Gangs of New York

7.52 h 46 min2002X-RayR
Director Martin Scorsese's epic! A young man seeks revenge against the larger-than-life strongman who killed his father in the brutal, gang-dominated New York City of the 1840s. Co-starring Cameron Diaz.
Martin Scorsese
Leonardo DiCaprioDavid HemmingsEddie Marsan
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Supporting actors
Jim BroadbentStephen GrahamAlec McCowenCameron DiazJohn C. ReillyGary LewisLiam NeesonDaniel Day-LewisHenry ThomasRoger Ashton-GriffithsBrendan GleesonCara Seymour
Alberto GrimaldiHarvey Weinstein
R (Restricted)
Content advisory
Nudityviolenceblackfacealcohol usesmokingsexual content
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4.7 out of 5 stars

6125 global ratings

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Top reviews from the United States

Jared Van BurenReviewed in the United States on October 18, 2022
5.0 out of 5 stars
DVD Performance
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DReviewed in the United States on April 11, 2016
4.0 out of 5 stars
The Perpetual Cycle in Gangs of New York
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There has been a civil war in this country way before the actual Civil War and it has continued after the aforementioned Civil War ended. This was war has been fought by immigrants and the anti-immigrant faction in this country. You see it with the violence at Donald Trump rallies and you see it with the paranoia associated with controlling the Mexican border. This idea is beautifully captured by Gangs of New York and is illustrated by the depiction of the New York Draft Riots of 1863. This film displays the anger felt at that time, which resonates with the misguided anger of Trump supporters.
Gangs of New York is a compelling story film directed by Martin Scorsese and stars starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Leonardo DiCaprio and Cameron Diaz. It was released in 2002 and is rated R (so it is definitely not meant for children). It was nominated for an impressive ten Academy Awards including: Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor (Day-Lewis). The main theme of the film is immigration in New York during the 19th century, and particularly, how different gangs squabbled in the Five Points district in Lower Manhattan. These conflicts usually ended with death.
Gangs of New York details the rise of a young orphan named Amsterdam Vallon, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, into the world of politics and street life. It focuses mainly on his relationship with William “Bill the Butcher” Cutting, based on real-life 19th century gangster William Poole, and who is the leader of the U.S. born nativist gang, the “Natives.” The “Natives” and the Irish immigrant gangs battle for control of the streets and political influence in Tammany Hall, which was the main political party in New York City during this time . It was also notoriously corrupt. Cutting controls his vast empire with an iron fist and has a cruel and violent temperament. He and Vallon form an unlikely father-son relationship, but Vallon has ulterior motives and is secretly trying to take down Cutting. This relationship explodes amongst amid the chaos of the New York Draft Riots of 1863. This event serves as a backdrop and a reminder that there are still problems to this day in regard to the acceptance of immigrants.
The more things change the more they stay the same. The United States has long been against immigration and there has often been a backlash against immigrants. Looking back ontoat the success of Donald Trump, it makes you realize this xenophobia exists to this day. The opening scene of the film explains how some people feel about immigration. There is about to be a battle and Cutting states:
On my challenge by the ancient laws of combat, we are met at this chosen ground to settle for good and all who holds sway over the Five Points, us natives born right wise to this fine land or the foreign hordes defiling it.
Upon which Priest Vallon, the leader of the immigrant gangs states:
By the ancient laws of combat, I accept the challenge of these so-called natives. You plague our people at every turn but from this day out you shall plague us no more. For let it be known the hand that tries to strike from us this land shall swiftly be cut down.
The ironic part is just about everyone in this country emigrated from another country at some point in their family’s timeline. Unless you are Native American, your family originated from somewhere else. However, the irony is lost on the bigots and xenophobes. Hey, nobody ever said they were intelligent.
Gangs of New York is definitely worth watching. It is virtually a history lesson disguised as a film. If you are fascinated with history like me or just like to be informed about the origins of our country, then this is the movie for you. This movie gives you a glimpse of how it was in the Five Points section of New York during the 19th century and provides a perfect juxtaposition on the status of our country now. It has a perfect combination of sex, violence and coarse language while also providing a moral lesson. You may either get disgusted with the sentiments displayed in this film or you may agree whole-heartedly. It really depends on your own personal feelings. But whatever your personal feelings are, this film will stir your emotions. Whether you are anti-immigration, pro-immigration, or neutral, this film will make you see each argument from every angle.
4 people found this helpful
Tommy MReviewed in the United States on August 24, 2022
5.0 out of 5 stars
An awesome guy movie
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You can watch this movie and catch parts you missed when you first watched it. A lot of details in what can be a violent movie. Based a on true story but very crudely told.
sportsguy99Reviewed in the United States on January 28, 2016
4.0 out of 5 stars
Audio sounds terrific as well although the previous edition sounded quite good ...
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This remastered edition corrects the image quality issues of the previous edition which had heavy handed use of DNR (digital noise reduction)often eliminating the grain and detail at the same time. Colors pop and detail is remarkably sharp throughout. Audio sounds terrific as well although the previous edition sounded quite good as well. Aside from some minor ringing (particularly when characters are against a white background--doesn't happen too often in this movie though), the presentation looks terrific.

We get all the previous special features from the previous edition as well including Martin Scorsese's informed and entertaining commentary track. The special features are still in standard definnition but that's a minor issue--I'm just happy that Touchstone/Disney/Miramax was willing to go back and correct the error with the original mastering.

You can tell the remastered vs. the previous edition because the cover picture with the main actors is smaller and bordered by black. The Blu-ray holders also have a sticker on the cover indicating its been remastered.

For those interested in the plot--Set in New York in 1846 (during the height of the draft for the Civil War which contributed to a massive violent revolt by the poor which plays a part in the film as well), Leonardo Dicaprio plays Amsterdam Vallon who returns to lower Manhattan seeking revenge against Bill "the Butcher" (Daniel Day Lewis)who killed his father in a confrontation between their respective gangs. To kill Bill Vallon must become close to Bill and infiltrate his gang earning his trust in the process but Vallon finds that his vendetta against Bill gets lost in a much larger conflict between the various gangs of New York to run the city.Amsterdam feels conflicted particularly when Bill takes him under his wing and gains a grudging respect for him despite his brutality. Daniel Day Lewis gives a superb performance as Bill and although Dicaprio's accent varies quite a bit his emotionally complex, conflicted performance adds to the drama as well. When I first saw the film I was surprised at just how good Cameron Diaz could be as an actress as well.

A well made flawed film, "Gangs of New York" manages to be involving and director Martin Scorsese crates a vivid recreation of New York before the turn of the century with detailed recreations of teh hovels and mud strewn streets, The film suffers because of a shortened running time (and it runs around 2 hours and 40 minutes but could have easily run an additional 20-30 minutes giving us more background on the conflict between Vallon's father who led the Dead Rabbits and Bill. Then again the action would have taken longer to get to and our main story focusing on the conflict between Vallon and Bill would have taken quite a bit longer to start as well.

Even Scorsese's flawed films are stronger than most other directors great films and the ambition of "Gangs of New York" is welcome even if the film can't deliver on all of Scorsese's points. Recommended.
7 people found this helpful
EUGENE JAGELLAReviewed in the United States on June 17, 2022
4.0 out of 5 stars
Good movie.
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Good movie which I enjoyed but it was a little confusing.
PhilipReviewed in the United States on August 3, 2022
5.0 out of 5 stars
Gangs of New York
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An epic movie great costumes and cinematography I loved the movie one for the library. Thank you
Annie Van AukenReviewed in the United States on February 2, 2011
5.0 out of 5 stars
Bill: "I took the father, now I'll take the son."
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One of the first great movies of the new millenium, GANGS OF NEW YORK failed in its initial run to earn back a $97 million dollar cost.

Set in a violent NYC slum called Five Points, the story centers on young Amsterdam Vallon. When Amsterdam was a small child, his father, 'Priest' Vallon, leader of the Dead Rabbits gang, was slain in a vicious street battle by the Native Americans' boss, Bill (the Butcher) Cutting.

The parentless boy is sent by his father's killer to an orphanage some miles away. When finally of age, he returns to the Points to learn that Irish immigrants still clash for control of their run-down neighborhood with the Butcher's forces. Young Vallon has sworn to avenge his father's death, but first he becomes Bill's protégé. His later failed attempt on the Butcher's life leaves Amsterdam alive, scarred and temporarily humiliated. After recovering from his wounds however, Vallon, as leader of the revived Dead Rabbits, challenges Bill and his minions to a formal rowdy-dow.

Meanwhile, widespread riots and the lynching of innocent blacks occur when necessities of the Civil War impose America's first conscription act on those too poor to pay $300 for a military service waiver. The Army is called in and chaos reigns, even as Bill's Natives and Amsterdam's Irish meet in a grand street war to determine the future of their horrid tenement neighborhood.

With an attention to detail that few motion pictures have every approached, director Martin Scorsese's superb modern masterpiece is equally brilliant in every other respect.

Parenthetical number preceding title is a 1 to 10 imdb viewer poll rating.

(7.4) Gangs of New York (USA/Italy-2002) - Leonardo DiCaprio/Daniel Day-Lewis/Cameron Diaz/Jim Broadbent/John C. Reilly/Henry Thomas/Liam Neeson/Brendan Gleeson/David Hemmings (uncredited: Martin Scorsese)
2 people found this helpful
Wing J. FlanaganReviewed in the United States on February 14, 2004
3.0 out of 5 stars
Burdened by its own weight....
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Some directors thrive on big budgets and big canvases. One such director was David Lean, whose most distinguished works were also his largest. His vision needed the money, the locations, the numerous extras. Others, like Martin Scorsese and the Coen brothers, seem to perform better on a lower budget. Otherwise, they just can't seem to resist the urge to indulge themselves a little too much. Such was the case with the Coens' Hudsucker Proxy, and so is the case with Scorsese's Gangs of New York.
I bought this very well-produced DVD blindly, not having seen the film, first. I don't regret the purchase; Scorsese has made some of the best American films of the past 30 years, and his commentary track alone is worth the price. I only wish he had lent his voice to Taxi Driver or Raging Bull or GoodFellas, instead. These films were smaller, more focused, and just plain better. Slight production values in these films led to tight, tough, clean stories that reached as deep psychologically as technically. Scorsese's flamboyant camera style blended smoothly with gripping, dramatic stories and memorable characters, fusing a sculpted whole.
Gangs of New York, by contrast, is undernourished at heart. For all of his technique, Scorsese cannot disguise the humdrum revenge story and lifeless "romance" at its center. It's a shame, since the efforts of many very talented people - not least Scorsese himself - seem wasted a good deal of the time.
But not always. There are individual sequences in Gangs of New York that almost justify the colossal effort and expense of bringing it to the screen. Daniel Day-Lewis holds the screen magnificently as Bill the Butcher in every scene he's in. The biggest mistake of the film is not making him the main character. His ascent to power, flirtations with the politics of Tammany Hall and Boss Tweed, and eventual death at the hands of a young man looking for revenge - THESE are the elements that would have made a great film, were they not frustratingly pushed into the background by the tedious, lackluster character of Amsterdam Vallon. Leonardo DiCaprio is an interesting actor, but his character as written is just not compelling enough to carry the sheer weight of this film. Perhaps he was seen by the studio (or Scorsese himself) as more "bankable". Perhaps the heroic/romantic aspects of his character were deemed "safer". But if there is one lesson big studios seem to insist on learning over and over again, it's that nothing fails quite as spectacularly as "tried and true". Gangs of New York, like The Godfather, is a film that cries out for a compelling villain as its hero. In Day-Lewis' character, it could have had one. It's a shame.
For students of history, though, this DVD is must. Though fictional, the film's tepid story is nonetheless based on historical fact. The extra material provides a wealth of data to support this, which is invaluable to anyone wishing to disabuse themselves or others of silly romantic notions about our country's roots. Most civilized societies are founded on a bedrock of violence and conquest. The United States is no exception. Most American conservatives would take exception to that statement, but it is demonstrably true. It requires no less than an act of willful self-delusion to think otherwise.
The truth, that at least part of our history is marked by savage struggles and bloody turf wars, is a hard pill to swallow, but one that we should endeavor to, nonetheless. That is the real value of this DVD, and of this film. As an entertaining movie, it is merely so-so. As a history lesson, it deserves your attention.
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