Gangs of New York [Blu-ray]
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Product Description

Studio: Buena Vista Home Video Release Date: 07/01/2008 Run time: 167 minutes Rating: R

Gangs of New York may achieve greatness with the passage of time. Mixed reviews were inevitable for a production this grand (and this troubled behind the scenes), but it's as distinguished as any of director Martin Scorsese's more celebrated New York stories. From its astonishing 1846 prologue to the city's infernal draft riots of 1863, the film aspires to erase the decorum of textbooks and chronicle 19th-century New York as a cauldron of street warfare. The hostility is embodied in a tale of primal vengeance between Irish American son Amsterdam Vallon (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his father's ruthless killer and "Nativist" gang leader Bill "the Butcher" Cutting (Daniel Day-Lewis, brutally inspired), so named for his lethal talent with knives. Vallon's vengeance is only marginally compelling; DiCaprio is arguably miscast, and Cameron Diaz (as Vallon's pickpocket lover) is adrift in a film with little use for women. Despite these weaknesses, Scorsese's mastery blossoms in his expert melding of personal and political trajectories; this is American history written in blood, unflinching, authentic, and utterly spectacular. --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews:

  • Draw your friends close, your enemies closer
    This was an excellent movie about immigrants and how they were treated when they settled in America. It was just about one place in the US which was New York. Ironically, the statue of Liberty is there which reads:

    "Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

    What the movie was trying to say is that if the immigrants didn't benefit or agree with the "political party in power" they were not really welcome. With this distrust of others and the greed of money, gangs were formed within each group. The plot then thickened because of one leader was killed by another with the survivor being the dead leader's son seeking revenge against his killers. The plot was excellent with excellent cast roles in the story. I highly recommend this movie that wants to see what it was/is really like for "immigrants" coming to the US....more info
  • Superb and Fantastic!!!
    One of the best movies i've ever seen. Nice and gritty w/ a terrific storyline. Leonardo and Diaz were perfect together and Martin did a superb job directing. A great movie for a great price....more info
  • "They don't speak English in New York any more?"
    For a movie that was almost 3 hours, I never managed to get bored. Viewers will love to hate Daniel D. Lewis in this role. What a performance! Many ancestors could have been part of these gangs. How people survive the times is a thought that comes to mind while watching. I can only hope that the violence depicted in the film was somewhat inflated. Have things changed since the late 1800s? Sure, but gangs still exist and corruption is more rampant than ever. In the 1840s. Natives and Irsih Americans fight to the death in New York, resulting in the death of Irish leader Priest Vallon (Liam Neeson) and Native Bill The Butcher's (Daniel Day Lewis) undisputed rule of the city's criminal underworld. Vallon's son, Amsterdam (Di Caprio) escapes. And after growing into an anonymous young man, returns to reap his revenge, yet unwittingly becomes the butcher's prot¨¦g¨¦...

    Scorsese was bringing a long treasured project to the screen with Gangs, creating a hype that suffered from setbacks, delayed releases and mixed reviews. In hindsight what we have is no masterpiece, but it remains an undeniably good film, with many fine qualities to make up for its flaws.

    Scorsese's recreation of the city is stunning: the level of detail completely immerses the viewer into an atmosphere scarcely read of in History books. Moreover, the rich criminal world depicted here maintains a delicate balance of understandability and chaos. Scorsese couples this with his flair for music to create a truly intoxicating mood. The photography reinforces the overall effect tenfold, wonderfully sustained and carrying scattered sparks of pure genius. For example: in one shot, Scorsese pans from newly arrived immigrants who are welcomed, given the nationality, provided a uniform, and enlisted into the Union army to coffins of dead soldiers being unloaded on another peer.

    Ultimately, a film lives or dies by its screenplay and acting, and herein lies Gangs of New York's polarizing point. Whether you focus on the slightly uneven story (oddly shortened in places by pressured editing) or the fantastic performances will determine whether Gangs makes it or breaks it, but for its sheer visual power and acting it deserves to be seen. Leonardo DiCaprio, Cameron Diaz, Brendan Gleeson and John C. Reilly are all a joy to see when on top form, but the true feast here is Daniel Day Lewis's grand-standing, violent and xenophobic Bill The Butcher. A role that Robert De Niro (for whom it was originally intended over the years). The chances of this film becoming a favorite are slim, but at the very least you'll walk away with an indelible character to remember.

    ...more info
  • Short of spectacular, but there's always 'The Butcher' to make it all better...
    `Gangs of New York' is definitely not a great movie, but it's not as bad as some have labeled it either. It's certainly long enough, although with a film of this epic grandeur it probably could have used some more battle time. The weakness in this film falls in the hands of lead actor Leonardo DiCaprio who fails miserably to command his role. He lets Daniel Day-Lewis run away with the entire show, and run he does. As Bill `The Butcher' Cutting, Day-Lewis is at his most charismatic and impressive, chewing up every ounce of scenery at his disposal, and at an almost three-hour running rate he has quite a bit of time at hand.

    The film takes place in 1863 and revolves around Amsterdam Vallon (DiCaprio) as he strives to avenge his father's death at the hands of Bill Cutting. Leo never quite develops his character fully and leaves the viewer a bit tired of seeing him. The plot drags out a bit too much and I found myself growing bored unless I was watching Day-Lewis chew, chew and chew some more. Cameron Diaz does well but the film has little use for her and it shows except for one scene involving a knife throwing scene with Daniel where their chemistry is bright and she makes good for herself.

    This isn't, as I mentioned, a great movie but it's a decent one that has its share of good moments, most of which include the aforementioned Daniel Day-Lewis. This film also sports a rich cast of supporting players like John C. Reilly (just love him) and Jim Broadbent and of course is rich and beautifully shot by none other than acclaimed director Martin Scorsese who proves once again why he's so well loved. It's not a movie you'll hate, but you may end up scratching your head as to how it received 10 Oscar nominations, most shocking being that Best Picture nod that could have gone elsewhere....more info
  • "Part 2 On Disc 2" Seriously ??
    With all due respect to the movie(The only reason I can't go below 3 stars), the movie AND special features being split evenly between two discs was a disapointment. ONe would think that when purchasing a 2-disc special edition of a movie, that disc one would contain the feature film, and perhaps any commentaries, and disc 2 would contain all of the special features. One would think. As a result, swapping out disc one and disc two is necessary to watch the movie in its entirety.
    I love the film, and give it 5 stars, and the special features are sufficient, but feel like I made the wrong purchase since the film is not contained on one dvd....more info
  • Only for Lewis
    Daniel-Day Lewis is riveting here, but the love story is terrible, and Diaz is especially bad. Leo is miscast -- he rarely works in period movies -- and Scorcese's vision of a nasty, messy New York is entertaining, if mildly depressing. But you watch this film pretty much for Lewis' magnetic performance....more info
  • Scorcese at the Top of His Game.
    With all of the Oscar hype concerning the newly released "The Departed" you might forget that our boy, Marty, has already directed the best Irish Gangster movie of all time: "Gangs of New York". Notable for having a talented Irishman playing American and a talented American playing Irish (how's that for creative juxtoposition?) it is a gritty, wrenching, and incredibly realistic depiction of a city struggling through it's bloody growing pains.

    The film portrays the unique structure of Old World style tribal sensibilities superimposed on an emerging modern Industrial nation.

    Basically, you are seeing a charming but antiquated clannish way of life being replaced by by a national super-structure - and all of the resulting carnage.

    I've never seen this topic tackled before - and I can't imagine that it will ever be done better. This is a wholly unique story and theme. It is, in a word, Amazing....more info
  • A Hollywood History of the Wild East
    A man talks to his son. A group forms and marches out of the Old Brewery in the Five Points district of New York city. [The streets seems strangely deserted.] They use the names of early Gangs of New York. The bloody battle continues until a horn sounds. "My sympathies." [Was there such a large open plaza?] Sixteen years later the young boy is grown up and released from an institution. The date seems to be 1863. Coffins are unloaded from ships. William Marcy Tweed schemes to improve the city and his fortune. We hear the names of the various gangs. [Did people walk outside without hats?] Amateur fire companies fought for the profit of putting out a fire. [The efficiency of private business?]

    Amsterdam visits Butcher Bill's hangout. They attempt to rob a ship, and sell a dead body for medical science. There is a test for Amsterdam. They show the various methods of thefts by the crooks of that day. Criminality is rampant in the Five Points. [Caused by poverty or oppression?] they make an example of some men for a public hanging. Army recruits climb onto a ship while coffins are landed on the dock. Somebody shoots Butcher Bill. [Does this film have a plot or just a collection of scenes?] Amsterdam has a tender minute with Jenny. Does fear preserve the order of things? [Do the conversations make much sense?] "Who are you?" Will someone peach?

    Butcher Bill shows his knife-throwing skills. There is a shocking surprise and a gruesome and revolting scene. Who killed a poor little rabbit? [Does the story make sense?] Will there be a grand fight to provide an exciting finish? William Marcy Tweed seeks votes in the Five Points. Voters are recruited; its not the ballots that count but the count of the vote. [Is the violence almost cartoonish? Does the film start to drag?] Now the tempo picks up when the mob attacks people and buildings. The army clear the mob from the streets, the navy bombards the people in the plaza. There is one last meeting for Butcher Bill and Amsterdam. [This movie doesn't have a good ending, was something cut out?]

    The last scene shows the Brooklyn Bridge which didn't exist until years after 1863. This film was loosely based on Herbert Asbury's 1925 book. You may find the book "Low Life" by Luc Sante to be more informative and interesting. The Discovery Channel had a good film on the Five Points. It explains that "Dead Rabbits" meant "real tough guys" (Gaelic r¨˘ib¨¦ad). Fire was the chief danger in those days (candles, fireplaces). These stories tell little about the economic situations. The gangs here can explain the turmoil in some Middle East countries today. Does anyone believe corruption ended with Boss Tweed? Some say Federal, state, and municipal projects today don't get funded unless somebody gets paid. You can compare this to many business projects.
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  • Excellent movie---a very REAL slice of New York history
    I do not mean to offend Mr. Vincent and his review. However, does he not understand that this movie is a FACTUAL movie. This is not a movie with "a trite boring plot" with the same old revenge stuff we always see about New York. This was the REAL New York. How do I know this? I am Irish for one thing. I am VERY proud to be Irish for another thing. I researched and found amazing details about these two gangs and how they were basically the first gangs in America. The Dead Rabbits was an actual true to life gang. There is an Irish tribute band for the Pogues called "The Dead Rabbits". I also found a terrific image that I have saved that says "The Dead Rabbits" on it, with a square in green around it and a couple of shamrocks around it. I am having it put on a T shirt for myself. Interesting, because I am a 42 year old woman who will soon be teaching. As I said before I am proud to be Irish. Watch it again, this time wrap your mind around the real "reality" of it, then come back and lets see what your review is this time. By the way I do agree with most everyone about Cameron Diaz. I usually just forget she is even in the movie until someone brings it up....more info
  • Excellent movie---a very REAL slice of New York history
    I do not mean to offend Mr. Vincent and his review. However, does he not understand that this movie is a FACTUAL movie. This is not a movie with "a trite boring plot" with the same old revenge stuff we always see about New York. This was the REAL New York. How do I know this? I am Irish for one thing. I am VERY proud to be Irish for another thing. I researched and found amazing details about these two gangs and how they were basically the first gangs in America. The Dead Rabbits was an actual true to life gang. There is an Irish tribute band for the Pogues called "The Dead Rabbits". I also found a terrific image that I have saved that says "The Dead Rabbits" on it, with a square in green around it and a couple of shamrocks around it. I am having it put on a T shirt for myself. Interesting, because I am a 42 year old woman who will soon be teaching. As I said before I am proud to be Irish. Watch it again, this time wrap your mind around the real "reality" of it, then come back and lets see what your review is this time. By the way I do agree with most everyone about Cameron Diaz. I usually just forget she is even in the movie until someone brings it up....more info
  • "Part 2 On Disc 2" Seriously ??
    With all due respect to the movie(The only reason I can't go below 3 stars), the movie AND special features being split evenly between two discs was a disapointment. ONe would think that when purchasing a 2-disc special edition of a movie, that disc one would contain the feature film, and perhaps any commentaries, and disc 2 would contain all of the special features. One would think. As a result, swapping out disc one and disc two is necessary to watch the movie in its entirety.
    I love the film, and give it 5 stars, and the special features are sufficient, but feel like I made the wrong purchase since the film is not contained on one dvd....more info
  • What will the jungle ever bring?
    Strangely enough this film about New York at the time of the Civil War is more about the end of the hellish gate to some kind of lawless and wild wild west it is living through than its real depiction. New York was the immigrating harbour and as such had an enormous and constantly changing population. The turn-over as they say today was extremely rapid. It was also a very cosmopilitan city that accepted all nationalities but also all races. But the political and security organizations and institutions were far from up to what it should have been. In other words, and corruption demultiplied this phenomenon, gangs were everywhere and particularly the good old gang of native Americans, meaning the Americans who had been born in American, in the US, against all the others, the immigrants, the foreigners who come and eat your bread out of your mouth as is well known. Constant fight, constant strife, constant rivalry and daily casualties in a constant violence of every single second, day and night. Killing, hanging, lynching, stabbing, shooting, and so many other variants of these were everyday entertainment and distraction. The film focuses on the Irish as the main opponents of the native American gang. I find the film a little bit complacent as for the picturing and illustrating of this violence, and that pushes other issues a little bit in the background, for instance the rich bourgeoisie of fifth avenue, the merchants and the industrialists. The working class in the sweatshops are not shown either. This is slightly regrettable, because we do not understand then why politicians feel obliged to have some kind of alliance with one gang or the other. They have to choose such an alliance as opposed to the possibility for the working class poor to come together and join forces with the various minorities and fight for their own candidates in the elections. The Civil War provides the best surrounding environment for such a film too because of the anti-draft movement that develops in New York around 1863-64. This anti-draft movement could be the element that might make all the segments of the poor coalesce in one invincible majority. Scorsese shows very well, through the gangs and through the two leaders of native Americans and the Irish, how a possible alliance could have come out of this situation, but the gang war going on prevents basic interests to prevail in the name of jingoistic community interests. Scorsese seems to be wishing for us to believe that gang violence has always been the way for the establishment in New York to sail through all tempests, storms and other social hurricanes. It is a very pessimistic film that opens no perspective whatsoever. Then what about the acting of the various actors ? It is essentially Leornardo Di Caprio that I observed, following his iron hard and steel cold eyes in the film. He is so static most of the time, and when he is not , when he is moving he seems to be sliding slowly across the room, the street or the screen without any body language. Even his face seems to be expressionless except for his eyes. He looks like an actor who has risen or been raised in an environment of violence that has left some kind of shock in him, the shock that makes him step back, melt in the wall tapestry and keep out of trouble all the time. Will he ever learn how to use his body to express feelings, action, speed, and so many elements that have to be made visible on the screen because they cannot be described with words ? He has a real problem now his adolescent looks and naivety and charm have gone and he is obliged to move a body and move in it that has become slightly too heavy for him. Having seen what he did in The Departed, I believe he can learn, but he definitely still has a lot to improve. Good luck on the way to San Francisco.

    Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, University of Paris Dauphine & University of Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne
    ...more info
  • Not the best work for scorsese
    I was disappointed and confused with the plot. No direction, or real story line. Just to gangs who want to rule New York. Wopty Do. ...more info
  • Probably the best movie EVER! Tremedous in every way.
    The movie is GREAT, the way it was shot, the camera work, the exceptional action, the story-lines, everything! The masterful story developing when it goes through waves to culmination is mesmerizing.
    I can't speak about this work otherwise as in superlative terms and it is why it had 10 academy nominations.
    The story is incredibly deep, the dialogs are unbelievably smart and trough to life. In every shot, angle, camera movement, music there is so much of cool, artistic interpretation and sophistication. My humble description can even remotely capture the splendor of this work.
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  • Very Good Film, Could Have Been Great
    This film follows Amsterdam (Lonardo Dicapro) a young Irishman who is just emerging from 16 years in a Reformatory for juvenile delinquents. He is the son of the late leader of the Dead Rabbits--a gang of Irish immigrants which had in the past challenged the 'Nativist' gang for rule of the streets. Bill the Butcher (Daniel Day Lewis) is the leader of the Nativists and the killer of Amsterdam's father. Given his freedom from the reformatory, Amsterdam quickly works his way into the Nativist's organization, and begins to plot his revenge...

    To begin, I really enjoyed this film. I particularly liked Daniel Day Lewis' performance as Bill "the Butcher" Cutting, the leader of the Nativist gang. He is fearsome, brutal and funny.

    Now, I think "Gangs" was a very good film. But what really bothers me is that it could have been great. For instance, aside from Bill "the Butcher", most of the other characters are a little bit superficial. Dicaprio's performance as Amsterdam is about average; I never quite believe his motivation all the way. Cameron Diaz's acting was below average....But again, don't get me wrong--this film is epic [in a good way] and very good overrall. It's Scorsese's best since "Goodfellas" in my opinion....more info
  • gangs of new york
    brilliant. For the history alone, this is a fantastic disc. sharp pic and sound and beautifully shot. highly recommended. ...more info
  • The Gangs of New York
    I really loved this movie. The background notes especially well the type of problems our country went through during the 1860s. Daniel Day Lewis & the rest of the cast were just so true to life that I was in awe. One of my favorite movies of all time. I recommend this to all who are interested in the history of New York. Martin Scorsese really brought this to life. ...more info
  • Riveting!
    A few nights ago, my husband and I watched "Gangs of New York" (2002). It was not as bad as everyone said it was. We watched it on a cable network that mercifully cut or blurred most of the extreme violence, nudity, and foul language. The score was phenomenal, especially the use of the violin music. The Irish songs in the background amidst the total squalor and corruption of Five Points were very moving. One senses the indomitable spirit of a fighting people. We always forget what the immigrants experienced when they first landed here. I can see why my great-great-great grandfather preferred to settle in Canada where he had to deal with wolves and some prejudice but otherwise he was alone in the wilderness; no nasty street gangs.

    I wish I knew more about the Irish experience in New York City. Was someone like "Bill the Butcher" really allowed to go around chopping people up? People have compared Bill the Butcher, masterfully played by Daniel Day Lewis, to Bill Sykes in Dickens' "Oliver Twist," but I think it is a weak comparison. Bill Sykes was an ignorant, blundering, repellent, murdering psychopath but Bill the Butcher was a cunning, devious, charming, murdering psychopath. The scene when they were all dancing with the candles was sheer beauty. However, it ruined the romance when the hero and heroine had to immediately have a roll in the hay; it destroyed the ambiance, totally.

    All the acting was superb. I usually do not care for Cameron Diaz and some critics thought that she was miscast. I beg to differ; I thought she made a great tavern wench, with that tough, hungry, wounded look. Yet she sparkled with audacity and hope, in spite of her surroundings. The sets were gruesomely realistic; we could almost smell the dung and waste in the streets.
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  • Way better on Blu-Ray
    If you've only seen this movie on regular DVD you should see it on Blu-Ray. There is so much more detail it is like a different movie. Way better....more info
  • Masterpiece
    Martin Scorsese's Oscar-nominated epic focuses on the rise of Irish and Italian gangs in New York in the mid-1800s. When the leader of the Dead Rabbits is assassinated, his son Amsterdam (Leonardo DiCaprio) seeks out the perpetrator, Bill "The Butcher" Poole (a magnificent Daniel Day-Lewis). Yes, it was violent, but a well done movie. Watching the history of that time (on the menu) helped me understand what was going on. Very intense, interesting, I had no clue what would happen next. The acting was superbGangs of New York is a brutal and equally memorable epic that perfectly captures 19th Centurey New York. Sprawing, ambitious, and bold, Martin Scorsese "Gangs" is a vilm of vision and grace.


    It's a unique film with its deciption of the era, and its striking visual imagery is astonishing. As many people are dismissive of this masterpiece, the unusual period is at least arresting as the story itself. It may be flawed with the love-interest between Diaz, and DiCaprio, but Daniel Day Lewis characterization of Bill the Butcher is riveting. This is a great movie that shows where modern America has come from. I never understood Why Scorsese still didnt win the Academy Award for best director yet I love his work Casino,GoodFellasm,Taxi Driver,Mean Streets,and Raging Bull and Gangs Of New York is right up there with all of them. This movie has such a uniqe look into Gang life in the 19 century this film he clearly should of won best director for this was an Epic among all dramas this movie is realy great and if you like Scorsese's work you should like this and its a film that will grow with importance in time to come....more info