In this section of our Colossus Movie Guide for The Departed, we provide recommendations for movies with similar themes and vibes.
- Leonardo DiCaprio – Trooper William “Billy” Costigan Jr.
- Matt Damon – Staff Sergeant Colin Sullivan
- Jack Nicholson – Frank Costello
- Mark Wahlberg – Staff Sergeant Sean Dignam
- Martin Sheen – Captain Oliver “Charlie” Queenan
- Ray Winstone – Arnold “Frenchie” French
- Vera Farmiga – Dr. Madolyn Madden
- Alec Baldwin – Captain George Ellerby
- Anthony Anderson – Trooper Brown
- Kevin Corrigan as Sean Costigan
- James Badge Dale as Trooper Barrigan
- David O’Hara as Patrick “Fitzy” Fitzgibbons
- Mark Rolston as Timothy Delahunt
- Robert Wahlberg as FBI Special Agent Frank Lazio
- Amenda Lynch as Carmen
- Kristen Dalton as Gwen
- Shay Duffin as Phil
- William Monohan – Writer
- Martin Scorsese – Director
Movies like The Departed
A prime selection for fans of The Departed is Heat, a crime drama directed by Michael Mann. The film boasts a star-studded cast with Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Val Kilmer. It chronicles the lives of a group of professional bank robbers and the dedicated detective determined to bring them down. Similar to The Departed, Heat masterfully delves into the blurred lines between law enforcement and criminals, while also exploring the personal lives and motivations of its characters. The cat-and-mouse dynamic, the moral ambiguity, and the intense action sequences will surely appeal to any aficionado of The Departed.
The Long Good Friday (1980)
Last but not least, The Long Good Friday, directed by John Mackenzie, is a British crime film featuring Bob Hoskins as a gangster trying to secure a profitable deal while dealing with unknown enemies. This film, though less known outside of the UK, offers a gritty and compelling examination of the criminal underworld, and its complex plot and strong performances should satisfy fans of The Departed.
A Prophet (2009)
Jacques Audiard’s A Prophet is a French crime drama that provides a gritty and raw exploration of the criminal underworld. Starring Tahar Rahim, the film tells the story of a young Arab man who, while serving time in a French prison, rises through the ranks of a Corsican gang. A Prophet is lauded for its unflinching portrayal of prison life and organized crime, much like The Departed‘s realistic depiction of the Irish mob in Boston. The film’s themes of identity, loyalty, and the struggle for power mirror those in The Departed, making it an enriching viewing experience for fans of Scorsese’s film.
Eastern Promises (2007)
Eastern Promises is a British-Canadian crime thriller directed by David Cronenberg and starring Viggo Mortensen and Naomi Watts. The film follows a midwife who, while investigating the identity of a young woman who died during childbirth, uncovers a dangerous criminal operation. The intricate plotting and strong performances, especially Mortensen’s turn as a Russian mobster, would be of interest to fans of The Departed. Both films delve into the underbelly of organized crime and explore themes of identity, loyalty, and redemption.
The Third Man (1949)
The Third Man is a British film noir directed by Carol Reed. The film, set in post-WWII Vienna, revolves around an American writer who becomes entangled in a web of mystery and deception when he tries to investigate the death of his friend. With its morally ambiguous characters, intricate plot, and atmospheric cinematography, it offers a classic take on themes of deception and dual identities that should appeal to fans of The Departed.
Park Chan-wook’s Oldboy is a South Korean neo-noir action thriller that has gained a cult following for its unique and visceral storytelling. The film follows a man who, after being inexplicably imprisoned for 15 years, embarks on a mission of revenge. While not a crime thriller in the traditional sense, Oldboy shares with The Departed a complex narrative filled with twists and turns. Fans of The Departed will appreciate the film’s exploration of revenge, guilt, and the consequences of past actions.
Le Samouraï (1967)
Le Samouraï, directed by Jean-Pierre Melville, is a French crime film that’s often considered an obscure masterpiece. It follows the story of a hitman who lives by a strict code of conduct, but finds his principles challenged when he becomes the target of a police investigation. With its minimalist style, atmospheric tension, and exploration of a character living a double life, it should strike a chord with fans of The Departed.
No Country for Old Men (2007)
From the esteemed Coen Brothers, No Country for Old Men is an American neo-Western crime thriller featuring Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, and Josh Brolin. It tells the story of a hunter who stumbles upon a drug deal gone wrong and more than two million dollars in cash, setting off a violent chain of events. Like The Departed, it’s a film filled with suspense, moral quandaries, and unforgettable characters. Its exploration of fate, chance, and the nature of violence will resonate with fans of The Departed‘s gritty and philosophical undertones.
City of God (2002)
City of God is a Brazilian crime film directed by Fernando Meirelles and co-directed by Kátia Lund. The film is a sweeping tale of how crime affects the poor population of a suburb in Rio de Janeiro. It’s based on real events and is lauded for its realistic portrayal of the life in the slums (favelas) and the cyclical nature of violence. The narrative is nonlinear, filled with compelling characters, and explores the disturbing realities of crime and poverty. Fans of The Departed will appreciate the raw portrayal of crime and its consequences, the complex characters, and the film’s social commentary.
The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973)
The Friends of Eddie Coyle, directed by Peter Yates, is an American crime film that might not be as well-known as some others, but is a gem in its own right. The film, set in Boston like The Departed, follows the story of a small-time criminal facing jail time who becomes an informant for the police. Its realistic depiction of the criminal underworld, complex characters, and moral ambiguities make it a great choice for those who enjoyed The Departed.
The Secret in Their Eyes (2009)
The Secret in Their Eyes is an Argentinian crime drama thriller directed by Juan José Campanella. The film, which oscillates between past and present, follows a retired legal counselor writing a novel based on a closed case from his past, which continues to haunt him. The film, like The Departed, deals with themes of justice, revenge, and past mistakes. Its complex narrative structure and the deep psychological exploration of its characters make it a compelling watch for fans of The Departed.
Infernal Affairs (2002)
It would be a miss not to mention Infernal Affairs, the Hong Kong crime-thriller that was the original inspiration for The Departed. Directed by Andrew Lau and Alan Mak, this film shares the same basic premise with its American counterpart, but offers its own unique interpretation. It’s a tense, twisty exploration of identity and loyalty within the framework of a police department infiltrated by a gangster, and a gang infiltrated by a cop. While The Departed fans are likely to draw comparisons between the two, Infernal Affairs stands on its own as a gripping and thought-provoking film.
Blow Out (1981)
Blow Out, directed by Brian De Palma, is a thriller film starring John Travolta as a movie sound effects technician who accidentally records evidence of a political assassination. The film’s blend of suspense, political intrigue, and examination of the blurry line between reality and fiction could appeal to fans of The Departed.
Drive, directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, is an American action drama film that stars Ryan Gosling as a Hollywood stunt driver who moonlights as a getaway driver. Although a different genre, Drive shares The Departed‘s interest in characters leading double lives. Gosling’s character, like DiCaprio’s Costigan, is caught in a web of crime and violence, while trying to protect those he cares about. Its stylized violence, atmospheric soundtrack, and the intense, brooding performance by Gosling make it a must-watch for fans of intense crime dramas.
The Lives of Others (2006)
Lastly, for something a bit different but just as captivating, there’s The Lives of Others. This German drama, directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, is set in East Berlin during the period of the Stasi, the GDR’s secret police. The film, while not a crime thriller, examines themes of surveillance, loyalty, and the personal cost of political allegiance, resonating with the undercover narrative and moral complexities of The Departed. The movie’s suspenseful plot and the profound moral questions it raises make it an intriguing watch for any fan of thought-provoking cinema.
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