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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) living in Hell's Kitchen, New York City in the mid-1960s. The four friends work for local gangster King Benny (Vittorio Gassman) who has them deliver bribe money to the local police precinct on a weekly basis. They are often under the eye of Father Bobby (Robert De Niro), himself a one-time delinquent.
On a hot summer day in 1967, the boys play a prank on a Greek American hot dog vendor, stealing his cart. A near-fatal accident occurs when the cart falls down a subway station staircase, crushing a man named James Caldwell (Don Hewitt) at the bottom of the stairs. Found guilty of reckless endangerment, the four are sentenced to serve time at the Wilkinson Home for Boys in upstate New York.
There, the boys are systematically beaten, abused and raped by head guards Sean Nokes, Henry Addison, Adam Styler and Ralph Ferguson (played by Kevin Bacon, Jeffrey Donovan, Lennie Loftin and Terry Kinney respectively). When the guards put together a team of inmates to play a touch football game, the four Hell's Kitchen boys are selected and decide to use the game as an opportunity to get back at the guards physically. They ask Rizzo ...