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Gangs of New York
Academy Award® Nominee
With the Civil War underway, the country was torn apart and on the brink of chaos. For the lower-class inhabitants of New York City, a war was also raging closer to home. Leonardo DiCaprio plays a...  View more >

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Cameron Diaz, Daniel Day-Lewis...  View more >

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Reviews Summary

Please Note: Reader Reviews are submitted by the readers of The BigScreen Cinema Guide and represent their own personal opinions regarding this movie, and do not represent the views of The BigScreen Cinema Guide, or any of its associated entities.

Dec 21, 2002
leanardo Decapitated"s acting .....not worth the price of admission
story...................not worth the price of the popcorn
effects......................not worth a small drink
movie over...........PRICELESS

this is a bad one. I go to be entertained, this was 15 minutes of action surrounded by 2 hours of bad acting and bordom.
Dec 29, 2002
This is a fascinating movie about New York in the 1880's when the Irish immigrants first came to New York.

I really was totaly engrossed in the movie from the beginning to end. This is history about the Tammany Tweed era.........

I did not know how awful the Irish people were treated in those days but do now.
The villian was soooooooo evil.......I can't remember his name but I bet he gets a award for his part.......

Leonardo DiCaprio was terrific. This is the best I've seen him act since the Titanic........

Cameron Dias.......was wonderfully enduring.......

Almost 3 hours long but didn't seem that long.

It didn't get the credit due because The Lord of the Rings is also playing..........

Beware of the fighting parts for children........
Jan 7, 2003
Entertaining and educational. It is slow at times but worth seeing!
Jan 7, 2003
Director Martin Scorsese and screenwriter Jay Cocks revived the violence, hatred, and lawlessness that governed New York City from the 1840s through the bloody Draft Riots of 1863 in the epic film Gangs of New York. New York natives despised the poor immigrants that arrived daily by the shipload. Continuous bloodshed resulted from intense racial and religious tensions. Prostitutes and pickpockets roamed the city looking for victims. Hangings in the square brought together the community and elicited loud cheers of approval. America was born in the streets, and the New York streets were covered in blood and home to the trampling feet of gangs fighting for territory, dignity, and respect in the developing city.

Scorsese wasted no time placing audience members in the time, place, and ambience of this relatively unknown tumultuous era of United States history. Father Vallon (Liam Neeson) carries his cross and marches to a somber beat through the torch-lit catacombs collecting men and women of the Dead Rabbits gang for battle. A entourage of Irish-Catholics including Happy Jack (John C. Reilly), Hellcat Maggie (Cara Seymour), and Monk (Brendan Gleeson) join the priest before he kicks open the wooden door and steps into the wintry, desolate streets of New York's Five Points. Young boys including Vallon's son, a present-day Catholic curiosity, accompany the gang but move to the periphery as members of the Bowery Boys lead by Bill the Butcher (Daniel Day-Lewis) emerge from their own dilapidated building. The two leaders exchange battle cries as the people raise their knives and clubs, and the first of many violent sequences ensues. The pure white snow is defiled with the warm blood of battered members from both gangs before the ensanguined crowd retreats after another day of immense loss.

Nearly twenty years pass before the Gangs of New York camera returns to Five Points, and much in the community has changed though violence and corruption still reign. Amsterdam Vallon (Leonardo DiCaprio), the priest's son, returns with the camera after spending his childhood and adolescence in an upstate Catholic orphanage. The Dead Rabbits are nothing but a memory and no person dares to mention the old gang name. Members of the fractured gang now offer their loyalties, time, and resources to rival gang leader Bill the Butcher. Religion died with the priest along with the value and honor attached to both life and death. Amsterdam steps off the ship with a vengeful heart, but he gradually assumes the role of Bill the Butcher's adopted son and begins to viscerally understand the Dead Rabbits betrayers.

The turbulent relationship between Bill the Butcher and Amsterdam dominates the story from opening to closing credits, but other characters both add and subtract from the richness of this wonderfully shot film. Henry Thomas delivers the second most admirable performance as Amsterdam's sidekick Johnny Sirocco. Sirocco recognizes Amsterdam soon after he returns to New York, and out of respect and admiration he offers to help him survive in the city. Amsterdam commits another kind of betrayal and alienates Sirocco, who then makes a choice between allegiances and consequently engenders another major conflict. The character is extremely unlearned and his life is dictated by emotions, which makes him prone to irrational behavior and regrets. Thomas is endearing from his first appearance, and he demonstrates great versatility in a small but important role.

Cameron Diaz slips in and out of her Irish accent, does nothing to improve her poorly-written character, and disturbs the otherwise well-devised cast chemistry as coquettish Jenny Everdeane while DiCaprio and Gleeson deliver particularly commendable performances, but Day-Lewis creates a villain that makes the entire film unforgettable. Bill the Butcher thrives on putting blood on his blade and uses pigs to practice his technique for slaying human beings. He never flinches at the slaughter, and he almost never feels remorse walking away from his slaughtered victim whether it be beast or man. He personifies all evils associated with the American Dream such as materialism and the insatiable desire for power. Bill the Butcher is a loathsome character, but Day-Lewis is too good to be hated and wins over the audience just as he wins over Amsterdam with his dynamic personality. He is never kind and rarely selfless, but he recognizes the nobility of integrity and honors this trait even though it is a quality he knows he will never himself achieve. This honorable recognition does not nullify his dishonorable disposition, but it gives the character a tremendous amount of depth that Day-Lewis uses to deliver one of the most noteworthy performances of 2002.

Gangs of New York is not historically accurate, but the film still teaches audience members about obscure historical events while it entertains for its nearly three hour duration. The cinematography is beautiful, Scorsese skillfully incorporates violent scenes into the picture but does not include any superfluous violence and allows other important themes to surface alongside this dominating aspect of nineteenth century New York life, DiCaprio's return to the screen after a lengthy absence is impressive and encouraging, and Day-Lewis secures Bill the Butcher's name in American history. Gangs of New York contains lackluster moments, but overall it is an exuberant epic well worth the price of a movie theater ticket.
Jan 14, 2003
"Gangs of New York" is a compelling drama directed by Martin Scorsese, which looks at the mean streets of New York City in the year 1862. The city's residents are divided almong gangs with their own laws in which to grovern. The film center on a man name Amesterdam (Leonardo DiCaprio) who's father was killed by New York Daniel Day-Lewis), whose is the leaders of those who opposed foreigners, especially the Irish. Playing DiCaprio's love intrest is Cameron Diaz in one of her best performance in years.

The film has captured the New York in the 1860's. "Gangs of New York" has a powerful connection btween New York City of 1862 and New York City of today. People who studied the history of New York, will get a kick out of this film.
Feb 24, 2003
Apr 16, 2003
Jul 6, 2003
Sep 23, 2003
After spending nearly 3 hours watching this film, I'm not sure why it garnered so many award nominations.

Daniel Day-Lewis was a stand-out, his performance is over the top in Pacino and De Niro proportions, dominating the film at every turn. This is a good thing for the film, since the supporting cast isn't able to carry the film with the same ease.

Don't miss the excellent Discovery Channel documentary provided on the DVD, it provides a backstory to the movie and is actually more interesting than the movie itself.

This film is worth renting for the cinematography alone. Its recreation of mid-1800's New York is very interesting and engaging. It's unfortunate that the movie as a whole doesn't hold up to the imagery it delivers.
Jul 19, 2012

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