In the late 1980s, a low level gangster named Jackie DiNorscio defends himself in court in what became the longest criminal trial in American judicial history.

Director:

Sidney Lumet
1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Vin Diesel ... Jackie DiNorscio
Alex Rocco ... Nick Calabrese
Frank Pietrangolare Frank Pietrangolare ... Carlo Mascarpone
Richard DeDomenico ... Tom Napoli
Jerry Grayson ... Jimmy Katz
Tony Ray Rossi ... Joe Bellini
Vinny Vella ... Graziedei
Paul Borghese ... Gino Mascarpone
Frank Adonis ... Phil Radda
Nicholas A. Puccio ... Alessandro Tedeschi (as Nick Puccio)
Frankie Perrone Frankie Perrone ... Henry Fiuli
Salvatore Paul Piro Salvatore Paul Piro ... Mike Belaggio
Peter Dinklage ... Ben Klandis
Richard Portnow ... Max Novardis
James Biberi ... Frank Brentano
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Storyline

The mobster Jackie DiNorscio is shot by his own cousin at home while in probation but survives. Later he is arrested dealing drugs and sentenced to thirty years in prison. The prosecutor Sean Kierney proposes a deal to Jackie, immediately releasing him if he testifies against the Lucchese family and other mafia families but Jackie does not accept to rat his friends that he loves. When the trial begins, he asks the judge Finestein to defend himself without the assistance of a lawyer. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Sometimes the best defense. . . is a wiseguy.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong language and some violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?

Trivia

30 actors in this production have also appeared in HBO's "The Sopranos". See more »

Goofs

At around 1hr14mins you can see a flat screen PC monitor with modern operating system being used. See more »

Quotes

Ben Klandis: Ladies and Gentlemen, the prosecution took great pains to point out that my client and his friends knew the sorted array of misfits they used as witnesses. They want you to believe that these men spent their lives with the criminal element you saw in this courtroom. I want to offer you a different part of Carlo Mascarpone's life and, I'm sure, the lives of these other defendants as well. Wife. Children. His priest, his M.D., the guy who pumps his gas and inspects his car for him. In other words...
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Connections

Referenced in By Sidney Lumet (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

When You're Smiling (The Whole World Smiles with You)
Written by Mark Fisher, Joe Goodwin and Larry Shay
Used by permission of EMI Mills Music, Inc.
Performed by Louis Prima
Courtesy of Capitol Records
Under License from EMI Film & Television Music
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User Reviews

 
Funny and Entertaining Courtroom Drama
18 February 2006 | by basemnt-dwellrSee all my reviews

I had the chance to see the movie at the Berlin Film Festival (actually I saw it twice), and I must say I really loved it. Even during the second screening I still thought it was interesting and funny.

Granted, I like both Sidney Lumet and Vin Diesel so I may be a bit biased, but the audience in the cinema seemed to like the movie too, because after both screenings they applauded.

The movie is a courtroom drama based on real events. The film depicts the longest Mafia trial in NYC history, and most of the dialog is taken from the original records of the trial. In 1987-88, some 20 members of the Lucchese crime family, each with his own lawyer, were indicted on some 76 charges ranging from criminal conspiracy to narcotics trafficking. The trial went on for 21 months.

The film focuses on Jack DiNorscio, one of the accused mobsters (played by Vin Diesel), who decides to defend himself. Even though he spent half his life in jail he doesn't know much about legal proceedings and mostly speaks what comes into his mind thus sometimes making fun of the whole trial.

Actually I was quite skeptical if Diesel could pull it off. C'mon, we all know him from some more or less mediocre action movies, so when I heard he was cast in a Sidney Lumet movie, I was quite surprised, and therefore even more eager to see him in this film. And yes, he is good. He gained some weight for this role and has hair (a wig), so he looks quite different from what you're used to.

During the Berlinale press conference Sidney Lumet said about Vin Diesel: "People make the great mistake with action heroes. They think that because generally the plots are simpler and their behavior is one-note that they can't act. But most of the time they can." And Diesel shows that he can act. With his charismatic persona he manages to carry the movie pretty easily. He has to talk a lot during the film which comes across very believable and authentic, and he shows a wide range of emotions from happiness to anger to mourning to being embarrassed to whatever.

The overall acting is really good, Linus Roache shines in his role as prosecutor Kierney. Contrary to his "Necromonger" role in "The Chronicles of Riddick" he gets a chance here to really show his talent. The other supporting cast is also really fantastic. I'd like to point out Peter Dinklage as lead defense attorney Ben Klandis, and Annabella Sciorra ("The Sopranos") who is really great in her single scene as DiNorscio's ex-wife. In this scene she goes through all the emotions from anger to frustration to jealousy. The other supporting cast consists of New York theater talent, as well as faces familiar to anyone who watches crime shows on the tube.

The film itself takes place almost entirely in the court room, and sometimes it drags a bit although it is not boring. It depends solely on talking, there is no action whatsoever in the movie. As DiNorscio joked around quite a bit during the trial, the film too is pretty funny in parts, and the audience in the cinema laughed quite a bit.

All in all I recommend this movie. But I have to warn the action fans: you might not like this film as it is a total change in comparison to the movies Vin Diesel has done until now.


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Details

Country:

Germany | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 March 2006 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Find Me Guilty: The Jackie Dee Story See more »

Filming Locations:

Bayonne, New Jersey, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$13,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$628,000, 19 March 2006

Gross USA:

$1,173,643

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,636,637
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

SDDS | Dolby Digital | DTS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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