The Departed Movie Poster Image

The Departed

Violent, well-done thriller. Not for kids.
Popular with kidsParents recommend
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2006
  • Running Time: 151 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Both cops and criminals lie and abuse one another as a matter of course; men's bonding and competing are similarly violent.

Positive role models

Everybody seems to be working for someone else and it's hard to distinguish who is really the good guy.


Explicit, bloody, frequent violence: shooting (blood sprayed on surfaces), stabbing, head-bashing, shoot-out, suicide, car crash, kicking, exploding; a body thrown off a roof bleeds on impact; cops joke about bloody corpse/crime scenes and photos; a thug pounds on Billy's broken arm to ensure that there's no listening device in the cast; Frank fiddles with a bloody hand in a plastic bag while discussing plans; crooks burn down their hideout to avoid discovery; Billy worries about his coolness while working with a "mass murderer."


A couple of sex scenes show nudity (bodies in bed); Frank's girlfriend appears in underwear and they share sexual banter; recurrent sexual slang ("d--k," "c-nt," "screw," "whore," etc.); scene in porn theater includes brief shots of nude bodies and moaning sounds; Frank accuses priests of sexual abuse (using explicit language, like "p--ker"); Madolyn alludes to Colin's inabilty to perform sexually ("Do you want to talk about last night?"); Frank harasses teenager by asking if she's "started [her] period yet."


Frequent use of "f--k" (200+ instances); derogatory uses of "queen," "homo," "guinea," "mick" other profanity ("douchebag," "ass," "s--t," "hell," etc.).


Background imagery in bars (for example, Coca Cola or beer logos).

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Frequent cigarette-smoking; drinking in bars (sometimes leading to drunkenness); Billy asks for Valium, then takes prescription anti-depressants repeatedly.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this film is not for kids -- but many will want to see it due to the incredibly heavy promotion during TV shows popular with kids. It's far too graphically violent for those under 17, including images of heads being shot and spurting blood, limbs being broken, bodies sprawled and bloody, and expressions of pain by victims of shootings and beatings. Sexual imagery includes a scene in a porn theater that cuts to the screen (the actors are engaged in sexual activity, but no X-rated shots are visible) and frequent sexual slang (some of which is homophobic). Characters smoke in almost every scene, and drink occasionally, and Billy takes pills throughout the film, indicating his increasing paranoia and depression.

What's the story?

THE DEPARTED centers on two moles working at cross purposes while using similar methods -- that is, tipping off their superiors to their opponents' plans via cell phones. Colin (Matt Damon) makes his way through the ranks of the Massachusetts State Troopers while spying for flamboyant Irish mobster Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson). In turn, Captain Queenan (Martin Sheen) and pugnacious Sergeant Dignam (a very entertaining Mark Wahlberg) recruit their own mole, Billy (Leonardo DiCaprio) -- whose family background is filled with gangsters and crooks -- to infiltrate Frank's crew.

Is it any good?


A densely layered, lively saga of betrayal and revenge, The Departed features powerhouse performances and virtuoso profanity. Directed by Martin Scorsese and scripted by William Monahan, the movie is brutal and brainy, with speedy plot twists and deceptions layered on top of deceptions.

Less elegant, rowdier, and more neatly resolved than the original, The Departed loves its excesses. Scorsese grants Nicholson a wide berth, and his antics provide plenty of "color" (especially his rat imitation, as he worries out loud about finding the spy). Doubled and different at the same time, both Billy and Colin struggle with their "identities," cleverly illustrated by both the surveillance and communications technology (cell phones, wires, lost signals) they use and the film's editing, which emphasizes their parallel tracks and near collisions.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the difficulties posed by loyalties and lies. In order to do their job, the two moles have to lie to their friends, associates, and family. What emotional difficulties does that situation create?

  • What kind of stress would that put on your life over a long period of time?

  • How would you feel if you found out someone you cared about was living a double life?

  • Also, what function does Madolyn serve as the protagonists' therapist and lover? And how are both moles' "father figures" -- Frank the gangster and Captain Queenan -- similar?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:October 5, 2006
DVD/Streaming release date:February 13, 2007
Cast:Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon
Director:Martin Scorsese
Studio:Warner Bros.
Run time:151 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:for strong brutal violence, pervasive language, some strong sexual content and drug material.

This review of The Departed was written by

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Adult Written byMzMonique June 4, 2009

Although, GREAT FILM ...Not even a movie I would EVER chose to watch with my children!

First saw the beginning of this movie on cable channel (that censored some of the profanity) I was not able to finish it and ended up borrowing it from a library. For some reason I watched it by myself instead of watching it with my family first - GREAT CHOICE. I was definitely pulled in by the plot and characters! Fantastic job in script and directing. However, that MAIN things that turned me off was the excessive PROFANITY AND SEXUAL CONTENT OF JOKES. In addition, to the profanity, sexual innuendos and jokes the scene in the porno theater is what got me the most! Nicholsons character acts as if he is sexually gratifying himself and acts as if he is pulling out his penis!!! Well, the camera actually shows one! I was a bit taken aback and glad that I did not watch it with my children or anyone else! Like I said-- great plot and fantastic acting, directing and filming but the profanity, sexual jokes and nudity was not necessary. No one under 17 or 18 should see this movie!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 17 years old Written bydouble E April 9, 2008


Anyone who think this movie is not good should not be allowed to live. This film is so good that I was jumping after the movie!!!! I am 16 and saw it with a friend... Yea it's violent... but is it anything we haven't seen. Comon, this is a SUPREME FILMAKING. I am not saying take your 12 yr old kid to it but 15 and up is fine. BEST OF 2006 SO FAR I MEAN REALLY THIS MOVIE ROCKS. To the review above me.... I just don't have words expressing how crazy you must be (being 11 yrs old, getting into the movie knowing it had violence and cussing and then bagging on it? I had better common sense that that when I was 5). ANYWAY, GO SEE THIS MOVIE!!!
Teen, 16 years old Written byourblackego February 28, 2009

Brilliant but Disturbing

This movie was organally rated 17 and up???? What happened to this rating. There is no way this movie is apropiate for all let alone any 15 year olds