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The Departed is a American crime drama film remake of the 2002 Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs. The film was directed by Martin Scorsese, written by William Monahan and stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Martin Sheen, Alec Baldwin, Ray Winstone, Vera Farmiga and Mark Wahlberg. The film won four Academy Awards at the 79th Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and a Best Director win for Scorsese.

This film takes place in Bostonmarker, Massachusettsmarker, where notorious Irish Mob boss Francis "Frank" Costello (Nicholson) plants Colin Sullivan (Damon) as an informant within the Massachusetts State Police. Simultaneously, the police assign undercover cop Billy Costigan, Jr. (DiCaprio) to infiltrate Costello's crew. When both sides of the law realize the situation, each man attempts to discover the other's true identity before being found out.


At a young age, Colin Sullivan (Damon) is introduced to organized crime through Irish mobster Frank Costello (Nicholson) who grooms him along with other youths in the Irish neighborhood of Southie (South Boston). Turning into a father figure to Sullivan, Costello trains him to become his mole inside the Massachusetts State Police. Performing exceptionally while helping Costello remove his underworld enemies, Sullivan is accepted into the Special Investigation Unit, which focuses on organized crime.

Before he graduates from the Police Academy, William Costigan, Jr. (DiCaprio) is asked by Captain Queenan (Sheen) and Staff Sergeant Dignam (Wahlberg) to become an undercover agent, as his childhood spent wandering between two Boston neigborhoods and his family ties to organized crime make him a perfect infiltrator. He agrees and does time in prison on a phony assault charge to up his credibility as a criminal.

As both men infiltrate their respective organizations, Sullivan begins a romance with psychiatrist Madolyn Madden (Farmiga), whose profession he ridicules. Costigan sees Madolyn as part of his probation, developing a more respectful relationship with her.

After Costello barely escapes a sting operation, both moles become aware of the other's existence. Sullivan is assigned to find the "rat" in SIU and asks Costello for his crew's personal information to allow him to determine who is the informer within Costello's crew. Costigan follows Costello into a movie theater where Costello gives Sullivan an envelope with the details of his crew. Costigan then chases Sullivan through Boston's Chinatown, during which Sullivan stabs an innocent bystander. When it is all over, both men still do not know each other's true identity.

Sullivan then has Queenan tailed as he meets Costigan in an abandoned building. Costello sends his men in and Queenan distracts them to let Costigan escape. For this he pays with his life as he is thrown from the roof and dies at the feet of Costigan. When the mobsters escape, Costigan pretends he has come to rejoin them. The trailing state troopers open fire on Costello's crew, which causes casualties on both sides. Later, at one of Costello's safe houses, Delahunt (one of Costello's enforcers) reveals to Costigan that he is aware of his true identity just before he dies from his gunshot wounds.

His actions now under scrutiny, Sullivan is attacked by a suspicious Dignam, who is subsequently placed on administrative leave. Using Queenan's bloodstained phone, Sullivan reaches Costigan, who refuses to abort his mission. Sullivan learns of Costello's role as an informant for the FBImarker from Queenan's diary, causing him to worry about his double identity being revealed.

With Costigan's help, Costello is tracked to a cocaine drop-off, where he and his crew become trapped in a gunfight with police, resulting in most of the mobsters being killed. As the wounded Costello attempts an escape he is confronted by Sullivan. Costello admits he is an occasional FBI mole and tries to shoot Sullivan. Sullivan fires first, killing Costello.

With Costello dead, Sullivan is applauded for his actions. In good faith, Costigan comes to him for restoration of his true identity but notices the envelope containing the details of Costello's men on Sullivan's desk and flees from the building. Knowing he has been found out, Sullivan erases all records of Costigan as a trooper from the police agency's computer system.

Costigan leaves an envelope in the care of Madolyn, with whom he has had a love affair but who now lives with Sullivan. Some time later, Costigan sends Sullivan an audio CD with a note requesting him to contact Costigan. However, Madolyn listens to the CD first and hears Sullivan and Costello's taped conversations. Sullivan walks in on her and tries to assuage her suspicions.

He contacts Costigan, who reveals that he is in possession of recordings by Costello that would implicate Sullivan as a rat in the police department. They agree to meet at the empty building where Queenan died. Costigan surprises Sullivan, holding him at gunpoint, intent on arresting him. Officer Brown, who is both Sullivan's colleague and an academy friend of Costigan, appears and draws his gun on Costigan. Using Sullivan as a shield, Costigan gets into the elevator. As it reaches the ground floor, Costigan is shot by Sullivan's other colleague Barrigan and dies. Brown appears on the scene but is shot and killed by Barrigan, who reveals himself as Costello's second mole. Not wanting any loose ends, Sullivan shoots and kills Barrigan. Back at police headquarters, Sullivan blames all mole activity on Barrigan and has Costigan posthumously rewarded with the Medal of Valor.

At Costigan's funeral, a pregnant Madolyn is seen crying. Some time later, in the final scene, Sullivan comes home with a bag of groceries. Instead of Madolyn, Dignam is waiting for him with a suppressed pistol and kills him with a bullet to the head.


  • Leonardo DiCaprio as Trooper William "Billy" Costigan Jr., undercover State Trooper
  • Matt Damon as Staff Sergeant Colin Sullivan, Costello's informant in the Special Investigations Unit
  • Jack Nicholson as Francis "Frank" Costello, boss of the Boston Irish mob
  • Mark Wahlberg as Staff Sergeant Sean Dignam, second in command of the undercover unit
  • Martin Sheen as Captain Oliver Charles Queenan, commander of the undercover unit
  • Vera Farmiga as Dr. Madolyn Madden, occupational psychiatrist and girlfriend to both Billy and Colin, respectively
  • Ray Winstone as Arnold French, Costello's right-hand man
  • Alec Baldwin as Captain George Ellerby, commander of the Special Investigations Unit
  • Anthony Anderson as Trooper Brown, member of the Special Investigations Unit and Billy's classmate at the MSP Academy
  • James Badge Dale as Trooper Barrigan, member of the Special Investigations Unit and Colin's classmate at the state police academy
  • David O'Hara as "Fitzy" Fitzgibbons, one of Costello's enforcers
  • Mark Rolston as Timothy Delahunt, one of Costello's enforcers
  • John Cenatiempo as Mark Brambilla, Providence mob associate
  • Armen Garo as Eugene Fratti, Providence mob associate
  • Kevin Corrigan as Sean, Billy's cousin
  • Robert Wahlberg as FBI Special Agent Frank Lazio, FBI liaison to the special investigations unit
  • Gurdeep Singh as Pakistani Proprietor
  • Tracey Paleo as Darlene the Secretary


Film critic Stanley Kauffman describes a major theme of The Departed as one of the oldest in drama—the concept of identity—and how it "affects one's actions, emotions, self-assurance, and even dreams."

The father-son relationship is a motif throughout the film. Costello acts as a father figure to both Colin and Billy while Queenan acts as Costello's foil in the role of father-figure presenting both sides of the Irish-American father archetype. Colin calls Costello as 'Dad' whenever he calls him to inform him of police activities. It could be said that Queenan and Dignam have a bit of a father-son relationship.

Boston setting

Born to an Irish-American family in the Boston neighborhood of Dorchester, Massachusettsmarker, William Monahan (who adapted the screenplay from Infernal Affairs) incorporates the culture and history of Boston heavily into the film. The first images are news clips from the busing riots of the 1970s, over which Costello muses about the city's troubled racial history. Several times, Dignam refers to Billy as "lace curtain," a term used primarily in the Boston metropolitan area by working-class Irish-Americans to disparage upper-middle class Irish-Americans who have "strayed from their roots" in their attempt to better themselves.

The majority of the characters have the non-rhotic Boston accent. The Massachusetts State Housemarker is featured in the film as a symbol of Colin Sullivan's ambition. Boston Red Sox apparel is seen and worn, including the appearance of a now-out-of-print "Reverse The Curse" bumper sticker on the wall at SIU headquarters. In a bar scene, the logo of the Harpoon Brewery, which has locations in Bostonmarker and Windsor, Vermontmarker, is seen. Costello and his gang drive over the Zakim Bunker Hill Bridgemarker in one scene. The building off which Queenan is thrown (and where Billy and Colin later meet) is in the Fort Pointmarker section of South Boston with the downtown skyline as backdrop (the fictitious "344 Wash" is actually an alley between Farnsworth Street and Thomson Place). The John Hancock Towermarker is referenced by Costello, who makes an obscure but, according to urban legend, accurate reference to "the Fens"--a section of the Fenway—as a popular spot for gay cruising. Boston's Chinatown is portrayed in a crucial scene which is somewhat inaccurate, as the neighborhood is no longer home to pornographic movie theaters (Boston's red light district, the Combat Zone became defunct in the mid-1990s, but was in very close proximity to Chinatown). Characters are shown working in the striking, Brutalist Government Service Center downtown. The film includes the song "I'm Shipping Up To Boston" by the Dropkick Murphys, an Irish-American punk rock band formed in Quincy, Massachusettsmarker.

Other references include state locations such as Route 128, regions such as the North Shore, there is a shot of the Park Streetmarker and South Stationmarker MBTA Red Line stops, local cities such as Worcestermarker, Brocktonmarker, Gloucestermarker, and Somervillemarker while having turf wars with crew from nearby Providencemarker, a cameo by the Lynnmarker police, mention of the Dedham Mall (located in Dedhammarker just southwest of Boston), and state slang like "Staties," a local nickname for Massachusetts State Police troopers. Deerfield Academy, a boarding school in Deerfield, Massachusettsmarker, is referenced when Dignam points out that Billy was expelled from the school after assaulting the gym teacher (though in reality Deerfield, like most Independent Schools, has no gym class). Additionally, the label on Billy's prescription bottle shows a Beverlymarker Street address in Boston. The University of Massachusetts is referenced in several scenes.

Frank Costello was largely based on James "Whitey" Bulger, an Irish-American mobster in Boston who was secretly an FBImarker informant for over three decades. The revelation that the FBI had long protected Bulger and his gang from prosecution caused a major scandal in Boston law enforcement. Bulger was believed to have been seen coming out of a theater showing the film in San Diegomarker in November 2006. Matt Damon's character is based on John Connolly, the FBImarker agent who tipped off Bulger for years, allowing him to evade arrest. Bulger went into hiding and is still presumed to be at large, occupying a spot on the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list; Connolly is imprisoned for his role in Bulger's criminal activities. Billy's undercover role as a former State trooper who joins the Irish mob parallels the story of Richard Marinick, a former State trooper who later joined Whitey Bulger's crime syndicate. Billy lives in Somerville, where Bulger's Winter Hill Gang began. Thomas Duffy, the film's technical advisor, is a former MSP major who was assigned to investigate the Irish mob upon making detective.

Martin Scorsese asked the MSP if he could use actual logos, badges, and color schemes on the uniforms and the cruisers, but was denied. As a result, the uniforms, police cruisers, and logos in the film are only slightly different from the real ones.


The Departed was highly anticipated when it was released on October 6, 2006 to overwhelmingly positive reviews. The film is one of the highest-rated wide release films of 2006 on Rotten Tomatoes at 92%.

Popular critic James Berardinelli awarded the film four stars out of four, praising it as "an American epic tragedy." He went on to compare the film favorably to the onslaught of banality offered by American studios in recent years. "The movies have been in the doldrums lately. The Departed is a much needed tonic," he wrote. He went on to claim that the film deserves to be ranked alongside Scorsese's past successes, including Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and Goodfellas.

Andrew Lau, the co-director of Infernal Affairs, who was interviewed by Hong Kong newspaper Apple Daily, said, "Of course I think the version I made is better, but the Hollywood version is pretty good too. [Scorsese] made the Hollywood version more attuned to American culture." Andy Lau, one of the main actors in Infernal Affairs, when asked how the movie compares to the original, said, "The Departed was too long and it felt as if Hollywood had combined all three Infernal Affairs movies together." Lau pointed out that the remake featured some of the "golden quotes" of the original but did have much more swearing. He ultimately rated The Departed 8/10 and said that the Hollywood remake is worth a view, though "the effect of combining the two female characters in the [later film] into one isn't as good as in the original," according to Lau's spokeswoman Alice Tam.

The film evoked controversy in Boston. Michael Patrick MacDonald, author of the Southie memoirs All Souls and Easter Rising, wrote an op-ed piece for The Boston Globe praising the film's ability to recreate the "strangulating" culture created by Boston gangsters, politicians, and law enforcement officials at all levels of local, state, and federal government — a culture of violent death and silence that led to years of young suicides and an epidemic of painkilling through heroin and OxyContin, the latter even shown in the film.

The film grossed $26,887,467 in its opening weekend, becoming the third Scorsese film to debut at #1. The film saw small declines in later weeks, remaining in the list of top ten films for seven weeks. The film grossed $132,384,315 domestically and $289,835,021 worldwide. Budgeted at $90 million, the film is believed to be the most commercially successful of Scorsese's features and is his highest-grossing film to date, easily beating The Aviator's previous record of $102.6 million.


The film won four Academy Awards at the 79th Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director (Martin Scorsese), Best Film Editing (Thelma Schoonmaker), and Best Adapted Screenplay (William Monahan). Mark Wahlberg was nominated for the Best Supporting Actor award for his performance. The film marked the first time Scorsese won an Oscar; many felt that he deserved it years earlier for prior efforts. Scorsese himself stated that he won because: "This is the first movie I've done with a plot."

Top ten lists

The film appeared on many critics' top ten lists of the best films of 2006.

Carrie Rickey of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Joe Morgenstern of The Wall Street Journal, Ruthe Stein of the San Francisco Chronicle, and Steven Rea of The Philadelphia Inquirer named it one of the top ten best films of 2006. Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times named it the best film of 2006.

Awards and nominations

Award Category Winner/Nominee Won
Academy Awards Best Director Martin Scorsese Yes
Best Film Editing Thelma Schoonmaker
Best Picture Graham King
Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay William Monahan
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role Mark Wahlberg No
African-American Film Critics Top Ten Films of the Year 3rd
American Cinema Editors Best Edited Feature Film – Dramatic Thelma Schoonmaker Yes
Art Directors Guild Excellence in Production Design – Contemporary Film No
Austin Film Critics Best Actor Leonardo DiCaprio Yes
Best Supporting Actor Jack Nicholson
Boston Film Critics Best Director Martin Scorsese Yes
Best Film
Best Screenplay William Monahan
Best Supporting Actor Mark Wahlberg
Best Cast 2nd
Best Supporting Actor Martin Sheen
Best Supporting Actor Alec Baldwin
BAFTA Film Awards Best Actor in a Leading Role Leonardo DiCaprio No
David Lean Award for Direction Martin Scorsese
Best Editing Thelma Schoonmaker
Best Film Graham King

Brad Pitt

Brad Grey
Best Screenplay – Adapted William Monahan
Best Actor in a Supporting Role Jack Nicholson
Broadcast Film Critics Top 10 Films of the Year 3rd
Best Actor Leonardo Dicaprio No
Best Cast
Best Composer Howard Shore
Best Director Martin Scorsese Yes
Best Film
Best Supporting Actor Jack Nicholson No
Best Writer William Monahan
Central Ohio Film Critics Best Director Martin Scorsese Yes
Best Actor Leonardo DiCaprio
Best Ensemble
Best Screenplay – Adapted William Monahan
Best Picture 2nd
Actor of the Year Leonardo DiCaprio
Chicago Film Critics Best Actor Leonardo DiCaprio No
Best Cinematography Michael Ballhaus
Best Director Martin Scorsese Yes
Best Film
Best Screenplay – Adapted William Monahan
Best Supporting Actor Jack Nicholson No
Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Best Director Martin Scorsese Yes
Best Picture 2nd
Best Actor Leonardo DiCaprio
Top 10 Films of the Year
Directors Guild of America Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures Martin Scorsese Yes
Empire Awards Best Thriller Yes
Best Actor Leonardo DiCaprio No
Best Director Martin Scorsese
Best Female Newcomer Vera Farmiga
Best Film
Scene of the Year (Frank and Mr. French interrogate Costigan)
Florida Film Critics Best Director Martin Scorsese Yes
Best Film
Best Screenplay William Monahan
Best Supporting Actor Jack Nicholson
Golden Globe Awards Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama Leonardo DiCaprio No
Best Director – Motion Picture Martin Scorsese Yes
Best Motion Picture – Drama No
Best Screenplay – Motion Picture William Monahan
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture Jack Nicholson
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture Mark Wahlberg
International Cinephile Society Best Picture 2nd
Best Actor Leonardo DiCaprio Yes
Best Cast
Best Adapted Screenplay William Monahan
Iowa Film Critics Best Director Martin Scorsese Yes
Irish Film Awards Best International Film - No
Best International Actor People's Choice Leonardo DiCaprio Yes
Kansas City Film Critics Best Screenplay – Adapted William Monahan Yes
Las Vegas Film Critics Best Director Martin Scorsese Yes
Best Film Editing Thelma Schoonmaker
Best Picture
London Film Critics Circle Director of the year Martin Scorsese No
British Producer of the Year Graham King
Film of the Year
MTV Movie Awards Best Villain Jack Nicholson Yes
National Board of Review Top 10 Films of the Year (#4)
Best Ensemble Anthony Anderson

Alec Baldwin

James Badge Dale

Matt Damon

Leonardo DiCaprio

Vera Farmiga

Jack Nicholson

Martin Sheen

Mark Wahlberg

Ray Winstone
Best Director Martin Scorsese
New York Film Critics Best Director Martin Scorsese Yes
Best Film No
Best Screenplay William Monahan
National Society of Film Critics Best Supporting Actor Mark Wahlberg Yes
Best Director Martin Scorsese 2nd
Oklahoma Film Critics Best Film 2nd
Best Director Martin Scorsese Yes
Online Film Critics Best Actor Leonardo DiCaprio No
Best Director Martin Scorsese Yes
Best Editing Thelma Schoonmaker No
Best Film
Best Screenplay – Adapted William Monahan
Best Supporting Actor Jack Nicholson
Best Supporting Actor Mark Wahlberg
Producers Guild of America Motion Picture Producer of the Year Graham King No
Phoenix Film Critics Best Director Martin Scorsese Yes
Best Film Editing Thelma Schoonmaker
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role Jack Nicholson
Best Screenplay Adapted From Another Medium William Monahan
Satellite Awards Best Ensemble, Motion Picture Yes
Best Director Martin Scorsese No
Best Motion Picture, Drama Yes
Best Screenplay – Adapted William Monahan
Best Actor in a Supporting Role Leonardo DiCaprio
Best Actor in a Supporting Role Jack Nicholson No
Saturn Awards Best Action/Adventure/Thriller Film No
Screen Actors Guild Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Anthony Anderson

Alec Baldwin

Matt Damon

Leonardo DiCaprio

Vera Farmiga

Jack Nicholson

Martin Sheen

Mark Wahlberg

Ray Winstone
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role Leonardo DiCaprio
Southeastern Film Critics Best Director Martin Scorsese Yes
Best Film
Best Screenplay – Adapted William Monahan
St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Best Film Yes
Best Director Martin Scorsese
Best Actor Leonardo DiCaprio No
Best Supporting Actor Jack Nicholson
Best Screenplay William Monahan
Best Cinematography Michael Ballhaus
Toronto Film Critics Association Best Director Martin Scorsese No
Best Picture
Best Supporting Male Performance Mark Wahlberg
Best Screenplay William Monahan
Utah Film Critics Best Film 2nd
Best Supporting Actor Mark Wahlberg
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Best Director Martin Scorsese Yes
Writers Guild of America Best Adapted Screenplay William Monahan Yes

Spike TV Guys' Choice Awards:
  • Won: Best Gangstertainment

Soundtrack music

There were two albums released for The Departed, one presenting the original score composed for the movie by Howard Shore, and the other featuring earlier recordings, mostly pop/rock songs, which were used on the soundtrack.

Music from the Motion Picture album

The film opens with "Gimme Shelter" by The Rolling Stones and prominently plays "I'm Shipping Up to Boston" by Dropkick Murphys with lyrics written by Woody Guthrie, which gained the band some popularity. The film features the live cover of Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb" by Roger Waters, Van Morrison, and Rick Danko, Levon Helm, and Garth Hudson of The Band from the 1990 Berlin Wall Concert.

Although "Gimme Shelter" is featured in the film, the song does not appear on the album soundtrack. Also heard in the movie but not featured on the soundtrack is "Thief's Theme" by Nas, "Well Well Well" by John Lennon, "Bang Bang" by Joe Cuba and the Act II Sextet from Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor.

The movie closes with a cover of Don Gibson's "Sweet Dreams," interpreted by Roy Buchanan.

Track Listing
  1. "Comfortably Numb" (Roger Waters Feat. Van Morrison and The Band, version from The Wall Concert in Berlin) – 7:59
  2. "Sail On, Sailor" (Beach Boys) – 3:18
  3. "Let It Loose" (Rolling Stones) – 5:18
  4. "Sweet Dreams" (Roy Buchanan) – 3:32
  5. "One Way Out" (Allman Brothers Band) – 4:57
  6. "Baby Blue" (Badfinger) – 3:36
  7. "I'm Shipping Up to Boston" (Dropkick Murphys) – 2:34
  8. "Nobody But Me" (Human Beinz) – 2:18
  9. "Tweedle Dee" (LaVern Baker) – 3:10
  10. "Sweet Dreams " (Patsy Cline) – 2:34
  11. "The Departed Tango" (Howard Shore, Marc Ribot) – 3:32
  12. "Beacon Hill" (Howard Shore, Sharon Isbin) – 2:33

Original Score album

The film score for The Departed was written by Howard Shore and performed by guitarists Sharon Isbin, G.E. Smith, Larry Saltzman and Marc Ribot. The score was recorded in Shore's own studio in New York Statemarker.

Track Listing
  1. "Cops or Criminals" – 2:01
  2. "344 Wash" – 2:03
  3. "Beacon Hill" – 2:36
  4. "The Faithful Departed" – 3:01
  5. "Colin" – 2:09
  6. "Madolyn" – 2:14
  7. "Billy's Theme" – 6:58
  8. "Command" – 3:15
  9. "Chinatown" – 3:16
  10. "Boston Common" – 2:53
  11. "Miss Thing" – 1:45
  12. "The Baby" – 2:48
  13. "The Last Rites" – 3:05
  14. "The Departed Tango" – 3:38

DVD releases

The Departed was released by Warner Brothers on DVD on February 13, 2007 in Region 1 format and on February 19, 2007 in Region 2 format, and was released on March 14, 2007 in Region 4 format. The film is available in a single-disc full screen (1:33:1), single-disc widescreen (2:40:1) edition, and 2-disc special edition. The second disc of this film predominately contains features that concerned the crimes that influenced Scorsese with deleted scenes being the only feature that are actually film related. The Region 1 version has three available audio tracks: English, Spanish, and French (all of which are in Dolby Digital 5.1), and three subtitle tracks (English, Spanish, French). The film was released on HD DVD and Blu-ray at the same time as the standard-definition DVD. The 2-Disc Special Edition was packaged in a Limited Edition Steelbook. It marked the first time that an Oscar winning Best Picture was released to the home video market in DVD format only, as VHS was totally phased out by the start of 2006.


  • After Colin leaves the porn theater, the chase through Chinatown is a tribute to Orson Welles's The Lady from Shanghai, with the shot of the glass mobile recalling the famous house-of-mirrors scene.
  • The funeral scene, where Madolyn walks away from Colin without speaking to him, pays homage to The Third Man, directed by Carol Reed, where Anna walks away from Holly Martins.
  • Throughout the film, Scorsese used X's to mark characters for death; examples include shots of Billy walking through jail, Queenan falling to his death, and Colin returning to his apartment at the end of the movie. This is an homage to Howard Hawks' classic 1932 film Scarface.

See also


Further reading

External links

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