20 Movies Like The Departed

Jack Nicholson and Paz De La Huerta attended the premiere for the movie The Departed.

Martin Scorsese’s The Departed earned its place as one of the best Crime Thrillers ever made when it was released in 2006. The mind-blowing plot has also kept fans coming back and re-watching just in case they missed any details. So, if you’re looking for something else to watch, here are 20 movies like The Departed.

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The Departed: Plot, Characters & Production

The Departed is loosely based on real-life crime stories of corrupt FBI agent Jack Sullivan, Irish-American gangster, Whitey Bulger, and the Boston Winter Hill Gang.

It tells the story of an Irish mob boss, Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson), and the journey of his mole in the Massachusetts State Police Academy, Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon. And while Sullivan works with the mob within the police, the police assign Billy Costigan (Leonardo Di Caprio) to an undercover job where he infiltrates Costello’s inner circle.

The Departed can undoubtedly be considered a masterpiece, having won four Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Film Editing. At the same time, Di Caprio was nominated for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama at  Golden Globes.

The all-star cast, which also consisted of Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Ray Winstone, Vera Farmiga, and Alec Baldwin, was widely praised for their portrayal of Irish-American crime syndicates and the pervasive culture in Boston.

Not only was The Departed a hit with critics, but it was also a resounding commercial success. Ona $90 million budget, the film brought in $291.5 million at the Box Office.

20 Movies Like The Departed

If you’ve watched The Departed, there you have undoubtedly developed a taste for a good plot twist, lewdhumorr, graphic violence, and crime dramas. Or you fell in love with the cast and would like to see more of their work. Whatever your reasons may be, there are a few films out there that will entertain you just as much, if not more. Here’s our list of 25 movies like The Departed:

1. Infernal Affairs (2002)

Infernal Affairs [Blu-ray]

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Directed by: Andrew Lau, Alan Mak

Starring: Andy Lau, Tony Chiu-Wai Leung, Anthony Chau-Sang Wong

Academy Awards: none

Budget: $6.4 million

Box Office: $8.8 million

Infernal Affairs is a foreign action thriller about a mole in a police department and an undercover cop that follows the same storyline as The Departed because The Departed is technically a remake of the highly successful Hong Kong film.

 It follows the story of Lau Kin-ming (Andy Lau), a mole that triad boss, Hon Sam (Eric Tsang), has placed in the police department. Meanwhile, Chan Wing-yan (Tony Leung), another trainee from the police academy, is seemingly expelled but has become an undercover agent that only reports to Superintendent W ng Chi-sing (Anthony Wong).

As both Lau and Chan infiltrate the police force and Hon’s triad, both sides become aware that someone in their ranks has been compromised, and the race to expose the traitors begins…

2. The Usual Suspects (1995)

The Usual Suspects [DVD] [1995]

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Directed by: Bryan Singer

Starring: Kevin Spacey, Gabriel Byrne, Chazz Palminteri

Academy Awards: two wins

Budget: $6 million

Box Office: $34.4 million

The Usual Suspects, like The Departed, is a thriller with a mysterious, ever-twisting plotline. It’s a story narrated by conman Roger ‘Verbal’ Kint, who tells the story of how he survived a massacre on a ship. He is interrogated by U.S. Customs agent Dave Kujan (Chazz Palminteri).

In a flashback, Verbal describes how he met career criminals, Dean Keaton (Gabriel Byrne), Michael McManus (Stephen Baldwin), Fred Fenster (Benicio del Toro), and Todd Hockney (Kevin Pollak) when they were all wrongly accused and held as suspects for a hijacking.

Verbal explains that the wrongful arrests led the group to get revenge on the police by pulling off a heist and how they crossed paths with a mysterious Turkish crime lord, Keyser Söze…

3. Heat (1995)


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Directed by: Michael Mann

Starring: Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Val Kilmer

Academy Awards: none

Budget: $60 million

Box Office: $187.4 million

Another crime thriller, Heat, tells the story of a feud between LAPD detective Lieutenant Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino) and career thief Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro) and their vendetta’s impact on their personal and professional lives.

When McCauley and his crew –Chris Shiherlis (Val Kilmer), Michael Cheritto (Tom Sizemore), Trejo (Danny Trejo), and Waingro (Kevin Gage) – leave a clue behind at a heist, Hanna investigates, while the crew starts to feel the heat.

Like The Departed, Heat takes the story of a crime thriller away from the crime scene. The character development is very much shaped by what’s happening at home. Michael Man’s direction, screenplay, and action sequences received appraisals, along with De Niro and Pacino’s performances.

4. Casino (1995)

Casino [Blu-ray]

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Directed by: Martin Scorsese

Starring: Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone, Joe Pesci

Academy Awards: one nomination

Budget: $40-50 million

Box Office: $116.1 million

Casino is another Martin Scorsese masterpiece chronicling a conflict between two best friends in the mafia, who fight for power over a gambling empire and a woman’s affections.

An expert handicapper, Sam ‘Ace’ Rothstein (Robert De Niro), has been assigned to oversee a Las Vegas casino’s operations. Boss of the Chicago mafia, Remo Gaggi (Pasquale Caajano), sends Sam’s friend, Nicky (Joe Pesci), to be an enforcer in Sam’s hotel and casino. All goes wrong when Nicky starts to attract unnecessary attention from the police.

Meanwhile, Sam also meets a beautiful former prostitute, Ginger McKenna (Sharon Stone), and they get married before Ginger’s ex-boyfriend starts to create trouble. Nicky gets involved, and Ginger turns to drugs and alcohol, leaving Sam in a precarious situation between his lover, best friend, and his bosses.

5. Gone Baby Gone (2007)

Gone Baby Gone

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Directed by: Ben Affleck

Starring: Morgan Freeman, Michelle Monaghan, Casey Affleck

Academy Awards: one nomination

Budget: $19 million

Box Office: $34.6 million

Gone Baby Gone is set in Boston, much like The Departed, so you will hear a lot more of that iconic Irish-American accent. A crime thriller, Gone Baby Gone tells the story of a pair of private investigators on the hunt for a missing girl who was kidnapped from her mother’s apartment.

Helene McCready (Amy Ryan) pleas for the return of her four-year-old daughter Amanda on television, and  Private Investigator Patrick McKenzie (Casey Affleck) and his girlfriend, Angie Gennaro (Michelle Monaghan) are tasked with investigating Amanda’s disappearance and returning her to her family.

While investigating, Patrick discovers that Helene is a drug addict. Along with her boyfriend, she has been moving drugs for a Haitian drug lord named Cheese (Edi Gathegi) and had recently stolen money from him. Cheese denies involvement in the kidnapping.

However, a transcript uncovered by Captain Jack Doyle (Morgan Freeman) in which Cheese calls into the police station to negotiate a deal in exchange for Amanda. After a showdown with Cheese, Amanda is believed to be dead, but a few months later, another child’s disappearance gives them a lead…

6. Donnie Brasco (1997)

Donnie Brasco

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Directed by: Mike Newell

Starring: Al Pacino, Johnny Depp, Michael Madsen

Academy Awards: none

Budget: $35 million

Box Office: $124.9 million

Donnie Brasco explores the more dramatic side of crime and tells the story of an undercover FBI agent who infiltrates the Bonanno crime family.

Joe Pistone, a young FBI agent posing as a jewel thief, Donnie Brasco (Johnny Depp), meets a long-serving New York gangster, Lefty Ruggiero (Al Pacino). Donnie tells Lefty that a diamond that he acquired from a strip club owner is a fak,e and the two confront him with Donnie impressing Lefty by beating a confession out of the strip-club owner and taking his Porche as repayment.

Lefty later introduces Donnie to his gang, and the double-agent begins to feel close to his new family. Meanwhile, in his life as Joe Pistone, Donnie is asked to bring another undercover agent on board with his mission.

Much like The Departed, Donnie Brasco explores the complicated nature of living a double-life and covers themes of loyalty and betrayal, with an incredible ensemble that portrays New York City crime families with flawless execution.

7. LA Confidential (1997)

L.A. Confidential

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Directed by: Curtis Hanson

Starring: Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce

Academy Awards: two wins and seven nominations

Budget: $35 million

Box Office: $126 million

LA Confidential is another crime film based in the 1950s that tells the story of three very different cops with three very different brands of delivering justice.

The stories of Officers Edmund Exley (Guy Pearce), Wendell ‘Bud’ White (Russell Crowe), and Jack Vincennes (Kevin Spacey) are all interwoven in a tale that delves into issues of police corruption, vigilantism, and retribution.

Exley is a determined, intelligent policeman hell-bent on pursuing his father’s murderer, while White is a principled man with a penchant for violence and crossing the line between enforcement and brutality. Vincennes is more sleazy and corrupt and uses his connections with the media to make high-profile arrests.

However, all three make for a hell of a crime-busting force when they make es arrests that lead to the investigation into systemic corruption in the police office.

The highly talented ensemble brings the parallel realities of Los Angeles in the 1950s together, linking the glitz and glam lifestyle of celebrities with the cruel, lawless, and unsavory circumstances faced by people living outside of the elite social circles.

8. The Godfather (1972)

The Godfather

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Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola

Starring: Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan

Academy Awards: three wins and seven nominations

Budget: $6-7.2 million

Box Office: $246-287 million

The Godfather is THE ultimate crime film, based on Mario Puzo’s book, and it is revered as the film that set a benchmark for every crime film that proceeded it. The story of the Corleone family, run by the patriarch, Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando), is told as the control over the Sicilian mafia syndicate is transferred to Vito’s son, Micheal (Al Pacino).

The story begins at the wedding reception for Vito’s daughter, Connie (Talia Shire), where we meet a young Micheal, returning from his spell as a marine in World War II.

As Don Corleone (Vito) grants requests on the day of his daughter’s wedding, he is met with a long line of well-wishers while Micheal introduces his girlfriend Kay Adams (Diane Keaton) to the family.

We then dive right into the deep end, where the story evolves from investing in drug smuggling operations to political cronyism to inter-gang violence between the “Five Families” and the death of Vito’s eldest son, Sonny. Over time, we watch Micheal evolve as he’s exposed to the pressure of running such an enormous criminal enterprise.

The Godfather was so incredibly successful that it eventually turned into a trilogy, with Part II being released in 1974 and Part III in 1990.

9. The Town (2010)

The Town (2010)

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Directed by: Ben Affleck

Starring: Ben Affleck, Rebecca Hall, Jon Hamm

Academy Awards: none

Budget: $37 million

Box Office: $154 million

Another crime thriller directed by Ben Affleck, The Town is also based in Boston, like The Departed, and tells the story of a group of bank robbers, Douglas “Doug” MacRay (Ben Affleck), James “Jem” Coughlin (Jeremy Renner), Albert “Gloansy” MacGloan (Slain), and Desmond “Dez” Elden (Owe Burke) who keep a bank assistant manager, Claire Keesey (Rebecca Hall) hostage before releasing her unarmed.

To find out how much she has told the police, Doug follows her home, rather than allow her to be eliminated by the easily triggered Jem. As Doug and Clair form a romantic bond, he takes himself into hiding, and Doug convinces her to go into the witness protection program while Jem and the rest of the crew go to prison.

However, things go bad when Doug gets arrested after being forced into doing another job with Jem to save Claire’s life.

10. Inside Man (2006)

Inside Man (Widescreen Edition)

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Directed by: Spike Lee

Starring: Denzel Washington, Clive Owen, Jodie Foster

Academy Awards: none

Budget: $45 million

Box Office: $184.4 million

Inside Man is another crime thriller focused on bank heists. Like The Departed, it deals with the manipulation, lies, and strategic decision-making that’s needed to pull off a good double-cross.

Dalton Russell (Clive Owen),  who masterminded an elaborate 24-hour bank robbery, believes he committed the perfect crime until NYPD hostage negotiator Detective Keith Frazier (Denzel Washington is brought in to investigate. Madeline White (Jodie Foster) joins the investigation to secure a safety deposit box for the bank’s owner, Arthur Case (Chris Plummer).

11. Shutter Island (2010)

Shutter Island

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Directed by: Martin Scorsese

Starring: Leonardo Di Caprio, Emily Mortimer, Mark Ruffalo

Academy Awards: none

Budget: $80 million

Box Office: $294.8 million

Considering that Shutter Island both stars Leonardo Di Caprio and is directed by Martin Scorsese, it should come as no surprise that you can expect it to hold several similarities with The Departed.

This psychological thriller ventures away from the crime film scene that has prevailed on this list and describes the story of a US Mashal, Edward ‘Teddy’ Daniels (Leonardo Di Caprio), and his investigation into a missing murderer who has escaped the Ashecliffe Hospital, a psychiatric facility for the criminally insane on Shutter Island, on Boston’s outskirts.

As they pick up a clue in the form of a mysterious note, Daniels and his deputy Marshal, Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo), are forced to stay in the facility after Shutter Island is engulfed in a storm. The uncooperative staff starts to get in the way of their investigation before it becomes clear that everything is not as it seems.

12. Blood Diamond (2006)

Blood Diamond

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Directed by: Edward Zwick

Starring: Leonardo Di Caprio, Djimon Hounsou, Jennifer Connelly

Academy Awards: five nominations

Budget: $100 million

Box Office: $171.7 million

When Leonardo Di Caprio was not busy playing his role in The Departed, he was starring in another incredibly successful film released in 2006, Blood Diamond, which also delves into themes of crime and corruption, but this time in Sierra Leone, during the Civil War, where conflict diamonds are at the heart of the conflict.

Danny Archer (Leonardo Di Caprio) is a white Zimbabwean mercenary and Angolan War veteran specializing in finding uncut diamonds in conflict regions and has been tasked with recovering an exceptionally large stone found by a prisoner of war, Solomon Vandy (Djimon Hounsou).

However, Solomon demands that Danny helps him rescue his son, who was captured by RUF soldiers and inducted into the military as a child soldier. Meanwhile, they cross paths with an American journalist, Maddy Bowen (Jennifer Connoly), who is looking to write an exposé on the conflict and begins to appeal to Danny’s human side.

13. The Irishman (2019)

The Irishman (the Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

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Directed by: Martin Scorsese

Starring: Robert De Nirro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci

Academy Awards: 10 nominations

Budget: $159-250 million

Box Office: $8 million

Another Martin Scorsese film, The Irishman, is a story about a truck driver turned hitman, Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro), who gets involved with a crime family in Philadelphia in the 1950s.

Sheeren becomes involved with the Philadelphia crime family when he’s introduced to his lawyer’s cousin, Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci), who introduces him to the head of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino), who is under heat from the law due to the appointment of Bobby Kennedy as Attorney General during the JFK administration. He appoints Sheeran as his chief bodyguard.

When Hoffa goes to prison, and the Teamsters seem to be falling off track due to disagreements in leadership, Hoffa tries to reclaim his power, which leads to unforeseen consequences.

14. Scarface (1983)

Scarface (1983) [Blu-ray]

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Directed by: Brian De Palma

Starring: Al Pacino, Steven Bauer, Michelle Pfeiffer

Academy Awards: none

Budget: $23.5-37 million

Box Office: $66 million

Scarface is another crime drama that wrote its name into folklore with some R-rated scenes, laced with graphic violence, drug use, and profanity, setting the stage for creative license in future films like The Departed. It shocked audiences and has come to be regarded as a cult classic.

Scarface tells the story of a Cuban refugee, Tony Montana (Al Pacino), who travels to America after he and his friends, Manny Ray (Steven Bauer), Angel (Pepe Serna), and Chi Chi (Angél Salazar), are given forged green cards in exchange for killing a general in the Cuban military at the request of Frank Lopez (Robert Loggia), a Miami drug lord.

Dissatisfied with his new job in the US as a dishwasher, Tony resumes operations with the drug cartel, but things fall apart in a bad cocaine deal that sees Angel get killed with a chainsaw. Tony and Manny, believe they’ve been set up and confront Frank Lopez, whose wife catches Tony’s attention.

After the meeting, Tony is reunited with his mother and his sister, who is attracted to Manny. Tony becomes overprotective of his sister and his mother disowns him due to his new life of crime.

A trip to Bolivia, where he strikes a deal with a drug lord, Alejandro Sasa (Paul Shenar), leads Tony to believe that he can start his own cocaine operation…

15. Goodfellas (1990)

Goodfellas (1990) Remastered

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Directed by: Martin Scorsese

Starring: Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci

Academy Awards: one win, five nominations

Budget: $25 million

Box Office: $47.1 million

Goodfellas is another of Martin Scorsese’s classics, based on the life of an Irish-American, Henry Hill (Ray Liotta), and his experience with the Italian Mafia during the 70s. Henry and his friends, Jimmy Conway (Robert De Niro) and Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci), move from one criminal deal to the next, working their way through the ranks and navigating their personal lives.

Central to the plot is Henry’s relationship with his increasingly erratic wife, Karen (Lorraine Bracco), his mistress, and a bad cocaine habit. As Henry tries to reconcile his life in the mob with his family, he also has to deal with the law, the terms of his bail, and a growing sense of paranoia.

If you’re looking for a film like The Departed with references to Irish (and Italian) American culture, an epic, convoluted plot, and a little bit of violence and vulgarity, Goodfellas is about as stylistically similar as it gets.

16. We Own The Night (2007)

We Own The Night [DVD] [2007]

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Directed by: James Gray

Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Mark Wahlberg, Eva Mendes

Academy Awards: none

Budget: $21 million

Box Office: $55 million

We Own The Night is an action thriller based in Brooklyn, New York, in 1988, that follows a nightclub owner’s attempt to save his brother from the Russian mafia. Drugs and violence are at the core theme as crime engulfs New York, and the police struggle to hold their own in a city engulfed in lawlessness.

Captain Joseph “Joe” Grusinsky (Mark Wahlberg) and his brother, Robert “Bobby” Green (Joaquin Phoenix have chosen two very different paths, with Joe following in the footsteps of their father, Deputy Chief Albert “Burt” Grusinsky (Robert Duvall), and Bobby (who’s taken his mother’s maiden name) is a successful nightclub owner.

When Joe raids Bobby’s club to track down a Russian mobster, things begin to spiral out of control when the Russian puts a hit out on Joe.

The crime-focussed storyline and themes of loyalty, betrayal, and two incredibly different but intrinsically tied characters are similar to The Departed, along with Mark Wahlberg’s presence in the cast.

17. Reservoir Dogs (1992)

Reservoir Dogs

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Directed by: Quentin Tarantino

Starring: Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen

Academy Awards: none

Budget: $1.2-3 million

Box Office: $2.9 million

Quentin Tarantino’s full feature-length film debut, Reservoir Dogs, is considered one of the greatest independent films of all time, setting a benchmark for crime films.

Messrs. Brown (Quentin Tarantino), White (Harvey Keitel), Blonde (Micheal Madsen), Blue (Edward Bunker), Orange (Tim Roth), and Pink (Steve Buscemi) are a group of jewelry thieves. When a routine heist goes wrong, they suspect one amongst their ranks is a police informant that set them up.

As more and more information comes to light, each gang member’s true loyalties are exposed, and the body count rises…

The storyline of betrayal and career criminals facing the precarious circumstances of having to find a traitor in their ranks mimics The Departed’s central narrative, and Tarantino’s penchant for violence will certainly remind fans of the graphic violence portrayed in it.

18. The Infiltrator (2016)

The Infiltrator

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Directed by: Brad Furman

Starring: Bryan Cranston, John Leguizamo, Diane Kruger

Academy Awards: none

Budget: $28-$47.5 million

Box Office: $220.7 million

Another crime thriller based on the experiences of a single character, US Customs special agent Robert Mazur (Bryan Cranston), goes undercover to infiltrate a money-laundering operation for drug lords under the alias “Bob Musella”.

As Robert makes his way deeper and deeper into the operations of the world’s largest cartel, he has the opportunity to expose the financial crimes of the most infamous drug lord of all time, Pablo Escobar.

Much like Billy Costigan in The Departed, Mazur has the opportunity to make a huge arrest and make a dent in the fight against organized crime. But to do so, he needs to survive.

19. New World (2013)

New World [Blu-ray]

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Directed by: Park Hoon-Jung

Starring: Lee Jung-jae, Choi Min-sik, Jung-min Hwang

Academy Awards: none

Budget: SKW 7.3 million

Box Office: $31.7 million

This South Korean crime drama describes the story of an undercover cop, Lee Ja-Sung (Lee Jung-Jae), who has been working at South Korea’s largest corporate crime syndicate for eight years, despite being at constant risk of being exposed.

Determined to leave his risky job, Lee is then promised by Chief Kang Hyung-Cheol (Choi Min-Sik) that he will be reassigned to a position in a foreign country. He threatens to quit the force if the promise isn’t delivered, and Kang threatens to expose Lee to the syndicate, which would inevitably result in his brutal murder.

20. Body of Lies (2008)

Body of Lies

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Directed by: Ridley Scott

Starring: Leonardo Di Caprio, Russell Crowe, Mark Strong

Academy Awards: none

Budget: $67.5-70 million

Box Office: $118.6 million

Another film starring Leondardo Di Caprio, Body of Lies, is a spy thriller set in the Middle East, where the CIA is trying to capture a terrorist.  Roger Ferris (Di Caprio) is a CIA case officer, attempts to get information from a defecting member of the terrorist organization in exchange for asylum.

However, Roger’s superior, Ed Hoffman (Russell Crowe), is not sold on the idea. Like The Departed, navigating between getting information, keeping his informant alive, and satisfying his bosses, Roger is faced with a dilemma after dilemma as the plot unfolds…

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