Al Pacino (Lefty Ruggiero and Johnny Depp as Joe Pistone)

Donnie Brasco follows FBI agent Joe Pistone as he infiltrates the mafia of New York like no one had ever done before. Befriending Lefty Ruggiero, Pistone (under the name Donnie Brasco) is able to embed himself in a mafia faction lead by Sonny Black. Ruggiero and Pistone become tight as the group goes about collecting money for ‘the bosses’.

After reading Joe Pistone's book, in my opinion, the movie barely touches on how frightening his undercover life truly was. The devastation of Pistone's family life was seriously intense but barely touched in the film.

Joe Pistone was much physically tougher in appearance than Johnny Depp. Though we are a big fan of Depp, I feel he was miscast in this film.. Pacino was crunching the scenery as Lefty but watchable. I liked this film but the real story is much better.

Joe Pistone and Left Ruggiero

Robert Deniro as Al Capone and Kevin Costner as Eliot Ness

In the hit movie The Untouchables, Robert Deniro and Kevin Costner took on two of mob history's biggest characters. Deniro did a brilliant job as Capone.  The method actor tracked down Al Capone's original tailors and had them make him some identical clothing for the movie. He gained weight for the part as well. Costner was great a Ness,handsome and a definite good guy with a wife and daughter.

In real life Eliot Ness never met Al Capone and he wasn't married or had children. Al Capone was brought down by Elmer Irey, Frank Wilson, and the IRS, not Eliot Ness. From historical accounts, except for some self aggrandizing raids, Ness had very little to do with bringing down Al Capone.

In this case, the film is much more entertaining that the real life version.

Al Capone and Eliot Ness

Robert Deniro as Ace Rothstein and Joe Pesci as Nicky Santoro

In Casino the story was based on true crime figures but took some theatrical twists. Lefty Rosenthal the real life Casino manager, bookie, turned TV talk show host was pretty real. Nicky Santoro as played by Joe Pesci was a lot nicer guy than his real life counter part Nick Spilatro.  Spilatro did have a brother who was eliminated as was Nick...but they weren't killed in cornfield...

Lefty Rosenthal and Anthony Spilatro

Robert Deniro as Jimmy the Gent and Ray Liotta as Henry Hill

Goodfellas is one of the best written and acted of all the Mobster sagas.  That mostly likely is due to Henry Hill's book "Wiseguy".  Hill worked with the actors and director Martin Scorsese for a very long time to ensure accuracy.  The part Joe Pesci played as Tommy was watered down considerably from the real life counter part. 

Henry Hill Jimmy the Gent Burker

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Dale said...

Your good taste,images and diligence makes me weep...Thanks...

Anonymous said...

I think that Sonny Black with the real Joe Pistone.

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