The Departed (2006) Poster



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Mark Wahlberg based his performance on the police officers who'd arrested him about two dozen times in his youth, and the reactions of his parents who had to come bail him out with their grocery money.
When receiving the top award from the Director's Guild of America for this film, Martin Scorsese said that this "is the first movie I have ever done with a plot."
Martin Scorsese did not realize this was a remake of a Hong Kong movie until after he had agreed to direct it.
A possible reason why Leonardo DiCaprio did not receive an Oscar nomination for his performance in this movie was because Warner Brothers initially did not want to favor DiCaprio over his co-stars, and place him in the leading actor category. The studio favored DiCaprio's leading performance in Blood Diamond (2006) (which eventually got him a nomination). DiCaprio himself refused to campaign against his male co-stars in the supporting actor category, so Warner bought no supporting actor ads for DiCaprio, and he did not receive a nomination.
Originally, Jack Nicholson turned down his role in the movie, but after a meeting with Martin Scorsese, William Monahan, and Leonardo DiCaprio, he was finally convinced to play the role of Frank Costello. The main reason he joined the production, was because he had previously done a few comedies, and wanted to play a villain again, and he considered the character of Costello to be the ultimate incarnation of evil.
When the film won the Oscar for Best Picture, Martin Scorsese said that he was surprised the film had won. Scorsese said that because the film is such a tough, nasty, and violent film, he never thought about the idea of awards while he was filming it.
(at around 7 mins) Because Martin Scorsese was so pleased with Technical Advisor Thomas B. Duffy, he let him appear on-screen as the Governor of Massachusetts swearing in the new Police Academy graduates.
This marks the third time that Martin Scorsese has used The Rolling Stones' "Gimme Shelter" in one of his films. It also appears in Goodfellas (1990) and Casino (1995).
The only remake of a foreign film to win an Academy Award for Best Picture.
Leonardo DiCaprio was cast in the title role in The Good Shepherd (2006), but he dropped out to play Billy Costigan in this movie. Matt Damon then took the role. Robert De Niro turned down the role of Queenan to appear in The Good Shepherd (2006).
Jack Nicholson refused to wear a Boston Red Sox hat during filming, and instead wore his New York Yankees hat.
According to Ray Winstone, he and Jack Nicholson did not get along with each other while filming.
Originally Brad Pitt was cast as Colin Sullivan, but later dropped out to work with Alejandro González Iñárritu in Babel (2006). He continued to produce the film under his (and his then wife Jennifer Aniston's) production company, Plan B.
Leonardo DiCaprio called his one-on-one scene with Jack Nicholson "one of the most memorable moments of my life."
Martin Scorsese put the finishing touches on this film a week before its theatrical release.
Martin Scorsese wanted to shoot the film in Boston, where the story is set. But due to concerns on setting up production and politics, the producers chose New York City to double for Boston, because of the state's fifteen percent tax credit. The bulk of the movie was shot in New York City, while a six-week shooting schedule was split in two for Boston, shooting the first half in June, and the second half in August. After the success of this film, Massachusetts created a twenty-five percent tax credit for filmmaking.
The third most commercially successful film of Martin Scorsese's career.
Martin Scorsese really wanted Al Pacino for the role of Costello, because he never worked with Pacino before, but he turned it down. Jack Nicholson was Scorsese's second choice.
Vera Farmiga met with a real LAPD psychiatrist to prepare for her role. The psychiatrist read the script, and told Farmiga that Madolyn did pretty much everything wrong.
(at around 5 mins) When the main characters are shown in a police academy ballistics lecture at the beginning, the large flip chart illustrations seen in the background are Warren Commission exhibits of President John F. Kennedy's head wounds, prepared by medical illustrator H.A. Rydberg under the direction of Dr. James Humes, the chief examiner of Kennedy's autopsy. This is another reference to the Bulger case (albeit a fairly oblique one): when Kennedy was shot, one of the other passengers and shooting victims was Texas Governor John Connally. John Connolly was also the name of the FBI Agent who recruited Bulger as an informant, and ultimately protected him from investigation or prosecution for many years.
Ray Liotta was the original choice for the role of Dignam, but had to reluctantly decline due to other commitments.
As research for his character's occupation, Matt Damon worked with a Massachusetts State Police unit out of Boston. He accompanied them on routine patrols, participated in a drug raid, and was taught proper police procedures, like how to pat down a suspect.
Roughly fifty percent of the ninety million dollar budget went to the actors' salaries.
Martin Scorsese deliberately chose not to watch Infernal Affairs (2002), until after he'd completed this film.
Leonardo DiCaprio described his character as being in a "constant, twenty-four hour panic attack."
The real mob boss Frank Costello was a contemporary of Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky, in New York City.
Originally, this remake was planned with Brad Pitt as Colin Sullivan, and Tom Cruise as Billy Costigan.
The first teaming of Jack Nicholson and Martin Scorsese.
After completing The Aviator (2004), Martin Scorsese kept Alec Baldwin in mind for future collaboration and ultimately decided to cast him in the role of Ellerby, which was offered to Mel Gibson first, but Gibson was unable to accept the part, because he was starting production on Apocalypto (2006) at the time.
(at around 11 mins) When Sullivan asks trooper Barrigan, "Do you have any suits at home, or do you like going to work looking like you're going to invade Poland?" It is actually a remark about the Massachusetts state trooper uniform. The nazis modeled their own uniform after that of the troopers.
Warner Brothers bought the remake rights to Infernal Affairs (2002) for 1.75 million dollars in 2003.
Screenwriter William Monahan envisioned a sequel to the film, citing that it would've focused on overlooked aspects of the first film, such as political corruption. Monahan had watched the sequels to the original film on which "The Departed" was based, but felt that a potential sequel would've gone in a different direction set by this film. Mark Wahlberg also indicated that Dignam would've been the main character in this film. To date, plans for the sequel haven't materialized.
According to Martin Scorsese, the film was envisioned as a low-budget production, but the budget increased as more stars became attached.
Colin Sullivan's (Matt Damon) apartment does not exist. The view of the Massachusetts State House was an effects shot from the roof of Suffolk University, which is the law school where Sullivan says he is taking night classes. Cinematographer Michael Ballhaus evaluated the shot during preproduction.
(at around 31 mins) In the dinner scene with Madolyn, Colin states that "what Freud said about the Irish is we're the only people impervious to psychoanalysis." Despite what you may find on a Google search or the Boston Globe, Sigmund Freud didn't actually ever say that. In a clever act of investigative journalism, a man named Dr. Charles wrote to the director of research at the Freud Museum in London, and asked him about the legitimacy of the quote's attribution. His response (which is also stated on the FAQ section of the museum's Website): "There is no evidence Freud said the quote. The only documentation seems to be Anthony Burgess, in his introduction to a book of Irish short stories: 'One of Freud's followers split up human psychology into two categories - Irish and non-Irish.'"
Mark Wahlberg easily fell back on his native accent. Martin Scorsese joked it was so thick, they'd need subtitles.
Leonardo DiCaprio visited Boston, and met with people tied to the Irish Mob.
(at around 1h 17 mins) It was Jack Nicholson's idea to film the scene when Frank Costello attends the opera. It was also Nicholson's idea to have one black woman and one white woman in the scene with him.
Martin Scorsese had originally wanted to cast a known actress, either Kate Winslet, Emily Blunt, Hilary Swank, or Jennifer Aniston, for the part of Madolyn. He later decided to go with someone new instead (Vera Farmiga).
On the DVD commentary for Gone Baby Gone (2007), Ben Affleck says that Jay Giannone, who has small roles in both films, was also the Boston accent coach for Leonardo DiCaprio in The Departed (2006).
Thomas B. Duffy is a retired Massachusetts State Police Major, who worked out of Boston for nearly thirty years, and specialized in organized crime. He was particularly involved in the case against notorious South Boston mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger, on whom Frank Costello is partly based. Duffy appears as the Governor, who delivers a speech to the graduating police cadets. There was an unconfirmed sighting of Bulger, one of the FBI's Ten Most Wanted, at a theater showing the film by a Deputy Sheriff in San Diego, California. Bulger was captured in Santa Monica, California on June 22, 2011. He'd been living in an apartment complex just a few blocks away from the production offices of GK Films (U.S.), who produced Edge of Darkness (2010), in which Duffy also appeared.
Vera Farmiga's character is actually a composite of two characters from the Chinese original.
(at around 21 mins) Cousin Sean (Kevin Corrigan) makes a disparaging comment about Puerto Ricans. In real-life, Corrigan is of Puerto Rican descent.
Composer Howard Shore said Martin Scorsese wanted the music score to be a tango, to portray the nature of the deadly game being played by the characters.
This was one of Martin Scorsese's "present day" films, as most of his films take place in the past.
Martin Sheen was one of the last actors cast. The reason why he agreed to appear in the film, was because he wanted to work with Martin Scorsese.
Matt Damon decided his character should be impotent to counter Frank's macho personality.
After Jack Nicholson joined the cast, his character was re-written, to give him a bigger part.
(at around 2 mins) At the beginning of the film, Frank Costello meets young Colin Sullivan while collecting money from a local convenience store. This is the same store where Billy Costigan later (at around 29 mins) attacks two men from Providence.
The first Best Picture Oscar-winner of the 21st century that wasn't released on VHS in the United States, and the first to be released on the short-lived HDDVD format. Warner Brothers Home Entertainment had already phased out VHS by 2006, therefore, the film was initially released on DVD, Blu-ray, and HDDVD the following year.
Martin Scorsese said that he made this film to honor crime genre directors, such as Robert Aldrich, Samuel Fuller, and Don Siegel.
Leonardo DiCaprio called Billy and Sullivan "two sides of the same coin."
(at around 13 mins) When Queenan and Dignam are interviewing Costigan, Costigan says "Families are always rising and falling in America." Queenan wants to know who said that, and it turns out to be Nathaniel Hawthorne. Dignam quips, "What's the matter smart ass, don't know any fuckin' Shakespeare?" Later (at around 1h 1 min), as Queenan hands the clipboard to Sullivan, it is Queenan who quotes William Shakespeare with "the readiness is all," from Hamlet's "Fall of a sparrow speech," Act V, scene ii.
This marks the second Martin Scorsese film in which Leonardo DiCaprio plays a young Irish man who infiltrates the ranks of a menacing gangster. The first is Gangs of New York (2002).
Fifty minutes longer than the original, Infernal Affairs (2002).
Denis Leary was offered the role of Dignam in this film, but turned it down due to scheduling conflicts with his television show, Rescue Me (2004). He was disappointed, but he did hold Mark Wahlberg's performance in high regard.
One of the reasons Martin Scorsese agreed to direct this movie, was because it reminded him of one his favorite movies White Heat (1949), a film-noir starring James Cagney, also partly about an undercover police officer embedded with a charismatic gangster.
The film cast includes three Oscar winners: Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Matt Damon; and three Oscar nominees: Mark Wahlberg, Alec Baldwin, and Vera Farmiga.
There are two phone numbers used in the film. The first is Billy's phone number is 617-869-1469 (It appears when Colin Sullivan answers the phone). This is actually a real Boston number used by Sprint Spectrum. If someone calls it, you will get a generic voice mail box which is full. The other number is 311-555-2368, which was actually a phone number used in telephone-company publications.
(at around 2h 10 mins) The CD that Costigan mails to Colin is mailed in the cover for The Rolling Stones' album "Exile on Main St.". Earlier in the film (at around 36 mins), when Costello beats Costigan's hand with his own shoe, a song from the album, "Let It Loose," plays over the scene.
Martin Scorsese joked that he's much more comfortable with gangsters on set than police. "I was worried that there were cops all around me and they were going to take me in."
(at around 1h 10 mins) The movie playing in the background at Sullivan's house is Audition (1999).
Leonardo DiCaprio gained fifteen pounds of muscle for his role as Billy Costigan.
(at around 3 mins) The comic book that Frank Costello gives young Colin Sullivan in the beginning of the movie is Issue #11 of the "Wolverine" series, which was published in September 1989.
Martin Scorsese directed Mark Wahlberg to his first Oscar nomination, for his role of Dignam. He was later nominated for The Fighter (2010) for Best Picture.
(at around 1h 55 mins) The newscaster seen reporting the news story detailing the dumped body by Costello's gang, was a real Boston area newscaster at the time of filming. He reported for Boston's Warner Brothers affiliate station WB56.
RZA was offered Anthony Anderson's role, but turned it down because of scheduling conflicts.
(at around 19 mins) Tom Kemp and Zachary Pauliks appeared in a flashback scene, in which Frank talks to Billy's father, as young Billy looks on. Although the scene was deleted, the actors appear in the picture that Billy gives to his aunt, and the actors are still listed in the closing credits.
(at around 2h 5 mins) According to his file, Billy Costigan's birthday is November 7, 1984. Although a second shot of the same screen then labels his date of birth as November 7, 1980 (See "Goofs" section).
Ethan Hawke was considered for the role of Sergeant Dignam.
While shooting on location in Boston, Massachusetts, Martin Scorsese viewed the film's dailies at Emerson College.
Matt Damon and Andy Lau (the mole in the original Chinese film) would later appear together in the film The Great Wall (2016).
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Vera Farmiga was nervous about meeting Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese. "You expect there to be a certain chasm between you and them, and there wasn't."
1997 was a significant year for the four main actors of this film. Leonardo DiCaprio starred in Titanic (1997), which would go on to become the highest grossing movie of all time, and win eleven Academy Awards. Matt Damon won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, and got a Best Actor nod for Good Will Hunting (1997). He was beaten for Best Actor by Jack Nicholson for As Good as It Gets (1997). Lastly, Mark Wahlberg stepped into the limelight in the critically acclaimed Boogie Nights (1997).
Martin Scorsese won Best Picture and Best Director Oscars over Clint Eastwood nominated for Letters from Iwo Jima (2006). The two previously competed two years earlier when Scorsese was nominated in both categories for The Aviator (2004) and Eastwood winning both Oscars for Million Dollar Baby (2004).
(at around 1h 17 mins) Frank Costello attended the Gaetano Donizetti opera Lucia di Lammermoor. This is a musical homage to Scarface (1932), as Paul Muni's character would often whistle the sextet from this opera, whenever he killed someone.
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Martin Sheen and Leonardo DiCaprio rode the Red Line about one hundred times to get enough takes of one sequence.
The first Warner Brothers Best Picture Oscar winner without Morgan Freeman co-starring, since Amadeus (1984). The Best Picture Winners in between those from the studio are Driving Miss Daisy (1989), Unforgiven (1992), and Million Dollar Baby (2004).
Screenwriter William Monahan has stated that Sergeant Dignam's first name is Sean.
(at around 1h 2 mins) During the exchange with the Chinese gangsters, Sullivan sends a text message to Costello saying that all cell phone calls are being monitored. The number dialed by Sullivan is actually a real Boston area code (617).
Vera Farmiga's scenes were filmed at the end of the schedule.
(at around 2h 5 mins) When Sullivan looks up Costigan's information on the computer, the computer is a PC, but the graphical interface is actually a Mac.
Peter Mullan was cast in the film, but ended up dropping out. Mullan said "I was not in the right frame of mind. I was exhausted, and I would not have done a good job. It would've been pointless."
Vera Farmiga was one of the only actresses who didn't watch Infernal Affairs (2002), the movie this is based on. Madolyn is inspired by multiple characters, so Farmiga thought it would be confusing for her.
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One of three Best Picture Oscar winners featuring Jack Nicholson. The other two are One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) and Terms of Endearment (1983). Interestingly, it's the only one of the three where he didn't win, nor was nominated for an Oscar.
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Frank Costello (Jack Nickolson) was supposed to wear a Red Sox cap in the movie, but refused to. The hatred of Boston sports teams date back to the days of Jack's love affair with the Lakers and the heated rivalry with the Celtics. The Red Sox cap was the signature uniform of James "Whitey" Bulger, but Jack couldn't overcome his disfavor.
Tyler Perry publicly expressed interest in playing the role that went to Anthony Anderson.
Jack Nicholson says he joined the cast because he was looking for a "nice juicy bad guy to play."
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Martin Scorsese wanted Matt Damon to play Sullivan because he had a "cocky attitude, a bravado."
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(at around 28 mins) When Madolyn meets Colin in the elevator, she gives Colin her business card. The logo of the American Psychological Association is clearly visible on it.
Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
The funeral scene was filmed at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York. Martin Scorsese also shot Gangs of New York (2002) there.
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Whenever the song Sweet Dreams by Patsy Cline is heard, it is usually in a scene with Jack Nicholson.
Frank wears a Notre Dame Fighting Irish t-shirt. That's where Queenan says his son goes to school.
This is the first time Martin Scorsese and Jack Nicholson worked together. They first met twenty-eight years earlier on the set of Scorsese's documentary The Last Waltz (1978).
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The classroom scene, police academy graduation scene, and shooting range scene (all at the beginning of the film) were actually shot near the end of production. Historic Ft. Schuyler on the campus of State University of New York's Maritime College was the back drop.
In Turkey, there is a television series (released 2016) based on this film, named Icerde, which means "Inside".
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To accommodate his schedule, Mark Wahlberg had shot his scenes at the beginning of production.
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Captain Queenan mentions to Billy Costigan that his son attends Notre Dame. Martin Sheen's character from The West Wing (1999), President Josiah Bartlet, went to the same university, and was also a fan of the Boston Celtics.
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The "MASS Processor Company's" microprocessor, shown in the movie, is really an ST Microelectronics' ST9F150JDV1QC micro-controller, released in 2003 and intended for applications such as MP3 players, GPS devices, and car radios. It went for around seven dollars at the time it was released (in the movie it is stated they go for one hundred thousand dollars each). The microprocessor has an internal clock frequency of twenty-four Megahertz and one hundred pins, and can hold up to four Megabytes of memory. A typical Intel Core 2 Duo microprocessor, released in 2006 (the same year as The Departed) for use in desktop computers, runs at 1,400 Megahertz or higher frequencies, has 775 pins, and can address up to four thousand Megabytes.
Martin Sheen based his character on Thomas B. Duffy.
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Gerard McSorley was originally slated to play Queenan, but had to drop out of the project.
Steven Spielberg said that he and Martin Scorsese were going to have a Q and A with each other to talk about the film. However, it never happened.
This was the last Martin Scorsese film shot by Cinematographer Michael Ballhaus.
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(at around 49 mins) When Colin tells Fitzgibbons to call his mother from Trooper Brown's phone, the ringtone on the receiving phone is "Scotland the Brave," one of the tunes played on the bagpipes at the cadets' graduation ceremony.
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Chris Messina met with Martin Scorsese to discuss taking on one of the roles in the film.
Vera Farmiga stars in Orphan (2009), produced by Leonardo DiCaprio.
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The picture of the CD that William Costigan (Leonardo Di Caprio) left with Madolyn (Vera Farmiga), is the cover of the 1972 Rolling Stones' album "Exile on Main St"
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The F word and it's derivatives are used 238 times.
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(at around 1h 6 mins) Dignam states "I'm the guy who does his job, you must be the other guy." Years later, Mark Wahlberg starred in the movie The Other Guys (2010).
Warner Bros. Studio and the producers of The Departed wanted the running time of the film to be 2 hrs. and 20 mins. The running time ultimately came to be 2 hrs. and 31 mins.
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In the scene when Leonardo DiCaprio is at the airport, the little girl that is seen with the pink backpack is Martin Scorsese's daughter Francesca.
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Jack Nicholson wears both a robe and a tie that have leopard print.
Matt Damon and Leonardo DiCaprio would later compete against one another for Best Actor In A Leading Role at the 2015 Academy Awards. DiCaprio would end up being the winner.
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Matt Damon and Alec Baldwin also worked together on The Good Shepherd (2006) and 30 Rock (2006).
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When Frank walks off with the angel kids the yacht in the background is the same yacht Jordan Belfort owns in The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
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Graham King: (at around 12 mins) The producer of the film appears in photographs as the deceased Jackie Costigan.
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The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

at around 1h 17 mins) The scene where Frank Costello throws cocaine on hookers was one of many bizarre ideas contributed by Jack Nicholson, who also suggested wearing a strap-on for the scene with Matt Damon in the porn theater.
Many scenes with Jack Nicholson were improvised. Nicholson was given the opportunity to do whatever he wanted to add to the character's unpredictability. The scene where Billy and Frank are talking was loosely scripted, and many surprises happened in it, including Frank pulling out the gun.
None of the leaders of both sides (Queenan from the state police force and Frank Costello from the mob syndicate) discovers the identity of the infiltrators in their own side.
Throughout the film, Martin Scorsese used Xs mostly shown in the background to mark characters for death; examples include shots of Costigan walking through the airport while talking to Sergeant Dignam, Queenan falling to his death (on the building's glass windows as Queenan falls to the ground), and Sullivan in his office discussing the flow of information with Costello (the X is created by the light shining through the window). This is an homage to Scarface (1932).
At the beginning of the film, Frank Costello instructs the store clerk to fill a brown paper bag with various groceries for the kid Colin Sullivan, notably a couple of loaves of bread and a couple of quarts of milk. In the last scene of the film, we see adult Colin Sullivan walking into his apartment with a paper bag full of groceries, two of the items you can see in the bag during this scene are a couple of loaves of bread and a couple of quarts of milk.
Body count: twenty-two.
The "Frank Costello" caricature is loosely based on James "Whitey" Bulger, who ran a Boston-based Irish gang, while working as an FBI informant, protecting him from prosecution while he killed dozens of people. His FBI handler was convicted of multiple felonies.
DIRECTOR TRADEMARK (reference): When Sullivan turns on the shower before Madolyn starts to listen to Costigan's tape, the shots are the same exact three shots in Psycho (1960)'s infamous shower scene.
The rat at the end is completely digital.
at around 5 mins) Right after the time skip in the beginning of the movie, during the first lesson at the police academy, the teacher is elaborating on the details of a gunshot wound to the head, which is the leading cause of the vast majority of deaths throughout the course of the rest of the movie.
At the end of the movie when Billy brings the tape to Madolyn, we can deduce that the child is not from Colin Sullivan, but from Costigan. She wants to tell him something, but he leaves right before she does. Sullivan also has, during a scene in the film, some "issues with what happened last night". Madolyn then sleeps with Billy.
Martin Scorsese expresses the highly unpleasant experience in making the film. He states "Moral Ground Zero, I call it, all the characters killed at the end, basically everyone, and there was no place to go, after that. You know, I hardly did any press for that film. I was tired of it. I felt it was maddening. I mean, I like the picture," he continues, "but the process of making it, particularly in the post-production, was highly unpleasant. I don't care how much I'm being paid, it'll kill me. I'll die. Very simply."
at around 2h 20 mins) In the final scene, as Sullivan walks to his apartment, the floor has large patterned xs on the carpet. He walks over two of them as he approaches the door. It's as if to say strike one, strike two, and strike three being the coup de grace from Dignam.
When Billy Costigan interrogates the drug-addicted bank robber (Joseph Riccobene), who reveals to him that Frank Costello is an FBI informant, the television set in the bank robber's living room is playing the final scene from The Informer (1935). The movie has a similar plot, about an Irish nationalist, Gypo Nolan (played by Victor McLaglen in an Oscar-winning role), who turns informant, and feels guilty after betraying a friend to the Irish "Black and Tan" police force.

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Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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