Generally favorable reviews - based on 21 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 57 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: Al Pacino and Johnny Depp head an all-star cast in this gangland thriller about an undercover FBI agent who befriends a hitman to gain entry to the mob. (Sony)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 21
  2. Negative: 0 out of 21
  1. 100
    One terrific movie... Pacino and Depp are a match made in acting heaven, riffing off each other with astonishing subtlety and wit.
  2. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    It's hard to think of another American film with this range of moods: satirical, sometimes hilarious, yet suffused with a sense of loss and riddled with the kind of violence that makes you recoil and lean forward simultaneously.
  3. 100
    Pacino cans the showboating bluster and gives a gently nuanced portrait of a simple man in decline.
  4. What better casting than Al Pacino, whose own career, of course, has reflected all the seasonal changes in the gangster saga. Pacino takes the part and runs with it so boldly that he ends up in Arthur Miller land.
  5. This sort of story has been told many times before, but thoughtful performances by Al Pacino and Johnny Depp make it more engrossing than expected.
  6. Reviewed by: 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 of crime lore.
  7. 40
    Unfortunately, the story isn't inventive and Newell's methodical approach to it verges on monotony.

See all 21 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 15
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 15
  3. Negative: 0 out of 15
  1. Jan 31, 2014
    This is Johnny Depp's best film. And De Niro's too. Portrayal was on the spot. Their portrayal was very good that you forgot each actors' identity. You get lost into their character.

    Also I would like to point the very accurate depiction. It's like I'm watching a documentary or I was part of the federal surveillance team.

    Nice classic film.
  2. Mar 28, 2014
    Best mob movie I've seen. Brilliant cast, good plot, interesting and touching. Kept me hooked from start to finish. I would definitely would recommend watching this. Expand
  3. Aug 1, 2012
    Based on a true story, Donnie Brasco subverts the glamour and scope of other successful gangster films for a more focused narrative, and the result is a very personal and effective film. The film follows a young FBI agent (Johnny Depp), as he manages to infiltrate a mafia faction through one of its veteran soldiers, Lefty (Al Pacino).
    The growing bond between Pacino and Depp's characters plays out beautifully, with both leads giving subtle and low-key, but brilliant performances. The dialogue is witty and sharp, and delivered near-perfectly by the vast majority of the cast.
    One element of the film that wasn't so effective was the subplot involving Depp's deteriorating relationship with his wife and family. These scenes seemed necessary, but in my opinion were a little clunky in their execution. While there were some scenes that could have been shortened or cut out entirely (the film coming in to a lengthy 150 minutes), overall Donnie Brasco is a fine gangster flick.
  4. Feb 20, 2014
    One of the main themes of "Donnie Brasco" is the way people affect each other and relationships, and in that case it succeeds completely. But the place where this drama fails is excitement. It is very sophisticated with many different moods (dark, satirical, etc.) and a superb script, but there's not that much suspense in the movie. This movie would've been an almost perfect blend of these elements had there been some of said suspense in its climax and critical moments. Expand
  5. Nov 28, 2012
    Donnie Brasco is an excellently acted true-story mafia flick. The only slight problem with the movie is a general lack of excitement. Donnie Brasco never feels dangerous. It totally succeeds through the power of it's relationships, however. Expand
  6. Sep 1, 2010
    Forget about it!
    Al Pacino in one of his better roles (less over the top & a caricature like most of his later work), Johnny Depp great as
    usual & a very strong supporting cast with Michael Madsen, Anne Heche & Bruno Kirby. Expand
  7. Apr 13, 2014
    An al-round solid film. Although there isn't much action and the typical gangster movie stuff, the story and characters were developed so well. You could really see things from their point of view. Although there's no excitement or note-worthy scenes, there aren't any boring or unnecessary parts either. Expand

See all 15 User Reviews