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Story

The first thing you need to know about Sleepers is that it's based on a novel by Lorenzo Carcaterra that was allegedly based on a true story. The movie repeats this bogus claim, which was attacked and determined by a wide majority to be misleading. Knowing this, Sleepers can be a problematic movie because it's too neat, too clean, too manipulative in terms of legal justice and dramatic impact to be truly convincing. And yet, with its stellar cast directed by Barry Levinson, the movie succeeds as gripping entertainment, and its tale of complex morality--despite a dubious emphasis on homophobic revenge--is sufficiently provocative. It's about four boys in New York's Hell's Kitchen district who are sent to reform school, where they must endure routine sexual assaults by the sadistic guards. Years after their release, the opportunity for revenge proves irresistible for two of the young men, who must then rely on the other pair of friends (Brad Pitt, Jason Patric), a loyal priest (Robert De Niro), and a shabby lawyer (Dustin Hoffman) to defend them in court. Despite the compelling ambiguities of the story, there's never any doubt about how we're supposed to feel, and the screenplay glosses over the story's most difficult moral dilemmas. And yet, Sleepers grabs your attention and pulls you into its intense story of friendship and the price of loyalty under extreme conditions. The movie's New York settings are vividly authentic, and Minnie Driver makes a strong impression as a long-time friend of the loyal group of guys. --Jeff Shannon

DVD Features

  • Interactive Menus
  • Production Notes
  • Scene Access
  • Theatrical Trailer

Cast

Kevin BaconSean Nokes
Billy CrudupTommy Marcano
Robert De NiroFather Bobby
Ron EldardJohn Reilly
Minnie DriverCarol Martinez
Vittorio GassmanKing Benny
Dustin HoffmanDanny Snyder
Terry KinneyRalph Ferguson
Bruno KirbyShakes' Father
Frank MedranoFat Mancho
Jason PatricLorenzo "Shakes" Carcaterra
Joseph PerrinoYoung Lorenzo "Shakes" Carcaterra (as Joe Perrino)
Brad PittMichael Sullivan
Brad RenfroYoung Michael Sullivan
Geoffrey WigdorYoung John Reilly
Eugene ByrdRizzo
Jeffrey DonovanHenry Addison
John Di BenedettoTony
Don HewittJames Caldwell
Ben HammerJudge Weisman
Lennie LoftinAdam Styler
Juan Maria Jr.Davy
Danny MastrogiorgioNick Davenport (as Daniel Mastrogiorgio)
Mary B. McCannSister Carolyn (as Mary McCann)
Dash MihokK.C.
Rocco MusacchiaSalvatore
James Pickens Jr.Marlboro
Wendell PierceLittle Caesar
Salvatore Paul PiroMimi
Monica PolitoYoung Carol
Sean Patrick ReillyYoung King Benny
Peter RiniFrank Magcicco
John SlatteryFred Carlson
Patrick TullJerry the Bartender
Aida TurturroMrs. Salinas
Joe UrlaCarson
Matthew HoffmanNeighborhood Boy (uncredited)

  • Genre: Drama Movies
  • Theme(s): Mob/Organized Crime, Police/S.W.A.T.
  • Director: Barry Levinson
  • Producer: Warner Brothers
  • Length: 147 Min
  • Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
  • Theatrical Release
    North AmericaOct 18, 1996
    EuropeJan 3, 1997
    JapanApr 12, 1997
    AustraliaNov 7, 1996
  • Ratings
    North AmericaR
    Europe18
    AustraliaMA
  • Blu-ray Release
    North AmericaAug 2, 2011
  • DVD Release
    North AmericaFeb 3, 2004
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