Gangs of New York

Gangs of New York

4.2 37
Director: Martin Scorsese

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Daniel Day-Lewis, Cameron Diaz

     
 

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The violent rise of gangland power in New York City at a time of massive political corruption and the city's evolution into a cultural melting pot set the stage for this lavish historical epic, which director Martin Scorsese finally brought to the screen almost 30 years after he first began to plan the project. In 1846, as waves of Irish immigrants poured into the New…  See more details below

Overview

The violent rise of gangland power in New York City at a time of massive political corruption and the city's evolution into a cultural melting pot set the stage for this lavish historical epic, which director Martin Scorsese finally brought to the screen almost 30 years after he first began to plan the project. In 1846, as waves of Irish immigrants poured into the New York neighborhood of Five Points, a number of citizens of British and Dutch heritage who were born in the United States began making an open display of their resentment toward the new arrivals. William Cutting (Daniel Day-Lewis), better known as "Bill the Butcher" for his deadly skill with a knife, bands his fellow "Native Americans" into a gang to take on the Irish immigrants; the immigrants in turn form a gang of their own, "The Dead Rabbits," organized by Priest Vallon (Liam Neeson). After an especially bloody clash between the Natives and the Rabbits leaves Vallon dead, his son goes missing; the boy ends up in a brutal reform school before returning to the Five Points in 1862 as Amsterdam (Leonardo DiCaprio). Now a strapping adult who has learned how to fight, Amsterdam has come to seek vengeance against Bill the Butcher, whose underworld control of the Five Points through violence and intimidation dovetails with the open corruption of New York politician "Boss" Tweed (Jim Broadbent). Amsterdam gradually penetrates Bill the Butcher's inner circle, and he soon becomes his trusted assistant. Amsterdam also finds himself falling for Jenny Everdeane (Cameron Diaz), a beautiful but street-smart thief who was once involved with Bill. Amsterdam is learning a great deal from Bill, but before he can turn the tables on the man who killed his father, Amsterdam's true identity is exposed, even though he has concealed it from nearly everyone, including Jenny. Gangs Of New York was the first film in two years from actor Leonardo DiCaprio; ironically, it was at one time scheduled to open on the same day as Catch Me if You Can, the Steven Spielberg project that DiCaprio began filming immediately after Gangs wrapped.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Herbert Asbury’s nonfiction book The Gangs of New York -- originally published in the late 1920s -- has delighted readers for decades with its depiction of a 19th-century New York awash with crime, corruption, and poverty and peopled with larger-than-life figures who helped forge Gotham's destiny. Martin Scorsese’s sumptuous, long-awaited adaptation of Asbury’s anecdotal history, shaped for the cinematic medium by screenwriter Jay Cocks, employs the time-honored dramatic devices of a traditional Hollywood epic, often delivering grandly on its considerable ambitions. There is a romantic triangle, a competition between father figure and son, and a revenge motif that fuels the nearly three-hour drama. Leonardo DiCaprio portrays Amsterdam Vallon, an Irish immigrant’s son who sees his father murdered by the ruthless head of a "native" band that rules Lower Manhattan with an iron hand. When he reaches young adulthood, Leo infiltrates the band and becomes the adopted son of its leader, "Bill the Butcher" Cutting (Daniel Day-Lewis), whom he has sworn to kill. Cameron Diaz, in the most challenging role of her career, is Jenny, the fetching pickpocket loved by both men. Brendan Gleeson makes a strong impression as a burly Irish merchant who sells his soul for security, as does John C. Reilly, playing a corrupt cop on Cutting’s payroll. Scorsese, who constructed a full-scale replica of New York’s Five Corners neighborhood on the back lot of Rome’s Cinecittà Studio, re-creates the period with remarkable accuracy, although he sacrifices fidelity to the historical record on the altar of flamboyant filmmaking; numerous real-life events are altered and manipulated for dramatic effect, and some episodes are fabricated altogether. The end result, however, is a gripping representation of both splendor and squalor in preindustrial New York, and it earned Academy Award nominations in ten categories, including Best Picture. Leisurely paced, but rich in texture and color, Gangs of New York is an unforgettable movie and a worthy addition to Scorsese’s distinguished oeuvre.
All Movie Guide - Lucia Bozzola
Returning to Lower Manhattan's mean streets, Martin Scorsese's profoundly ambitious and engaging Gangs of New York sheds a different light on America's violent foundation myths. Embedding his signature concerns with Catholic immigrants, rival gangs, and arcane ethical codes in the spectacularly recreated squalor of the Five Points ghetto on the cusp of the 1863 Draft Riots, Scorsese's epic tale of nativist conflict, official corruption, and familial revenge is at once a precursor to his earlier Mob films and a sharp indictment of the usual American bromides about liberty and righteous conflict. From Liam Neeson's magisterial march through a baroque, torch-lit cellar to his death at the hands of Daniel Day-Lewis's eagle-eyed, fiercely charismatic "Bill the Butcher", the opening clash between Irish and "natives" is a stunning, kinetic montage of primitive violence. The U.S. military, however, is responsible for the copious blood on the streets at Gangs' tumultuous conclusion, overwhelming the archaic feud between Bill and Leonardo DiCaprio's Amsterdam and underlining the systemic bloodshed arising from Bill and his cohorts' entrenched racism and classism. Though the more intimate dimensions of the story are a mixed bag of allegorical romance and hoary Oedipal conflict involving DiCaprio, Day-Lewis and Cameron Diaz's California-dreaming thief, the visceral punch of the action scenes is occasionally matched by such quiet interludes as the flag-clad Bill's sublimely twisted disquisition on paternity and honor. A potent and thoughtful cinematic experience despite its flaws, Gangs of New York is Scorsese's most vital work since The Age of Innocence (1993).
All Movie Guide
Returning to Lower Manhattan's mean streets, Martin Scorsese's profoundly ambitious and engaging Gangs of New York (2002) sheds a different light on America's violent foundation myths. Embedding his signature concerns with Catholic immigrants, rival gangs, and arcane ethical codes in the spectacularly recreated squalor of the Five Points ghetto on the cusp of the 1863 Draft Riots, Scorsese's epic tale of nativist conflict, official corruption, and familial revenge is at once a precursor to his earlier Mob films and a sharp indictment of the usual American bromides about liberty and righteous conflict. From Liam Neeson's magisterial march through a baroque, torch-lit cellar to his death at the hands of Daniel Day-Lewis's eagle-eyed, fiercely charismatic "Bill the Butcher," the opening clash between Irish and "natives" is a stunning, kinetic montage of primitive violence. The U.S. military, however, is responsible for the copious blood on the streets at Gangs' tumultuous conclusion, overwhelming the archaic feud between Bill and Leonardo DiCaprio's Amsterdam and underlining the systemic bloodshed arising from Bill and his cohorts' entrenched racism and classism. Though the more intimate dimensions of the story are a mixed bag of allegorical romance and hoary Oedipal conflict involving DiCaprio, Day-Lewis and Cameron Diaz's California-dreaming thief, the visceral punch of the action scenes is occasionally matched by such quiet interludes as the flag-clad Bill's sublimely twisted disquisition on paternity and honor. A potent and thoughtful cinematic experience despite its flaws, Gangs of New York is Scorsese's most vital work since The Age of Innocence (1993). Lucia Bozzola
New York Times
This is historical filmmaking without the balm of right-thinking ideology, either liberal or conservative. Mr. Scorsese's bravery and integrity in advancing this vision can hardly be underestimated. A.O. Scott
Washington Post
Darkly operatic and brilliantly realized. Michael O'Sullivan
New York Observer
The result reverberates on the screen with a deadly force and fury more intense than anything Mr. Scorsese has yet achieved on the meanest and most beloved streets he could imagine or recall. Andrew Sarris
USA Today
It realistically puts you into the Civil War North as much as Gone With the Wind does with the romantically idealized South. Mike Clark

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Product Details

Release Date:
07/01/2003
UPC:
0786936181548
Original Release:
2002
Rating:
R
Source:
Walt Disney Video

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Leonardo DiCaprio Amsterdam Vallon
Daniel Day-Lewis William Cutting a.k.a. Bill the Butcher
Cameron Diaz Jenny Everdeane
Jim Broadbent William "Boss" Tweed
John C. Reilly Happy Jack
Liam Neeson Priest Vallon
Henry Thomas Johnny Sirocco
Brendan Gleeson Walter "Monk" McGinn
Gary Lewis McGloin
Stephen Graham Shang
Eddie Marsan Killoran
Alec McCowen Reverend Raleigh
David Hemmings Mr. Schermerhorn
Lawrence Gilliard Jimmy Spoils
Cara Seymour Hell-Cat Maggie
Roger Ashton-Griffiths P.T. Barnum
Peter-Hugo Daly One-Armed Priest
Cian McCormack Young Amsterdam
Dominique Vandenberg Actor
Ilaria d'Elia Actor

Technical Credits
Martin Scorsese Director
Alessandro Alberti Art Director
Vic Armstrong Asst. Director
Michael Ballhaus Cinematographer
Maria Teresa Barbasso Art Director
Bono Songwriter
Gerry Robert Byrne Associate Producer
Dimitri Capuani Art Director
Adam Clayton Songwriter
Jay Cocks Original Story,Screenwriter
Edge Songwriter
Laura Fattori Co-producer
Dante Ferretti Production Designer
Tom Fleischman Sound/Sound Designer
Eugene Gearty Sound/Sound Designer
Maurizio Grimaldi Executive Producer
Alberto Grimaldi Producer
Michael Hausman Executive Producer
Industrial Light & Magic Special Effects
Graham King Executive Producer
Ellen Lewis Casting
Kenneth Lonergan Screenwriter
Larry Mullen Songwriter
Michael Ovitz Executive Producer
Nazzareno Piana Art Director
Sandy Powell Costumes/Costume Designer
Joseph P. Reidy Asst. Director,Co-producer
Luc Sante Consultant/advisor
Thelma Schoonmaker Editor
Ivan Sharrock Sound/Sound Designer
Howard Shore Score Composer
Bob Weinstein Executive Producer
Harvey Weinstein Producer
Rick Yorn Executive Producer
Steven Zaillian Screenwriter

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Gangs of New York 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 37 reviews.
SleepDreamWrite 13 days ago
A bit long and yet it was really interesting. From the characters, story and settings. Oh and the performance, especially by Daniel Day Lewis. Interesting movie.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed this movie from start to finish and I usually never see a movie more than one time in the theatre. But I was very disturbed that Scorcese was nocked to the side at the awards show, not even recieving one oscar for a great representation of how life WAS in New York City in the 1800's. I find it that way because we are at war, and the academy would rather give praise to the happier and more sorrowful films like chicago and the pianist. Both films were great i bet, but because a piece of work can(in some ways) relate to war times now doesn't mean that it should be forgotten or left out. In my opinion I would rather watch a movie about true times in America, than watch another holocaust film, or all that jazz!
Guest More than 1 year ago
''Gangs of New York'' is one of the best movies I have seen in my life. Martin Scorsese delivers yet another masterpiece with this long-awaited movie. Every thing in the film is Oscar-worthy, but got passed up, because people couldn't take thier eyes off ''Chicago''. Daniel Day-Lewis is alone worth the price of admission as the ruthless 19th century thug.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this is my favorite leonardo movie i love this film and all of the actors in it.by far one of the best performances of the year
Guest More than 1 year ago
Traditionally a fan of Martin Scorsese's films, I am not particularly fond of Gangs of New York. When I heard of the film, I assumed it was to be a portrayal of life in NY during the days of Irish gangs and Civil War contraversy. I was displeased at the amount of historical inaccuracy surrounding the entire movie. Casting was poor (Leo is not a very good irishman, Ms. Diaz could have been replaced by a less famous star). Daniel Day Lewis, however, was phenominal in his role. I generally felt that the movie dragged. Mr. Scorsese, what can I say? One cannot squeeze blood from a stone.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the best movie ever. ''Bill the Butcher,'' is a dark, vile, rememberable villian played extremely well by daniel-day-lewis. Leo is a very talented actor who portrays his character with grace and style. This movie rocks. Everyone should see this movie, because it tells about how our country started out.
Guest More than 1 year ago
All together brutal from beginning to end. A grim look at a life few know about,and a time that shaped the america of today. A modern masterpiece!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Martin Scorsese once again obtains the right to be called the best active director in the film industry with this salute to the epics of yester-year. Nobody else would have been able to make this movie like Scorsese. He gives us filmmaking at the highest level; where most of his films are. He once again gives us a great character of American cinema, Bill the Butcher, played spectaculary by Daniel Day-Lewis. All technical aspects of this film are perfect, and should have won Oscars. This movie will be remembered among critics and movie fans for years to come.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i really disliked this movie. The battle scenes were so unreal it was like i was watching a sci-fi movie. their faces were just so odd and insane-like. it wasnt an i-loath-you insane but like they were all on speed. It was also REALLY blood-and-gutsy. and were we suposed to cry at the end? if we were, that bombed too. i felt nothing, and i cry in EVERY movie. i just kept wanting to turn it off.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Nothing sugar coated about this movie. Unforgiving, brutal, dog eat dog exsistence is what life was about so long ago. This movie was great from beginning to end. I'm disappointed that it didn't get an oscar though, this movie definitely deserved it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Although I didn't like the violence, GANGS OF NEW YORK is brilliantly done by Martin Scorcese (sp.). It tells of a history that not many people know about. The costumes are also great as are the sets.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I saw previews of this movie, and thought it seemed interesting. The Irish vs. the Natives. I love fighting movies. However, this movie was interesting at first, but it did not stay that way. Plus, the violence was poorly acted out. If anyone says that it is a bloody movie, they lie. It didn't show any gore at all, thus i give it only four stars. Otherwise, it was interesting...the rivalry, the revenge. Nice.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie was a great example of horrible acting, a horrible script, a weak plot and the most unrealistic story I have ever seen. The attempt to make it historical and ''deep'' was pathetic. The disgusting violence and eye-rolling action sequences is probably the best part of this movie. Not worth anyone's time or money
Guest More than 1 year ago
This long awaited film from one of the finest filmakers in history was thoroughly dissapointing. Poorly written, bombastic, terribly miscast (save Daniel Day-Lewis's performance) and lacking any semblance of character development. I had a difficult time sitting through this film. I had a difficult time watching a supposed ''romance'' brew between Leo and Cameron. I had a difficult time not predicting the entire movie after 5 minutes. I had a difficult time finding anything redeeming about this movie except the sets and a few glimpses of wonderful cinematography. A lousy movie indeed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the second best movie of all-time, only second to Seven. I don't like Leonardo DiCaprio, but he was excellent in this movie. The movie was TOTALLY believable despite the remarks on this page. It's called imagination, get one. I suggest EVERYONE see this movie atleast once.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this movie..... As I watched,it made me realize that even though times have changed.People have'nt....
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie is excellent! All though violent it does show the struggles the Irish went through when they came here, my grandmother remembers being treated like the irish are in this movie.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Martin, what happened Martin!? Scorcese goes from movies like Taxi Driver and Casino to this piece of garbage? The story was awful, I felt NOTHING for the main characters, and the ending was stupid and out of place. The only redeeming quality was the direction, Martin still knows his stuff. I think what happened was Scorcese decided to make a history lesson in stead of a good movie...
Guest More than 1 year ago
A great Martin Scorsese film. This is one of my faveriot films I remeber I rented this July 4 2003 and when the film was over i just could not believe how great it was acted and directed and how it didnt win best picture i meen the two towers had a good picture but i thought gangs of new york should of won. Daniel Day-Lewis did great job doing William Cutting aka Bill The Butcher he is one of my faveriot villans next to Hannible Lector. Leo and Diaz also did a great job playing in this film. This film is so interesting you just cant stop watching it untill you have to put in the 2nd dvd. Martin Scorsese did a wonderful job directing this film. This has very good and bloody battle scenes a great revenge and love story. They did a great job showing how life in the five points were like and showing what the draft riots was like and how they had to get the army to stop them. This is the best martin scorsese film this is another on film on my top 5 faveriot
Guest More than 1 year ago
Martin Scorsese is a true cinematic genius who has woven another masterpiece with "Gangs of New York". Despite detractors, this is the best picture of 2002 that got way too much negative attention. The brilliant characters pale in comparison to the sets and every technical achievement possible. It is sometimes difficult for an epic to provide characterization like this film does. Daniel Day-Lewis is a brilliant actor who should have won the Oscar for creating one of the most memorable screen villains ever seen with a tour de force performance that no other actor could have pulled off as well. The other actors don't pull off their parts as well, but they make the film work fine. People dismissed this film as bad just because it wasn't as good as "Raging Bull" or "GoodFellas". It may not be as good as those films, but those films have become the gold standard of Scorsese that no critic will let any Scorsese film match, but this film is just too good to be pushed aside as a film that didn't live up to Scorsese filmmaking. Don't let the critics get you down Martin, you keep making films the way you want!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Martin Scorcese is rightfully regarded as the director of the modern gangster genre. With the Gangs of New York, Scorcese finally bookended his previous projects with organized crime in New York at its peak and at its fall. Now he describes how it started. It's interesting how Scorcese always is fascinated with the tale of the American immigrant gone afar, whether Irish or Italian (the preeminent immigrant groups pre-Hispanics). Daniel Day-Lewis gives the performance of his life, paying a tribute to his Irish heritage in the process. DiCaprio and Diaz make formidable appearances also.
Guest More than 1 year ago
For a movie that was almost 3 hours, I never managed to get bored. Viewers will love to hate Daniel D. Lewis in this role. What a performance! Many ancestors could have been part of these gangs. How people survive the times is a thought that comes to mind while watching. I can only hope that the violence depicted in the film was somewhat inflated. Have things changed since the late 1800s? Sure, but gangs still exist and corruption is more rampant than ever. In the 1840s. Natives and Irsih Americans fight to the death in New York, resulting in the death of Irish leader Priest Vallon (Liam Neeson) and Native Bill The Butcher's (Daniel Day Lewis) undisputed rule of the city's criminal underworld. Vallon's son, Amsterdam (Di Caprio) escapes. And after growing into an anonymous young man, returns to reap his revenge, yet unwittingly becomes the butcher's protégé... Scorsese was bringing a long treasured project to the screen with Gangs, creating a hype that suffered from setbacks, delayed releases and mixed reviews. In hindsight what we have is no masterpiece, but it remains an undeniably good film, with many fine qualities to make up for its flaws. Scorsese's recreation of the city is stunning: the level of detail completely immerses the viewer into an atmosphere scarcely read of in History books. Moreover, the rich criminal world depicted here maintains a delicate balance of understandability and chaos. Scorsese couples this with his flair for music to create a truly intoxicating mood. The photography reinforces the overall effect tenfold, wonderfully sustained and carrying scattered sparks of pure genius. For example: in one shot, Scorsese pans from newly arrived immigrants who are welcomed, given the nationality, provided a uniform, and enlisted into the Union army to coffins of dead soldiers being unloaded on another peer. Ultimately, a film lives or dies by its screenplay and acting, and herein lies Gangs of New York's polarizing point. Whether you focus on the slightly uneven story (oddly shortened in places by pressured editing) or the fantastic performances will determine whether Gangs makes it or breaks it, but for its sheer visual power and acting it deserves to be seen. Leonardo DiCaprio, Cameron Diaz, Brendan Gleeson and John C. Reilly are all a joy to see when on top form, but the true feast here is Daniel Day Lewis's grand-standing, violent and xenophobic Bill The Butcher. A role that Robert De Niro (for whom it was originally intended over the years) The chances of this film becoming a favorite are slim, but at the very least you'll walk away with an indelible character to remember.