“The Departed” is a popular crime drama starring Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Wahlberg, and Matt Damon. The supporting cast also features some major star power as well, including Anthony Anderson, Alec Baldwin, Martin Sheen, and Ray Winstone. Originally, Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise were chosen to play the two main characters, however, eventually, both of them had to back out of the project but Pitt stayed on as one of the producers. Then, the role of Billy Costigan (the undercover cop) went to Leonardo DiCaprio and the role of the mafia mole, Colin Sullivan, went to Matt Damon. Shooting on the film started in the spring of 2005 and it was released October 6, 2006. The film is actually a remake of a 2002 Hong Kong film entitled “Infernal Affairs”. It was both a commercial and critical success, winning several awards, including four awards at the 79th Academy Awards from Best Film Editing to Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Director (Scorsese), and the coveted Best Picture award. In addition, Mark Wahlberg was nominated in the Best Supporting Actor category. The film takes place in South Boston during a time when the states have declared their war on crime with the express purpose of taking down the largest organized crime ring in Boston. Their main goal is ending the reign of the town’s most powerful mob boss, namely the great Jack Nicholson’s character, Frank Costello. To do this requires having somebody inside the organization. So, a young rookie named Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio) gets the unenviable assignment that involves infiltrating Costello’s mob. “The Departed” is widely considered to be Scorcese’s best film in years, imbued with loose, invigorating energy. It also features a ton of great music that helps set the tone, so it’s only fitting that the accompanying CD has the same kind of wild, freewheeling attitude. And, as a soundtrack, it far surpasses the majority of others, thanks to Scorsese’s genius when it comes to choosing amazing music to perfectly suit each scene. According to The Observer, the soundtrack’s great because of the way it can take familiar artists and songs and tweak them to make them seem new and fresh. So, although the stellar performances by all of the many stars in “The Departed” really steal the show in their own right, the soundtrack deserves some kudos as well. So, here’s a breakdown on those songs ranked from not the greatest to perhaps some of the greatest songs in movies of all time:
12. “Well Well Well” by John Lennon & the Plastic Ono Band
This song by the late great member of the incomparable Beatles plays when Frank Costello discusses John Lennon’s artisan vision with Billy Costigan.
11. “Comfortably Numb” by Van Morrison
The movie’s good, of course, however, Scorcese’s choice to have Van Morrison’s rendition of this Pink Floyd song playing as Leo is taking off his shirt is just plain bad. Yes, this song plays during the sex scene involving Leo’s character and Matt Damon’s character’s girlfriend. And, no matter what the critics might say, it’s a great scene and a great song. It was also used in the final episode of “The Sopranos”.
10.”Cops or Criminals” by Howard Shore (featuring G.E. Smith & Larry Saltzman)
This song plays over the scene where Frank Costello says to Sergeant Dignam, “When I was your age, they’d say you can become cops or criminals. What I’m saying to you is, when you’re facing a loaded gun, what’s the difference?” Dignam’s retort is “Yeah, Einstein, shoot a cop and watch what happens!”
9. “One Way Out” by the Allman Brothers Band
This song plays during the cranberry juice scene when Billy Costigan says to the bartender, “Cranberry juice”, and another man at the bar says, “It’s a natural diuretic. My girlfriend drinks that when she gets her period.” This is an analogy that doesn’t set too well with Billy.
8. “Tweedle Dee” by Lavern Baker
This plays during the scene where Leo says, “He’s using his new guys tonight”.
7. “The Faithful Departed” by Howard Shore (featuring G.E. Smith & Larry Saltzman)
This is another great Howard Shore song with Smith and Saltzman, although maybe not quite as good as “Cops or Criminals”.
6. “Baby Blue” by Badfinger
This is an amazing song by the very popular Badfinger that plays during the scene where Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio) discovers that Costello (Jack Nicholson) is actually an FBI informant.
5. “Shipping Up To Boston” By The Dropkick Murphys
If you’ve never heard of The Dropkick Murphys, they’re a fantastic American Irish/Celtic/Punk band. Their amazing song entitled “Shipping Up to Boston” is featured quite heavily in the film and is one of the best and most often used songs on the soundtrack.
4. “Sweet Dreams (Of You)” by Patsy Cline
This popular Patsy Cline song during the scene where Costello and French are discussing everything about reliability at Frank’s apartment. It also plays while Frank and Billy talk about Jackie and William Sr. while they’re in a restaurant.
3. “Let It Loose” by the Rolling Stones
Let’s face it, any Stones song has to be ranked at or near the top of any list. In this case, it plays during the scene where Costello is chatting with Billy to make sure that he isn’t a cop (which, of course, he is).
2. “Gimme Shelter” by the Rolling Stones
This always great Stones song plays over the opening scene of “The Departed” and sets the tone for the film right from the get-go.
1. “Sail on, Sailor” by The Beach Boys
Who doesn’t love the Beach Boys? This song is one of the best of their many amazing hit songs (especially if you also love sailing). It plays during a very amusing scene in a local restaurant where Costello is taking some digs at a highly- esteemed member of the nearby church. Final Thoughts So, as you can undoubtedly tell, we loved both the film and the soundtrack. But, don’t just take our word for it, stream, rent, or buy it today because if you don’t, you’ll be missing out on what is definitely one of the best films by one of the greatest directors of our time, not to mention the amazing performances and soundtrack.