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Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York
Studio executives summary / pitch
$90 million shock history fest. New York in the mid 1800's where street gangs run amok.
Short plot summary

Amsterdam Vallon's (Leonardo DiCaprio) father, Priest Vallon (Liam Neeson), is killed in a gang fight by William Cutting, a.k.a. 'Bill 'The Butcher' (Daniel Day-Lewis) at the Five Points, New York City.

Amsterdam is only young when his father is killed. When he grows up he comes back a'lookin' for revenge... The love interest is provided by Cameron Diaz (Jenny Everdeane) a pickpocket.

What our panel of critics thought

"Daniel Day-Lewis has always frightened me. When I heard that he completely disappeared in to his character for this movie, I lost my regular toileting pattern. I haven't been able to direction my 'number ones' downwards since."

"Bill, tough guy, rough guy, brawler type: a unique performance of the 'Whoopsie Daisy' phrase. Both chilling and Mary Poppinsesque in a mustache at the same time. It's uniqueness is one of a kind."

"I love nothing better than a big bustle on a woman."

"Ambitious masterpiece release delayed due to September 11th. A long but very worth while movie."

Please tell me the ending

Amsterdam attempts to kill Bill the Butcher at the annual anniversary celebrations of the defeat of The Dead Rabbits (his father's gang, they are celebrating Amsterdam's father's murder.) This fails and Amsterdam (his true identity now revealed by his 'friend') is beaten to within an inch of his life.

He is nursed to health again by Jenny and he reforms the dead rabbits. He challenges Bill and they both die in the ensuing riot which is finally put down by federal forces.

Dr Bravisimo-Encore II Movie Review

Is this, finally, the last movie ever to be made like this? A real set made in Italy, correct in every detail, and filmed as if the event is on going? A masterpiece of everything, this movie is pretty much perfect for its type, although there are a few too many tall hats for my liking! Only kidding folks, the number and height of the top hats are sheer perfection, and every detail, including the pigeons nesting in the top of some of the head attire, is just one of the countless details to which Scorsese strove for, and achieved.

A long, almost 3 hour movie, but there is no slow bit to speak of. You get your $90millions worth and the DVD is stuffed to the rafters with extras, including a tour of the set in Italy. According to the DVD commentary, Scorsese's original cut was almost 4 hours - something to look forward to in the inevitable directors original cut version of this movie.

The problems with the filming were quite well covered at the time - filming took much longer as the Italian authorities enforced a maximum working day, and there were a number of on set accidents, some involving pigs. And the September 11th attack delayed its release. None the less a triumphant piece of cinema. As close to perfection as makes no difference.

Quotable quotes (real)

Bill the Butcher about Irish immigrants: "If only I had the guns I would shoot each and every one before they set foot in America."

Other comments

A masterpiece.

The scope of the set is truly mesmerizing and you get a feeling of authenticity. Bill the Butcher is a truly horrible character.

Date of Review

July 4, 2003

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