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Gangs of New York (2002)

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



(story), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
980 ( 151)
Nominated for 10 Oscars. Another 50 wins & 124 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
... Amsterdam Vallon
... Bill 'The Butcher' Cutting
... Jenny Everdeane
... William 'Boss' Tweed
... Happy Jack Mulraney
... Johnny Sirocco
... 'Priest' Vallon
... Walter 'Monk' McGinn
... McGloin
... Shang
... Killoran
... Reverend Raleigh (as Alec Mccowen)
... Mr. Schermerhorn
... Jimmy Spoils (as Larry Gilliard Jr.)
... Hell-Cat Maggie


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


America Was Born In The Streets.


Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site




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Release Date:

20 December 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Pandillas de Nueva York  »


Box Office


$100,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

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

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Cinematographer Michael Ballhaus was handed a lavish book of Rembrandt prints when he signed on to the film, and was told by Martin Scorsese that that was how he wanted the film to look like. See more »


The cannons on the ship are too small in proportion to both the range and the explosive force of the shells that they fire. See more »


Bill: Mulberry Street... and Worth... Cross and Orange... and Little Water. Each of the Five Points is a finger. When I close my hand it becomes a fist. And, if I wish, I can turn it against you.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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


Featured in Scorsese on Scorsese (2004) See more »


Pigeon on the Gate
Performed by Dan Costescu
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Not That Bad but It's Not A Classic Scorsese Picture
7 January 2005 | by See all my reviews

" What did you think of Gangs Of New York ? " I asked my father who is also a big Scorsese fan .

" I thought it was a load of " ££$%^^$"£* £$% " he replied " The actors looked like they were all going to burst out singing "

I could see where he was coming from although I didn't disagree with him 100 % . GANGS OF NEW YORK had some really extreme opinions from its audience ,a point reflected in the comments thrown at it on this site .I didn't think it was as bad as my dad made out but like I said I could seewhere he was coming from

My major problem with the movie is the screenplay . the opening shot sees Bill " The Butcher " Cutting kill Priest Vallon in front of his son who runs away swearing revenge for his dead father . From that point onwards we know that the story will end years later with a confrontation between the two protagonists so there's no more dramatic twists for the story to take . Actually this in itself isn't too bad but what spoils the story is the way it's held up with the character interaction between Amsterdamn and Jenny Everdeane . Scorsese doesn't do romantic interlude very well and this movie proves it . In amongst this diversion there's something of a plot hole since Bill takes the young Amsterdamn under his wing even though he knows who he is . If you bumped off someones father in a street fight would you adopt their kids ? I didn't think so

This could have been an absolutely brilliant script and it is very good in places where we see how the gangs are structured , their ethnic mix and their political affiliations - Some are protestant with members who were born in America , some are catholic with many members born in Ireland , all are anglophobe and they all hate each other . We also see one of the most cynical episodes in American history where immigrants getting off ships at New York are immediately conscripted into the Union army unless they pay 300 dollars which eventually leads to the draft riots . When the movie concentrates on these parts of the plot it's a great film but becomes heavily bogged down by the character subplots

If Scorsese had directed this 20 years ago with a fraction of the budget he had here this could have been his masterwork but he seems to have overawed by riches . Everything is just a bit too grandiose and operatic to be entirely convincing . Charles Dickens had visited the five points and is recorded as saying it was the worst place on Earth . Scorsese makes the streets a little too clean , a little too Hollywood grunge , a little too glamorous in spite of everything . Leonardo Dicaprio is a very underrated actor held back by his startling good looks but he's wrong as Amsterdamn and wasn't right for the part which should have gone to an unknown . Cameron Diaz is totally unconvincing as Jenny and Scorsese could have easily given the part to a real life NY hooker while Daniel Day Lewis gives a powerhouse performance as Bill Cutting , however the role is slightly overplayed especially compared to Lewis's other work

Indeed everyone involved in GANGS OF NEW YORK in whatever capacity has done far better in other movies and at the end of the day this is a very unsatisfying flawed picture which received more nominations than it did prizes at award ceremonies , and I'm somewhat happy about that because this movie isn't a crowning achievement for anyone , especially Martin Scorsese or Daniel Day Lewis who are capable of better things

Seven out of Ten

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