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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
925 ( 39)
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:

America Was Born In The Streets.

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

John C. Reilly was unsure about participating in the film when offered, but at the persuasion of friend and director Paul Thomas Anderson, a fan of Martin Scorsese himself, insisted to Reilly that he take the role. Reilly would later work again with Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio again in The Aviator (2004). See more »

Goofs

Paper clips were invented in 1899. See more »

Quotes

Irish Singer: [singing] Well, meself and a hundred more, to America sailed o'er, with our fortunes to be made, so we were thinkin' / When we got to Yankee land, they shoved a gun into our hands / Saying "Paddy, you must go and fight for Lincoln."/ There is nothing here but war, where the murderin' cannons roar, and I wish I was back home in dear old Dublin.
See more »

Crazy Credits

We gratefully acknowledge all the individuals and institutions who contributed their historical knowledge to this film. See more »

Alternate Versions

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

Connections

Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Inspiring Immigration Movies (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Massa Juba
Performed by Mariano De Simone, Beatrice Pradella, Alessandro Bruccoleri and Lauren Weiss
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Suppressed History Finally Surfaces
2 July 2003 | by RHKLWKSee all my reviews

I am a Civil War "buff," so I wanted to see this movie the moment I heard it was being made. Yes, the New York Draft Riots did happen, just two weeks AFTER the Northern victory at Gettysburg, demonstrating that the outcome of the War was anything but certain, even after Lee had been forced to retreat to the south bank of the Potomac River. Today, many would find this surprising.

The movie did take some license, however. There was no wholesale firing on civilians by Union soldiers. In fact, reported deaths after three days of rioting were less than one-hundred. Many of the dead were randomly selected blacks, who were hanged and mutilated (which was accurately depicted in the film). Today, many would also find this surprising, because the schools teach that the North was good, and the South was bad. The truth is that blacks were subjected to inhumane treatment everywhere, especially in the Nothern cities.

There was also no firing by offshore naval vessels. That was artistic license. (My source for all of the above is a doctoral dissertation that was published about ten years ago titled "The New York City Draft Riots.")

The movie makes the important point that the North had run out of "home grown" manpower to fight the South. Had it not been for Irish and German volunteers through 1863, and black volunteers in 1864, the North would have sued for peace. The 1864 Democratic Platform promised to bring the War to a swift and speedy conclusion.

Bravo to Scorsese for bringing all of this to light. In the meantime, the movie is about twenty minutes to long. The brothel scenes, the "uptown" scenes, and some of the scenes in the catacombs struck me as slow and superfluous. On the other hand, the street scenes and the scenes of the random gangs (of which I wish there were more) were glorious.

One thing Scorsese left out, however: The mountains of animal and human waste in the streets! Not long after his movie was released, the History Channel produced a documentary on the Five Points area, and it is staggering to consider the tons and tons of animal and human waste piling up in the streets, and the thousands of gallons of urine running in the gutters. There were old photos of waste in the streets stacked six feet high. Needless to say, infant mortality in such a fetid environment was about 50%. Scorsese leaves this out, and there is scarcely a horse in the movie.

Day-Lewis does a superb job with a character that is unevenly developed. He is a homicidal thug in the beginning, a menacing, but somewhat benign, presence in the middle, and a psychotic killer in the end. It isn't really clear why he vacillates the way he does. Bi-polar, I guess. DiCaprio proves he can act, and he exudes a manliness he did not possess in earlier films. Diaz turns in a creditable performance. The cast of thousands adds a nice touch to the film.

I would never say this is a "great" film, but it certainly is worth a look. Kudos to Scorsese for the herculean effort, and a tip of the kepi for the poetic ending, which reminded me of the ending in 1936's "San Francisco."


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