This Johnny Depp Crime Drama on Netflix Is Super Rewatchable

Donnie Brasco

The gritty and intense crime drama, Donnie Brasco, has made its way to Netflix, offering viewers a chance to immerse themselves in the dangerous world of undercover agents and mobsters.

With stellar performances from Al Pacino and Johnny Depp, this film is a must-watch for those who appreciate cinema that delves deep into character psyche and real-life drama.

Johnny Depp turns in one of his finest performances as an FBI agent who spends years infiltrating the New York mob, befriending hitman Benjamin “Lefty” Ruggiero (Al Pacino).

As Donnie Brasco, Pistone gains the trust of the mafia higher-ups by running errands and doing collecting money, all the while gathering evidence to bring down the organization.

Pacino is equally brilliant as the aging gangster Lefty, who takes Donnie under his wing, unaware that he is an undercover agent.

Their complex mentor-mentee relationship forms the emotional core of the film, as Lefty comes to view Donnie as the son he never had. Some of the best scenes showcase the rapport between Pacino and Depp, who have an effortless chemistry.

Donnie Brasco was based on the real life story of Joseph Pistone, who spent six years undercover in the Bonanno crime family.

The film is based on the book “Donnie Brasco: My Undercover Life in the Mafia“. His testimony helped lead to over 200 indictments and 100 convictions of mafia members.

Donnie Brasco

The film adaptation adheres closely to the true events, though it does fictionalize some characters and chronology.

Director Mike Newell masterfully captures the smoky dens and dimly lit bars of the mafia underworld, transporting viewers right into 1970s New York.


Critics heaped praise on Donnie Brasco upon its 1997 release. Roger Ebert called it “one of the great mob movies, standing with GoodFellas, The Godfather and Mean Streets.”

Janet Maslin of The New York Times wrote that “the film is too somber to be called enjoyable in conventional terms” but nonetheless “has a mournful eloquence and a suitably realistic aftermath.”

Audiences and critics alike were riveted by the performances of Pacino and Depp.

Donnie Brasco was a box office success, earning over $124 million against its $35 million budget. It has since become regarded as an modern mob classic, holding up even more strongly in the decades since its release.

The film offers an enthralling character study of men on both sides of the law, while providing fascinating insights into the inner workings of organized crime.

Behind the Scenes Tidbits

  • During the filming, the real Joseph Pistone visited the set, providing insights and ensuring the authenticity of the scenes. However, for security reasons, his visits were kept secret from most of the cast and crew.

  • Al Pacino and Johnny Depp developed a close bond during filming, mirroring their characters’ relationship. Depp has often mentioned in interviews how much he learned from working alongside Pacino.

  • The film’s intense realism was no accident. Both Pacino and Depp spent time with the real Pistone, absorbing details about the world of undercover agents and the mafia.

Mariska Lee

Mariska is a recovering attorney who gave up her professional job to discover new perspectives of life while traveling in a 2009 Ford Transit. She has been living the van life for 3 years and has not looked back since.

Recent Posts

Skip to content