Gangs of New York

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +3

Content: -4

Martin Scorseses dark and disturbing drama tells the story of rival, Irish-American gangs in the Five Points section of New York during the Civil War era, the Dead Rabbits and the Natives. The Dead Rabbits leader Father Vallon is killed during a bloody gang battle as his young son, Amsterdam (Leonardo DiCaprio), watches. The Natives take control of the neighborhood, and the Dead Rabbits are disbanded. Sixteen years later, Amsterdam returns from reform school to find the Natives leader Bill the Butcher (Daniel Day-Lewis) ruling the city through fear, intimidation and violence. Amsterdam becomes a member of the Butchers gang, biding his time until he can avenge his fathers death. He rises through the ranks to become the Butchers right-hand man. Amsterdam falls in love with Jenny Everdeane (Cameron Diaz) who has a strange tie to the Butcher. The trio continues to thrive until Amsterdams identity is revealed and he must reassemble the Dead Rabbits. The final scene depicts the New York conscription riots of 1863 and the last gang battle in the slum.

Set in a grimy, dark atmosphere, Gangs of New York is full of violence, including excessively bloody killings. Victims are stabbed with spears, hit with meat cleavers and axes, impaled on an iron stake, staked and hung crucifixion style, and lit on fire. A group of rioting citizens are confronted and then shot down by Union soldiers. Dead bodies are graphically shown after the battle scenes, and the Union soldiers are seen marching through a street flowing with blood. The gangs also visit a pub with several topless women. Because the leader of the Dead Rabbits originally was a priest, there are recurring spiritual and biblical overtones in the movie. Several times the gang members are seen praying for strength in their battle or asking for Gods assistance for their revenge. The characters make use of Scripture although it is quoted in the context of their violent behavior. Due to its graphic violence, nudity, illicit activity and foul language, Gangs of New York is strongly not recommended.

Preview Reviewer: Bob Nusser

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Many (9) times Mild 5, moderate 4

Obscene Language: Many (11) times F-word 6, others 5

Profanity: Many (10) times Exclamatory (GD 3, OMG, J, Lord, So Help MG, J 3)

Violence: Continuous Severe (multiple stabbings, men clubbed with meat cleaver, man impaled on iron rod, people shot, man burned on face with hot knife, fighting, knife throwing, cannons shot into crowds of people, skulls and piles of bones in underground caves, man hung and then lit on fire)

Sex: Many times (couple shown in bed, man shown with two naked women, orgy scenes)

Nudity: Several (prostitutes in low-cut outfits, bare-breasted women in pubs, orgy scenes)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Many (men leeringly look at women in pub, man wants to have woman, orgy scenes with implied sexual activity)

Drugs: Several times (cigar and pipe smoking, pub scenes with drinking)

Other: Several religious overtones including communion service, man killed and hung as if crucified, prayers to God, scripture quoted in regards to violent behavior, gang meeting place is inside a church, one of the gang members mistaken for Jesus when he suddenly appears in a room, young man takes Bible from priest and throws it into the river; political leaders shown as uncaring and corrupt; election fraud as people are rounded up to vote three or four times.

Running Time: 175 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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