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Films >> Gangs of New York (2002) >>

0:00:21 Preparing for battle
The movie opens with the sound of a man shaving, revealed to be Priest Vallon. He is making final preparations for battle with his young son. The Priest and his son walk toward the surface and the exit, and the rest of the Dead Rabbits are shown taking up their weapons and following in procession. They gather around the doorway, and Monk kicks it open, showing an empty, snow-covered square.
0:04:58 Blood on the snow
A few dozen Dead Rabbits file out into the square, forming ranks, as the camera pans across the otherwise empty square. This quickly changes as hundreds of Natives flood into the square led by Bill the Butcher. The Dead Rabbits are joined by a number of other Irish gangs as the Butcher and the Priest exchange words. The battle then ceremonially begins as the men and women fly at each other with all varieties of bladed and bludgeoning weapons. Countless injuries and fatalities are enacted in a gory display, leading up to the Butcher's climactic murder of Priest Vallon. Vallon's young son runs to his dying father who imparts him with some dying words. The child is then taken to be abandoned to the state as Bill proclaims the preeminence of the Natives and the outlawing of the Dead Rabbits. The scene pans out over Paradise Square as the wounded are tended to, showing the vast sprawling city beyond and revealing the year to be 1846.
0:15:16 Reformed
The year is now 1862 and Amsterdam Vallon is a young man being released from reform school. The priest releasing him hands him a Bible and implores him to follow its teachings. Vallon walks out and throws the book off a bridge into the river.
0:16:22 Slavery abolished
A parade celebrating abolition marches through the Five Points as Amsterdam narrates on the state of New York City. Different factions are heard supporting or attacking New York's participation in the Civil War and the merits of slavery, the disagreement breaking out into violence.
0:17:36 Give us your tired
This scene opens with newspaper clippings bemoaning the recent influx of Irish immigrants into New York, shifting to the docks where we see this in action. People pouring off the boat are insulted, attacked, and recruited into military service and political parties indiscriminately. Amsterdam is seen entering amidst the crowds.
0:18:27 Home Sweet Home
The film now moves to a political rally at Tammany Hall where we see the Butcher entering the offices of William Tweed. Simultaneously Amsterdam returns to the Points and his old home in the Old Brewery. As Amsterdam descends into the brewery, Tweed talks to Bill about forging an alliance, to use his influence on the streets to back Tammany's interests. Amsterdam is now seen retrieving the knife and medal he buried after his father died.
0:22:18 Old friends
Amsterdam prays over his medal when he is approached by two men from behind. After a brief scuffle Amsterdam subdues them when one of them recognizes his medal and realizes he must be the son of the Priest. Amsterdam escapes to the street but is followed by the other man, whom Amsterdam comes to learn is Johnny, an old acquaintance.
0:24:30 Welcome back
Johnny walks Amsterdam through Paradise Square acquainting him with all of the current gangs and their particular habits. Amsterdam learns that the Dead Rabbits are gone and outlawed and that the Natives celebrate their victory every year in grand fashion. Amsterdam meets Jenny for the first time when she pickpockets Johnny.
0:27:42 Fire in the Points
As night falls. a fire starts in the Points. and everyone comes out to enjoy the show. Onlookers rush into the building in search of loot as rival fire brigades brawl in the street over who would receive the spoils, all the while letting the building burn. Amsterdam and Johnny run into the burning building to search for loot. when Johnny is trapped by a fallen beam. Amsterdam risks his life to save Johnny. and the two of them barely make it out alive.
0:30:48 Welcome to the gang
Johnny brings Amsterdam back to meet his fellow gang members and have him integrated into the crew. They explain how their fencing operation works and are inspecting the loot recovered from the fire when a police officer walks in demanding his "cut." Amsterdam recognizes Happy Jack as one of his father's lieutenants in the Dead Rabbits and tries to hide his face. Jack takes his pick of the loot and swaggers away, not noticing Amsterdam.
0:33:20 Reconnaissance
Amsterdam is seen going through the Five Points inquiring among the Chinese to the particulars of the Native's yearly celebration of his father's death. He learns where the party is held and what the Butcher does during it.
0:34:04 Meet the Butcher
As Amsterdam waits on the street, Johnny walks into a crowded, raucous Nativist bar in order to pay tribute to Bill the Butcher. He makes his way to the back where the Butcher is sitting playing cards and is ushered over. We now see that Amsterdam has followed Johnny inside and is only a few feet away when he is noticed by Bill. Bill beckons him over and speaks to the two of them, giving them instructions on a job he wants them to pull.
0:38:42 Ghouls
Through a thick fog Amsterdam, Johnny, and some other members of their crew row toward the Portuguese ship they were instructed to loot. Upon scaling the ship, however, they find the crew has already been murdered and the cargo has already been looted. The crew descends back to their boat, but Amsterdam grabs one of the corpses before leaving. The crew sells the corpse to medical students and salvages the job.
0:40:29 Fish hooked
Amsterdam and Johnny are once more in Bill's bar, reading the news account of the previous night's escapade. Bill is praising them when McGloin, one of Bill's inner circle and another ex-Dead Rabbit, takes issue with their tactics and insults the two boys. Amsterdam takes the bait, and a fight between the two quickly breaks out. Amsterdam quickly overpowers McGloin, gaining further favor with the Butcher.
0:44:58 Bill’s apprentice
Amsterdam is now walking through the Points at Bill's shoulder as the Butcher gives him a similar tour to the one he received from Johnny earlier on in the film.
0:45:57 Jenny, the Bludget
Amsterdam is walking through the Points, ignoring an Army recruiter on his way, when he sees Jenny again. Walking past, Jenny runs into Amsterdam, pick pocketing him in the process, before boarding a stagecoach. Realizing her theft, Vallon follows her, surveilling her as she pickpockets a man on the coach. He follows her to a mansion and watches as she robs it and then confronts her outside. There is a tense exchange after which Amsterdam retrieves his father's medal from her, and they walk away together. After a short conversation, Jenny tells Amsterdam she doesn't want to see him again.
0:52:46 Monk makes contact
Happy Jack Mulraney is showing a group of wealthy reform-minded New Yorkers around the Five Points on a fact-finding mission when they cross paths with the Butcher and his men. Bill greets them happily by name, underlining at the same time Jack's lack of authority in the Points. Bill and his gang continue on and encounter Monk who takes particular interest in Amsterdam, seeming to recognize him.
0:56:19 That’s a wound, that’s a kill
Bill is butchering a pig and at the same time lecturing Amsterdam. He shows him where on the pig a stab would result in death. He then gives the blade to Amsterdam and watches as he practices killing strikes.
0:58:02 Three or four will do
Bill goes to Tammany Hall to meet with Tweed, accompanied by Amsterdam and Johnny. Tweed tells Bill that in order to maintain good public opinion, they need to have a hanging and compels Bill to find four men to be hung. Meanwhile, Johnny accuses Amsterdam of having an ulterior motive for getting close to the Butcher.
0:59:49 Hung
The hanging takes place with Bill and Amsterdam front and center. The men are hung to music and a cheering crowd while Amsterdam is visibly disquieted.
1:01:39 Jenny at the dance
That evening Amsterdam and his friends attend a dance put on by the Mission. Jenny is selected to be the queen of the dance and have first selection of partners. Much to Johnny's dismay, she passes over him and chooses Amsterdam. After some initial awkwardness, they get more comfortable, and both enjoy their proximity. Dancing quickly gives way to romance outside the dancehall, as Jenny and Amsterdam kiss and take off each other's clothes. Amsterdam notices a locket around her neck that the Butcher had taken off of one of the men who had been hung earlier that day. When he learns that it was a gift from Bill, he tells her he is through with her, as he isn't interested in the Butcher's leavings.
1:10:30 Boxing
A bare-knuckle boxing match run by the Butcher is being contested, and Amsterdam is busy taking bets. Before it can be finished, however, the illegal fight is broken up by the police. Amsterdam suggests that the location be moved to beyond the extent of the city limits, and this is done to great success. Amsterdam is rewarded for his ingenuity by public recognition and private acknowledgment by Bill.
1:12:44 They are no Americans
Tweed, Bill, and Amsterdam watch as newly arrived immigrants disembark at the docks. Tweed and Cutting disagree over the value of the immigrants, whom Bill sees as blight. Tweed warns him that he is ignoring an inevitable future. Meanwhile newly arrived men are compelled to join the Army and are immediately put back onto boats headed south.
1:15:23 Night at the theater
Bill, Amsterdam, and the rest of the natives are at the theater watching "Uncle Tom's Cabin" be put on by the Mission. They begin to get rowdy, hurling vegetables at the actors, yelling, and climbing onto the stage. During this confusion a man approaches Bill and draws a gun with the aim to kill him and is only stopped at the last second by the intercession of a diving Amsterdam. Amsterdam wrestles the pistol from the would-be- assassin, shooting him in the process. He dies moments later as Bill tries to learn who sent him. Amsterdam is visibly shaken and disappears backstage where he is seen in tears. Just then he is confronted by Monk, who reveals that he knows exactly who he is. Monk cautions him and tells him to remember who he truly is.
1:20:45 Jenny and Amsterdam
Bill and Amsterdam have retired to a tavern where they are seen enjoying drugs, alcohol, women, and music. Late in the night Jenny appears to tend to Bill's wound. Amsterdam follows her upstairs where they begin to fight, only to end up in each other's arms, making love. Johnny sees the two of them kissing and leaves with a pained expression on his face.
1:25:14 The son he never had
Amsterdam awakes next to Jenny to find Bill sitting in a chair near their bed. Bill talks to Amsterdam about the Priest, calling him a great and honorable man, and recounting the day he killed him. He leaves, referring to Amsterdam as his son. Amsterdam then turns and demands that Jenny explain her relationship with Bill. She tells him that Bill took her in when she was a child, taking care of her and eventually becoming romantic with her. After her abortion he no longer wanted her in that way. Jenny asks Amsterdam who he is, but he stares at her in silence.
1:33:23 Amsterdam practices
Monk is woken by a noise and goes to his window to inspect. There he watches as Amsterdam intensely practices throwing a knife into a wooden target repeatedly.
1:34:09 Johnny plays him false
The annual celebration of the Native's victory over Priest Vallon and the Dead Rabbits is being held at the Sparrow's Chinese Pagoda and a festive scene of debauchery unfolds. Bill and Amsterdam are shown simultaneously preparing for the evening, though with very different visions in mind. As Amsterdam enters the venue Johnny is shown telling Bill his secret, not only that his name is Vallon but that he plans to kill him.
1:36:41 Amsterdam is unmasked
The party has now started when P.T. Barnum calls Bill to the stage to perform. He calls Jenny on stage to accompany him in his performance as his assistant. Bill proceeds to throw knives at Jenny as she plays along, though it is noticeably tense and Jenny is clearly afraid. Upon conclusion Bill ushers in an American band and removes the Chinese musicians as he prepares to take the metaphorical drink of "fire." Amsterdam attempts to murder the Butcher at the moment he takes the drink, but Bill is ready and deflects the knife, throwing one of his own into Amsterdam's stomach. Amsterdam is restrained and brutally beaten in front of all of the onlookers. Bill refuses to kill him, however, saying he doesn't deserve a death at his hand. Instead, Bill brands him on the cheek so that he can feel the shame of being the only living man spared by the Butcher.
1:47:38 Monk lights the fire
Jenny leads a doctor to Amsterdam's bloodied body, held in the tunnels below the Old Brewery. She stays at his side, nursing him back to health. She shows him her life's savings and tells him she intends to use it to pay for the two of them to travel to California. Later Monk enters the room looking for an audience with Amsterdam. He talks to Amsterdam about what his father had been fighting for when he died and about what he might have achieved had he lived a little longer.
1:53:20 The Dead Rabbits live
Walking through the Five Points toward Paradise Square Amsterdam draws the attention of everyone on the street. As everyone looks on, Amsterdam ties a dead rabbit to a fence post in the middle of the square and defiantly stares out at the streets.
1:54:26 Happy Jack is put to the ask
The rabbit is now on a table in front of Bill, and he is shown commanding Happy Jack to find the person who was responsible.
1:57:07 Happy Jack is put to the rack
Happy Jack is searching the tunnels when he hears someone and gives chase, thinking it's Vallon. He chases the person up into the new church, which is still under construction, attempting to draw him out by talking about his old relationship with the Priest. Vallon pounces from behind a column and throws his hands around Jack's throat, strangling him to death. Happy Jack's corpse has been trussed up to a lamppost in the pose of crucifixion for all of Five Points to see. Tweed worriedly confers with the Butcher in front of the spot, but Bill does not share any of his concern. Tweed is clearly troubled by Bill's nonchalance.
1:59:10 Johnny comes clean
Amsterdam and his growing forces hold a conference in the unfinished church, talking about the potential strength of the Irish in New York. Johnny admits to Amsterdam that he was the one who told the Butcher who he truly was. Amsterdam tells him to leave the Points and never return.
2:00:59 Johnny learns what a native is
Johnny is intercepted by McGloin and brought before Bill who speaks ominously on what it means to truly be a Native. Amsterdam and Jenny are then shown running through the Points toward Paradise Square, where Johnny is mounted on the same fence that Amsterdam had hung his rabbit. Johnny is clearly close to death, and Amsterdam puts him out of his misery with a shot to the head. Amsterdam falls to the ground weeping while Bill is shown sharpening knives.
2:04:05 Go and pray with the Natives
McGloin is shown lighting a prayer candle in Amsterdam's church, and Amsterdam and some of his gang come out and confront him. They beat him and tell him to go pray with the Natives, the final blow being dealt by the archbishop himself. McGloin returns that night with the Butcher and a horde of natives brandishing torches and weapons who meet an assembled force of men, women, and children awaiting them on the church steps. The Natives turn back as Bill promises Amsterdam that they will return when he is ready for them. Amsterdam then proclaims that they are the reincarnation of the Dead Rabbits.
2:07:02 I’d like you to be that friend
People are shown resisting the draft as Tweed comes into the Points looking for Amsterdam. He enters the church and sits down with him, discussing the potential power that he has as the leader of the Irish, offering him an alliance against the Butcher. Amsterdam tells Tweed that he will get Tammany the Irish vote if Tammany backs an Irishman for sheriff. Tweed tells Amsterdam that there is no suitable candidate, to which Amsterdam answers with a stare.
2:09:38 Monk for sheriff
Amsterdam hands Monk an election flyer showing him as the candidate for sheriff. Monk is assured he can say what he wants, and he accepts. Monk is next shown delivering a campaign speech, which is much more warmly received than that of the Native's rival candidate. Tweed is impressed with his capacity.
2:11:01 A Roman Triumph
It's Election Day, and both factions are shown engaging in every manner possible to increase the votes for their candidate. They usher people to the polls multiple times promising them money or free alcohol and disguise them with wigs, clothing, or newly cut hair and beards to make allow them to vote multiple times. Tweed joins in, instructing his right hand man to falsify the results in order to give Monk a wide margin of victory. The scene ends with Monk and the Dead Rabbits celebrating in the street while Bill reflects in silence in his bar.
2:12:47 The 45th notch
The following morning Monk receives a note from Bill reading "today." Monk steps outside, where Bill awaits him in the street, but proclaims to the streets that he will not engage in violence and invites Bill inside to settle their problems the democratic way. When he turns to go inside, Bill hurls a cleaver into his back, dropping him to the ground. Bill approaches Monk and, within the sight of everyone, murders him with his own shillelagh.
2:15:11 Who elected him?
Tweed learns of Monk's demise and travels to the Points to confront Bill. Tweed lectures Bill for killing an elected official, but Bill is unrepentant. He swears to kill Amsterdam and threatens Tweed's life is he ever finds him in Five Points again.
2:16:27 Challenge accepted
The streets are full as Monk's funeral procession makes its way through the Points. Bill and the Natives watch as they march past, grinning and laughing to themselves. The procession stops, and Amsterdam approaches Bill, extending him a challenge. Bill accepts the challenge, and the procession continues along.
2:18:03 No pistols
Images of the horrors of the Civil War are shown along with references to the impending draft, followed by the draft officers beginning the process of selection. As an increasingly angered crowd gathers outside the draft offices, the various factions of the Five Points gangs met to discuss the terms of their impending battle. Terms being agreed upon, the council of gangs breaks up as, across town, a fire company is shown busting through the windows of the draft offices breaking up the draft. A small scale riot ensued but was quickly quelled by the police.
2:20:36 A very dark night
Horace Greeley is seen at the Schermerhorn's discussing the draft riot earlier that day. Tweed is across the room, uneasy about the events, but Schermerhorn and the others don't seem too concerned. Greeley tells the company that all those in the city who wish to see further rioting were putting lighted candles in their windows. Schermerhorn brushes this off, prophesying a dark night, but we see candles being lit and placed in nearly every window in the Five Points. Meanwhile, Amsterdam is preparing for the battle the following morning, when Jenny comes in to tell him she is leaving for California without him. He asks her to stay one more day, but she tells him she can't, that he will be dead. She walks away with tears in her eyes.
2:23:00 The mob
The following morning mobs of people poured into the streets armed with weapons. Meanwhile Amsterdam and Bill prepare for battle, praying for deliverance, while Schermerhorn prays over his breakfast table uptown. Rioters interrupt breakfast, however, smashing through doors and windows and attacking the residents. The rioters were all over the city, overrunning meager police forces, looting at will, and setting buildings on fire. Blacks and the rich were especially targeted by the mob for their connection to their displeasure with the draft. The Dead Rabbits meanwhile arm themselves and otherwise prepare for battle, unaware of the destruction. The mob takes control of the streets prompting the city to send in the military, who meet the mob with muskets drawn.
2:28:00 Take no prisoners
The Dead Rabbits and the Natives square off across Paradise Square about to battle when the ships at harbor began to fire artillery into Five Points. The mass confusion that ensues drives the two forces to disperse, stopping any battle from taking place. Simultaneously, the soldiers confronting the mob fire into the crowd, killing those at the front and driving the rest of the crowd back into the Points. Amidst the chaos and smoke Amsterdam searches for Bill, who likewise had not abandoned his goal. In the low visibility Bill cuts Amsterdam repeatedly before he is able to land a blow. A cannon shot near them leaves them both sprawled in the street near each other. Bill receives some shrapnel to the gut and is finished off by Amsterdam, stabbing the Butcher in the chest. Bill dies at his feet.
2:33:57 Burying a lot of votes
Jenny finds Amsterdam lying in the street, and they embrace. The extent of the destruction is shown that night as buildings burn and rubble and bodies fill the streets. Mass graves are filled, and unidentified bodies are lined down the street with candles on top of them so they may be claimed.
2:36:18 So then too was our great city
Amsterdam closes the film narrating the final toll of the battles they fought. He buries his father's blade next to the adjacent graves of the Butcher and the Priest and talks of how little the world knew of their great struggles. We are left with a view of smoldering New York and watch as it gradually grows and transforms into the city we know today, while the grave site weathers and is reduced to an overgrown and unrecognizable spot.