The Departed
Directed by Martin Scorsese
Produced by Brad Pitt Brad Grey Graham King
Screenplay by William Monahan
Story by Felix Chong Alan Mak
Starring Leonardo DiCaprio Matt Damon Jack Nicholson Mark Wahlberg Martin Sheen Ray Winstone Vera Farmiga Alec Baldwin
Music by Howard Shore
Cinematography Michael Ballhaus
Editing by Thelma Schoonmaker
Studio Plan B Entertainment Initial Entertainment Group Vertigo Entertainment Media Asia Films
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date(s) September 26, 2006 (2006-09-26) (New York City premiere) October 6, 2006 (2006-10-06) (United States)
Running time 151 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $90 million[1]
Gross revenue $289,847,354[1]
Released November 7, 2006
Genre RockCountryPop
Label Warner Sunset
Producer Jason Cienkus
Released December 5, 2006
Genre SoundtracksFilm music
Label New Line
Producer Jason Cienkus


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The Departed

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The Departed is a 2006 American crime thriller film, fashioned as a remake of the 2002 Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs. The film was directed by Martin Scorsese and written by William Monahan. Like Infernal Affairs before it, The Departed is noted for its star-studded cast, including Oscar, Golden Globe, SAG, Emmy and/or BAFTA nominated/winning actors Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Ray Winstone, Vera Farmiga and Alec Baldwin.It won four Oscars at the 79th Academy Awards; Best Picture, Best Director (Scorsese), Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Film Editing. Wahlberg was nominated for Best Supporting Actor but lost to Alan Arkin for his role in Little Miss Sunshine.The film takes place in Boston, Massachusetts, where Irish Mob boss Francis "Frank" Costello plants Colin Sullivan as an informant within the Massachusetts State Police. Simultaneously, the police assign undercover cop William "Billy" Costigan to infiltrate Costello's crew. When both sides realize the situation, each man attempts to discover the other's true identity before his own cover is blown.


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At a young age, Colin Sullivan (Damon) is introduced to organized crime through Irish mobster Frank Costello (Nicholson) in the Irish neighborhood of South Boston. Costello trains him to become his mole inside the Massachusetts State Police. Sullivan is accepted into the Special Investigations Unit, which focuses on organized crime. Before he graduates from the Police Academy, Billy Costigan (DiCaprio) is asked by Captain Oliver Queenan (Sheen) and Staff Sergeant Sean Dignam (Wahlberg) to become an Undercover Agent, as his childhood and family ties to organized crime make him a perfect infiltrator. He drops out of the Academy and does time in prison on a fake assault charge to increase his credibility.

As both infiltrate their respective organizations, Sullivan begins a romance with psychiatrist Madolyn Madden (Farmiga). Costigan sees her for his probation and also develops a relationship with her. Shortly after, Costigan makes love to her before she moves in with Sullivan. After Costello barely escapes a sting operation, both moles become aware of the other's existence, though not their respective identities. Sullivan is told to find the "rat" and asks Costello for his underlings' personal information (birthdates, Social Security numbers, etc.) to determine who is the informant within Costello's crew. Costigan follows Costello into a pornographic movie theater where Costello gives Sullivan an envelope with the details. Costigan then chases Sullivan through Boston's Chinatown district. When it is over, both men still do not know each other's identity. Sullivan then has Queenan tailed as he meets Costigan in an abandoned building. Sullivan sends Costello's men in and Queenan distracts them to let Costigan escape. 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,a mortally wounded Delahunt (Mark Rolston), one of Costello's enforcers, tells Costigan "I gave you the wrong address, but you showed up at the right one." He then asks him if he knows why he didn't say anything about it before dying. When Costello's henchman "Fitzy" (O'Hara) does an unsuccessful job of hiding the corpse, it is revealed that Delahunt was also an undercover police officer. Costello berates the rest of his crew for believing this, knowing that the more likely explanation is that the police declared Delahunt an informant in an attempt to stop Costello himself for continuing his search for the mole.

Now under scrutiny, Sullivan is attacked by a suspicious Dignam because of Queenan's death. Captain George Ellerby (Baldwin) places Dignam on leave. Using Queenan's phone, Sullivan calls Costigan, who refuses to abort his mission. Sullivan learns of Costello's role as an informant for the FBI from Queenan's diary, causing him to worry about his dual identity being revealed. Sullivan calls Costello to inform him he has a tail as he and his men drive to a cocaine drop-off. Costello furiously demands that Sullivan gets rid of the tail, to which he agrees. Fed up with Costello's arrogance, along with the knowledge that he is an FBI informant, Sullivan gets rid of the tail and convinces Ellerby to a special ops strike at the drop-off where is intends to confront Costello. With Costigan's help, Sullivan tracks down where the drop-off is located. Costello and his crew become trapped in a gunfight with Police, resulting in most of the mobsters being killed. As Costello attempts an escape he is confronted by Sullivan. Costello admits he is an occasional FBI mole and tries to shoot, but Sullivan fires first, fatally hitting him. Near death, Costello tries to shoot Sullivan again, but Sullivan dodges the shot and returns fire, killing Costello. With Costello dead, Sullivan is applauded the next day by everyone on the Force. In good faith, Costigan comes to him for restoration of his true identity, but notices an envelope containing details of Costello's men on Sullivan's desk and flees, realising that Sullivan is Costello's inside man. Knowing he has been found out, Sullivan erases all records of Costigan from the Police computer system.

Costigan leaves an envelope in the care of Madolyn and tells her he will talk with her in two weeks. Later, she reveals to Sullivan that she is pregnant, but it isn't revealed who the father is. Soon after, she discovers a package in the mail from Costigan to Sullivan. It contains a CD and a phone number for Sullivan. Madolyn listens and discovers that it contains recordings of Costello's conversations with Sullivan. Sullivan walks in on her and tries to assuage her suspicions, but she locks herself in the bathroom. He hastily contacts Costigan, who reveals that Costello recorded every conversation he had with Sullivan. Since Costigan was the only person Costello actually trusted, Costello's attorney left Costigan in possession of the recordings and therefore Costigan intends to implicate Sullivan. They agree to meet at the building where Queenan was killed.

On the roof, Costigan catches Sullivan off-guard, assaults him and hand-cuffs him at gunpoint. As Costigan had secretly arranged, Trooper Brown, (Anderson)Costigan's class mate at the Academy, appears on the roof as well. Shocked, Brown draws his gun on Costigan. Costigan attempts to justify his actions by exposing Sullivan as the rat, but Brown does not fully believe him. Costigan asks Brown why Dignam did not accompany him as per their agreement, but Brown does not answer. Using Sullivan as a shield, Costigan leads Sullivan into the elevator. As it reaches the ground, Costigan is shot point blank in the head by Trooper Barrigan (Dale), another Police Officer on Costello's pay-roll. Brown reaches the ground floor and is killed by Barrigan as well. Barrigan reveals to Sullivan that Costello had more than one mole in the Police and suggests that they must avoid being traded to the FBI. Sullivan waits for Barrigan to turn then shoots him in the back of the head, leaving himself as the only survivor. At Police Headquarters, Sullivan blames all mole activity on Barrigan and has Costigan posthumously given the Medal of Merit.

At Costigan's funeral, Sullivan and Madolyn stand at the grave. She is clearly distraught. Sullivan attempts to discuss the future of her child, but she ignores him. Later, Sullivan enters his apartment with groceries and, to his surprise, finds Dignam waiting for him, wearing hospital footies and surgical gloves to leave no trace of his presence and aiming a suppressed pistol straight at him. Aware of Sullivan's treachery, Dignam shoots him in the temple. As Sullivan collapses dead, Dignam calmly exits Sullivan's apartment. A rat crawls along the apartment balcony, with the view of the Massachusetts State House in the background.


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  • Leonardo DiCaprio as William "Billy" Costigan Jr.
  • Matt Damon as Staff Sergeant Colin Sullivan.
  • Jack Nicholson as Francis "Frank" Costello.
  • Mark Wahlberg as Staff Sergeant Sean Dignam.
  • Martin Sheen as Captain Oliver Charles Queenan.
  • Vera Farmiga as Dr. Madolyn Madden.
  • Ray Winstone as Arnold "Frenchy" French.
  • Alec Baldwin as Captain George Ellerby.
  • Anthony Anderson as Trooper Brown.
  • James Badge Dale as Trooper Barrigan.
  • David O'Hara as "Fitzy" Fitzgibbons.
  • Mark Rolston as Timothy Delahunt.
  • Kevin Corrigan as Sean Costigan.
  • Robert Wahlberg as FBI Special Agent Frank Lazio.
  • Kristen Dalton as Gwen Costello.
  • Conor Donovan as a young Colin Sullivan.
  • Amanda Lynch as Carmen


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Film critic Stanley Kauffmann 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 Sullivan and Costigan while Queenan acts as Costello's foil in the role of father-figure presenting both sides of the Irish-American father archetype. Sullivan refers to Costello as 'Dad' whenever he calls him to inform him of Police activities.

Boston setting

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Born to an Irish-American family in the Boston neighborhood of Dorchester, Massachusetts, William Monahan 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 Costigan 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 House 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. (Incidentally, when asked to wear a Red Sox cap during filming, Nicholson refused citing his loyalties to the New York Yankees, the Red Sox chief rivals.) In a bar scene, the logo of the Harpoon Brewery, which has locations in Boston and Windsor, Vermont, is seen. Costello and his gang drive over the Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge in one scene. The building off which Queenan is thrown is in the Fort Point section of South Boston with the downtown skyline as backdrop (the fictitious "344 Wash" is actually an alley between Farnsworth Street and Thomson Place). John Hancock employees are 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 very close 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, Massachusetts.

Other references include state locations such as Route 128, regions such as the North Shore, there is a shot of the Park Street and South Station MBTA Red Line stops, local cities such as Worcester, Brockton, Gloucester, and Somerville while having turf wars with crew from nearby Providence, a cameo by the Lynn police, mention of the Dedham Mall (located in Dedham just southwest of Boston), and state slang like "Staties," a local nickname for Massachusetts State Police troopers. Deerfield Academy, a boarding school in Deerfield, Massachusetts, 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 Costigan's prescription bottle shows a Beverly Street address in Boston. The University of Massachusetts Boston is referenced in several scenes.

Frank Costello was based on James J. Bulger, an Irish-American mobster in Boston who was secretly an FBI informant for over three decades. The revelation that the FBI had long protected Bulger and his Winter Hill 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 Diego in November 2006. Matt Damon's character is based on John Connolly, the FBI 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. Costigan'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 Bulger's crime syndicate. Costigan lives in Somerville, where Bulger's 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.


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The Departed was highly anticipated when it was released on October 6, 2006 to critical acclaim reviews. The film is one of the highest-rated wide release films of 2006 on Rotten Tomatoes at 93%.

Entertainment Weekly put it on its end-of-the-decade, "best-of" list, saying, "If they're lucky, directors make one classic film in their career. Martin Scorsese has one per decade (Taxi Driver in the '70s, Raging Bull in the '80s, GoodFellas in the '90s). His 2006 Irish Mafia masterpiece kept the streak alive."

Online 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 grossed $26,887,467 in its opening weekend, becoming the third Scorsese film to debut at number one. The film saw small declines in later weeks, remaining in the list of top ten films for seven weeks. Budgeted at $90 million, the film grossed $289,835,021 worldwide of which $132,384,315 was from North America, becoming one of the most commercially successful of Scorsese's career.

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 films of 2006. Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times named it the best film of 2000s

Awards and nominations

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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. Some have even gone further, calling it a Lifetime Achievement Award for a lesser film. Scorsese himself stated that he won because: "This is the first movie I've done with a plot." Coincidentally, Nicholson presented the film with its Best Picture award alongside Diane Keaton.

Soundtrack music

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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
Once again Robbie Robertson had a hand in picking out the music. 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 twice 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 (Which is also Costello's ringtone in the film).

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

Track Listing

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 State.

Track Listing

DVD releases

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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.

Potential sequel

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In February 2007, Mark Wahlberg had an interview with Empire about The Departed 2. Although the film has not been greenlit, Wahlberg stated that there might be a sequel focusing on his character, Dignam, with Robert De Niro potentially playing a corrupted senator. He also stated that William Monahan is busy penning the script. However, the film was said to be on hold, due to producer Brad Grey's involvement, as he's now the head of Paramount Pictures and the film is a Warner Bros. project.

In June 2010, Wahlberg and Monahan still expressed interest in a sequel, which is said to be projected for a 2012 release date.


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Throughout the film, Scorsese used Xs mostly shown in the background to mark characters for death[further explanation needed]; examples include shots of Costigan walking through the airport while talking to Sgt. Dignam (Mark Wahlberg), Queenan falling to his death, and Sullivan returning to his apartment at the end of the movie. This is an homage to Howard Hawks' classic 1932 film Scarface.

See also

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  • List of American films of 2006


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Further reading

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  • Brad Balfour (2006). "MARTIN SCORSESE, LEONARDO DiCAPRIO, MATT DAMON, VERA FARMIGA AND WILLIAM MONAHAN (records two 40-minute press conference sessions)". Retrieved 2007-09-10. 

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