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MPAA Rated R for strong brutal violence, pervasive language, some strong sexual content and drug material

Sex & Nudity

  • In the porn theater scene, a character is seen to be masturbating and then reveals a dildo which is briefly seen.
  • Costello has a girlfriend who is probably 30 years younger than him. In a few scenes it is implied that they will have sex.
  • Early in the film Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson) calls a girl, presumably 16-18, behind the counter towards him and asks if she's had her period yet.
  • We see a man and woman kiss/make out on a bed about 13 seconds. The latter is in her underwear (no nudity)
  • There is no actual sex in this movie but there are a couple of sexual references throughout.
  • Two men go into a porn theater. Scene doesn't last long, and no explicit images are shown on the screen.
  • There are a few kissing scenes.

Violence & Gore

  • Theres a flash back of people beating each up over who rides the bus.
  • A man and a woman are shot in the head with graphic blood mist. We can see the bloody bullet holes in their heads for about 5 seconds
  • A man fidgets with a severed hand, the bag it was in is also covered in blood
  • A man beats someone to death with a metal pipe, blood sprays onto walls.
  • A man throws a toy at at a mans face, a cut forms on his face. A man is shot in the head with blood spray, we see his dead body on the ground with a bloody bullet hole in his head.
  • A shootout begins between Costello's gang and some police men afterwards, a man gets shot in the stomach, large amount of blood sprays from the wound. A police officer is shot in the shoulder, blood spray, he falls to the ground, a puddle forms beneath him.
  • Costello is seen with blood all over his clothes and arms from doing who knows what.
  • Onscreen body count: 24
  • There are some black and white pictures of dead men who executed by mobsters. There is some blood seen on their bodies.
  • A brief flashback of a man killing his wife with a wire.
  • A man is bashed over the head with a glass leaving a bloody wound on his head. He is later punched around the face a few times, knocking him out.
  • A man brutally beats up two mobsters to death in a store, as he punches one of them in the face repeatedly he breaks his hand, we hear it snap, the other mobsters face is bashed several times with a coat hanger. Their bodies have very bloody faces, they are seen for a few seconds.
  • A man is roughing up another man around the face before a man is punched once, with two teeth knocked out.
  • A man is stabbed once in the chest with a pocket knife and dies from this
  • A man falls from a building. The impact is not seen, but a large amount of blood sprays onto a man. His body is then later shown with blood all over his face, and a blood puddle beneath his head and his whole body
  • A man punches another man in the face 4 times, leaving him with blood pouring from his nose.
  • A man gets shot in the head very unexpectedly with a lot of blood splatter and a little bit of brain matter behind him.
  • 2 men get shot in the head with blood mist. Not graphic.
  • The final scene of the whole movie depicts a man getting shot in the head, and there is a lot of blood splatters with a little bit of brain matter on the door behind him, blood starts pouring out of the wound and beneath his head, some brain matter is on the floor. very shocking and unexpected.
  • A man throws a painting on a mans forehead, we see a big cut that's bleeding on his forehead, he then gets shot in the kneecap with blood pouring out, he starts to scream in pain.


  • Constant graphic language.
  • The word "fuck" is said 237 times.
  • There are 5 uses of "cunt", 24 uses of "shit", 10 uses of "ass", and 1 use of "faggot" and "son of a bitch". Also 6 instances of "Christ", 3 uses of "God", 2 uses of "damn", and 2 uses of "Goddamn" and "nigger", several uses of "cocksucker." Reference's to Italians in a manner some may find offensive. Chinese and Irish slurs are also heard.

Alcohol, Drugs & Smoking

  • A group of policemen break into a crack house.
  • Men are seen packaging bags of cocaine in a dope house.
  • A needle and a spoon are seen on a table, implying that a man has done heroin, he then keeps on making claims that he is high.
  • Costello is a drug dealer.
  • Billy is shown taking OxyContin in a few scenes.
  • A man tests a bag of cocaine by tasting it.
  • A man throws cocaine on a bed and tells a woman not to get up until she is numb.
  • A large amount of cocaine is shown in bags at one point.
  • People are shown drinking alcohol and smoking in a number of scenes.

Frightening & Intense Scenes

  • This is one of Scorsese's most violent movies next to Casino and Taxi Driver.
  • Very intense and heart-racing.
  • Costello's interrogation of Costigan is rather cringe-inducing.
  • Some of the violence occurs very suddenly (a notable case is the elevator shooting). A man's tooth is knocked out.


The Parents Guide items below may give away important plot points.

Violence & Gore

  • A man dies on a couch covered in blood after being shot in the stomach, very disturbing.
  • All of Costello's men die in a graphic and bloody fashion, men are shot left and right with blood spurting out of their heads and bodies, but two of the more notable ones are when one man gets shot in his stomach, and tries to stay alive while he coughs up blood, he then kills himself, he eventually gets blown up while his car is on fire. Another is when Costello is shot in the lower hip, and there is a lot of blood around the wound. He then coughs up a lot of blood, leaving blood on his lips and teeth for a while, until one man shoots him 4 times, and he dies.

See also

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