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Gangs of New York (2002)

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In 1862, Amsterdam Vallon returns to the Five Points area of New York City seeking revenge against Bill the Butcher, his father's killer.

Director:

Martin Scorsese

Writers:

Jay Cocks (story), Jay Cocks (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
Popularity
1,197 ( 94)
Nominated for 10 Oscars. Another 50 wins & 124 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Leonardo DiCaprio ... Amsterdam Vallon
Daniel Day-Lewis ... Bill 'The Butcher' Cutting
Cameron Diaz ... Jenny Everdeane
Jim Broadbent ... William 'Boss' Tweed
John C. Reilly ... Happy Jack Mulraney
Henry Thomas ... Johnny Sirocco
Liam Neeson ... 'Priest' Vallon
Brendan Gleeson ... Walter 'Monk' McGinn
Gary Lewis ... McGloin
Stephen Graham ... Shang
Eddie Marsan ... Killoran
Alec McCowen ... Reverend Raleigh (as Alec Mccowen)
David Hemmings ... Mr. Schermerhorn
Lawrence Gilliard Jr. ... Jimmy Spoils (as Larry Gilliard Jr.)
Cara Seymour ... Hell-Cat Maggie
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Storyline

In the god-forsaken district of early-1860's Lower Manhattan known as the Five Points, the vicious Nativist, Bill "The Butcher" Cutting, is the supreme overlord of an area riddled with crime, prostitution, theft and murder, as the American Civil War still rages on. Sixteen whole years after the brutal murder of his father from Bill's blood-stained hands, an orphaned Irish-American, Amsterdam Vallon, returns to this melting pot of corruption to avenge his untimely death; however, a lot has changed since then. Who can remember the once innocent boy and now a young man bent on revenge, who works his way up to the hierarchy of Five Points? Will Amsterdam ever taste the dangerous but sweet fruit of retribution? Written by Nick Riganas

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Freedom was born in the streets. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for intense strong violence, sexuality/nudity and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site

Country:

USA | Italy

Language:

English | Irish | Chinese | Latin

Release Date:

20 December 2002 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Pandillas de Nueva York See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$100,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$9,496,870, 22 December 2002, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$77,812,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$193,772,504, 28 October 2016
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Daniel Day-Lewis took up an apprenticeship at a butcher shop in preparation for the role of Bill "The Butcher" Cutting, so called because of his superb butchering skills. See more »

Goofs

Bananas were available in the United States after the Civil War, not during it. See more »

Quotes

[after someone speaks to him in Irish Gaelic]
Boss Tweed: They don't speak English in New York any more?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Noises from the modern day New York streets play over the second half of the closing credits. See more »

Alternate Versions

Scorsese's original cut of the film was 216 minutes (3 hours & 36 minutes) long. See more »

Connections

References Cradle Will Rock (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Pakwach Acholi Bwala Dance
Written and recorded by David Fanshawe
Courtesy of Nonesuch Records
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Terrific Entertainment!
30 January 2003 | by slimjackSee all my reviews

Gangs of New York is just perfect entertainment. It is an enthralling, bloody, melodramatic epic that more than justifies its two and one half hour running time. In Gangs director Martin Scorsese spins another tale of the New York underworld but with a twist. Instead of the mid-twentieth century organized crime milieu of Goodfellas, Scorsese ventures back to the 19th century to show us the origin of the modern street gang.

It's the early 1860s and the notorious Five Points slum is ruled by the savage `Bill the Butcher'. The viciously nationalistic Bill terrorizes all the immigrant masses jammed into his slum but seems to harbor a particular hatred for the Irish population. Into this seething cauldron wanders mysterious young Amsterdam Vallon who soon works his way into the trust and affection of Bloody Bill. Amsterdam, however, has a past with the unsuspecting Butcher and sports an agenda not unlike a certain Prince of Denmark. Bloody vengeance and dark betrayal soon come to pass, all played against a backdrop of corruption and unrest that lead to up to the horrors of New York Civil War draft riots.

Daniel Day-Lewis is marvelous as Bill the Butcher. His Bill is both recognizably human and a full bore, moustache-twirling villain. Day-Lewis strides his savage and profane way across the screen and steals the whole of the movie. The only other actor to approach Day-Lewis' level is Jim Broadbent as William 'Boss' Tweed. Broadbent is Tweed's spitting image and he makes the grasping old pirate so winning we find ourselves rooting for Tweed against the gaggle of reformers that infest his domain. Though Leonardo DiCaprio is the nominal lead of the picture he is overshadowed by his co-stars. Large, slope shouldered and vaguely brutish looking, DiCaprio is physically perfect for Amsterdam. While he could have used some of the fire and rage of a young James Cagney, DiCaprio's acting is superior throughout the movie. The problem is that Amsterdam just isn't as flashy a role as Bill or Tweed and, as good as DiCaprio is; Day-Lewis operates on a whole other level. Cameron Diaz as the beautiful pickpocket Jenny, never convinces that she is a product of the slums. Despite having considerable screen time, Diaz fades into the background when compared to her more powerful co-stars.

Just as important as the actors are to Gangs is the period atmosphere that drips off the screen. The amazing old New York set has an air of lived in reality that you could cut with a knife. You can almost smell the vermin. Gangs is entirely free of the embalmed feeling you get from most modern period movies. The cast handles the period argot as if it were their true speech and wear their costumes like lived-in clothing. You come away convinced that this is how the world looked and sounded in 1862.

Scorsese does eschew all nuance and subtlety in Gangs. Instead he tells his tale in wide, bold, exploitive and melodramatic strokes that make the movies two and a half hours fly by. Be warned that if you are waiting to see Gangs on DVD you are making a huge mistake. Gangs has to be seen at the theater. The detail and scope of the film cries out to be viewed in all its wide screen glory. This movie is a fantastic achievement.


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