Regarding gripping crime dramas, few films can match the intensity and suspense of ‘The Departed.’ Released in 2006, this Martin Scorsese masterpiece captivated audiences with its complex plot, stellar performances, and relentless tension.
If you’re a fan of this genre and craving more heart-pounding cinematic experiences, look no further. In this article, we will explore thirteen movies that share similarities with ‘The Departed’ and will undoubtedly keep you on the edge of your seat.
From the gritty underworld of organized crime to the cat-and-mouse games played between law enforcement and criminals, these films offer a thrilling ride filled with twists, turns, and unexpected revelations.
So buckle up and prepare for a rollercoaster of emotions as we delve into these captivating tales of deception, loyalty, and moral ambiguity.
1. Infernal Affairs (2002)
Infernal Affairs (2002) is a gripping Hong Kong crime thriller that delves into the tense and intricate world of undercover police work. Directed by Andrew Lau and Alan Mak, the film follows the parallel lives of a police officer, Chan Wing-yan, played by Tony Leung, and a mole in the police department, Lau Kin-ming, portrayed by Andy Lau.
As the story unfolds, viewers are taken on a suspenseful journey of deception and betrayal. The film skillfully explores the psychological toll that undercover work can have on individuals, as Chan and Lau struggle to maintain their true identities while infiltrating the criminal underworld. The constant fear of being exposed adds extra tension to the narrative, ensuring that audiences remain on the edge of their seats throughout.
What sets Infernal Affairs apart is its masterful storytelling and well-developed characters. The complex web of relationships and double-crosses keeps viewers guessing until the end. The film’s impeccable pacing and tight screenplay further contribute to its status as a modern classic in the crime thriller.
With its intense atmosphere and intricate plot, Infernal Affairs is a must-watch for fans of The Departed. Its exploration of the moral dilemmas undercover agents face, and its stellar performances and gripping storyline make it a standout film in the genre.
2. The Outfit (2022)
The Outfit (2022) is a captivating crime thriller set in 1956. The film takes place in London and Chicago and follows the story of Leonard, an English tailor caught up in the dangerous world of organized crime. With a runtime of 105 minutes, this period piece offers a unique blend of drama, mystery, and psychological tension.
The film’s setting in the 1950s adds a distinct charm and authenticity to the story, transporting viewers to a time when mobsters and gangsters ruled the streets. The attention to detail in recreating the era is commendable, capturing the essence of London’s Savile Row and Chicago’s rough neighborhoods. The costumes and set designs enhance the immersive experience, making it a visually stunning period piece.
The psychological elements of the story add an extra layer of complexity, as Leonard’s tragedy drives him to take drastic measures. The suspense builds steadily throughout the film, leaving viewers guessing about the characters’ true motives and the outcome of their actions.
One of the film’s strengths is its strong ensemble cast, led by an exceptional performance from the lead actor. His portrayal of Leonard, the tailor caught in the crossfire of criminal gangs, is compelling and sympathetic. The supporting cast, including the mobsters and gang members, delivers convincing performances, adding depth and authenticity to the story.
The Outfit is a perfect choice for a date night, as it combines elements of romance and danger. The chemistry between the lead actor and his love interest adds a touch of romance amidst the chaos of the criminal underworld. The film’s mix of genres, including crime, drama, mystery, and thriller, ensures that there is something for everyone to enjoy.
3. Heat (1995)
Continuing to explore gripping crime thrillers, Heat (1995) delves into the intense world of criminal pursuits, expanding on the themes of deception and betrayal introduced in the previous subtopic. Directed by Michael Mann, ‘Heat’ brings together a star-studded cast, including Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, and Val Kilmer. It delivers a tension-filled narrative that keeps audiences on the edge of their seats.
Set in Los Angeles, ‘Heat’ follows the lives of two men on opposite sides of the law. Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino) is a relentless detective determined to bring down a gang of professional bank robbers led by Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro). As the two men engage in a dangerous game of cat and mouse, ‘Heat’ explores the blurred lines between good and evil and the sacrifices made in the pursuit of justice or personal gain.
Its realistic portrayal of criminals and law enforcement officers sets’ Heat’ apart. The film delves deep into the psychology of its characters, offering a complex exploration of their motivations and moral compasses. The intense action sequences, particularly the iconic shootout on the streets of downtown Los Angeles, further heighten the tension and make ‘Heat’ a thrilling and unforgettable cinematic experience.
With its stellar performances, gripping storyline, and expertly crafted action sequences, ‘Heat’ is a crime thriller that will keep you captivated from start to finish. It is a worthy recommendation for fans of ‘The Departed’ seeking a similarly intense and suspenseful viewing experience.
4. The Town (2010)
‘The Town’ (2010) takes viewers on a gripping journey into the heart of Boston’s criminal underworld. The film, directed by Ben Affleck, combines elements of crime, drama, and action to deliver a thrilling and intense experience.
The story revolves around a group of skilled bank robbers, led by Doug MacRay (played by Ben Affleck), who meticulously plan and execute their heists precisely. However, when MacRay falls for a bank manager who was taken hostage during one of their robberies, he finds himself torn between his loyalty to his crew and his desire for a different life.
Set against the backdrop of Charlestown, a neighborhood in Boston notorious for its high crime rates, ‘The Town’ explores themes of loyalty, redemption, and the consequences of one’s actions. The film features compelling performances from its ensemble cast, including Jeremy Renner, Rebecca Hall, Jon Hamm, and Blake Lively.
With its intense action sequences, complex characters, and gritty depiction of the criminal underworld, ‘The Town’ keeps viewers on the edge of their seats from start to finish. It is a gripping and suspenseful film showcasing Ben Affleck’s director and actor talent.
5. Sicario (2015)
Directed by Denis Villeneuve, ‘Sicario’ (2015) offers a gripping and suspenseful exploration of the war on drugs, seamlessly continuing the theme of criminal underworlds from the previous subtopic. The film follows FBI agent Kate Macer, portrayed by Emily Blunt, as she is recruited to join a government task force on the U.S.-Mexico border. Led by the mysterious and morally ambiguous Matt Graver, played by Josh Brolin, and assisted by the enigmatic Alejandro Gillick, portrayed by Benicio Del Toro, the team embarks on a dangerous mission to take down a powerful Mexican drug cartel.
What makes ‘Sicario’ stand out is its intense and visceral depiction of the drug trade and the lengths law enforcement will go to combat it. Villeneuve masterfully creates a sense of tension and unease throughout the film, using stunning cinematography and an immersive score to heighten the suspense. The performances by the cast, particularly Del Toro’s chilling portrayal of Gillick, further enhance the film’s gripping atmosphere.
‘Sicario’ delves into the moral complexities of the war on drugs, exposing the blurred lines between good and evil and the sacrifices that must be made to maintain order in a world ruled by violence and corruption.
6. No Country for Old Men (2007)
In the critically acclaimed ‘No Country for Old Men’ (2007), a gripping tale of cat-and-mouse unfolds in the desolate landscapes of West Texas. Directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, the film is based on Cormac McCarthy’s novel of the same name and boasts a stellar cast, including Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, and Josh Brolin.
Set in 1980, the story follows Llewelyn Moss (Brolin), a hunter who stumbles upon a drug deal gone wrong in the Texas desert. He discovers a suitcase filled with two million dollars and decides to take it, unknowingly setting off a deadly chain of events. Anton Chigurh (Bardem), a psychopathic hitman, is hired to recover the money, leaving a trail of violence and destruction in his wake. Meanwhile, Sheriff Ed Tom Bell (Jones) struggles to keep up with the escalating brutality and moral decay.
‘No Country for Old Men’ is a masterclass in tension and suspense, with the Coen brothers expertly crafting a chilling atmosphere that keeps audiences on the edge of their seats. The film’s minimalist approach, haunting cinematography, and sparse dialogue add to its raw and unnerving power.
With its thought-provoking themes of fate, morality, and the nature of evil, ‘No Country for Old Men’ stands as a modern masterpiece that will leave viewers captivated long after the credits roll.
7. Training Day (2001)
In ‘No Country for Old Men’ (2007), a gripping tale of cat-and-mouse unfolds in the desolate landscapes of West Texas. Similarly, ‘Training Day’ (2001) takes audiences on a thrilling ride through the gritty underbelly of Los Angeles.
Antoine Fuqua directed him. Training Day stars Denzel Washington as Alonzo Harris, a corrupt and rogue detective in the LAPD. Harris takes a rookie cop, Jake Hoyt, played by Ethan Hawke, on a day-long training session that turns out to be a horrifying descent into law enforcement’s dark and dangerous side.
The film showcases the moral dilemmas faced by Hoyt as he witnesses Harris engage in unethical and criminal activities. As the day progresses, Hoyt must decide whether to join Harris or uphold his principles. This leads to intense confrontations and unexpected twists that keep viewers on the edge of their seats.
‘Training Day’ is known for its gritty and realistic depiction of the urban crime scene in Los Angeles. The performances by Washington and Hawke are outstanding, with Washington’s portrayal of Harris earning him an Academy Award for Best Actor. The film’s gripping narrative, combined with its intense action sequences, makes it a must-watch for fans of crime thrillers.
8. Gone Baby Gone (2007)
‘Gone Baby Gone’ (2007) is a gripping crime drama that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Directed by Ben Affleck, the film is based on the novel of the same name by Dennis Lehane. Set in the gritty streets of Boston; the story follows private detectives Patrick Kenzie (Casey Affleck) and Angie Gennaro (Michelle Monaghan) as they investigate the disappearance of a young girl named Amanda McCready.
What sets ‘Gone Baby Gone’ apart from other crime dramas is its exploration of moral ambiguity and the consequences of one’s actions. The film delves into complex themes of justice, redemption, and the lengths people are willing to go to protect their loved ones. As the investigation unfolds, the detectives find themselves caught in a web of corruption and deceit, forcing them to make difficult choices that challenge their moral compass.
The performances in ‘Gone Baby Gone’ are outstanding, particularly by Casey Affleck, who delivers a powerful and nuanced portrayal of Patrick Kenzie. The supporting cast, including Ed Harris, Morgan Freeman, and Amy Ryan, also deliver strong performances that add depth and intensity to the film.
With its gripping storyline, compelling characters, and thought-provoking themes, ‘Gone Baby Gone’ is a must-watch for fans of crime dramas. It will keep you guessing until the end and leave you questioning the nature of right and wrong.
9. The French Connection (1971)
Directed by William Friedkin, ‘The French Connection’ (1971) is a thrilling crime film that will keep you on the edge of your seat. The movie is based on the true story of two New York City detectives, Jimmy ‘Popeye’ Doyle and Buddy ‘Cloudy’ Russo, who are determined to uncover a massive drug smuggling operation. Starring Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider, the film takes viewers on a suspenseful journey as the detectives tirelessly pursue the French drug kingpin, Alain Charnier.
One of the key elements that sets ‘The French Connection’ apart is its gritty and realistic portrayal of police work. The film showcases the intense and often dangerous tactics employed by Doyle and Russo as they navigate the treacherous world of drug trafficking. From high-speed car chases to undercover operations, the movie keeps audiences on edge seats with its relentless pace and nail-biting suspense.
The performances in ‘The French Connection’ are also noteworthy. Gene Hackman delivers a powerhouse performance as the relentless and flawed detective, Jimmy Doyle. His portrayal of a cop willing to bend the rules to achieve justice earned him an Academy Award for Best Actor. Roy Scheider also shines as his partner, bringing a sense of balance and humanity to the film.
With its gripping storyline, realistic action sequences, and standout performances, ‘The French Connection’ is a must-watch for fans of crime films. It remains a classic in the genre and continues to captivate audiences with its tension-filled narrative.
10. The Untouchables (1987)
Starring Kevin Costner and Sean Connery, ‘The Untouchables (1987) is a gripping crime film that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Directed by Brian De Palma, the movie is a fictionalized account of the real-life efforts of Treasury Agent Eliot Ness and his team, known as the Untouchables, to bring down the notorious Chicago gangster Al Capone during the Prohibition era.
The film is renowned for its intense action sequences, compelling performances, and captivating storyline. Kevin Costner delivers a solid performance as Eliot Ness, a determined federal agent who assembles a team of incorruptible lawmen, including the seasoned Irish-American cop Jim Malone, played brilliantly by Sean Connery. Together, they embark on a dangerous mission to dismantle Capone’s criminal empire.
‘The Untouchables’ offers thrilling suspense, drama, and violence. The movie’s standout moments include the iconic staircase shootout scene and the tense rooftop chase, showcasing De Palma’s mastery of visual storytelling. The film’s stunning cinematography, gripping screenplay, and memorable Ennio Morricone score further enhance the viewing experience.
With its stellar cast, intense action sequences, and compelling narrative, ‘The Untouchables’ is a must-watch for fans of crime dramas. Its timeless appeal and thrilling storytelling make it a worthy recommendation for those who enjoyed ‘The Departed’ and are looking for similar movies that will keep them fully engaged from start to finish.
11. Eastern Promises (2007)
‘Eastern Promises’ (2007) is a gripping crime thriller that will leave you on the edge of your seat. Directed by David Cronenberg, the film takes viewers on a dark and intense journey into the underworld of the Russian mafia in London.
The story revolves around Anna, a young midwife who becomes entangled in the dangerous world of organized crime after delivering the baby of a deceased prostitute. In her quest to uncover the truth about the baby’s parentage, Anna crosses paths with Nikolai, a mysterious and ruthless member of the Russian mafia.
Its authentic portrayal of the criminal underworld sets ‘Eastern Promises apart from other crime thrillers. The film delves deep into the intricacies of the Russian mafia, highlighting the power dynamics, loyalty, and violence that define this secretive world. The performances by Viggo Mortensen, Naomi Watts, and Vincent Cassel are exceptional, bringing depth and intensity to their characters.
With its gritty atmosphere, intense action sequences, and thought-provoking narrative, ‘Eastern Promises’ keeps audiences on the edge of their seats from start to finish. Cronenberg’s masterful direction and the film’s atmospheric cinematography create a palpable sense of tension and suspense throughout.
If you’re looking for a crime thriller that will keep you guessing and breathless, ‘Eastern Promises’ is a must-watch.
12. A Prophet (2009)
‘A Prophet’ (2009) is a gripping crime drama that immerses viewers in the complex world of a young inmate navigating the treacherous dynamics of a French prison. Directed by Jacques Audiard, the film follows the journey of Malik El Djebena, a vulnerable Arab teenager who enters prison with no criminal background.
As Malik becomes entangled in the violent power struggles between different factions within the prison, he must learn to survive and adapt to protect himself.
The film offers a realistic and gritty portrayal of life behind bars, exploring themes of power, corruption, and the inherent violence within the prison system. Through its intense storytelling and compelling performances, ‘A Prophet’ keeps viewers on the edge as they witness Malik’s transformation from a naive and inexperienced inmate to a cunning and influential figure.
‘A Prophet’ has been praised for its authentic portrayal of prison life and its exploration of the psychological and moral dilemmas its characters face. Upon its release, the film received critical acclaim, earning numerous awards and nominations, including the Grand Prix at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival.
For fans of ‘The Departed’ seeking a similarly suspenseful and thought-provoking crime drama, ‘A Prophet’ is a must-watch.
13. Mystic River (2003)
One gripping crime thriller exploring themes similar to ‘The Departed’ (2006) is ‘Mystic River’ (2003). Directed by Clint Eastwood, this film delves into the dark underbelly of a close-knit neighborhood and the devastating effects of a tragedy that binds its inhabitants together.
Set in Boston, ‘Mystic River’ follows the lives of three childhood friends, Jimmy, Sean, and Dave, whose paths diverge after a traumatic incident. Years later, their lives intersect once again when Jimmy’s daughter is brutally murdered. As Sean, now a detective, investigates the case, old wounds resurface, secrets are revealed, and the bonds of loyalty and friendship are tested.
Like ‘The Departed,’ ‘Mystic River’ explores themes of loyalty, betrayal, and the blurred lines between right and wrong. It delves into the complex dynamics of relationships and the consequences of choices made in the past. The film’s gritty atmosphere and intense performances, particularly by Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, and Kevin Bacon, keep viewers on the edge of their seats as they unravel the truth behind the tragedy.
‘Mystic River’ received critical acclaim for its powerful storytelling, atmospheric cinematography, and nuanced performances. It was nominated for several Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor, with Sean Penn winning the Oscar for his riveting portrayal of Jimmy. The film remains a compelling crime thriller that will captivate audiences until the end.
These thirteen movies listed above, such as ‘Infernal Affairs,’ ‘The Outfit,’ ‘Heat,’ ‘The Town,’ ‘Sicario,’ ‘No Country for Old Men,’ ‘Eastern Promises,’ ‘A Prophet,’ and ‘Mystic River,’ are gripping and suspenseful films that will keep viewers on the edge of their seats.
Each movie explores themes of crime, corruption, and moral dilemmas, providing an intense and thrilling cinematic experience.
Fans of ‘The Departed‘ will surely enjoy these similar movies that offer a similar level of excitement and suspense.