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EDITIONS
 Tuesday, 14 January, 2003, 10:34 GMT
Gangs of New York: Your views
Gangs of New York
Gangs of New York was filmed in Rome
Gangs of New York has been dogged by rumours in the press of artistic and financial rows but the time has now come to see if Scorsese's epic tale lives up to the hype.

The film is set against the backdrop of gangster feuds in 1860s New York and stars Daniel Day-Lewis, Leonardo DiCaprio and Cameron Diaz.

"Gangs of New York is neither the great movie it was intended to be nor an outright flop and its effect can only be described as sadly lukewarm", wrote BBC News Online's Rebecca Thomas.

This debate is now closed. Please see below for a selection of your comments. Have your say

As is typical of today's movies, they spend most of the effort and energy on action scenes and special effects to support them. If they only spent some of the equivalent on writing and careful direction of the acting (starting with casting!), they might produce an epic. Cameron Diaz was about as miscast for her part as Minnie Mouse would have been (or Mickey for that matter). Leonardo DiCaprio was better but still difficult to buy as a tough gang leader. His little boy qualities are hard to overcome and as good an actor as he is, he doesn't overcome them here. The movie was still worth seeing if only to watch Daniel Day-Lewis; outstanding is an understatement.
Dan, USA

Really bad, very commercial in a poor way, seriously deceiving....
Jean, France

Contrived, self-important, overcooked religious symbolism, condescending to the audience's intelligence; laughably self-righteous. Great film.
Mike Smith, UK

Great film but no epic. Started off really good, slows down and the end is disappointing to say the least. Daniel Day-Lewis stole the show and deserves an Oscar.
Zubair, UK

Gangs is a triumph for Daniel Day-Lewis. It is a shame that Liam Neeson's part is so short and that Leonardo DiCaprio's is so long. While the history is a little muddled, the overall look and feel of the movie is well worth the money.
Alan, New York

The truth is it's neither the massacre nor the masterpiece that everybody was predicting, but rather something in between

Martin McFly
Total waste of talented people. Looks beautiful but there is no real story and the violence is relentless without any reason to justify its use.
Richard Martin, UK

By now everyone knows the troubled history of Scorsese's pet project - the escalating budget, squabbles with Harvey Weinstein, leap-frogging release date, etc. So what about the movie then? Well, the truth is it's neither the massacre nor the masterpiece that everybody was predicting, but rather something in between. There are images that will burn into the mind of the viewer and Scorsese's sizzling technique spits from every frame, but the story sags a bit in the middle. Daniel Day-Lewis will win an Oscar for his stunning performance.
Martin McFly, UK

Charles Dickens goes to Hollywood, with laughable accents and poor continuity. Certainly not Godfather II standard.
Nik, England

The show was OK but not great. I guess when I went there I was expecting something else. I like action movies; it started off OK but then turned into a soap opera. The whole thing was just about two people.
Dave, Canada

Stunning. If Daniel Day-Lewis does not receive an Oscar for his performance then I will eat my proverbial hat.
Richard, UK

I recommend it to anyone who loves New York and is interested in seeing a side of the great city's history often overlooked

Irwin, USA
I have seen the movie over here in the US twice and I find it very interesting. It highlights a time and setting in history often overlooked - the US Civil War in north-east cities growing by leaps and bounds because of (mainly Irish) immigration.

Most movies dealing with the US Civil War show the Southern side because this is where the battles took place but, as the movie shows, New York was the site of many unofficial battles between recent immigrants and native Americans. Fuelling much of this was the highly explosive issue of immigrants being immediately shipped off to fight in Southern states they had never heard of before.

I recommend it to anyone who loves New York and is interested in seeing a side of the great city's history often overlooked.
Irwin, USA

I cannot treat any film with Leonardo DiCaprio as a lead actor with any seriousness. It's not about his acting, he just looks like a little boy! Titanic was a good film ruined by miscasting DiCaprio in the lead romantic role. Very good for 11-year-olds but not for the adult audience - not believable.
John Steele, UK

Nice sets and costumes, good start but for a film to be 3 hours in length it needs to be really special and this just ain't.
Richard Smith, UK

Excellent, excellent, excellent. Could have done without yet another pointless love interest but I thought both Day-Lewis (if this guy doesn't get an Oscar for this I will eat my underpants) and DiCaprio's performance was brilliant. He doesn't look like a little boy - did you see the size of his shoulders in this film? Also good to see that lad who played Elliot in ET, although the Irish accent could have done with a bit more work. The end, however, was pretty dire in my opinion.
Letitia, Asia

Daniel Day Lewis is not the saving grace of this film. He's so hammy it's ridiculous!

Kevin Williams, UK
Daniel Day Lewis stole the show! It was a great beginning but then it slowed down. It did peak my interst to want to learn more about this piece of our history that is has been overlooked. I cried at the end when I saw our beautiful beloved towers.
Maria, Manhattan, New York

This movie had no plot. I thought it would never end. Way too much violence for violence sake. If the movie had been an hour and a half instead of 3 hours it might have been better. Do not waste your money.
Tom Schreur, USA

Daniel Day Lewis is not the saving grace of this film. He's so hammy it's ridiculous!
Kevin Williams, UK

Had it not been for the gratituous violence, one might have been able to concentrate on the acting...unfortunately, I couldn't get past the violence. This film could have done without 3/4 of the violence, very over the top.
Millie, USA/Texas

Gangs was one of those films that will have a cult following because it tells a not so popular story. As a Civil War re-enactor I enjoyed seeing the settings, the clothing and the mindset of the time correctly depicted. There is so much going on in this film that to judge it after one viewing is unfair. One of the most powerful shots was when the Irish new arrivals were made citizens, then drafted into the Federal army on the same table upon arriving in New York. Then within moments of being put into Yankee uniforms only to loaded on to another to ship to take them to the War, as that ship was unloading coffins of dead soldiers returning for the front. Powerful stuff.

I agree Danial Day-Lewis will win an acadamy award, Leo will be handed his hat.
Alan Rothenberg, USA

Overdone, to suit a more commercial audience.
Preetham, USA/India

For me, the sad fact of the matter is that Gangs of New York was the best big budget film of 2002. This is only the case because nothing produced over ten million dollars this year has been remotely memorable. Gangs is certainly remarkable if only for its fascinating and historical story.

Unfortunately, it's popular to discredit DiCaprio and Diaz as being glossy actors, but I found their acting style completely in-sync with the film (though Daniel Day-Lewis did steal the show).

However, the real star of the film is Scorcese. In my opinion, the problem with the film was likely the fault of Harvey Weinstein, who is reputed to visciously rearrange everything in the editing. Had the film been thirty minutes longer - including more of Scorcese's great knack for tense dialogue - I truly think the film would have gone from good to epic. I'm awaiting the director's cut on DVD.
Kyle Mccabe, USA

I'd definitely see it again though, just for the sheer brutality of Wiliam The Butcher Cutting

Simon, England
here is a great movie in there. Remove Diaz completely, substitute Bill the Butcher as the protagonist and it's a first rate movie. Bill tries to live by an antique code of honour with tribal values and is swamped by the coming world - not the first time this story is told but a good telling of it.
Matt, USA

Stupid ...but appropriate for our time. Create an audiance and then create the film that fits its requrements. Why do we let these things to go on. Just boycott it.
Ante, USA

I thought the performance by Daniel Day-Lewis was easily worth the entry money. Gotta be an Oscar winner for that. Like other people have said, the film is no doozy, but it ain't a scratch on the quality levels of previous work (e.g. Goodfellas). I'd definitely see it again though, just for the sheer brutality of William The Butcher Cutting.
Simon, England

Daniel Day-Lewis made the movie stand out - he definitely deserves an Oscar for his amazing acting.
Juliano Rabah, UAE

After all the recent hype surrounding this film, I was very disappointed when I actually saw it: disjointed story lines, awful Irish accents, gob smacking continuity errors........and far too many scenes of Daniel Day Lewis standing next to a dead pig! It was apparent early on that his nickname of The Butcher was derived partly because of his trade, but did we really need reminding of it every time we saw him? Surely most audiences can be credited with remembering some information...
Mandy, England

I found the first five minutes of Gangs to be more absorbing than Braveheart

Ernest Snipes, USA
Hmmmmm, I've seen better! There was lots of hammy acting with a story line that started, then went...nowhere! Daniel Day-Lewis's performance was good but the soap drama was awful.
Jo, UK

I saw the film tonight. Living in NYC I wnated to see it to learn about past times in the city. I found the film showed up the predjuice that still runs through this country. I guess ignorance by whites (I'm white) of others and their different ethnic/lifestyles will always be a stumblig block in their development as humans.
Dave, New York, USA

I wasn't dissapointed by this film as I didn't expect much. Why oh why do people not find Daniel Day Lewis's acting unintentionally funny? His accent in this film had me struggling to stop myself laughing in a packed cinema. To me he sounded like Top Cat on a bad hair day. The rest of the film - well, ok-ish.
Howard Bennett, England

It was released first in Japan and I saw it over there. They were marketing it as the next great romantic classic since Titanic, All for Love. I think they were trying to draw the crowds with Leo before anyone found out that it was actually extremely violent. I'm sure there were thousands of Japanese ladies who were disappointed, being uninterested by the history and only wanted to see Leo get the girl. My favourite line from the film? "Who haven't you been with?" "Only you!" How romantic...
Danny, UK

I personally enjoyed the movie. True, it wasn't really "great art", but then many of the best movies aren't either. Look at Star Wars and Gladiator - wonderfully entertaining films, but more for fun than analysis. If you take Gangs of New York to be just a movie to watch to kill an evening, you'll find it to be entertaining and the characters compelling. I found the first five minutes of Gangs to be more absorbing than Braveheart.
Ernest Sipes, USA

It had been quite some time since I had walked out of a theatre without immediately wishing I had done something else with the money I had spent on the ticket. But with Gangs I actually didn't experience this sensation.

DiCaprio is at best adequate in his role, as is Diaz. The scenery is often breathtaking - so much so one fails to notice it afterwards as it appears so authentic. But beyond a doubt it is Day-Lewis who steals the show. I became disinterested in the film when he wasn't on the screen. To make matters worse the relationship between Diaz and DiCaprio feels very tagged on.

While I enjoyed a glimpse into an overlooked period of American history (the film did inspire me to read about the period and the historical figures that some of the characters are based upon) in the final analysis the movie is only a moderate success.
Roger Hall, USA

Definitely a flawed masterpiece

Chu, UK
Oh that violence of art, and the horror, the horror! This is a masterpiece of immense proportions - the savage of human nature, the violence of a nation. Not surprising that the average viewer fails to appreciate it. Actually, the latter fact is a testament to the movie's outstanding quality.

Daniel Day-Lewis is at his best delivering a scary and mesmerising performance and surpassing everything that I have ever seen. Truly incredible!
John, USA

The trouble with this movie is that the time and place are obviously important elements of the story, but they are apparently at odds with each other, while not enough has been done with the screenplay to resolve this dichotomy. This could well be deliberate so as to heighten the mystery in the plot; but the concept backfires. New York today is universally identified with the ultimate in vibrant modernity - an icon of an almost total break with the past; herein lies its essential appeal.

This movie, perhaps because it is based on a true story, wants to savagely shatter that illusion by rediscovering and redefining the Big Apple in the brutally real and primitive terms of its original creation. On a certain level it does work, but in a way that also comes across as awkwardly surreal and isolated from our life experience, as much as it purports to reproduce reality. The viewer finds it difficult therefore to relate to the period, and thus to become fully absorbed by the plot!

To completely grab our attention, the imagery needed to be kinder on our imagination, trading gratuitous violence for poignancy, and evoking contrasts that are not quite so stark. This would have facilitated how we recognise the new in the old, and the present in the past.
Simon Cameron, UK

D Day Lewis is fantastic - like de Niro at his peak but better. DiCaprio and Diaz are appalling as you might expect and would have been better in supporting roles. The scale of the film is monumental, huge sets and huge shots. It's extremely impressive and really has to be seen. On the other hand the plot gets completely lost in the messy cutting and the pacing is inept. It's very visceral but not the nonstop extreme ultra violence that some have suggested. Definitely a flawed masterpiece.
Chu, UK

The production is faultless, great sets and costumes, but the direction is, for Scorsese, pedestrian

Miles, UK
All recent immigrants must see the movie, gives courage to fight for FREEDOM.
Doors Sharma, USA

Welcome return for Daniel Day Lewis is about the only positive attribute of this latest Scorsese epic. Too long and lacking any real on-screen chemistry among the leading actors. Cameron Diaz should avoid period movies!
Robin, France

A good try at telling a tale of a complicated time. Wonderful performances by Daniel Day-Lewis and Brendan Gleeson. Proves to me (again) that Leonardo DiCaprio is worth watching. I wonder who will get the Oscar nomination?
Susan, USA

Gangs Of New York sets two standards, on one side we have a fantastic looking film that portrays what life was like in 1860s New York as well as providing an insight into what gang culture was all about at that time. However the story is not as powerful as I would have liked it to have been; at times the film seems to lack narrative. However Danial Day-Lewis really plays his part well and should be rewarded. Definitely worth going to see despite faults.
Gary Garratt, England

I agree that the film is not the epic masterpiece some were expecting but it is a big film. Unfortunately I think the scale of this film must have been a burden to Mr Scorsese. I normally love his films, the passion with which they are made is unmistakeable, but I think that passion is lacking in this film.

It's certainly not a bad film, there are some great performances, notably from Daniel Day Lewis and Liam Neeson (is it possible to get a supporting actor Oscar for less than a minute's worth of screentime?!), and Ms Diaz gives another great supporting performance (after Vanilla Sky). The production is faultless, great sets and costumes, but the direction is, for Scorsese, pedestrian. A diversion, but not a revelation.
Miles, England

My main problem with the film was Cameron Diaz's character. Her role took momentum away from the main plot and made it drag on at times

David Strasser, Canada
The movie was terrible!! Yes it was a violent society back then but the immigrants were not savages. At least we know were the democratic machine was started, what a bunch a hyprocrites. I want to see a historically accurate movie of how the English savaged the Irish in the the same time period. Do you think the touchy-feely crowd could handle the gross violations of human dignity of Ireland's Catholic's during the past 700 years? It is a shame that a young actor with a good Irish accent wasn't given the lead role it would have been at least a authentic attempt.
Mike McCann, USA

I saw the movie today for the first time and I was overwhelmed. The movie is splendid, splendid I tell yah!
John Segers, USA

Gangs of New York was an eyeopener for me. I had no idea, as an African American that Irish Americans had such a violent history of hatred towards black Americans. If this depiction is true, it's sad. Especially since the arms of Ms. Liberty embraced them with life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Scorsese is a great director and producer, and I've enjoyed most of his movies I've ever seen, but nigger and jigg comments, so frequent, were offensive.
Richard-Alan Lovell, USA

Gangs of New York begins moderately, proceeds similarly and ends spectacularly. If only Day-Lewis's quality was mirrored by his supporting actors, and if Weinstein's fingers had been kept from the master reel. The director's cut will be a great improvement, yet Gangs will leave viewers disappointed in much the same way as Casino did by its unbearable imperfections.
Sebastian Gosden, United Kingdom

After hearing so much hype about Scorsese's latest film, Gangs of New York I was disappointed after I viewed it. My main problem with the film was Cameron Diaz's character. Her role took momentum away from the main plot and made it drag on at times. One of the few bright spots came from Daniel Day-Lewis as he was once again brilliant and Oscar-worthy.
David Strasser, Canada

The powerful potential and vast ambition of Gangs is ultimately undercut by the pedestrian script & miscasting

Martin Kirkup, USA
Lewis was really good but what was DiCaprio doing in that role? And what was the point of having Diaz's character? Given another chance I'd rent it on DVD since it wasn't worth my movie ticket cost.
klc28, Singapore

The movie is a massively disappointing effort. I run a "movie-viewing club" (of film afficionados and buffs), in California, and we all scored it low! Cheers!
Doug, USA (Englishman)

A good movie but a bit graphic. The metaphorical representations and thick content made or an enjoyable theatre experience but I probably wouldn't pay to see it twice.
Scott Bryant, USA

Great Direction. Great Costume. Great acting especially Daniel Day Lewis and Cameron Diaz. Movie brought out gang mentality well and the historic spirit of NYC. Biggest shortcoming a) over the top ending and b) 25 minutes too long
Murali Ramaswamy, USA

The powerful potential and vast ambition of Gangs is ultimately undercut by the pedestrian script & miscasting. The first half hour, with gripping action & the strong presence of Daniel Day-Lewis and Liam Neeson, suggests what this film could have accomplished, with its emphasis on the violent birth of modern America. However, once the focus shifts to Leonardo DiCaprio (who is no DiNiro!) and his Hamlet-like procrastinated revenge plot, which entangles with a lover's triangle involving Cameron Diaz (who never convinces that this is the 19th century), the film begins to sag and bloat. No Scorcese picture is without merits and interest, but Gangs Of New York is a failed masterpiece.
Martin Kirkup, USA

I am waiting for the director's cut. Once I can see it, I will be able to make up my mind

John, Canada
Gangs of New York really didn't do it for me. It was rather dull & lacked the intensity I was hoping for. Of course I did watch Two Towers 2 days earlier & needless to say it's going to be next to impossible for anyone to top that.
Kyle Spaulding, USA

At the end of the film, everyone was stood up by the time the credits began to roll. No one applauding, no one still sitting to see who played whom. The audience at the cinema rated the film with their feet: very different to their reaction after The Lord of the Rings.
Tim Moore, UK

GoNY begins very strongly, DiCaprio is good, and Day-Lewis is superb - I sense an Oscar nomination. The film wanders later on, however, as attention shifts from the characters to a more general look at the social upheaval surrounding the draft riots...and the ending is almost criminally anticlimactic. Definitely good enough to warrant a viewing, but don't expect an unqualified classic - it's flawed.
Nick, Scotland

Calling the film epic put much too much pressure on the film. Lord of the Rings is an epic, Gangs of New York is a good movie. Between the sets, the acting and the story line I was rooted to my seat. This is a tale that shows history is not what is only contained in the books. It tells a vicious story and tells it well. It is not the greatest movie ever made but it does rank on the list of very good movies.
Andrew Macdonald, Canada

From start to finish we see a disturbed NY population in despair & anarchy. Surely this great city had more to offer in the 1860s than the endless violence and bloodshed. Martin Scorsese's native neighbouerhood in Little Italy was not always the gangland that his movies always seemed to depict. Look at Mulberry St today. Gangsters are a tourist commodity!
Kristian Rost, New York, USA

This movie as it stands is not the best work by this director. Still, I am not convinced that this is the movie that M. Scorcese wanted to make. I am waiting for the director's cut. Once I can see it, I will be able to make up my mind.
John, Canada

Despite reviews to the contrary all the leading actors made their characters completely credible. I've raised my opinion of both Dicaprio and Diaz as actors - I already thought well of Day-Lewis

Eric Peterrson, USA
A very expensive budget for a very dull film. Great start but no middle or end to speak of. For a Scorcese film, completely blunt and without any danger or edge.
Mike Slowey, UK

I'm from Switzerland, and I, along with everyone else I know that is from Switzerland, absolutely adore this movie. It's great!!!
Gergey Pasztor, Switzerland

This was not a very good movie for the simple reason that a lot of it was cut (over an hour) which would have helped to understand better the situation in NY at the time. Besides that, the film was visually very beautiful.
Gergey Pasztor, Switzerland (in Canada)

Despite some tense, undeniably spectacular scenes and excellent performances throughout, I was still left with the feeling that the difficulties Scorsese experienced in production have made it all the way onto the screen. Gangs is both compelling and disappointing as it attempts to combine too much in its muddled narrative. A longer directors cut may show this excellent film as the masterpiece it deserves to be.
D James, England

I just saw the movie yesterday and although the film, overall, was certainly not fantastic; Daniel Day-Lewis's performance was fantastic. He is my favourite for best supporting actor at the Oscars. I definitely commend Scorsese for showing a piece of American history that is covered up in the high school text books.
Jim Noonan, USA

An excellent movie. Despite reviews to the contrary all the leading actors made their characters completely credible. I've raised my opinion of both Dicaprio and Diaz as actors - I already thought well of Day-Lewis. The squalor and brutality felt completely authentic; I did not find the sex or the violence gratuitous. The multitude of details of costume, speech, New York City politics and historical events were seamless and convincing.

Watching the movie with my 24 year old son resulted in a wide ranging and passionate discussion about justice, democracy, the draft, how President Lincoln suspended civil liberties and streched the Constitution right to the breaking point, ends justifying means and how all this applies to present-day political corruption and the Bush War crisis. I highly recommend this film.
Eric Peterrson, USA

A must-see then but lacking in the plot department

Becky Hewlitt, UK
It really sucked! I'm mad I paid 9 dollars to watch that and that I had to sit through it for 3 hours. It had potential but was poorly done.
Josh, USA

I agree with Ms. Thomas' opinion, if this film had been made by anyone else, it probably would be praised, but, this is without a doubt Mr Scorsese's worst film. Filled with cliches, the film fails to explore any of the characters deep emotions. I also felt Mr. DiCaprio was poorly cast as well as Ms. Diaz. Too bad, because Mr. Scorsese spent a lot of time working on this, I look forward to his next film.
Jimmy Blakeney, USA

Sadly lukewarm? What movie did your reviewer see? Admittedly the middle portion of the film is slower than either the vicious beginning or dramatic ending, but that is required to establish the credibility of the characters in order for us to sympathise with them.

People that are disappointed with this movie are surely only those that get hyped up by the media to such a degree that they expect the impossible.
Scott, UK

Straight from the start a truly hard-hitting film, not for the faint hearted.

Daniel Day-Lewis's fantastic return onto the big screen, plays his role seriouly well. By the way don't play with knifes like they do in this film!
Daniel Lewis, UK

I think the BBC review was quite accurate, no real emotional draw - and my bum had issues with the length!
Ben Smith, UK

Someone called this "Titanic without the iceberg" and I have to agree. It's a fabulous film with breath taking scenery and Daniel Day Lewis is absolutely amazing as Bill the Butcher - an Oscar is surely a must - and even DiCaprio is a convincing New York bruiser. Cameron Diaz is ..well...Cameron Diaz and it was good to see so many usually unsung British actors. A must-see then but lacking in the plot department. You don't actually care much about what happens to any of the characters except the dastardly Bill - testament to the brilliance of Day-Lewis. It was also the most violent film I've seen in long time in a disturbing gritty and realistic way. See it for the spectacle and DDL...just don't expect too much.
Becky Hewlitt, UK

The storyline seemed confused, unsure of where it wanted to focus

Morgan, UK
The movie is a documentary as to the historical relationship of NYC's (and all other US big cities) politicians and organised crime.

It gives a the full historical context as to how the Godfather movies would follow later.
Dal, USA

I believe the film does not live up to the hype. While there are some historical accuracies to the film and it was shot very well, the plot is incredibly thin and the characters are not as complex as the "experts" would have us think. I believe the film is not in the Golden Globe or Oscar-caliber class. Several times, during the film, I was debating to walk out. I kept waiting for it to get better and it never did.
Troy McGowan, USA

Mad Max eviscerates Charles Dickens. The violence is continuous and against the audience as well as the characters. DiCaprio can't handle an Irish accent from one day's shooting to the next. My wife and adult daughter left the theatre with a migraine; I left wishing I had some peroxide to pour on my clothes where the blood, brains and guts splashed on me from the screen. On the bright side, Daniel Day Lewis makes an odious character come alive.
Warner Anderson, USA

For me the film was a huge disappointment. The storyline seemed confused, unsure of where it wanted to focus... be it on the lovestory, the rivalry between the gangs or the wider historical perspective. The performance of DiCaprio was poor, and I can't comprehend why Cameron Diaz bothered with the part for the lack of screen time she had. The only outstanding aspect of GoNY was the totally superb Daniel Day Lewis who was absolutely awesome in his role as The Butcher.
Morgan, UK

Daniel Day-Lewis was tops in this epic portrayal of early mobster life in New York. Perhaps some critics have no morbid fascination. Let them go watch their fairy flicks. This was by far one of my all time favourites.
Andrew, Tennessee, USA

This movie is the kind of train wreck only a great director could produc

Joe Neumann, USA
Gangs of New York is a gross misrepresentation of history. It does what so many Hollywood films are doing nowadays, takes an interesting subject, dumbs it down, and throws in a pile of gratuitous violence.
Owen Horn, Canada

The ending was an anti-climax, not the sweet revenge the whole movie was building up to.
Ishita, UK

An excellent period piece, most surely, at least in terms of costumes, characters, set and design to rival that of the Lord of the Rings and the famous Merchant Ivory films. However, its grisly violence, filmed with the same meticulous passion Scorsese has brought to all of his films, can leave one cold. All in all, a worthwhile picture, that stumbles in its plot and pacing, but one that shows that myth-making past of the Americas.
Jesse Steinchen, USA

The set pieces were simply excellent but the musical score was below average. Daniel Day-Lewis very impressive but DiCaprio was poor. The atmosphere of the period looked like it was captured to perfection but the story lacked explanation. There are some fabulous scenes but there are also some with Cameron Diaz and that stupid grin. It seemed to me that for everything this film had going for it there was something to hold it back. A more prominent score with a more suited cast and some better historical explanations would have made this the epic that I wanted to see.
David Murray-Smith, UK

My friend hit the nail on the head on the subject of Gangs: "a real period piece of rubbish." This movie is the kind of train wreck only a great director could produce.
Joe Neumann, USA

The movie (for me) couldn't decide whether it was a thriller or comical....Although the actors give Oscar winning performances individually, as a plot it didn't gel through leaving the viewer slightly perplexed on the scheme as a whole.
RZ, Pakistan

Well, I enjoyed the movie as a movie, not a documentary. It was entertaining with only a few minor annoyances. I don't consider it a "great movie" but at the same time I don't consider it a flop. Then again, it wasn't "lukewarm" either .. better than that.
David, Canada

Thought it was a great film even though it was very bloody!! It shows a period in the States where although most people know of Irish immigrants arriving there etc. no one really knows how difficult life was. Daniel Day-Lewis was brilliant!
Laura Gossip, Dubai

Sadly it comes across as unrealistic, overly melodramatic, with a very typical clichéd Hollywood storyline, not really surprising but I had hoped for better

Steve, UK
What people don't like is realistic history rather than myth. Scorsese violates the myths and shows how the wealthy and powerful were complicit with racist and criminal gangs in oppressing poor Irish immigrants and African-Americans, and the carnage of the Civil War.
James Cronin, US

I thought it was brilliant. Daniel Day-Lewis deserves an Oscar for his performance. For me, the film told a great story and I'd easily go back and watch it again. The three hours flew by!
Matt, UK

The film, while being extremely violent, held my attention throughout. Day-Lewis was extraordinary in his portayal of the villain with a personal code of honour. Though I'm not a big fan of DiCaprio, I thought he was quite believable as the young hero.
Peter Levy, USA

This was a fantastic film, the acting and set were both very good. Even though it was incredibly long the time just flew by. A great Scorsese film.
Chris & Beth, England

Scorsese at his best. I loved every minute of it!
Jason, Chicago, USA

America lacking in history seems desperate to show they have some and try to produce a story of New York's troubled past. Sadly it comes across as unrealistic, overly melodramatic, with a very typical clichéd Hollywood storyline, not really surprising but I had hoped for better, the above could possibly have been forgiven if it was at least entertaining but fails there too. Overall verdict very poor.
Steve, UK (Seen in States)

Daniel Day-Lewis made Gangs of New York the entertaining epic it is. If it wasn't for him I think even the interesting storyline wouldn't have been strong enough to keep this movie alive.
Cassie Applegate, USA

Scarce in plot, gratuitous in gore and violence...a big disappointment

Simon, UK
Excellent, saw it last night. Day Lewis is brilliant. Now to read some of the history surrounding this interesting era.
Matt, UK

This is the worst Scorsese movie ever, and it is most certainly a far cry from masterpieces like Raging Bull, Casino, Goodfellas and A Time of Innocence.

The acting by DiCaprio and Diaz is certainly below standard - especially when juxtaposed with Daniel Day-Lewis' brilliant work (the latter still fails to save the movie). The screenplay is confused, and you have a strong impression that the director is trying to say too many things at once. A result of the artistic wranglings during production?

All in all, this movie was completely over-hyped. Better next time, Martin.....
Kevork Oskanian, Antwerp, Belgium

What a letdown. Cinematic event of the year? Perhaps that's why it was released at the start of January. This is a disjointed effort - despite the proven quality of both the leading and supporting cast, I was dissappointed the magic of Scorsese failed to glue the individuals together.
Pete H, UK

We went to see it Christmas Day. I felt I had paid to see a documentary. 3 hours and there was not enough information about the gangs. The director brought up the attitude of the gangs to the Civil War but you were left out in the cold in understanding the attitude in the film that many characters were insisting they were true Americans. Also, he did not explain: why there was one black man in an Irish gang; why many black citzens were murdered during the 4 day riot in the city? Day-Lewis was great to watch along with many others. DiCaprio was boring. DiCaprio and several actors his age can't act at all. I have told people at work don't waste your money going to see this film.
D. K. Simms, Boston, US

Scarce in plot, gratuitous in gore and violence...a big disappointment.
Simon, UK

Was this a film on personal revenge or a revealing historical chapter? I would ask this question to Mr. Scorcese but Gangs tells me he couldn't make up his mind. To make a film solely on the nativists perspective with Bill the Butcher as the only subject, would have been gutsy, edgy or like the old Scorcese!
Zach Cullen, United States

The best movie I have seen so far this year

John Smith, USA
This movie is most definitely an overblown effort. Without the violence and sex, the movie has little or no substance at all. The saving grace of this movie is Daniel Day-Lewis, who plays his character so well that by the end of the movie you can't help but be overwhelmed with hate for him. Overall this movie was a waste of my money, and if the directors name had been any other than Martin Scorsese this movie would have been nothing more than a direct-to-video epic of sex and violence.
Tom J, United States

We saw Gangs of New York on New Year's Day with few expectations. I found the story very interesting - it reminded me of my favourite novel, Mark Helprin's Winter's Tale which also featured gangs such as the Short Tails and Dead Rabbits. A gripping story, if not a little predictable, but it is full of an all-knowing energy that endures to the final credits. The only element of the movie that was not believable, in my opinion, was the casting of Leonardo DiCaprio as a veritably Irish mercenary fighting machine who rises quickly to fame and social prominence. Perhaps it was his typical fluffy hairstyle. I think he would have been better cast as the big mouth "friend" whose body wound up on the gate. Otherwise, an invigorating flick by Martin Scorsese, and a movie we will probably pick up on DVD when it comes available.
Sea Ansley, Canada

I enjoyed the movie if only out of historical interest. New York is a fascinating city with unique beginnings. Many Americans and Canadians can trace their ancestry back to the city and it's not a huge stretch of the imagination to think that we grew as a continent out of conditions similar to those illustrated in the movie. Actually it was really entertaining, though quite violent.
Jess, Canada

It's about time every one knows, how bad the Irish were treated by the British. It must of been really bad for they came to America and accepted the treatment they received in the USA.The movie showed that very well. Thank you England for the Irish, for they have made America the great country it is today.
MJTD, U.S.A.

View this movie as though it were an opera and you will enjoy it. View it as an historical reality and it will fall short.
Richard Kaplan, USA

I loved it. I will definitely buy the dvd when it comes out. That and, Road to Perdition are my two favorites from this past year. I'll have to watch them a few more times to decide if I prefer one over the other. I enjoy movies with a sense of history, good acting, great cinematography, and a well told storyline.
D.McVeigh, Canada

The best movie I have seen so far this year...
John Smith, USA

On the whole, I would say this is a very good, but not great, movie

Jeff Schroer, USA
Appears to capture the medieval poverty and violence of NY at that time very well. Day lewis is spot on, DiCaprio, being charitable, is miscast and Cameron Diaz wasted. The film in general looks like it has been hacked to pieces in the cutting room with constant mini-climaxes throughout and a story which just fades away at the end. One can see why it was held back after 9/11 as the police, military and even firemen are shown in a believable poor light.

Despite its many faults it is worth going to. It shows that New York never had a distant golden age, its past is more horrific than we imagined and consequently is a great tribute to the efforts of the characters' descendents to build new lives in the new world when at first it semed even worse than the old.
Jim, London, UK

Calling the movie Gangs of New York a "fantastic" epic adventure would be an overstatement. It definitely was an overblown effort taken in portraying the violent ways of the butcher and "Native" gang leader played by Daniel Day-Lewis. The movie was unrealistically over-satiated with gore and violence. There are instances, when the movie goes overboard in trying to make poor 19th century New Yorkers seem like uncivilised filthy savages. If not for the brilliant performances by three renowned actors, we wouldn't even be talking about it.
Simran, Florida, U.S.A.

Gangs of New York isn't as good as it could be, but I certainly wouldn't describe its effect as "lukewarm". With a few permissable inaccuracies and exaggerations added for effect, the movie does a very good job of capturing the brutal ambience of the time and place. (Readers interested in the more sordid aspects of New York's past should try Low Life by Luc Sante.) The extraordinary hatred between the protagonists are palpable. Daniel Day-Lewis' performance couldn't be better or more powerful. Unfortunately, not only does his performance blow the audience away; it blows Leonardo DiCaprio's performance right off the screen as well. Cameron Diaz is just okay. On the whole, I would say this is a very good, but not great, movie.
Jeff Schroer, USA

Unfortunately I think it tried to make too many statements and ended up making none well

Alex Turner, UK/US
It's an amazing film. Easily Scorsese's best since Goodfellas. Daniel Day Lewis simply owns the screen.
Chris Hill, Sheffield, UK

Gangs of New York is a lesson in filmmaking of epic proportions. Scorsese proves his only competition is himself and how a Scorsese film is worthy of the legendary reputation it carries and respect it commands. The film is beautifully shot and told in the director's typical inimitable style. Strong performances from a good cast with DiCaprio shining but Daniel Day-Lewis being the trump card (Oscar anyone?), this film is all it set out to be and only fails to those who perceived it to be something else. Breathtaking sets, powerful performances and deft camerawork coupled with masterful direction make Gangs of New York one film worth the wait.
Fuad, UK

Very disappointing. The script was weak and showed a general lack of creative writing. Content was overwhelmingly substituted by violence and nudity. Daniel Day-Lewis was excellent though. He held his evil character throughout the film. I still don't understand why "the blood stays on the blade"...
Dennis McQuoid, USA

I have to say that I must agree with Rebecca Thomas' analysis. It was a film, that in my opinion, could not be rescued by the excellent performance which Daniel Day-Lewis rendered. The rest of the movie that surrounded him seemed long and protracted and tried to make several bold statements about the state of New York at the time. Unfortunately I think it tried to make too many statements and ended up making none well.
Alex Turner, UK/US

This is a good movie. As for the acting, Daniel Day-Lewis gave a great performance. If nothing else, the movie showed a time in New York history that most New Yorkers, as well as most people, do not know about.
Shaun Carr, New York, USA

Gangs of New York was doing just fine until the exit of Liam Neeson which was unfortunately within five minutes of the start

Leon John, Japan
Great Film. Lewis and DiCaprio were excellent, both displaying in the end that they are very similar people. I felt that Diaz was a mistake though. It really gave you a feel of what is was like in 19th century New York. Being born and raised in New York, I was surprised at the history. It will make me go back and learn about the "five points"!
Gene Reynolds, UK

I agree with a reviewer I heard who said "It is not Scorsese's masterpiece, but it is the work of a master!" I thought Daniel Day-Lewis turned in a stunning performance. I saw it once over the holidays and plan to see it again soon!
Tom Pedersen, USA

Fantastic detail and research had gone into the set and costumes, it is a shame that the same could not be said about the plot or the characters. Cliché number one - boy seeks revenge on killer of father, cliché number two- killer of boy's father greatly admires the man he killed, need I go on?
Ric Perry, UK

The film has been hyped out of all proportion, I would say it's better than average but no more. For me, Daniel Day Lewis was fantastic and an inspired choice to play the role of William Cutting but that apart the only impressive thing about the film was the set. I'm sorry Mr Scorcese but if that is the culmination of 25 years work, I'd suggest talking to the makers of The Shawshank Redemption and ask them for tips on how to get a film from the book to the screen.
Phil Holt, England

One of those films which are forgotten after month of its release.
Rafaqat, UK

Plot could have been better and more even. The end was quirky and not up to Goodfellas standard

Hilton, USA
Gangs of New York was doing just fine until the exit of Liam Neeson which was unfortunately within five minutes of the start. We were then left with the limpness of the much overrated DeCaprio. Add to that a waferthin story line and you're left with a lousy movie. The only redeeming factor was a sterling performance by Day-Lewis.
Leon John, Japan

Excellent movie. The first in a very long time which accurately depicts the racial tensions that existed in New York City. The director is to be highly praised for not filming yet another "politically correct agenda" movie which are all too frequent in the USA.
Francis Powers, USA

Gangs of New York is saved only by the fine leadership of Daniel Day-Lewis and for once, a manly performance by Leo DiCaprio. The rest of the film decends into a hell-hole of extreme violence and spilled blood, coupled with a plot so slow moving the only emotion felt at the end is one of boredom. Not Scorsese's best by a long way.
Richard, Manchester, UK

It was a solid film, it seems that it has been an easy target for critics to knock.
Mark Waldron, UK

Simply the worst movie of this year and in the lead for the worst of the decade.
Michael M. Owsley, U.S.A.

Cinematography was pretty good and gave a real sense of life in the 1860s. The opening battle in the snow was superb. The dance scene showed what fire traps those buildings were. Plot could have been better and more even. The end was quirky and not up to Goodfellas standard.
Hilton, USA

It makes you whince, cry, shudder and scream, puts you through the emotional mill and opens the eyes to a period of history that America would rather forget

Mark McGregor, UK
It was far too long, treated the audiance like idiots, tried to do too much which led to it just getting bogged down, Daniel Day Lewis is going to get a kicking from DeNiro for taking the mick out of is Scorcese's performances....don't bother seeing it.
Jim, UK

What good timing!!!!!!! At a time when we are trying to battle the gang wars and gun crime in this country the "Money Making Machine" is back to tell us all about the great history of America. Why are we giving this movie so much publicity? It should never have been allowed into the Cinemas. At least not at this time.
Jennifer, UK

I went to see it last night & thought that it was fantastic. All three main actors were impressive in their roles and the sets, screen play and costumes were excellent. It was very long but you never knew what was going to happen next and it kept you interested. It makes such a change from some two bit sit come actor merely taking their existing character and putting it in a banal film. Definitely worth watching.
Joanna, UK

Yes, unfortuntely this was not the great film it should have been. With a title like Gangs of New York anyone would be forgiven for expecting another Goodfellas or Casino. This was certainly not the case. Great visuals, quite good acting (especially DD Lewis), but a plot that could be summed up in a line - a son avenges his father's death, a few weak fringe storylines were added, but this did not stop me thinking "what the hell is this film about!?". Disappointing and less than the sum of its parts.
Mark Richardson, UK

Forget the grand set-pieces and forget, to a certain extent, the story. Put simply, Gangs of New York does for America's draft riots what Saving Private Ryan did for WWII. It makes you whince, cry, shudder and scream, puts you through the emotional mill and opens the eyes to a period of history that America would rather forget... Forget Joe Pesci as Tommy Devito, in Bill the Butcher Daniel Day Lewis has created the most terrifying screen gangster Scorcese has ever filmed...
Mark McGregor, UK

I really enjoyed the film. Many people have problems with violence depicted on film, but if you've watched enough Scorsese films you eventually get desensitised to it, and then, you start enjoying it! I must admit, I really enjoyed the violence depicted in this movie, especially when it involved Bill the Butcher. Did anyone notice the blood on the camera? A nice touch to the film I thought.

Although Scorsese's movie wasn't perfect, it certainly had enough redeeming features to be rated as truly excellent. Long live Martin Scorsese. Where would American cinema be without him?
Robin Stevens, UK

I saw this on Saturday night with friends. One question we all asked after was: "Why was this film made?" Terrible. An awful, awful film.
Alan, London, UK

This is a well made film and Daniel Day-Lewis is brilliant but, and I know the film was reflecting life in 19th century New York, after 3 hours of brutality and violence I felt numb.
Andy Butterworth, England

Daniel Day-Lewis¿s half-baked impersonation of Robert De Niro leaves a lot to be desired and DiCaprio¿s Irish accent wanes more than the shore at low tide. Diaz looks perfectly at home in her role as the local corset-clad bimbo and flounders her way through a script that is hammier than Miss Piggy's backside.

At a running time of 168mins you can't help but wish the whole sorry cast all clobbered each other to submission with a handy meat cleaver.

A prime example of directorial self-indulgence, over-cooked narrative and self-importance. Decidedly disappointing.
Myrddin Gwynedd, Twickenham, London

This is a truly awful film, a total mess. The grossly overrated Scorcese should stick to his little Italian sketches. Even the extras over-acted and in the fight scenes some of them mustn't have heard the director call "action". He ought to get a few lessons from Spielberg on how to make a quality product. Day-Lewis and Neeson were good value and believable, but Leonardo looks like he couldn't beat eggs; he should go back to the painting! What the hell was it all about? Garbage.
Conaill, Ireland

If Gangs of New York is so good then why has it received a lukewarm reception at the US box office? Two Weeks Notice - an instantly forgettable romantic comedy starring Hugh Grant and Sandra Bullock - has earned twice the money that Gangs of New York has. There must be a reason for this!
David Furness, UK

What a let down! It is a victim of overhyping, it's not as bad as some people say but it is no where near as good as it should have been. More proof that Americans just cannot do authentic period films, far too clinical and sensationalist, just another "isn't is great to be American" film. I watched it in a full cinema and everyone got up to leave 5-10 mins before the end!
Charlotte, UK

It's not the grand epic it promised to be, but it is still a great film. The gem of the film is Day-Lewis in his top hat and britches giving an outstanding performance. He truly, truly, deserves the best actor Oscar this year.
Iain, United Kingdom

What an utter and dismal dissapointment that was!!! After all the hype about this being a film of epic proportions, I was not expecting to be clock-watching 45 minutes in and every 15 minutes thereafter! Granted the vision of primitive brutality and revenge set on the backdrop of a realistic 19th century New York is one that must have taken a lot of research, effort and dedication to achieve, but the final product is frustratingly average. It's only saving grace is Daniel Day Lewis's outstanding performance as The Butcher, but even that is overshadowed by the vague subplots and confusing dialect that tries and fails to compete with Clockwork Orange. And I challenge anyone to accurately decipher anyone's accent in the film! My advice...save your money, go see Two Towers again.
Ben, UK

I loved it. Very original. Very different. Unlike any other gangster movie which are typically set in the 1920s and later.
Anastasi Scourtis, Los Angeles, CA, USA

I thought that the Gangs of New York was an absolutely brillant film. Both Daniel Day-Lewis and Leonardo DiCaprio were both brillant in the film, and suprisingly so was Cameron Diaz. An epic film with a superb story makes this film an adventure not to miss!
Nancy Smith, UK

Very boring. I fell asleep to people punching each other and awoke half an hour later to more people punching each other. My wife and I gave it another 15 minutes and walked out. We should have paid more attention to the reviews.
Tim, England

This is a film with much potential and a powerful dramatic build-up of two feuding groups - the natives and the Irish which is ultimately destroyed with the final emergence of two additional separate sides - the Union Army and the rioters. What could have been an epic adventure is tarnished by the side themes that are not fully explored and a confused central storyline with a deceiving climax.
William, France

See also:

10 Jan 03 | Entertainment
07 Jan 03 | Entertainment
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18 Oct 02 | Entertainment
21 May 02 | Entertainment
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