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Directed by Barry Levinson
Produced by Barry Levinson
Steve Golin
Written by Screenplay:
Barry Levinson
Lorenzo Carcaterra
Starring Kevin Bacon
Billy Crudup
Robert De Niro
Minnie Driver
Ron Eldard
Vittorio Gassman
Dustin Hoffman
Jason Patric
Brad Pitt
Music by John Williams
Cinematography Michael Ballhaus
Editing by Stu Linder
Studio Propaganda Films
Baltimore Pictures
Distributed by North America:
Warner Bros.
PolyGram Filmed Entertainment
Release date(s) October 18, 1996 (1996-10-18)
Running time 147 minutes
Budget $44,000,000
Gross revenue $165,615,285

Sleepers is a 1996 legal drama film written and directed by Barry Levinson, and based on Lorenzo Carcaterra's 1995 novel of the same name.



Lorenzo "Shakes" Carcaterra, Thomas "Tommy" Marcano, Michael Sullivan and John Reilly are four childhood friends (played by Joseph Perrino, Jonathan Tucker, Brad Renfro and Geoffrey Wigdor respectively) who grow up in Hell's Kitchen, New York City in the mid-1960s. During this time, the local priest, Father Bobby (Robert De Niro), plays a very important part in their lives and keeps an eye on them. However, early on they start running small errands for a local gangster, King Benny (Vittorio Gassman), who later turns out to be a very important contact.

On a summers day in 1967, their lives take a sharp turn when they almost kill a man after pulling a prank on a hot dog vendor. As a punishment they are all four sentenced to serve time at the Wilkinson Home for Boys in upstate New York. There, the boys are systematically beaten, abused and raped by guards Sean Nokes, Henry Addison, Adam Styler and Ralph Ferguson (played by Kevin Bacon, Jeffrey Donovan, Lennie Loftin and Terry Kinney respectively). These traumatic events change the boys and their friendship forever.

More than 10 years later, John and Tommy (as adults, played by Ron Eldard and Billy Crudup), now gangsters, come across Sean Nokes in a pub in Hell's Kitchen. After making sure that Nokes knows who they are, they both shoot and kill Nokes. Mike, as an adult (played by Brad Pitt), now an assistant District Attorney, arranges to be assigned to the case, secretly intending to lose it as a means of getting revenge. Moreover, he and Shakes, as an adult (played by Jason Patric), begin to forge a plan to get their revenge on all the responsible guards. Together with many of their lifelong friends, especially Carol, a social worker played by Minnie Driver and King Benny, they manage to collect information on all the Wilkinson guards.

However, to clinch the case they need a key witness who can give John and Tommy an alibi. After a long talk with Father Bobby, including telling him about the awful events at Wilkinson, he agrees to lie on the stand about where John and Tommy were on the night of the shooting; the priest swears under oath that they were with him at Madison Square Garden at a Knicks basketball game. As a result, they are found not guilty.


The version of the film shown on television and DVD, although uncut, contains disclaimers before the end credits stating that the New York youth correctional authorities and the Manhattan District Attorney's office deny that the events in the film took place. A final title card states that Carcaterra stands by his story.


Role Actor
Lorenzo "Shakes" Carcaterra Joseph Perrino Jason Patric
Michael Sullivan Brad Renfro Brad Pitt
Thomas "Tommy" Marcano Jonathan Tucker Billy Crudup
John Reilly Geoffrey Wigdor Ron Eldard
Father Bobby Robert De Niro
Sean Nokes Kevin Bacon
Henry Addison Jeffrey Donovan
Adam Styler Lennie Loftin
Ralph Ferguson Terry Kinney
King Benny Vittorio Gassman
Danny Snyder Dustin Hoffman
Nick Davenport Daniel Mastrogiorgio
Carol Martinez Minnie Driver


The film received mixed to positive reviews and Rotten Tomatoes gave it a score of 74% and Metacritic giving it a weighted score of 49.

See also

External links

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