Assignment #2 – Gangs of New York – The pain of a boy turns into the rage of a man – Stephan Moyano


1846, located in Lower Manhattan’s Five Points the plot of the story in Gangs of New York doesn’t hesitate to get straight to the point with its first gory scene of hand-to-hand combat between The Natives and Dead Rabbits who create a battlefield for claim in territory.
With the introductory scene of a bond between father (The Priest) and son (Amsterdam) to the first battle scene of back and forth shots between Amsterdam’s facial expression of despair to watching his people descend one by one, sympathy will lead you to take on the Dead Rabbits side til the end.



The soundtrack, ‘Signal to Noise’ by Peter Gabriel conveys the pride and determination within the warriors these rival gangs were bred to be. The bloodbath is matched up to drum loops similarly to a soft bass with each strike and thump of every body constantly hitting the ground. Each stab and gash is defined by the music’s high pitched loops. The sound of an electric guitar carries out the cries of the fallen men through its echo. All of a sudden the music tones down as
the leader of The Natives, Bill “the Butcher” Cutting approaches The Priest, Vallon.
As soon as Bill takes down Amsterdam’s father, the music’s melody completely shifts to a long and mellow chant. Then a screechy horn is blown to declare the loss of the Dead Rabbits and the victory of The Natives.
After seeing young Amsterdam witness his own father’s death, the revengeful fury seen in the boy’s eyes and the instinctive actions he takes leads the audience to figure Amsterdam will one day avenge his father’s death, thus that the story has only just begun for a perfect set-up to every following side plot and theme.IMG_6671


Assignment #2 – Gangs of New York: Respect is better than Fear!

As Priest Vallon is lying on the ground after being stabbed by Bill “The Butcher” Cutting, the camera does a close-up on his face as he speaking to his son Amsterdam. The shot is done to give you the intensity of that moment. Priest Vallon tells Amsterdam, “Don’t never look away.” The line can be equated to when a father tell his son, “always look a man in his eye when you are speaking to him, it is a sign of respect.” This part is purposely put in the movie to let you know the character of the priest, seeing that he dies in the first 12 minutes of the movie. Priest Vallon then tells Bill Cutting to “finish it.” This leads to a close-up of Bill’s face, where you are able to see the look of admiration for killing a worthy adversary rather than a look of satisfaction most would have when finishing off an enemy. That leads Bill to give a final farewell speech for the Priest, which is shot in an extreme long shot with an high angle. This allows the reviewer to be able to see the respect that Bill has and will have throughout the movie. “Ears and noses are the trophies of the day. But no hand shall touch him. No! …hand shall touch him! He’ll cross over whole… in honor.” Those are the words of Bill Cutting for Priest Vallon being such an honorable adversary. This scene in the movie propels the rest of the story and shows the meaning of respect/honor that happens to be the underline theme. Also this is the moment when you realize Bill Cutting will be more than just an uneducated brutal murderer instead he will be a savvy, patriotic, hustler with a sense of honor.liamneeson

Assignment #2 Gangs Of New York by Melanie Melendez Hernandez

There was a pivotal scene in the movie “Gangs of New York” by Martin Scorsese where Amsterdam (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) saves the gang leader Bill “The Butcher” Cutting (Daniel Day-Lewis) from an assassination attempt. Amsterdam semi-blocks a gun shot directed to Cutting, which still wounds him, during a theater production in The Five Points of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”. Amsterdam then shoots and kills the man who attempted the assassination. Cutting appreciates him and praises him, but Amsterdam then leaves and is distraught over what he has done. He has protected the man that killed his father, who he shall get his vengeance on in the end.

What I liked about this scene, like many other indoor scenes in this movie, is the lighting. Back in the late 1800’s when the events of the movie took place, there weren’t any electric lamps, and fire was the main source of light. I feel that the low lighting in this movie really highlighted the historical accuracy of it, and it also helped the depiction of the characters. Amsterdam is caught between well-lit areas and places with low lighting, which helps convey his role in the movie as a man secretly pretending to be part of a rival gang just to be able to avenge his fathers death, caught between good and bad.

Assignment #2- Gangs of New York- Amanda Alegria

Honorable Men

Bill the Butcher is sitting in an upstairs bedroom where Amsterdam and Jenny lie after their night together, cloaked in a tattered American flag and morning light spilling on him from the window to his right.

I killed the last honorable man fifteen years ago…

He refers to Priest Vallon, not knowing at this point of the relationship between Priest and Amsterdam, and reveals a vulnerable side of himself by relaying the shame he carries having killed Priest Vallon in battle. We surmise that Amsterdam’s actions the night prior, saving Bill’s life from the gun of a stranger, greatly endeared Bill and moved him to sharing this part of himself. However, the scene instead of heart-warming, is tense; we aren’t sure if Bill has discovered the truth about Amsterdam, and we read Amsterdam’s anxiety in his glare and Bill, “a murderous rage”.

During one duel, Bill tells Amsterdam, Priest gains the upper hand and has the opportunity to kill him, but when the Butcher couldn’t face him, the Priest resolves to spare him so that he has to live with the shame. Bill’s barbaric response to this explains his false eye–that he gouges the eye that didn’t meet Priest’s, wraps and sends it to him in blue paper. And when he gets better, he kills Priest, the scene ending with a shaky “Well done” from Amsterdam.

What I was most curious to explore about this scene was the concept of Honor: what it means, what it meant in 19th C. America, and why it was so important to the men of Gangs of New York.

From Pistols at Ten Paces: The Story of the Code of Honor in America by William Oliver Stevens

The duel, a social practice common in the United States during the century 1770 to 1870, has been defined as a “a private fight between two persons, prearranged and fought with deadly weapons..having for its object to decide a personal quarrel or to settle a point of honor.”

Martin Scorsese portrays from the 1840’s to the Civil War Draft Riots of 1863, the ghetto gehenna of the Five Points. This setting places the fateful conflict of Bill the Butcher, Priest Vallon, and son Amsterdam Vallon within the time frame of the social practice of duels before mentioned. But I can begin to understand how the responsibility of earning and defending honor can be of such importance to these men by analyzing their socioeconomic reality–living in a place where survival supersedes morality, and the conditions to survive are very physical in nature, where gender roles are not as progressive as today’s, and how that too came with its set of expectations and responsibilities. How would one find work if a man didn’t deem him an honorable man worthy of work?

Honor in 19th C. America is manhood, and the shame that Bill the Butcher feels beneath Priest Vallon in duel stripped him of his personal manhood, which then was only regained through fatal retribution. And when Amsterdam is released from the boys’ home fifteen years after the death of his father at the hands of the butcher, it is the same honor that he must earn and defend on behalf of his late father through fatal retribution. Duels and their outcomes were understood between gentlemen, and they could picture no better way to die than an honorable death at the hands of an honorable man. The anthropologist Julian Pitt-Rivers defines the philosophy in these terms:

Honour is the value of a person in his own eyes, but also in the eyes of his society. It is his estimation of his own worth, his claim to pride, but it is also the acknowledgment of that claim, his excellence recognized by society, his right to pride.

Assignment#2 Gangs of New York Dexter Borja


In the movie gangs of new york. I have chosen this scene becaouse it shows us how everyday life is on the streets of five points from death to poverty and danger at all times even the children are out of control. at the begging Also this was a good way to introduce JennyEverdeane (Cameron Diaz) at the begging signaling that she is going to play an important role in the movie. In this scene Johnny (Henry Thomas) explains and shows Amsterdam (Leonardo DiCaprio)  the different gangs that are around from new ones to old ones and what their characteristics are from the way they start problems and steal and kill.

Amsterdam then questioned Johnny about what had happened to the gang his father was in. Johnny then responds to Amsterdam you dont say that name dyed with you they have been outlawed and that Amsterdam had heard from a gang that the Natives an American gang that the dead rabits lost to celebrate their victory every year and johnny responds with yes but youd have to be invited in order to go.

Assignment #2 Gangs of New York by Jessica Gonzalez

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The scene I chose to blog about was when Bill the Butcher viciously murdered Walter “Monk” McGinn, in public, and no one stopped him. In the scenes leading up to his death, Monk was running for the local sheriff position in the Five Points, and Boss Tweed had supported him in hopes that the entire Irish community would vote, and ultimately win over the Butcher.

Boss Tweed is the head of Tammany Hall, which was the Democratic Party in New York. Although Tweed was actually being controlled by the Butcher. The Butcher is extremely hateful towards immigrants, especially Irish men, and if it were his way, there wouldn’t be any of them in New York. So to go back to the main point, the Butcher viewed Monk as a threat, seeing that Monk was an Irishman who had the majority of the vote and would allow immigrants to continue to live and stay in New York.

Boss Tweed actually approached Amsterdam himself and wanted Monk to run and wanted Monk to win. Amsterdam was the son of Monk’s mercenary, the Priest. The both of them were prominent figures in the Dead Rabbits. Monk actually ended up winning by a landslide, which aggravated the Butcher.


In the scene, the Butcher challenges Monk outside his barber shop. When Monk says that they should go inside and “resolve this in a democratic way”, he goes to turn his back, and Bill throws a butcher knife into Monk’s back. He then takes Monk’s club and kills him.


I believe the main themes in this movie are loyalty and betrayal and vengeance among others. The main focus here was vengeance for the Butcher towards Monk for defeating him, and him not being able to accept this as the final answer.


This scene takes place On February 6, 1846, at Paradise Square in Lower Manhattan’s Five Points. This was a battle between the Natives, and “Priest” Vallon’s Irish Catholic immigrant gang, “The Dead Rabbits”. They have an argument about religion, they really hated each other. They had weapons on their hands ready to start the fight.



This battle starts and they start killing each other, and the leader of the Natives “Cutting” kills the leader of the Dead Rabbits “Vallon”, and the Natives take the place. Amsterdam, Vallon’s son takes his father knife so that one day he will avenge his father. He looked at his father in the eye, and his father told him to run away. The Natives took him and putted in prison.


He will come back as an adult, and he will avenge his father and protect his people from the Natives. This turns into a hard moment to this boy because he would stay alone for a really long time.