Berni Faria

Written by Berni Faria

Modified & Updated: 22 May 2024

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett


Sleepers, directed by Barry Levinson, is a gripping and emotional movie that captivated audiences when it was released in 1996. Based on the bestselling novel by Lorenzo Carcaterra, Sleepers tells the haunting story of four childhood friends from Hell’s Kitchen who, after a prank gone wrong, are sentenced to a brutal reform school. The film delves into themes of friendship, justice, and the lasting impact of traumatic experiences. With a star-studded cast that includes Brad Pitt, Robert De Niro, Kevin Bacon, and Dustin Hoffman, Sleepers has become a cult classic and is still remembered today for its intense storyline and powerful performances.

Key Takeaways:

  • Sleepers” is a 1996 crime drama film set in Hell’s Kitchen, New York City, exploring themes of friendship, revenge, and justice. It features a powerful soundtrack and a talented ensemble cast.
  • “Sleepers” received mixed reviews but was a box office success, addressing important social issues and showcasing the enduring power of friendship. It’s a must-watch for fans of emotionally charged dramas.
Table of Contents

Sleepers was released in 1996.

Sleepers is a crime drama film that was released in It was directed by Barry Levinson and based on the novel of the same name by Lorenzo Carcaterra.

The film stars an ensemble cast.

Sleepers features a talented ensemble cast including Brad Pitt, Robert De Niro, Kevin Bacon, and Dustin Hoffman.

Sleepers is set in Hell’s Kitchen, New York City.

The film takes place in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan in the 1960s and 1980s.

Sleepers explores themes of friendship and revenge.

The story revolves around a group of friends who seek revenge against their childhood abusers as they grow up.

The film received mixed reviews from critics.

Critics had varying opinions about Sleepers, with some praising its performances and dark tone, while others felt it was overly violent.

Sleepers was a box office success.

Despite the mixed reviews, Sleepers performed well at the box office, grossing over $165 million worldwide.

The movie has a strong emotional impact.

Sleepers tackles sensitive and emotional subject matter, leaving a lasting impression on viewers.

Sleepers features a powerful soundtrack.

The film’s soundtrack includes various songs from the 1960s and 1980s, capturing the essence of the time periods depicted in the movie.

Sleepers showcases the bond between childhood friends.

The film emphasizes the strong bond between the main characters, who remain loyal to each other despite the challenges they face.

Sleepers delves into the dark side of the justice system.

The movie sheds light on corruption within the justice system and raises important questions about morality and redemption.

Sleepers received an Oscar nomination.

The film was nominated for Best Sound at the 70th Academy Awards.

Sleepers was a controversial film.

The movie’s depiction of violence and sensitive subject matter sparked debates among audiences and critics.

Sleepers is based on a true story.

The novel by Lorenzo Carcaterra was inspired by actual events, adding to the film’s authenticity.

Sleepers features intense courtroom scenes.

The movie includes gripping courtroom scenes that further highlight the themes of justice and revenge.

Sleepers explores the long-lasting effects of trauma.

The film delves into the psychological and emotional impact of childhood trauma on the main characters, showcasing their struggles as adults.

Sleepers has memorable performances.

The talented cast delivers powerful performances that bring the complex characters to life.

Sleepers addresses the concept of forgiveness.

The film raises thought-provoking questions about whether forgiveness is possible after experiencing great harm.

Sleepers showcases the power of loyalty.

The friendship and loyalty between the characters play a major role in their pursuit of justice.

Sleepers portrays the dark underbelly of New York City.

The film immerses viewers in the gritty and dangerous world of Hell’s Kitchen, highlighting the socio-economic challenges faced by its residents.

Sleepers is emotionally gripping.

The powerful storytelling and compelling performances evoke strong emotions in viewers, making it a memorable film experience.

Sleepers received several award nominations.

In addition to its Oscar nomination, the film was also recognized by other prestigious award ceremonies such as the Golden Globes and BAFTAs.

Sleepers exposes systemic abuse.

The movie sheds light on the prevalence of abuse within institutions and the devastating impact it has on its victims.

Sleepers raises awareness about social injustice.

Through its narrative, the film highlights the need for a fair and just society, free from corruption and abuse of power.

Sleepers features a compelling screenplay.

The screenplay by Barry Levinson effectively brings out the tension and emotional depth of the story.

Sleepers is a thought-provoking film.

The film raises important ethical and moral questions that linger in the minds of the audience even after the credits roll.

Sleepers is a powerful exploration of friendship.

The film depicts the enduring bonds of friendship and the lengths friends would go to protect and seek justice for one another.

Sleepers showcases the journey of redemption.

The main characters embark on a journey of redemption as they confront their past and strive to find a sense of healing.

Sleepers has a dynamic and captivating storyline.

The twists and turns of the plot keep viewers engaged from start to finish, ensuring a thrilling cinematic experience.

Sleepers features strong character development.

The evolution of the characters throughout the film adds depth and complexity to the narrative.

Sleepers appeals to fans of crime dramas.

If you enjoy gripping crime dramas that delve into the darker aspects of society, Sleepers is a film worth watching.

Sleepers leaves a lasting impact on the viewer.

The film’s powerful ending and thought-provoking themes linger in the mind, sparking further reflection and discussion.

Sleepers is an emotionally charged rollercoaster.

The highs and lows of the story elicit a range of emotions, making it a deeply affecting film.

Sleepers tackles important social issues.

Through its exploration of abuse, justice, and loyalty, the film sheds light on pertinent social issues that remain relevant today.

Sleepers highlights the strength of the human spirit.

The characters in the film demonstrate resilience and the ability to overcome immense challenges, inspiring hope in the audience.

Sleepers has memorable and poignant dialogue.

The script is filled with impactful lines that further enhance the emotional depth of the film.

Sleepers is a critically acclaimed film.

While opinions may vary, Sleepers has garnered praise for its performances, direction, and storytelling.

Sleepers showcases the power of storytelling.

The film effectively captivates the audience through its narrative, leaving a lasting impression on their minds.

Sleepers addresses the consequences of revenge.

The film explores the moral dilemmas and consequences that arise when seeking vengeance.

Sleepers boasts authentic period details.

The film effectively transports viewers to the time periods it portrays, thanks to its attention to detail and production design.

Sleepers is a testament to the power of friendship.

The unbreakable bond between the characters is a central theme of the film, showcasing the importance of support and loyalty.

Sleepers has a compelling and nuanced portrayal of complex characters.

The characters in the film are multi-dimensional and flawed, adding layers of complexity to the story.

Sleepers is a thought-provoking examination of justice.

The film challenges traditional notions of justice and explores the idea of taking matters into one’s own hands.

Sleepers boasts powerful performances by the ensemble cast.

The actors bring depth and authenticity to their roles, elevating the film’s impact.

Sleepers is a timeless film that continues to resonate.

The themes and messages of Sleepers remain relevant, making it a film that stands the test of time.

Sleepers is a must-watch for fans of gripping and emotionally charged dramas.

If you enjoy films that keep you on the edge of your seat and provoke deep emotions, Sleepers is a film that should be on your radar.


Sleepers is a powerful film that captivates viewers with its intense storyline and stellar performances. With its thought-provoking themes and emotionally charged scenes, it continues to be a favorite among movie enthusiasts. Through this article, we have explored 45 fascinating facts about the movie, shedding light on its production, cast, and impact on popular culture. From the incredible performances of the cast to the behind-the-scenes challenges faced during filming, Sleepers proves to be a must-watch film for fans of gripping dramas. So, grab some popcorn, settle in, and experience the incredible journey that is Sleepers.


Q: Who directed Sleepers?

A: Sleepers was directed by Barry Levinson.

Q: Is Sleepers based on a true story?

A: Yes, Sleepers is based on a true story. It is an adaptation of the book “Sleepers” by Lorenzo Carcaterra, which recounts his personal experiences growing up in Hell’s Kitchen and the events that take place in the film.

Q: When was Sleepers released?

A: Sleepers was released on October 18, 1996.

Q: Who starred in Sleepers?

A: Sleepers features an incredible ensemble cast, including Brad Pitt, Robert De Niro, Kevin Bacon, Jason Patric, Dustin Hoffman, and Brad Renfro.

Q: What is the storyline of Sleepers?

A: Sleepers tells the story of four childhood friends who seek revenge on the guards who abused them in a juvenile detention center. As adults, they confront their traumatic past and face the consequences of their actions.

Q: How did Sleepers perform at the box office?

A: Sleepers was a commercial success, grossing over $165 million worldwide.

Q: Are there any memorable scenes in Sleepers?

A: Yes, Sleepers is filled with memorable scenes, including the courtroom confrontation and the powerful climax that will leave viewers on the edge of their seats.

Q: Did Sleepers receive any awards?

A: While it did not win any major awards, Sleepers received critical acclaim for its performances and storytelling.

Q: Is Sleepers a must-watch for movie enthusiasts?

A: Absolutely! Sleepers is a gripping drama that tackles profound themes and features extraordinary performances. It is a film that will leave a lasting impact on its viewers.

If you enjoyed learning about the gripping drama Sleepers, why not explore more cinematic gems? Unravel the quirky comedy in our article on Woody Allen's Sleeper, where a health food store owner awakens from a cryogenic slumber to find himself in a hilariously bizarre future. Each film offers unique storytelling, captivating performances, and thought-provoking themes that will keep you entertained and engaged. Dive into these articles to discover more fascinating facts about these memorable movies and expand your knowledge of film history.

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