How X Marked The Spot For Martin Scorsese in ‘The Departed’

Subscribe to Martin Scorsese alerts

In 2006 Martin Scorsese finally became an Academy Award winning director when he took home the gold for The Departed, which also won the best picture award. But we’re not here to talk about how great a film The Departed was or what a stellar cast it had or that Scorsese’s Oscar had been long overdue. Instead we’re uncovering a little hidden treat that the director placed in the movie for eagle eyed viewers, an easter egg if you will. You see in The Departed, the fate of all the main characters was clearly spelled out, using one little letter.

The DepartedJack Nicholson [L] and Leonardo DiCaprio [R] in The Departed

In 1932 director Howard Hawks released gangster classic Scarface, a masterpiece of its time which would be remade in 1983 by Brian De Palma and starring Al Pacino. In the movie Hawks uses an ‘x’ motif throughout, usually implying that a character will die. The most prominent example being the x shaped scar on the cheek of Tony Camonte. Inspired by Hawks and wanting to pay homage to the 1932 movie, Scorsese borrowed the x idea for The Departed, as his subtle way of showing which characters might not make it to the end of the movie.

More: Top 10 Movie Easter Eggs: Featuring Indiana Jones, The Departed, Tron

There are at least 15 examples of the x motif being used in The Departed, there could be more, but at last count that’s how many we came across. Examples include, an x design on the window when Sullivan stands on the balcony at the beginning of the movie. Then when Queenan falls to his death, taped x’s can be clearly seen on the building’s windows. Also, in the airport which Costigan visits, there are peaty of x’s woven into the interior design. But our favourite might be that tiled floor Sullivan walks through near the end of the movie, now that one had to be on purpose ,no one would pick that floor design.

More: Leonardo DiCaprio lucky to work with Martin Scorsese

Hopefully your mind has been suitably blown by this information and Scorsese’s genius. If you had no idea about The Departed’s little hidden extras then why not go back and watch the movie and see how many x’s you can spot, if you get more than 15, then you’ve beaten us. Happy hunting!


Tags: Martin Scorsese

Subscribe to Martin Scorsese alerts

More Martin Scorsese

'Boardwalk Empire' Team Reassembles for HBO Rock and Roll Series

Martin Scorsese and Terence Winter are teaming up with Rolling Stones legend Mick Jagger for a new untitled rock and roll series for HBO. The...

Life Itself Movie Review

Fans of film journalism will love this documentary about the noted Chicago critic Roger Ebert, although the movie is just as much about his battle...

Martin Scorsese To Produce Grateful Dead Documentary For 50th Anniversary

Since the release of 'The Wolf of Wall Street' last year, director Martin Scorsese has kept a low profile but it seems he will be...

Martin Scorsese Working on Grateful Dead Career-Spanning Documentary

Martin Scorsese is working on a career-spanning retrospective documentary of the Grateful Dead. Scorsese is producing the film in celebration of the band's 50th anniversary...


Scarlett Johansson To Star In 8-Part Drama Adaptation Of Edith Wharton's 'The Custom Of Country'

Scarlett Johansson is making the jump from the big screen screen to the small when she stars in an adaptation of novelist Edith Wharton's The...

Steve Martin Awarded AFI's Life Achievement Award

Steve Martin will receive the "highest honour in film", the American Film Institute's Life Achievement Award. The AFI announced the news on their website on...

Stephen Fry is in Martin Scorsese's New Movie, 'Tomorrow'

Stephen Fry and the singer-songwriter Joss Stone are among the cast for the Martin Scorsese produced Tomorrow, the directorial debut of Martha Pinson, his long-time...

De Niro, Pitt and DiCaprio Set for Martin Scorsese Short Film

In what may well be the most star-studded short movie of all time, Martin Scorsese will direct a campaign video for Melco-Crown Entertainment (MCE) starring...



Martin Scorsese Newsletter

Subscribe to this news alert service to receive news and reviews on Martin Scorsese

Unsubscribe | Unsubscribe All