Gangs of New York


Gangs of New York

Critics Consensus

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



Total Count: 209
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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, Rovi

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Leonardo DiCaprio
as Amsterdam Vallon
Daniel Day-Lewis
as William Cutting ("Bill the Butcher")
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
Gerry Robert Byrne
as Draft Official
Liam Carney
as Bill The Butcher's Gang Member #1
Lucy Davenport
as Miss Schermerhorn
Ilaria D'Elia
as Jenny's Girl #3
Gary McCormack
as Bill The Butcher's Gang Member #2
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News & Interviews for Gangs of New York

Critic Reviews for Gangs of New York

All Critics (209) | Top Critics (49)

  • The visuals are strong, while the central narrative is weak (a disastrous combination for a long movie). Worst of all, Gangs of New York achieves far too little while trying much too hard.

    Jan 2, 2018 | Full Review…
  • It's never less than compelling, driven by an overwhelming, larger than life performance from Day-Lewis and by Scorsese's grandiose historical imagination.

    Feb 9, 2006 | Full Review…
    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • n the end, you're left feeling that Scorsese has put on a great show. As to what he means by it, I doubt he knows.

    Mar 7, 2003 | Full Review…
  • Wonderful spectacle, terrific acting and toweringly great film-making.

    Jan 20, 2003 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Jan 16, 2003 | Full Review…

    Andrew Sarris

    Top Critic
  • 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.

    Jan 16, 2003

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