Gangs of New York (2002) - Rotten Tomatoes

Gangs of New York (2002)

Gangs of New York (2002)

Gangs of New York



Critic Consensus: Though flawed, the sprawling, messy Gangs of New York is redeemed by impressive production design and Day-Lewis's electrifying performance.

Gangs of New York Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

The violent rise of gangland power in New York City at a time of massive political corruption and the city's evolution into a cultural melting pot set the stage for this lavish historical epic, which director Martin Scorsese finally brought to the screen almost 30 years after he first began to plan the project. In 1846, as waves of Irish immigrants poured into the New York neighborhood of Five Points, a number of citizens of British and Dutch heritage who were born in the United States began making an open display of their resentment toward the new arrivals. William Cutting (Daniel Day-Lewis), better known as "Bill the Butcher" for his deadly skill with a knife, bands his fellow "Native Americans" into a gang to take on the Irish immigrants; the immigrants in turn form a gang of their own, "The Dead Rabbits," organized by Priest Vallon (Liam Neeson). After an especially bloody clash between the Natives and the Rabbits leaves Vallon dead, his son goes missing; the boy ends up in a brutal reform school before returning to the Five Points in 1862 as Amsterdam (Leonardo DiCaprio). Now a strapping adult who has learned how to fight, Amsterdam has come to seek vengeance against Bill the Butcher, whose underworld control of the Five Points through violence and intimidation dovetails with the open corruption of New York politician "Boss" Tweed (Jim Broadbent). Amsterdam gradually penetrates Bill the Butcher's inner circle, and he soon becomes his trusted assistant. Amsterdam also finds himself falling for Jenny Everdeane (Cameron Diaz), a beautiful but street-smart thief who was once involved with Bill. Amsterdam is learning a great deal from Bill, but before he can turn the tables on the man who killed his father, Amsterdam's true identity is exposed, even though he has concealed it from nearly everyone, including Jenny. Gangs Of New York was the first film in two years from actor Leonardo DiCaprio; ironically, it was at one time scheduled to open on the same day as Catch Me if You Can, the Steven Spielberg project that DiCaprio began filming immediately after Gangs wrapped. ~ Mark Deming, Rovimore
Rating: R (for intense strong violence, sexuality/nudity and language)
Genre: Drama, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Ken Lonergan, Jay Cocks, Steven Zaillian, Kenneth Lonergan
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jul 1, 2003
Box Office: $77.6M
Miramax Films - Official Site


Leonardo DiCaprio
as Amsterdam Vallon
Daniel Day-Lewis
as William Cutting ("Bi...
Cameron Diaz
as Jenny Everdeane
Jim Broadbent
as William "Boss" Tweed
Liam Neeson
as "Priest" Vallon
John C. Reilly
as Happy Jack Mulraney
Henry Thomas
as Johnny Sirocco
Brendan Gleeson
as Walter "Monk" McGinn
Gary Lewis
as McGloin
Eddie Marsan
as Killoran
Alec McCowen
as Reverend Raleigh
David Hemmings
as Mr. Schermerhorn
Cara Seymour
as Hell-Cat Maggie
Peter-Hugo Daly
as One-Armed Priest
Cian McCormack
as Young Amsterdam
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Gangs of New York

Critic Reviews for Gangs of New York

All Critics (202) | Top Critics (45)

It's never less than compelling, driven by an overwhelming, larger than life performance from Day-Lewis and by Scorsese's grandiose historical imagination.

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Scorsese scores some fine political points along the way and demonstrates the mastery of his craft in every scene, but the underlying theme of brutal revenge at any cost loses its way too early on...

Full Review… | March 2, 2012

Brilliant but devastating. High schoolers and up.

Full Review… | December 24, 2010
Common Sense Media

One of Scorsese's weakest films, a wannabe historical epic that's essentially a formulaic revenge saga; the only reason to see it is Daniel Day-Lewis' compelling performance as Bill the Butcher.

Full Review… | November 23, 2010

[A] flawed masterpiece.

Full Review… | February 3, 2010
Observer [UK]

The whole may not add up to the sum of its parts, but it's difficult to dismiss the brilliance of those parts.

Full Review… | February 18, 2009

Audience Reviews for Gangs of New York

Set in the mid 1800s, during the start of civilisation in New York. There were many gangs established to defend their terrority from new immigrants. When Amsterdam (Leo) was a child, his father the Priest (Liam) was killed by the ruthless butcher (Daniel). He returns to avenge his father's death, by befriending and getting close to the butcher. Cameron isn't her usual glam self but I like that she doesn't always play the typical girlie characters. Very violent and bloody at times. Not for the faint hearted. The first of many masterpieces between Leo and Martin Scorsese.

Candy Rose

Super Reviewer

The film's OK. Daniel-Day Lewis gives a great performance, and it's thrilling at some points. However, it is overlong and melodramatic with awkward, uneven pacing. It can't help but feel like an overdone History Channel special overwhelmed by period piece cliches.

Matthew Samuel Mirliani
Matthew Samuel Mirliani

Super Reviewer


Gangs of New York is a stunning Martin Scorsese epic. This a near perfect film that boasts a powerful cast of actors. Daniel Day-Lewis delivers the strongest of the film. Scorsese crafts another solid film, and this is a near flawless film that has a good blend of drama and action. I was apprehensive about watching this film at first, but I finally gave it a shot after all these years. The film is grand, and epic, filled with great performances. Scorsese directing is immaculate and he creates another memorable film with Gangs of New York. Some people have said the weakest aspect of the film is the casting of Cameron Diaz, though not a great actress, she isn't bad here. In fact, she surprised me a bit. Like I said the best performance of the film belongs to Daniel Day-Lewis. At times his character is kind of ordinary, but then Lewis really lights up and steals the show. The story will keep the viewer interested from beginning to end. Though not as grand as Goodfellas or Casino, Raging Bull or Taxi Driver, Gangs of New York is yet another powerful film from one of cinema's greatest directors. Gangs of New York is a stunning period piece that will definitely appeal to Martin Scorsese fans. This a violent epic set during a time of turmoil during American history, and Martin Scorsese captures that beautifully with this near flawless film.

Alex roy

Super Reviewer

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