Ten years ago, director Martin Scorsese unleashed his gritty, violent film about cops, criminals, and the blurry line that separates them. Based on the 2002 Hong Kong thriller Infernal Affairs, The Departed follows Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio), a petty criminal who aspires to be a cop, and Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon), a promising young cop who secretly works for the local crime boss, Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson). The film marked a return-to-form for Scorsese, who had moved away from gangster pictures in favor of lush, historical epics. It was a critical and commercial smash and remains the first (and only) film that earned Scorsese a Best Director Oscar.
As The Departed celebrates its 10th anniversary, here’s a look at a few interesting facts about the film that you maybe weren’t aware of.
Scorsese Doesn’t Consider It A Remake
The Departed is based on Andrew Lau’s 2002 film Infernal Affairs, which is also about an undercover cop infiltrating a gang, and a gang member posing as a cop. According to Scorsese, he intended to use Infernal Affairs as inspiration, not as the basis for a remake. “Our film was inspired by Infernal Affairs, because of the nature of the story. However, the world [screenwriter William Monahan] created is very different from the Hong Kong film.” Lau called Scorsese’s reinterpretation “pretty good,” but insists that he still prefers his own film.