Martin Scorsese’s classic Boston crime saga “The Departed,” a remake of the 2002 Hong Kong film “Infernal Affairs,” used a mixture of Boston and New York to comprise the locations of the film. After Warner Bros. purchased the rights to the film, director Martin Scorsese deliberately avoided viewing it until after he completed “The Departed.” Here we’ll take a look at some of the Boston locations from the film.
The Massachusetts State House plays a recurring role in the film, as Matt Damon’s character Colin Sullivan stares in awe at it and rents an upscale penthouse apartment with a view of it’s iconic golden dome at the center of the Boston skyline.
LOCATION: 24 Beacon St, Boston, MA 02133
Matt Damon’s penthouse “apartment” isn’t really an apartment at all. It’s the library on the top floor of the Suffolk University Law School. For this obvious reason, the building is never seen from an exterior view in the film, but this is what it looks like from the street. Unfortunately, you must have a university ID to enter the building, so recreating the apartment view from the library is not possible for the public.
LOCATION: 120 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02108
Frank Costello, played by Jack Nicholson, lives at this apartment overlooking the east waterfront of the Charlestown neighborhood of Boston. The building is known as Flagship Wharf. Much like Matt Damon’s apartment, the exteriors of this building are scarcely seen in the film. However, some shots of the windows and a view out over the water can be seen as Costello talks on the phone to Sullivan.
LOCATION: 197 8th St, Boston, MA 02129
Outside of Costello’s bar, two of Costello’s crew, Fitzy and Delahunt, stand and observe pedestrians walking by, claiming anyone who avoids looking at the pair are cops. As Billy, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, exits the building without looking at them, Fitzy jokingly says to him “You’re a cop.” Two buildings were actually used for this location; this exterior can be found in Boston, while the interior was an entirely different building in New York (Raul’s, 180 Prince St, New York, NY 10012).
LOCATION: 17 Charles St, Boston, MA 02114
Late in the film, Billy meets Queenan, played by Martin Sheen on a rooftop of what is supposedly 344 Washington Street. There is a hand-drawn sign in front with the numbers 344. Costello’s crew is informed of the meeting and Delahunt mistakenly tells Billy to meet them at “314 Washington.” Despite his error, Billy meets Costello’s crew at the correct address, cluing in Delahunt to Billy’s real identity.
The entrance to real building seen in the film is not on Washington Street, but rather along an alley running between Farnsworth Street and Thompson Place, just north of Congress Street in Boston’s Fort Point.
LOCATION: 11 Farnsworth St, Boston, MA 02210 (this entrance is along a side alley of the building, running between Farnsworth Street and Thompson Place)
Billy narrowly escapes from the rooftop to avoid exposure as an undercover cop. He races down a fire escape into this alley, just beside the entrance seen above. The real building does not have a fire escape, but some skillful editing makes it appear as if this is where the fire escape reaches the streets.
LOCATION: Alley between 11 Farnsworth St and 12 Thompson Pl, Boston, MA 02210
Just as Billy reaches the front of the building, he is shocked as Queenan is thrown from the rooftop. His body falls in front of these windows. Director Martin Scorsese had X marks taped over all the windows, as an homage to the 1932 film “Scarface.”
Billy looks in horror back in front of the building entrance, as Costello’s crew pours out and meet up with him, unaware he was the undercover cop they were just seeking. The police observe the scene and, against Sullivan’s orders, engage in a shootout with Costello’s crew. Billy and Sullivan’s fateful meeting also takes place in this building and on the rooftop.