I think you'll agree that Boston Movies is a genre unto their own. The stories these movies tell differ—some are about heists, coming of age, or Sean Penn crying—but they're all connected by the blue collar soul of the city they take place in. The Charles River, the golden dome of the Massachusetts State House, and the Bahston Fahking Red Sawks. When you're watching a Boston Movie—oh, you know DAMN WELL you're in Boston. A lot of that feeling is due to the remarkably distinctive, infamous accent of the people who inhabit Boston. It's gruff and borderline grating, but it also signifies toughness and resolve. It, like every local you meet in Boston, is extremely unapologetic.
Since The Departed, which turns ten years old today, is the best Boston Movie ever made (*young, blond Matt Damon sulks next to a chalk board, Sean Penn continues to cry*), I wanted to revisit the movie and specifically key in on its many variations of Boston accents. Only two members of the main cast were actually from the Boston area (Matt Damon and Mark Wahlberg), but they all put on accents. A movie so rooted in the tone and attitude of Boston, The Departed lives and dies on those things—but, as it happens, not all of them are good.
To examine and rank the accents in The Departed*, I enlisted some help from my friend Chris, a guy who's from the Boston area and who I'm pretty sure is a foremost expert on Boston Movies. This guy is so Boston that in college he watched Mystic River on his laptop by himself—while we were all in the room. Also relevant: he had a pretty thick Boston accent freshman year of college, but we teased him for it so much that by junior year it was almost gone. So, yeah, he's the right person to help with this ranking. Let's get to it.
*Blake Lively's Boston accent in The Town is the worst Boston accent ever performed on film. You cannot debate this.