Donnie Brasco, 1997

Director

Mike Newell

Cast



visit the film locations

New York: Flights: JFK Airport

Mulberry Street Bar, 176 1/2 Mulberry Street, Little Italy (tel: 212.226.9345)

Katz’s Delicatessen, 205 East Houston Street between Ludlow and Orchard Streets in the East Village (tel: 212.254.2246)


Trivia

See Mulberry Street Bar in Nine 1/2 Weeks; State of Grace and The Godfather Part III

Donnie Brasco location: Mulberry Street Bar, Mulberry Street, Little Italy, New York

Donnie Brasco location: Johnny Depp and Al Pacino meet up in the Little Italy bar: Mulberry Street Bar, Mulberry Street, Little Italy, New York

Forget Scent of a Woman and the Oscar, this is Al Pacino’s best and most understated performance in years, as sad, middle-level mobster Lefty Ruggiero, who seals his own fate by vouching for young Brasco (Johnny Depp) who just happens to be undercover FBI agent Joe Pistone.

Donnie Brasco location: Mott Street, Mulberry Street, Little Italy, New York

Donnie Brasco location: filming Johnny Depp and Al Pacino on Mott Street, Little Italy, New York

A completely unexpected little masterpiece from Brit director Mike Newell, previously responsible for the frankly snoozeworthy mummy movie The Awakening (with Charlton Heston) and the fluffy crowd-pleaser Four Weddings and a Funeral.

It’s set mostly in New York, and was all shot there – even the short ‘Miami’ episode. The Little Italy bar where Lefty and Donnie first meet was Mare Chiaro, 176 Mulberry Street between Broome and Grand Streets.

Donnie Brasco location: Mulberry Street Bar, Mulberry Street, Little Italy, New York

Donnie Brasco location: Johnny Depp and Al Pacino meet up in the Little Italy bar: Mulberry Street Bar, Mulberry Street, Little Italy, New York

The bar, also known as Tony’s, has been seen in many movies including Nine 1/2 Weeks, State of Grace and The Godfather Part III – and of course TV’s The Sopranos. When I was there, a list of its film credits was proudly displayed on the wall. Although photos of the owner with the likes of Frank Sinatra decorate the bar, the relentless encroachment of Chinatown on the area of the old Little Italy meant that this once-Italian bar seemed to be Chinese run. It's been renamed the Mulberry Street Bar. Let's hope it keeps the slightly scruffy, old-style atmosphere.

Donnie Brasco film location: Katz's Delicatessen

Donnie Brasco location: Joe Pistone meets up with his control: Katz’s Delicatessen, East Houston Street in the East Village, New York

Pistone meets up with his FBI control in Katz’s Delicatessen, 205 East Houston Street between Ludlow and Orchard Streets in the East Village, most famous as the restaurant where Meg Ryan faked it for Billy Crystal in When Harry Met Sally....

While I was in New York in 1996 getting photos for the book, I found Mott Street (where scenes for The Godfather were shot) closed for filming. I watched endless retakes as two characters crossed and re-crossed the road, assuming, as always seems to be the case, it was either an ad or a TV show.

It wasn't until I saw Donnie Brasco in the cinema that I recognised the scene and realised the actors I'd been watching were Al Pacino and Johnny Depp.

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