in awe -- although I had to pretend I wasn't!"
--Anne Heche
Empire Magazine
1997

"Johnny doesn't suffer fools gladly. He tends toward a choice of material that's going to interest him intellectually, and has always said to himself that the career comes second."
-- Mike Newell
Vanity Fair
February 1997

"This particular role interested him, I think, because the whole character had to run beneath the surface, as it were. Johnny is one of those actors who acts in a kind of long term. You stay with his characterizations throughout a film because he tells you his story in his own good time -- and, more important, you are willing to wait for it."
--Mike Newell
Vanity Fair
February 1997

"He brought a sensitivity to the part. That's a side of me that a lot of people don't see. It was amazing -- a lot of times during the shoot, I'd close my eyes and say, 'Christ, that's me talking!' It was eerie. The kid's a good actor. He doesn't put effort into it. He just does it."
--Joe Pistone
Vanity Fair
February 1997

"It's really disturbing to see yourself played by someone else. For you know, Johnny portrayed a genuine me by bringing on screen accurate and very intimate details."
--Joe Pistone
Studio Magazine
April 1997

"There was this day while we were shooting in Little Italy, this guy came to me and said, 'I know who you are, you are the one who put us in jail. You are Donnie Brasco.' So, I pointed my finger at Johnny, who was next to me and said, 'No, I'm not Donnie Brasco, he is'. I'm not sure the guy really understood that joke."
--Joe Pistone
Studio Magazine
April 1997