Gangs of New York - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Gangs of New York Reviews

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February 1, 2019
The best movie song ever sung: The Hands That Built America!
January 26, 2019
In the slum neighborhood of Five Points, Manhattan in 1846, two gangs have engaged in a final battle (or "challenge") in Paradise Square over "who holds sway over the Five Points"; these two factions involved in this event are the nativist, Protestant Natives led by William "Bill the Butcher" Cutting (Daniel Day-Lewis), and the Irish Catholic group of immigrants, the "Dead Rabbits", led by "Priest" Vallon (Liam Neeson). At the end of this battle, Bill kills Vallon and declares the Dead Rabbits outlawed. Having witnessed this, Vallon's young son hides the knife that killed his father and is taken to an orphanage on Blackwell's Island. Sixteen years later, Vallon's son, using the alias of Amsterdam (Leonardo DiCaprio), returns to the Five Points seeking revenge and retrieves the knife. An old acquaintance, Johnny Sirocco (Henry Thomas), familiarizes him with the local clans of gangs and thieves, all of whom pay tribute to Bill, who controls the neighborhood. Amsterdam is finally introduced to Bill, but keeps his past a secret, seeking to be recruited. He learns that many of his father's former loyalists are now in Bill's employ. Each year, Bill celebrates the anniversary of his victory over the Dead Rabbits; Amsterdam plans to murder him secretly during this celebration...

Rotten Tomatoes critical consensus reads, "Though flawed, the sprawling, messy Gangs of New York is redeemed by impressive production design and Day-Lewis's electrifying performance. Roger Ebert praised the film but believed it fell short of Scorsese's best work, while his At the Movies co-star Richard Roeper called it a "masterpiece" and declared it a leading contender for Best Picture. Paul Clinton of CNN called the film "a grand American epic". In Variety, Todd McCarthy wrote that the film "falls somewhat short of great film status, but is still a richly impressive and densely realized work that bracingly opens the eye and mind to untaught aspects of American history." McCarthy singled out the meticulous attention to historical detail and production design for particular praise. Some critics were disappointed with the film, complaining that it fell well short of the hype surrounding it, that it tried to tackle too many themes without saying anything unique about them, and that the overall story was weak.

You cannot say that the story is not there, because it is truly an intriguing historical piece of story based on what happend in New York in the mid 1800s and the gang warfare, but the cinematic result is not that convincing in my point of view when re-seeing it again. "Gangs of New York" is unfortunately a very mixed and unbalanced film from veteran director Martin Scorsese. The scene structure and setup has this weird slappsticky touch to it which I think is unintentional, but ruins the film for me at least. Maybe partly due to the poor script and poor performances from particularly Leonardo DiCaprio and Cameron Diaz that is very much in focus in the script and they both struggle with the Irish accent as well. I personally think that Daniel Day-Lewis is the only one that gets away with his magnificent and electrifying interpretation of William "Bill the Butcher" Cutting. An Oscar worthy performance, but he never won the Oscar. The rest is a bit miscasted and not fully working in their roles despite names like Jim Broadbent, John C. Reilly, Liam Neeson and Brendan Gleeson in the film. Yet again the script is the problem as characters comes and goes and rememerges. And you donīt really care about any of them or Amsterdamīs wish for revenge. "Gangs of New York" is messy and just an average film, which is a shame as the historical foundation is so interesting.

Trivia: Most of the gangs mentioned by name were real 19th-century New York gangs. Bill "The Butcher" Cutting is based largely on real-life New York gang leader Bill Poole, who also was known as "The Butcher" and had much the same prestige as Daniel Day-Lewis' character.

The original cut of the film ran an hour longer.

When the film was first conceived in 1978, Martin Scorsese planned to cast Dan Aykroyd as Amsterdam Vallon and John Belushi as Bill 'The Butcher' Cutting. The project fell apart after Belushi died. A cast reshuffle had Mel Gibson as Amsterdam Vallon and Willem Dafoe as The Butcher.

Before the battle at the beginning of the film, several gangs introduce themselves. The Dead Rabbits, the Bowery Boys, and the Forty Thieves were real life New York gangs in the Five Points in the 1860s and 1870's. Their appearance, weapons of choice, and behavior are accurate. Many members became politicians later on.

The film was conceived in 1978 and intended to be produced in 1980 or 1981. It was shelved after the box-office failure of Heaven's Gate (1980) made studios wary of expensive, ambitious historical dramas.
January 22, 2019
Volutamente caotico e movimentato sotto ogni punto di vista, questo lungo film soffre dei soliti problemi che colpiscono la filmografia del famoso regista, un grande comparto tecnico sorretto da una componente emotiva che non riesce a garantire la stessa qualita'. Dal punto di vista registico sfiora la perfezione, grandissimi movimenti di camera ed inquadrature intelligenti, pensate e cariche di significato. Non solo valorizzano tutto il comparto produttivo, tra cui scenografie e ricostruzione storica, ma offrono anche un'esperienza visiva piacevole e coinvolgente. Dall'altro lato abbiamo una trama debole e convenzionale, nella quale emergono tutti i peggiori luoghi comuni che ci si aspetterebbero da un film del genere, compresa una storia d'amore forzata ed una vendetta prevedibilissima e deludente. Come risultato abbiamo tre ore di film che annoiano facilmente e che non trascinano lo spettatore in una storia particolarmente memorabile.
½ January 1, 2019
As historically inaccurate as they come (save for possibly Braveheart) this film still shines with excellent performances and an admittedly over dramatized look at an often ignored theme/time in American history.
½ November 16, 2018
It may not be among Scorsese's best work, but thanks to some good writing and a great performance from Daniel Day-Lewis, "Gangs of New York" is still worth a viewing.
September 30, 2018
Despite its flaws, Gangs of New York still remains an intriguing piece of work from Scorsese, majorly helped by Day-Lewis' performance.
September 28, 2018
The only good thing here is the acting of Daniel Day Lewis this guy is awesome.
September 21, 2018
just rewatched it and have to raise the rating from 7.0. It has a few excessively plot-devicey bits, but it also has a lot of solid story telling plus socio-historic relevance. Not crazy about Cameron Diaz but DDL is always a trip. 8.0 out of 10
August 10, 2018
Easily one of the greatest films of all time, and Daniel Day Lewis's performance as Bill the Butcher might be one of the greatest performances ever.
July 2, 2018
Gangs of New York is a 2002 American epic period drama film directed by Martin Scorsese,.
This epic historical film pays close attention to detail but at nearly 3 hours is too long. There are too many themes, many of which are poorly explored, resulting in the film changing direction often and suddenly. I also felt that many of the scenes and sets felt more like I was watching a stage production than a movie.
AAN GGND 1001
½ July 1, 2018
overall an average movie but worth the watch just for daneil day lewis best performance as bill the butcher
½ June 11, 2018
This film is a modern gangster classic, it's a tale of revenge so sweet. Every actor and actress in this display is perfect. Besides fun audience viewing, this movie is an exploration into the culture of America. There are thoughtful themes contradicting sin with rightful justice. Layered above this is a reflection of America's roots, pitting anti-immigration pro-slavery immigrants upon people fresh off of the boat. Scorcese has plenty to say about how politicians have maintained power and all of it rings true today.
June 9, 2018
Day-Lewis and DiCaprio command this film that immerses you in its historical world but not its banal narrative.
May 26, 2018
Ever since Goodfellas, Scorsese has only made gangster movies with the exception Hugo and Shutter Island. And out of every gangster movie he's made, this is the worst, by a lot. Most of the acting is atrocious, I don't thin DiCaprio was ready, and were this to be remade today, I believe he would be much better. But the film wasn't made today and he's terrible. And I cannot even begin to comprehend the gaul it took Scorsese to cast CAMERON DIAZ, the woman isn't even good in 90 minute rom coms and you put her in an almost three hour film with Daniel Day-Lewis. Speaking of Day-Lewis, he's the only part of the film that makes it even remotely watchable as he gives an incredible and chilling performance. Past that, its a bland, anti-climatic film that meanders around for three hours while touching on every cliche theme in the book without saying anything remotely unique about a single one. I wasted 2 hours and 45 minutes of my life on this film, don't make the same mistake.
May 23, 2018
Gangs of New York is definitely sleek and executes its grandiose portrayal of 19th century NY with style. However, the lack of narrative focus over such a long film ultimately loses the viewer.
May 7, 2018
Very good, violent but compelling story of New York immigrants in 1846.
April 26, 2018
A hopeless mess of a movie with a total letdown of an ending. I would say Scorsese should stick to Italian gangsters but The Departed was about the Irish and it was terrific. Maybe the guy was having an off-year here.
½ April 19, 2018
too long, although day-lewis' performance is good and the setting is unique. the plot isn't the most complex and it's not as epic or smart as it could have been, but it's entertaining and one of the best dramas of the year. fascinating film overall.
April 7, 2018
Great film with accurate historical context.
April 4, 2018
Interesting and provocative. Totally worthwhile.
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