Goodfellas takes all the plaudits, and deservedly so, as being the third best gangster film of all time (behind Godfathers I & II) but Donnie Brasco has to make the Top Five, surely. This is an utterly brilliant, thrilling, amusing and moving tale based on the true story of an undercover cop (Joe Pistone, Johnny Depp) who befriends an ageing Mafia gangster (Lefty, Al Pacino) and then is torn between good and evil. This film has never received the accolades it deserved. OK, the story isn't entirely original, but the casting and acting is first class. This is probably the film where Depp proved he was more than just a pretty-boy actor and turns in a towering performance as Pistone, who slowly becomes his gangster alias, Donnie Brasco. The ever watchable Pacino is as good as he is in Scarface and Carlito's Way, though for once the viewer sympathises with rather than fears him. Another superbly cast character is Michael Madsen (Mr Blonde from Reservoir Dogs) who is just born to play bad-guy roles. There is plenty of amusing dialogue, too, especially between Lefty, Sonny Black and Brasco. This isn't a comedy though, far from it. It is a superb piece of drama from Mike Newell, best known for Four Weddings And A Funeral but has done little since.
The extras are OK but nothing too special. It's the film that you will buy this DVD for. An underrated classic.