Gangs of New York - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Gangs of New York Reviews

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Super Reviewer
July 14, 2007
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.
Super Reviewer
March 30, 2013
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.
Super Reviewer
½ January 22, 2012
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.
Super Reviewer
½ October 28, 2011
A great depiction of 1800's New York. Daniel Day Lewis is perfect.
Super Reviewer
May 7, 2011
First I saw the first half. And I was a little dissapointed. There was good directing. And good acting. And you could feel the quality of the movie. But somehow it didn't get the job done. It didn't speak to me. Then I watched the second half a couple of days later. And that part was definitely better. It had the feeling that the first part should've had based on what it looked like. So it was a good movie. I would recommend it.
Super Reviewer
½ September 18, 2007
Generic revenge/idiotic love story , and the beginning of Scorcese becoming a studio pet. Also, someone tell Dicaprio that growing a moustache is not acting. Just in the same way screaming from the top of his lunges in The Departed is not acting either. Cameron Diaz doesn't help things either with her atrocious acting.

Go watch some Shaw Bros flick if you want more or less the same story (kid avenging his father's dead from evil cartoon guy, clash of different groups, historical setting, etc) but better told, and with cooler fight sequences.
Super Reviewer
½ January 18, 2011
Bill: You see this knife? I'm gonna teach you to speak English with this fucking knife! 

"America Was Born In The Streets."

Gangs of New York is a terrific movie because of its lead actors, Daniel Day-Lewis and Leonardo DiCaprio and because of the one and only Martin Scorsese. No one makes a movie centered around crime and violence as beautifully as Scorsese. This may not be his best or even close to his best, but that doesn't take away from just how good it is. 

Daniel Day-Lewis gives, surprise, surprise; a masterful performance as Bill The Butcher. DiCaprio gave his best performance up to that point which he has exceeded now. DiCaprio plays Amsterdam Vallon, son of "Priest" Vallon, who was at war with Bill The Butcher when Amsterdam was a young boy. He watched his father die at the hands of Bill and comes back years later to seek some revenge. A great supporting cast helps fill a nearly 3 hour movie with not one boring scene. John C. Reilly, Liam Neeson, Cameron Diaz and Brendan Gleeson all give solid supporting performances.

Everything is here that you'd expect in a Scorsese film. The attention to every little detail. As a period piece, it works. As a crime film, it works. It's exactly what everyone expects when they sit down to watch a Scorsese film. The last half hour may turn into a violent mess, but if anyone can film a successful mess; it's Martin Scorsese. 
Super Reviewer
½ December 7, 2010
Excellent! Daniel Day Lewis stands out the most in the film. He gives a stunning performance as the famous, Bill The Butcher. He completely deserved his Oscar nomination for Best Actor. The cinematography is another thing that stood out to me...everything from the sets, all the way to the costumes and props were absolutely perfect.
another great one from director, Martin Scorsese.

Nominated for an incredible 10 Academy Award nominations...including nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor, I cannot recommend this film enough!
Super Reviewer
½ September 14, 2009
the first two minutes of the movie, Leo speaks in a plain american, then almost southern accent. then for the next 2 plus hours he speaks in a decent irish accent before closing the film with a short monologue done in a british accent. Daniel Day-Lewis is british yet he is able to put on a New York accent for almost 3 hours without flinching. that is why i love him. i think this movie and every other film Leo has done is proof that directors should stop making him try to do accents. Actually, he did a nice Bostonian in the Departed. but that doesn't excuse the rest. Scorsese should just be able to say fuck this, the character is from Massachusetts, he already has the pressure of acting better than any other actor under 40 so just let him fucking roll with it. and finally, Cameron Diaz. i don't know if she was doing an accent or not. because for the few times she was on screen, i covered my ears and closed my eyes and just let the Departed play in my head.
Super Reviewer
April 20, 2011
Martin Scorceses' 'Gangs of New York' is a film to behold, because it never holds back and it blossoms into a story worth telling. Although plagued by problems like pacing issues and mediocre editing, everything else in this movie couldn't be more fascinating. With beautiful cinematography and a command performance from Day-Lewis, Scorcese crafts a picture unlike anything you've ever seen before. The script is also very tight, giving Day-Lewis' role all the juicy lines that you'll want to quote over and over. He plays the role with particular menace that cannot be missed. If your a fan of film or Scorcese, its a must see. It may get some wrong, but what it gets right, makes it brilliant.
shahmeer h.
Super Reviewer
½ June 19, 2011
Gangs of New York is a pre Civil War film based in, of course, New York. Now, looking at the title of this film, most would think this was a present day gang film in New York with mafias and what not. But it's nothing like that. These gangs are the type of gangs which scrimmaged for food in the city and rely on others to get what they need to survive in the perilous city. The story revolves around a man named Amsterdam, whose father was part of a gang called the Dead Rabbits. His father was killed by a gang leader named William Cutting, otherwise known as "Bill the Butcher", who now owns and runs New York. It has been 16 years since Amsterdam's death, and sure enough, Bill still runs the town. The rest follows Amsterdam's life in New York, and his attempts to avenge his father.... Gangs of New York was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, winning none. But to many it was no surprise, for it was extremely close for making the cut for the Razzie's. But I could accept the fact that the film was nominated for Best Picture, for it truly deserved that kind of recognition. The acting within Gangs of New York was more than ordinary. A cast you wouldn't expect to see in a film like this (Leonardo DiCaprio, Daniel Day-Lewis, Cameron Diaz) all played their very best parts. Leonardo did his average acting, but a little more better than usual. I loved Diaz, for I've never seen her in such a dramatic historic film before, and it was entertaining to see how she coped with it. Then Daniel Day-Lewis also did an exciting performance, although I believe he should've been nominated and won Best-Supporting Actor, instead of being nominated for Best Lead Actor. But the cast I liked best were the supporting actors crew. Meaning, the small cameo or occasional performances by actors, was the best part of all the acting. They added emotional or suspenseful impact to the film, and always made it better. Then, I enjoyed the cinematography. It was also nominated for an Oscar, and it was well nominated. I enjoyed some of the screen shots and single shots. Then I enjoyed the Direction. Of course, who couldn't like Martin Scorsese? He never seems to disappoint the audience, with films ranging from the Godfellas to The Departed, he is one true audience pleaser. But then, here comes the cons of the film. One thing was the opening sequence. It was a very pathetic battle scene, made in the worst way possible. It seemed fake on many levels, and thank god the film got better as it went on. Then the other dissapointing asspect was that it's running lenght was very lengthy, and could've been shortened some. Then the last part was that it was historically inaccurate. Otherwise, it was great. The best part of the film though was the fact that two great problems in New York was going on at the same time. One with the gangs, and another with the populace and the government. It was a great idea to base the story on. And as I end this review, I have to say one thing; Scorsese might be the oldest director out there, but I don't think he or his films will ever die.
Super Reviewer
½ March 1, 2011
Triumphant film that exceeded my expectations. Scorsese is probably my favorite director, and he keeps that title. The story isn't really a plot, more of a history lesson for us to love. The acting is a great piece of work, they deserved Oscar noms. The music was beautifully scored, and it makes the tension even better. The action was realistic and well done. The art direction was very well done, I really liked it. If I had any problem, its that they made Cameran Diaz seem really attractive when she was just all right. But its one of my favorite Scorsese's best work.
Super Reviewer
½ April 24, 2011
I saw this on cinematic release and didn't like it to be honest but since then I have read up on the history behind the film and was surprised to find out its actually very accurate. This got me interested again in the film so I decided to watch it again.

The first thing that hits you about this semi epic is the fact it looks amazingly realistic from the sets to the costumes in every scene and every aspect. All the characters look greasy, seedy and unwashed whilst carrying the perfect sense of 18century New York across to a tea with their remarkably good accents, this of course helps with a good choice of cast. Day-Lewis of course is the man in this film with his 'Dick Dastardly' whiplash moustache, gleaming glass eye, coarse voice and tall slim body all dressed in close fit waistcoat, top hat and full length coat is strangely 'Burton-esq' and intimidating. The constant use of his knifes and meat cleavers in the film is quite un-nerving I must admit hehe the scene on stage with Diaz and his knife throwing act is quite a tense moment that really shows his savage nature at humour. Day-Lewis maybe the best actor of our age for me and this performance really does show his dedicated nature to bringing out a character from simple walking motion to the quite eerie expressions of his face whilst trying to tame or perhaps contort his facial hair.
His impressive performance is also accompanied by Gleeson, Neeson, Broadbent and surprisingly Diaz (for once) yet the inclusion of Scorsese favourite DiCaprio for me was a bad choice as despite being a quite decent actor now at the time of this film he simply wasn't good enough in my opinion and didn't look the part either, my opinion.

The plot is intriguing set against the 18century New York draft riots, mass immigration problems from the Irish mainly and the ongoing scuffles between many factions for the control of The Five Points area. As said the story is accurate with little use of artistic license which is highly notable and again surprising, many names of people and gangs are real as is the depiction of racism, murder of blacks during the riots and bloody warfare between the gangs, some of this on my first viewing I thought may have been fantasized.
The film isn't a true flowing epic though in all honesty, its very good and enjoyable but I think the look and feel of the film is the true winner here, you can almost smell the rot, damp and dank haha The plot does get rushed towards the end I feel and the finale isn't a good one, a slight anticlimax and one inaccurate aspect of the film, the ending of the film lets it down.

Memorable scene, Cutting explains to Happy Jack Mulraney how he wants the killer of a poor innocent little rabbit caught :) some of the best facial expressions I've seen since De Niro :)
Super Reviewer
½ November 22, 2010
Typically, Scorsese's got style to burn, but with Gangs Of New York control seems to be alluding him just slightly. The film is made great, however, by Daniel Day-Lewis's earth shaking portrayal of Bill The Butcher and the films final moments when we learn its true intentions: to pay tribute to the forgotten millions who helped forge a city, and a nation.
Super Reviewer
October 21, 2010
First of all, I liked Cameron Diaz. What?! I don't ever like her. Most withstanding actors will have an exception in their career. This was hers.
So, Scorsese. Well after watching several of his earlier films I must say that the filming and editing were a lot... sexier? Seemed a lot slicker especially during the battle scenes. Not to say I disliked it, just seemed unScorsese.
Also Leo DiCaprio and Daniel Day-Lewis need high mentioning.
I once heard at a film workshop in a presentation of the local Talent Manager for There Will Be Blood that Daniel Day-Lewis is a method actor and never dropped his act once while filming. I can't imagine the trial that must have been for him in this. And Leo. Leo has come such a long, long way from Jack Dawson don't you think? To say that he is astounding is just obvious.
On other notes: FANTASTIC costumes and set. Awesome violence and action. Fabulous. Totally worth the near to 3 hours.
Super Reviewer
½ September 22, 2010
Another 3-hour approaching Scorcese film. Great cast and interesting subject to base a movie on. The length of the movie hurts it's fluidity Most of Scorcese's movies are long yet flow pretty well, but this movie dragged in many spots. It should have been a 2 hour movie, I lost interest in many parts. This probably is the rawest, bloodiest Scorcese film I have ever seen. Daniel Day Lewis was butchering people left and right, turning on that Mohican engine, he should have reprised that role in this movie, would have made it a 4 star movie. Had a really strong conclusion with a killa U2 song made for the movie, which earned the movie half a star.
Super Reviewer
September 18, 2010
daniel day lewis alongside with leonardo dicaprio completely carry this entire movie. it has a lot of flaws but it was extremely entertaining
Super Reviewer
½ June 9, 2006
Another take on the American Dream. This is some really good stuff. It's a little messy and flawed, but it's so damn entertaining and well done that it's hard to mark it down too much. This is the film that some people couldn't take seriously because DICaprio hadn't proven himself to be a credible tough guy yet, but he gotten taken seriouslt after this movie, that's for sure.

As good as he is though, this is Day-Lewis' show through and through. He pretty much owns this movie like it's no one's business.
Super Reviewer
September 8, 2007
An at times compelling look on the violence and chaos that took place in the streets of New York during the Civil War period. Day-Lewis is once again phenomenal, Leo doesn't quite capture the role of a cut-throat, but he's okay. The story's end seems a bit muddled when it could've been effective, but overall, if you like epic, bloody stories, this may be your cup of tea.
Super Reviewer
½ March 3, 2008
"If only I had the guns, Mr. Tweed, I'd shoot each and every one of them before they set foot on American soil."

The last act of Gangs of New York made the entire movie worthwhile, for me. It also was part of the reason why the film occasionally felt so disjointed.

On one hand, Gangs of New York tackled such heady issues as immigration, the draft, class conflict, racism, and discrimination of all kinds. It's a pretty brutal and realistic movie, in that regard. On the other hand, it's the story of a young Irish American who seeks revenge for the murder of his father. I found the latter far less interesting than the former.

These two parts of the story are supposed to parallel each other, and I can see the ways that Scorsese tried to connect them, but it's only towards the end where this approach actually works. The rest of the time, it's fairly awkward.

I lay a lot of the fault for this in the casting of Leonardo DiCaprio and Cameron Diaz. I have no problems with either of these actors (and have enjoyed them both in other movies), but they just didn't "fit" here. And when they were surrounded by so many actors who were perfect for the location and time period, they stuck out like a sore thumb. It doesn't help that the two characters were basically thrown together, with little story basis for why they should be so devoted to one another.

Despite what I considered to be its considerable flaws, I still thought that Gangs of New York was a good film. Seeing an exaggerated portrayal of some of the actual history of early New York and immigration to the city was cool, and most of the latter half was brilliant. Fans of Scorsese are in for a (at times muddled) treat.
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