The Departed

The Departed

R, 2006, Drama/Thriller, 2h 31m


Table of Contents

What Is The Departed About?

Two men serving as double agents attempt to infiltrate an Irish gang, while trying to identify each other’s identities to save their own lives.

The Cast of The Departed

  • Leonardo DiCaprio as Billy Costigan, a young police officer who goes undercover to infiltrate a gang of criminals.


  • Matt Damon as Colin Sullivan, a corrupt police officer who is also a member of the gang.


  • Jack Nicholson as Frank Costello, the head of the gang who is a powerful figure in the Boston underworld.


  • Mark Wahlberg as Dignam, a tough, street-smart police sergeant who works with Costigan.


  • Martin Sheen as Queenan, the captain of the police department who is in charge of the operation to take down Costello’s gang.


  • Ray Winstone as Mr. French, Costello’s right-hand man and enforcer.


  • Vera Farmiga as Madolyn, a psychiatrist who is seeing both Costigan and Sullivan.



  • Alec Baldwin as Ellerby, a high-ranking police official who is involved in the operation against Costello’s gang.


The Filmmakers of The Departed

  • Martin Scorsese: Director
  • William Monahan: Screenwriter
  • Brad Pitt: Producer
  • Brad Grey: Producer
  • Graham King: Producer
  • Gaston Pavlovich: Producer


Martin Scorsese directed the film and was responsible for bringing the story to life on the big screen. William Monahan wrote the screenplay, which provided the basis for the film’s story and dialogue. Brad Pitt, Brad Grey, Graham King, and Gaston Pavlovich served as producers and were responsible for financing and overseeing the production of the film.

The Cinematography of The Departed

The cinematography in “The Departed” (2006) was executed with the intention of creating a tense and moody atmosphere that would reflect the film’s themes of betrayal, corruption, and crime. To achieve this, cinematographer Michael Ballhaus used a combination of hand-held camera work, steadicam shots, and well-composed frames to create a sense of unpredictability and unease. Ballhaus often used low-light settings and used selective lighting to create a sense of mystery and to keep the audience on edge.


In many scenes, Ballhaus employed the use of close-ups to add intimacy and to give the audience an up-close view of the characters’ expressions and emotions. He also used a muted color palette, often opting for a grittier, more desaturated look to evoke the film’s dark and brooding tone.


The Soundtrack of The Departed

The soundtrack of “The Departed” (2006) consists of a mix of classical and popular music pieces that were carefully selected to complement the film’s themes of crime, corruption, and tension. The score was composed by Howard Shore, who created an orchestral soundtrack that added to the film’s sense of unease and intensity.


In addition to the score, the soundtrack of “The Departed” features several popular songs, including “Comfortably Numb” by Pink Floyd, “Gimme Shelter” by The Rolling Stones, and “I Ain’t Superstitious” by Jeff Beck. These songs were chosen to reflect the film’s themes of crime, violence, and the criminal underworld.

The Theme of The Departed

The film also explores the theme of corruption, showing the corruption of both the police and the criminal underworld, and raising questions about the morality of those in positions of power.


The theme of identity is also a key aspect of the film, as the characters must constantly hide their true selves in order to maintain their covers. This raises questions about the struggle to find and maintain one’s sense of self. The film also poses a moral dilemma for the characters, as they must choose between following their own interests and the greater good.


This movie contains elements of violence, serving to heighten the tension and suspense and emphasizing the stakes of the conflict between the criminal underworld and the police. 


Why You Should Watch The Departed

The Departed is a 2006 American crime drama film directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, and Jack Nicholson. The film is a remake of the 2002 Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs, and tells the story of two men on opposite sides of the law who are unknowingly working for the same boss.


DiCaprio plays Billy Costigan, a young cop who is tasked with going undercover in the Irish mob run by Nicholson’s character, Frank Costello. Damon plays Colin Sullivan, a mobster who has infiltrated the police department and is reporting back to Costello. As the two men work to uncover each other’s true identities, the tension and stakes continue to rise.


The Departed features strong performances from its entire cast, with DiCaprio and Damon both delivering powerful and nuanced portrayals of their complex characters. Nicholson is equally impressive as the ruthless and cunning Costello, bringing a sense of danger and unpredictability to the role. The supporting cast, which includes Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, and Alec Baldwin, is also excellent.


Scorsese’s direction is masterful, as he expertly builds the tension and keeps the audience on the edge of their seats throughout the film. The screenplay, written by William Monahan, is smart and well-written, with several clever twists and turns that keep the story engaging. 




The Departed was a commercial success at the box office, grossing over $290 million worldwide, $132 million domestically, and $158 million in other territories. The film was a hit with both critics and audiences, and its strong box office performance helped it to become one of the highest-grossing films of 2006. The movie’s success also helped to establish Martin Scorsese as a box office draw and solidified the careers of the main actors in Hollywood.

The setting of The Departed is also a standout aspect of the film. It takes place in Boston, which almost like a character of its own. The city’s gritty, tough feel is captured perfectly and adds to the movie’s atmosphere.


In addition to its strong performances and direction, The Departed also features some intense and well-choreographed action scenes. The film’s climactic shootout is particularly memorable, as it is both suspenseful and emotionally impactful.


The Departed is a gripping and intense crime drama that is not to be missed. The film boasts a strong cast, a well-crafted plot, and excellent direction from Martin Scorsese. It’s a powerful reminder of the consequences of living a life of crime, and the difficulties of trying to maintain a double life. It’s probably one of my favorite movies of all time, so if you haven’t yet…check it out.


Clam Chowder


Frank Costello tells the priests to enjoy their clams


More About The Departed

The phrase “May the souls of the faithful departed” is used in the movie The Departed (2006) as part of a quote from the main character, Billy Costigan (played by Leonardo DiCaprio), which reads “May the best man live.” The quote refers to the ongoing struggle between Billy and another character, Colin Sullivan (played by Matt Damon), who are both working undercover in opposite directions.


The quote is a dark irony, as both characters are far from being the best man, and their actions and motivations are questionable at best. The use of the phrase “May the best man live” in The Departed serves to emphasize the moral ambiguities of the characters and the dangerous and violent world in which they operate. It is also a nod to the idea that the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace, as the characters in the film are anything but peaceful.


The envelope refers to a crucial piece of evidence that plays a central role in the film’s plot. The envelope contains a list of all the police officers who are working undercover as part of a deep-cover operation within the Massachusetts State Police. This information is highly sensitive and valuable, as it would allow the criminal organization that Colin Sullivan (played by Matt Damon) is working for to identify and eliminate all the infiltrators in the police force.


The envelope is passed between several characters and serves as a symbol of the power dynamics between the characters and the extent of the corruption within the police force. Ultimately, the envelope is used to blackmail and manipulate the characters, adding to the tension and suspense of the film.


The Departed is not a true story, but it is loosely based on a real-life event known as the “Massachusetts State Police Corruption Scandal.” The film was inspired by a series of events that took place in the late 1990s, involving a group of corrupt Massachusetts state troopers who were associated with organized crime. However, the film takes significant liberties with the real-life events, and the characters, plot, and events depicted in the movie are largely fictional. The filmmakers aimed to create a dramatic and suspenseful story that would engage audiences, rather than a strict representation of the facts.


While The Departed is not a true story, it does draw from real-life events and the broader themes of corruption and betrayal in law enforcement that were prevalent in the original scandal.