Gangs of New York: Life of Amsterdam

Topics: Gangs of New York, New York City, American Civil War Pages: 3 (856 words) Published: December 4, 2011
Gangs Of New York
For my research paper I decided to write a film analysis on The Gangs of New York. This film was released in 2002 and it follows the life of an Irish man named Amsterdam (Leonardo DeCaprio) during the late 19th century. The film is centered on an area called “five points.” Its name comes from the intersection of 5 streets- Mulberry, Orange, Little Water, Cross and Anthony St. The center was a place where the poor lived because it always had a stench of sewage. The town square catered to violence and disease. In the beginning of the film, there is a war between the “natives” and the “dead rabbits” that were Irish immigrants at the five points. Amsterdams’ father was the leader of the dead rabbits and the two gangs engaged in a deadly battle. The leader of the natives, “bill the butcher” ended up taking the life of Amsterdams father Priest Vallon. During the battle Bill kills Vallon and Amsterdam witnesses the violence. The natives celebrate the victory of the dead rabbits annually after that. 16 years later Amsterdam returns to New York as an adult, and the natives are still present in New York. Former members of the dead rabbits have joined the Natives. most notably Jack who is now a police officer. The natives were involved in the “Tweed ring.” William Tweed was a corrupt politician who was in control of the police station close to 5 points. Amsterdam meets a pick pocketer named Jenny, who was raised by the butcher. One night he becomes sexually involved with her. The movie shows Irish immigrants being the victims of racism, and at the bottom of the social ladder. As soon as they set foot on American soil men are forced to join the draft for the Civil war. At the end rioters are lashing out against the draft. There is violence in the street, and Amsterdam and “The Butcher” have their last duel. Amsterdam ends up killing The butcher in an honorable fashion. Gangs of New York depict the political corruption, violence, and poor living...
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