Prayer Focus
Movie Review

Gangs of New York

MPAA Rating: R for intense strong violence, sexuality/nudity and language.
Extremely Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Crime Drama
2 hr. 44 min.
Year of Release:
“Gangs of New York”

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Cameron Diaz, Daniel Day-Lewis, Liam Neeson, Henry Thomas | Directed by: Martin Scorsese | Produced by: Alberto Grimaldi, Martin Scorsese | Written by: Steven Zaillian, Steven Zallian, Jay Cocks, Martin Scorsese, Kenneth Lonergan | Distributor: Miramax Films

Viewer Comments
Comments below:
Positive—“Gangs of New York” is a movie that I find to be extremely relevant in this time of unrest in our world and nation. It is a movie that I think should be seen by everyone. The acting, production, and direction are all brilliant, however I believe that it is the themes that are in the movie that are the most relevant.

This is a movie that grapples with what it means to be at war. For those viewers that left before the movie ended, you missed the best part. The final scene of the movie where the buildings rise into modern day New York and the cemetary becomes overgrown and forgotten is one of the most powerful scenes in a movie that I have seen in a long time. It makes you wonder about the purposes of fighting wars today. Do they make any more sense than the “senseless” violence that was portrayed in this movie? more »
My Ratings: [Very Offensive / 5]
—Lane, age 22
Positive—“Gangs of New York” is easily one of the best films of the year. Martin Scorsese is a master of storytelling and of cinema. The cinematography is a constant flow of brilliance. It has just the right amount of impulse or restraint for each scene. New York looks fantastic. It is alive and bustling, sometimes dirty and gritty, but always great to look at. In a lengthy series opening the movie, we learn that there is a war for the streets going on in New york. the two strongest groups are the Natives, headed by Bill the Butcher, and The Dead Rabbits, which are lead by a man named Priest Vallon.

There is a bloody battle, a very bloody one indeed, Priest is struck down, and the Rabbits, more or less, disband. more »
My Ratings: [Average / 5]
—Jason Eaken, age 19
Positive—“Gangs Of New York” is an epic film portraying brutal street life in 1860’s New York. “Gangs Of New York” builds to a memorable ending earning its “R” rating along the way. The violence and nudity portrays the times. I have seen more vulgarity in PG-13 films. This grandiose movie is worth its entry fee, and I can recommend “Gangs Of New York” to the point where I would see it again.

…All three [main] actors put in fine performances bringing life to the grand sets and period dress of the Five Points. Suspense builds, and the era comes alive. The film’s weakness in my view is sticking to the good guy-bad guy formula. more »
My Ratings: [Very Offensive / 4]
—Todd Adams, age 35
Positive—…one of the best movies of the year and everyone should see it, but if your convictions tell you otherwise, than you really shouldn’t. I turned my head a few times b/c of some nudity, but other than that, it was pretty tolerable.
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive / 5]
—PS, age 18
Positive—“Gangs of New York” is, in my opinion, a beautiful film, and superior to the Two Towers. It is definitely one of the best movies I have ever seen. The acting is amazing. This is Daniel Day Louis’s best performance, and one of the best performances ever, in any film, period. I hope he wins the Oscar. Leo Dicaprio has once again proven his talent. Many people think he’s too teeny cutesy after Titanic, but try watching Romeo + Juliet. He can do Shakespeare, and convincingly too, which is proof. And in Gangs, he is perfect. People say he’s miscast, but I found his performance to be riveting.

Also, Cameron Diaz did well in this movie. At first I thought she would be too “pretty” for the tough streets of New York, but surprisingly, she does very well. Martin Scorsese did not miscast a single actor. Scorsese did a grand job directing this film, however. Gangs is nearly flawlessly directed and edited. It kept my attention the whole way through. It’s epic and brutal. more »
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive / 2]
—Thomas, age 19
Negative—Any positive review of this movie is a pure example of the destructive tolerance that pervades Christian culture today. Any recommendation of this movie is a simple condoning of the dark violence and sexual perversion that is smeered throughout its content. I’m not sure what sort of calculation Mr. Jason Eaken made, but according to my regretable experience with this movie, at least 10% of the movie was set in some sort of brothel and included unabashed sexual indulgence that should make anybody, Christian or not, blush and run!

The idea that portrayal, accurate or not, of a culture’s basest elements is justification of movie content and our entertainment spending is entirely absurd and menacing to Christian testimony. I am sorry to have seen this movie and would strongly recommend against any time spent absorbing its dark filth. Any entertainment value or dramatic elements of this movie are entirely perverted and destroyed by the severe lack of moral regulation. Hollywood once again uses a film to deceive people into thinking that the only role of the church in history was to incite racism and conflict.

The only valid religious characters of the story, the people at the local mission, are with their efforts to affect healing in the community dismissed as irrelevant and totally hopeless. The only solution offered in this movie is a violent and indulgent “live for today, for tomorrow we die” philosophy. Please, take my word for it and avoid supporting this movie with one more of your dollars.
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive / 2½]
—Ryan Brueckner, age 26
Negative—In all honesty “Gangs of New York” is most likely the best film-making of Martin Scorsese’s career, with an amazing performance by Daniel Day Lewis, and another surprising performance by Leonardo DiCaprio. Its truly unfortunate that so much tallent has to be directed in such a disappointing piece of cinema. Certainly you’ve all heard that this film breaks new ground in the portrayal of mass violence, and sexual contact (nudity). However, the real offense lies in what films like this do the the spirit of humanity… People will argue that this is a historical film and as such has a place in society. But I disagree. I disagree because I question what Mr. Scorsese’s purpose is in telling this story to his audience. Film-makers(directors, actors, writers… etc.) have the potential to affect us in very powerful ways. They literally hold our emotions in their hands.

And at such a time as this in our world when there is so much uncertainty, confusion, sorrow, and fear why don’t more entertainers make an effort to give us an emotional boost in a positive direction. Christ reminded us that in the world we would have incredible troubles but he also commanded us to keep our eyes on Him and the hope that He gives. We as Christians need to encourage one another to do this and stop supporting films like this and encourage our unsaved to do likewise. Everybody needs to be warned to not see this movie for the damage it will do to your sensitivities and your opinion of mankind. I unfortunately went into this movie without doing my usual research or I would have never seen it.
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive / 4]
—Matthew A. Markakis, age 26
Negative—“Some nudity”? ARE YOU JOKING??? I was horrified by the sexuality of this movie. I’m not sure it should have even gotten a “R” rating. I have NEVER seen a more vulgar film in my life. Maybe it is an example of the times, but that is no reason to watch this “entertainment”. Sin is sin, whether it be one hundred and fifty years ago in New York City or today in Las Vegas. I have never walked out of a movie before this one. I, as well as the five people I went with, all ended up leaving before the end. I strongly encourage you to spend your time—and money—elsewhere.
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive / 3]
—Jean, age 18
This is regarding the comment made by Jean, age 18. I commented that there was some nudity. She saw the film, then asked if I was joking. It would be unfair not to let me respond, so here is my response: No, Jean, I am not kidding. How long was the movie? 2 hr. 44 min. (164 min.) In the entire movie, I assume that there MAY have been a total of one minute of nudity, resulting in far less than even .05% of the film. To call that some nudity is a gross exaggeration, in fact. As for the language, there were 9 “F” words. The vast majority of R rated films contain at least 3 times as much, therefore, there was not very much bad language. I must say that I do not understand leaving movies. I absolutely detested “Pearl Harbor” but I stayed for the entire, grueling 3 hr. Why?

Well, because how much weight can my comments have if I didn’t even sit through the whole movie? If I didn’t give it a chance to redeem itself? The nudity came about midway through the film. There was none before it and none after it. And I am curious as to why a person who is obviously offended at any and all sexual content (And there is nothing wrong with that, don’t think I’m trying to bash that view, I am not.) would have gone to see this film. If she had seen even one preview of it, she would have known that there was, in fact, going to be some sexual content. I still maintain that this is one of the best films of 2002. The more I think about it, the more I love it, the better it becomes to me.
My Ratings: [Average / 5]
—Jason Eaken, age 19
Negative—“Gangs of New York” was a well made, good movie. However, I don’t recommend that a Christian should see it. It was full of graphic violence, sex, nudity, and language. After seeing the movie, I wished I hadn’t.
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive / 4]
—Joel, age 24
Negative—After ashamedly seeing this movie all I can say to others and myself is… “whatsoever things are true, whatever is right, whatever is pure, what ever is lovely, whatever is praiseworthy… think on these things” Philipians 4:8
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive / 4]
—J Shea, age 51
Negative—The movie was horrible… predictable, dragged out too long, and offensive. Just kill the freakin guy and get it over with, but no, he must wait, and get involved with naked ladies and disgusting orgies. I left before the end, because I was embarrassed to be seen in such a place…
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive / 1]
—Dacus, age 18
Negative—This is the most offensive movie I’ve ever seen. I walked out before the end. Blasphemies of God, from both the antagonist and protagonist. A very detailed orgy, including frontal nudity of multiple women. Excellent in terms of acting, effects, photography, etc. but that doesn’t justify watching it.

Don’t tell yourself you’re seeing this movie for historical purposes; there are plenty of history books you can read about New York. I understand seeing “Saving Private Ryan” for historical purposes and to show us the horrors of war our parents/grandparents went through. But what historical event necessitates us seeing an orgy, very detailed and showing about 30 women fully nude, and one couple very explicitly practicing their perversion? Why wasn’t it just implied that Daniel Day Lewis’s character was shady?

There is nothing redeeming about this movie, it is the most offensive movie I’ve ever seen.
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive / 4½]
—Anonymous, age 19
Negative—Do not go see this movie… I have never spent so much time staring into my popcorn bag as I did tonight. This movie is disgusting, and I am ashamed that I sat all the way through it. Psalm 101:3
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive / 2]
—Ryan Guard, age 24
Comments from young people
Positive—As you all probably know, this is not a film for the kids. But nonetheless, this film should not be avoided. Despite what others have said, this is not the most morally corrupt film ever made. If anything, it may be one of the most historically accurate films ever made.

The language in the movie is not too bad for an R-rated film. The language is not excessive, and is very apt for a movie set in New York in the 1860’s. The violence is nowhere near being considered gore. Although there is a lot of fighting, the camera only shows blood on the ground and a few instances of weapons connecting with their intended targets. Overall, the film is violent, but not gory. more »
My Ratings: [Very Offensive / 5]
—Kalen McMurrough, age 17
Neutral—I just got back from “Gangs of New York,” and I an extremely disappointed. They must of taken the best three minutes of the film for the preview. I went into the movie thinking it would be your usual violent film rated R because of the realness of the fighting etc. This film is filled with very obscene nudity and excessive gore. I feel bad because I didn’t walk out. I strongly would discourage any christian from seeing this movie. It was a total waste of my time and money.
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive / 3]
—Jeremy Waller, age 17
Neutral—“Gangs of New York” is a great movie. The language is just a few words. There is not a lot of nudity. …It may be rated R, but it is better than other rated R movies.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Joshua Sites, age 16 (USA)
Movie Critics
…a bloody, dark, depressing, hopeless depiction of “eye-for-an-eye” violence, torture, and cruelty, plus graphic sexual immorality and nudity…
…Scorsese paints his cinematic canvas with broad strokes, showcasing political graft, racial intolerance, sexual diversity, and the religious fervor of fanatical men…
—Michael Elliott, Movie Parables
…It both astounds and enthrals, providing a riveting exploration of America’s dark heart…
—Nev Pierce, BBC
…If the greatness of a film can be measured by the magnitude of a single performance, the breadth of the ideas and the sheer number of thrilling images, “Gangs of New York” might be the greatest film ever made…
—Joe Williams, St. Louis Post Dispatch