Gangs of New York
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FAQ Contents


A Note Regarding Spoilers

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Gangs of New York can be found here.

Gangs of New York is very loosely based on The Gangs of New York : An Informal History of the Underworld (1928), a true crime story written by American writer Herbert Asbury [1889-1963]. It was adapted for the film by American screenwriters Jay Cocks, Stephen Zaillian, and Kenneth Lonergan and was nominated for "Best Original Screenplay" rather than as a screenplay adapted from another work (which gives an idea of what is meant by "very loosely".) One of the book's chapters is devoted to the story of the real Bill the Butcher.

William Poole [1821-1855), also known as Bill the Butcher [played by Daniel Day-Lewis], was a member of the lower Manhattan's Five Points District anti-Irish gang known as the Bowery Boys. Scorsese & his writers obviously took a small liberty with his name, since Bill's surname in the film is "Cutting."

It's an American Eagle. You can see a close-up here.

The word "Rabbit" is the phonetic corruption of the Irish word ribad, meaning "man to be feared". "Dead" is a slang intensifier meaning "very," as in "Dead on!." Thus, a "Dead Ribad" means a man to be greatly feared.

Almost at the epicenter of the Five Points are twin, 25-story middle-class apartment buildings designed by I.M. Pei (built in 1965 to lure the middle class back to the city.) They're on Worth St. Opposite them is Columbus Park and the terminus of Mulberry Street. The rest of the area consists of the Tombs (an old and famous jail where many noirs were filmed) and the courthouses you see featured in every NY-based courtroom drama. Ever since Little Water St was turned into a parking lot, back around 1966 or so, it lost its five points. Mulberry is the only street with the same name. Worth and Baxter were both point streets, Baxter used to be Orange and it ran on through the intersection there. Worth ended at the intersection, and was called Anthony. Park Row used to take a slightly different path, running through that intersection and connecting Mulberry and Orange (now Baxter).

Columbus Park is one of the oldest in Manhattan, dating from the 1890s, and was created largely at the instigation of noted journalist and photographer Jacob Riis. It used to be all buildings, and Riis was appalled at the fact that slum children had no safe place to play; the majority even suffered from rickets because of poor nutrition and little access to sunlight. Thanks to Riis, Columbus Park became a green oasis for poor immigrants, just as it is today, only instead of Irish or Italian immigrants, you're most likely to see Chinese immigrants playing mahjong or doing Tai Chi. Take a virtual tour of Five Points here.

Yes. That is Green-wood Cemetery in Brooklyn. For more information on The Butcher's grave in Green-wood Cemetery, see here.

The 1st disc of the 2-disc edition of the film has a bonus feature that defines all the slang used in the film. Some of them include:

"Got any timber?" (got a light?)

"Bene" (alright) - it's from the Italian word meaning "good".

Crushers (policemen)

Dust-up (fight)

Rowdy-dow (fight and as I learned mostly coined for political brawls)

Lay (the thief's enterprise, often used to express any undertaking)

Wooden-coat (coffin)

Dead-rabbit (a brawler)

Sand (courage)

Bingo-boy (a drunk)

Mort (a woman)

Frenchified- have a venereal disease

What song is played ...?

Here follows a list of the songs in the movie in the order in which they are heard.

Brooklyn Heights Pt. 1 - Howard Shore: Played several times through out the movie as a main theme. First heard then Priest prepares for battle.

Shimmy She Wobble - Drum Band, Othar Turner & The Rising Star Fife: Played when the Dead Rabbits prepare for battle.

Signal to Nose - Peter Gabriel: The Battle Scene.

Lament For The Dead Of The North - Davy Spillane: Monk get's his money.

Dark Moon, High Tide - Afro Celt Sound System: Heard then Amsterdam is introduced to the life at Five Points. Also heard then Happy Jack is starting to look for Amsterdam and the irish build their church.

New York Girls - Finbar Furey: Sung in the bar.

Morrison's Jig / Liberty - Mariano De Simone: Amsterdam fights McGloin.

Paddy's Lamentation - Linda Thompson: Heard when the Irish men are conscripted into the Union army having just arrived in America.

Beijing Opera Suite - Anxi Jiang & Da-Can Chen: Heard during Bill's party.

Garryowen - heard just after Bill's knife-throwing act with Jenny Deane ends.

Dionysus - Jocelyn Pook: Amsterdam recovers.

Durgen Chugaa - Shu-De: Played outside Satan's Circus when Johnny goes to join the Natives.

The Murderer's Home - Jimpson and Group: Heard right after Amsterdam mercy kills Johnny and heard when McGloin prays in the church.

Vows - Jeff Johnson and Brian Dunning: Played then the Union Soldiers fire at the rioters.

Brooklyn Heights Pt. 3 - Howard Shore: Heard in the final scene as the dead are taken care of and Amsterdam has his ending speech.

The Hands That Built America - U2(A longer version than on the soundtrack CD with a much longer intro): Starts to play as we see New York turn into the city as we know it today and then plays over the closing credits.

Page last updated by bj_kuehl, 1 year ago
Top 5 Contributors: bj_kuehl, nospar122, AgentSniff, myturn21, trinity379

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