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Gangs of New York (2002)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, History  |  20 December 2002 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 293,442 users   Metascore: 72/100
Reviews: 1,153 user | 230 critic | 39 from Metacritic.com

In 1863, Amsterdam Vallon returns to the Five Points area of New York City seeking revenge against Bill the Butcher, his father's killer.



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Nominated for 10 Oscars. Another 42 wins & 89 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Reverend Raleigh (as Alec Mccowen)
Jimmy Spoils (as Larry Gilliard Jr.)


Having seen his father killed in a major gang fight in New York, young Amsterdam Vallon is spirited away for his own safety. Some years later, he returns to the scene of his father's death, the notorious Five Points district in New York. It's 1863 and lower Manhattan is run by gangs, the most powerful of which is the Natives, headed by Bill "The Butcher" Cutting. He believes that America should belong to native-born Americans and opposes the waves of immigrants, mostly Irish, entering the city. It's also the time of the Civil War and forced conscription leads to the worst riots in US history. Amid the violence and corruption, young Vallon tries to establish himself in the area and also seek revenge over his father's death. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


America Was Born In The Streets.


Crime | Drama | History

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:






| | |

Release Date:

20 December 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Pandillas de Nueva York  »

Box Office


$97,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$1,049,746 (Japan) (20 December 2002)


$77,679,638 (USA) (11 April 2003)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (original)

Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Marks the first teaming between Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio, which began a long collaboration, spanning more than ten years and many movies. See more »


When the Union soldiers take aim at the rioters, each man steps forward with his left foot. During the Civil War, on the command "aim" a soldier would step BACK with his RIGHT foot, bringing it behind his left. Stepping forward would desecrate "the line" (all-important in nineteenth-century warfare). See more »


Bill: Burn him, see if his ashes turn green.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Miramax Films and Touchstone Pictures logos are much different and larger than the normal logos and evoke a 1930s black and white style. See more »


Featured in Smashing UK Top 10: Top 10 Historical Dramas (2013) See more »


Beijing Opera Music
Written by Hong-Qi Zhang and Da-Can Chen
Produced and Arranged by Anxi Jiang
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

The Blood Stays on the Knife
2 August 2004 | by (La Crosse, Wisconsin) – See all my reviews

"Gangs of New York" takes us back to a time when America was a young country and New York was divided. Those who felt they were "native" Americans did not want immigrants to enter their great country, spawning hatred between groups all over the city where many of them landed. In the story we see how much of the town is run by one man, with William Cutting ("Bill the Butcher," played marvelously by Daniel Day-Lewis) being the most feared and well-respected man of the "five Points."

Leonardo DiCaprio plays Amsterdam Vallon, who as a boy watched Bill the Butcher kill his father in one of the Points' great battles. Now a grown man, he returns to the Points to find Bill pretty much running the show. He gets on Bill's good side and eventually becomes his number one man, all the while still plotting for his father's revenge.

While there is a lot of gratuitous violence and gore, the film does an excellent job portraying life as it was in New York. You can be sucked in to the time of the movie, and even though the setting is much before our time you don't need a textbook to understand how things were run and what life was like.

I've never been a big DiCaprio fan, but his effort here (along with his performance from "Catch Me If You Can") have made my opinion start to waver a little. He is good as Amsterdam, and believable in his actions and expressions. Daniel Day-Lewis is simply phenomenal as Bill the Butcher and really should have won the Best Actor Oscar. Overall, I feel this was the best film of 2002 and really was robbed at the Academy Awards.

8 out of 10.

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