• R, 2 hr. 46 min.
  • Drama, Classics
  • Directed By:    Martin Scorsese
  • In Theaters:    Dec 20, 2002 Wide
  • On DVD:    Jul 1, 2003
  • Miramax Films

Gangs of New York Reviews


Time Out
Top Critic
February 9, 2006

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

Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
Top Critic
January 16, 2003

The result reverberates on the screen with a deadly force and fury more intense than anything Mr. Scorsese has yet achieved on the meanest and most beloved streets he could imagine or recall.

Peter Rainer
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic
January 16, 2003

What we're left with has the patness of a history lesson about our roots and the melting pot and what it means to be an American.

David Ansen
Newsweek
Top Critic
January 14, 2003

You have to honor its mad ambition. But sadly, it feels like a dream too long deferred.

Richard Corliss
TIME Magazine
Top Critic
January 13, 2003

Scorsese's congested, conflicted, entrancing achievement.

Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
Top Critic
January 9, 2003

A triumph of pure craft and passionate heart.

| Original Score: 4/4
David Edelstein
Slate
Top Critic
December 27, 2002

It's a magnificent achievement -- holes, tatters, crudities, screw-ups, and all.

James Berardinelli
ReelViews
Top Critic
December 24, 2002

Despite some reservations, however, the movie never lost my interest, and I consider it to be worth a trip to a theater to see.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
Top Critic
December 23, 2002

Gangs can be riveting, but for all its violence, it fails to land a knockout blow.

| Original Score: B
Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader
Top Critic
December 23, 2002

For almost the first two-thirds of Martin Scorsese's 168-minute Gangs of New York, I was entranced.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Michael O'Sullivan
Washington Post
Top Critic
December 20, 2002

Darkly operatic and brilliantly realized.

Stephen Hunter
Washington Post
Top Critic
December 20, 2002

It's as if [Scorsese] preferred to concentrate on the production ... rather than on the dramatic issues and, oh yeah, taking up the rear, the human beings who live them.

Mike Clark
USA Today
Top Critic
December 20, 2002

For all its lack of breathing room ... it realistically puts you into the Civil War North as much as Gone With the Wind does with the romantically idealized South.

Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Geoff Pevere
Toronto Star
Top Critic
December 20, 2002

A work of battered brilliance.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
Top Critic
December 20, 2002

Bill the Butcher is a coiled monster with a guttural voice and a sharply thrown knife; Day-Lewis brings him to glittery, intense life.

Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic
December 20, 2002

I doubt I'll ever be able to look at a smirking fellow in old daguerreotype, with rolled-up sleeves and a mustache, and not think of Daniel Day-Lewis and all that vitality lost to time.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
Top Critic
December 20, 2002

The world needs more filmmakers with passionate enthusiasms like Martin Scorsese. But it doesn't need Gangs of New York.

John Anderson
Newsday
Top Critic
December 20, 2002

Gangs, for all its bloodletting, is the aberrant case of a movie that needed more violence to make its moral point.

Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Jonathan Foreman
New York Post
Top Critic
December 20, 2002

It vividly and energetically evokes a fascinating time and place that has never before been the subject of film, and presents a powerful if imperfectly coherent vision of urban politics at their most primal.

| Original Score: 3/4
Eric Harrison
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic
December 20, 2002

As it is, the film is always watchable, occasionally riveting, but ultimately a disappointment.

Full Review | Original Score: B+
Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
Top Critic
December 20, 2002

The spasmodic spectacle fails to develop any narrative or visceral momentum -- it has no cumulative effect.

Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic
December 20, 2002

A muddle splashed with bloody beauty as vivid as any Scorsese has ever given us.

Full Review | Original Score: A-
Susan Stark
Detroit News
Top Critic
December 20, 2002

A historical epic with the courage of its convictions about both scope and detail.

| Original Score: 3/4
Steven Rosen
Denver Post
Top Critic
December 20, 2002

Day-Lewis keeps you awake whenever the story loses steam during the film's 2 hours and 48 minutes.

Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic
December 20, 2002

All of this is a triumph for Scorsese, and yet I do not think this film is in the first rank of his masterpieces. It is very good but not great.

Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
Top Critic
December 20, 2002

Like many operas, this is long, overwrought, sprawling, and more than frequently brilliant. It also hits just enough discordant notes to keep it from greatness.

Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Eleanor Ringel Gillespie
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic
December 20, 2002

A fever-sprawl of a movie, a melting-pot panorama, brought to full boil.

Full Review | Original Score: A-
Bill Muller
Arizona Republic
Top Critic
December 20, 2002

fatally overlong, filled with haphazard history lessons and half-drawn conclusions, never jelling into a cohesive film or possessing the energy to move its great bulk forward.

A.O. Scott
New York Times
Top Critic
December 19, 2002

This is historical filmmaking without the balm of right-thinking ideology, either liberal or conservative. Mr. Scorsese's bravery and integrity in advancing this vision can hardly be underestimated.

Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic
December 19, 2002

The streets, shot by cinematographer Michael Ballhaus, may be as authentic as they are mean, but it is nearly impossible to care about what happens on them.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic
December 19, 2002

Day-Lewis' larger-than-life Bill is one of the great characters of movies.

Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Philip Wuntch
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic
December 19, 2002

The story's scope and pageantry are mesmerizing, and Mr. Day-Lewis roars with leonine power.

Full Review | Original Score: A-
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic
December 19, 2002

An elaborately worked-over opus that's as tarted-up and artificial as Scorsese's '70s classic Mean Streets was gritty and real.

| Original Score: 2/4
Jay Boyar
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic
December 19, 2002

A sprawling, rhythmless, exploitatively violent folly, studded with shallow characters.

| Original Score: 2/5
Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic
December 19, 2002

Missteps aside, this is moviemaking of real ambition.

| Original Score: 3/5
Rex Reed
New York Observer
Top Critic
December 19, 2002

Not bad enough to dismiss but too dense and boring to praise, let's just call Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York the year's longest and most expensive cinematic disappointment.

| Original Score: 2/4
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
Top Critic
December 19, 2002

At its best, the movie gives you a taste of the epic Scorsese intended, an epic that, sadly, will forever remain in the filmmaker's imagination.

Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Glenn Lovell
San Jose Mercury News
Top Critic
December 19, 2002

A misfire of monstrous proportions, the worst large-scale epic since Michael Cimino's Heaven's Gate.

Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
Paul Clinton (CNN.com)
CNN.com
Top Critic
December 19, 2002

Scorsese is at the peak of his powers.

Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic
December 19, 2002

A magnificent throwback to an almost vanished era of epic filmmaking by great filmmakers in thrall to their own passions, rather than to the studio bookkeepers.

Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
John Powers
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic
December 19, 2002

What ultimately gives Gangs of New York its power is less its storytelling than its grand, bracingly radical vision of American history.

J. Hoberman
Village Voice
Top Critic
December 17, 2002

A lavish folly that suffers from an odd downscale effect.

Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic
December 16, 2002

The brilliant Martin Scorsese has created a phenomenal work that plunges us deep into Lower Manhattan in the 1860s.

Todd McCarthy
Variety
Top Critic
December 6, 2002

A richly impressive and densely realized work that bracingly opens the eye and mind to untaught aspects of American history.

Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic
December 5, 2002

Whether or not a longer version would have given the film more texture and dimension, this one presents a blinkered vision of American history.