Gangs of New York

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Gangs of New York is a 2002 film about Amsterdam Vallon, who returns to New York to seek revenge against Bill "the Butcher" for his father's death.

Directed by Martin Scorsese. Written by Jay Cocks.
America Was Born In The Streets.


Bill the Butcher

  • I gotta sleep with one eye open and I've only got one eye, right?
  • What do you say, Jen? One more time for the sweet souvenir?
  • This is a night for America!
  • Everything you see belongs to me, to one degree or another. The beggars and newsboys and quick thieves here in Paradise, the sailor dives and gin mills and blind tigers on the waterfront, the anglers and amusers, the she-hes and the Chinks. Everybody owes, everybody pays. Because that's how you stand up against the rising of the tide.
  • That, my friends, is the minority vote.
  • Burn him, see if his ashes turn green.
  • Fine waistcoat. Shame about it, I don't think it can be mended. Will I keep it as a souvenir?!
  • Look, I want you to see this. This is you, right here! Notch 45, you Irish bog bastard.
  • I have a hole in my shoulder and it hurts, so have a drink and shut up or shut up and get out.
  • You see this knife? I'm gonna teach you to speak English with this fucking knife!
  • Mulberry Street... and Worth... Cross and Orange... and Little Water. Each of the Five Points is a finger. When I close my hand it becomes a fist. And, if I wish, I can turn it against you.
  • Ears and noses will be the trophies of the day. But no hand shall touch him.
  • My father gave his life, making this country what it is. Murdered by the British with all of his men on the twenty fifth of July, anno domini, 1814. Do you think I'm going to help you befoul his legacy, by giving this country over to them, what's had no hand in the fighting for it? Why, because they come off a boat crawling with lice and begging you for soup.
  • A real native is someone who is willing to die fighting for his country. There's nothing more to it.
  • Don't mind him. He used to be an Irishman.
  • We hold in our hearts the memory of our fallen brothers whose blood stains the very streets we walk today. Also on this night we pay tribute to the leader of our enemies, an honorable man, who crossed over bravely, fighting for what he believed in. To defeat my enemy, I extinguish his life, and consume him as I consume these flames. In honor of Priest Vallon.
  • Oopsie-daisy!
  • I want you's all to meet the son of Priest Vallon. I took him under my wing and see how I'm repaid? Saves my life one day so he can kill me the next like a sneak-thief, instead of fighting like a man. A base defiler. Unworthy of a noble name.
  • This is fresh meat. What I mean is we need to tenderize this meat a little bit. Okay, let's kiss goodnight to that pretty young face of yours.
  • [Last words] Thank God. I die a true American.

Amsterdam Vallon

  • Lord, place the steel of the Holy Spirit in my spine and the love of the Virgin Mary in my heart.
  • It's a funny feeling being taken under the wing of a dragon. It's warmer than you'd think.
  • New York loved William Tweed... and hated him but for those of us trying to be thieves, we couldn't help but admire him.
  • If you get all of us together, we ain't got a gang, we've got an army.
  • When you kill a king, you don't stab him in the dark. You kill him where the entire court can watch him die.
  • Jenny was a Bluget, a girl pickpocket and a turtledove. A turtledove picks out a fine house, disguises herself as a housemaid and robs you blind. It takes a lot of sand to be a turtledove.
  • In the end, they put candles on the bodies so's their friends, if they had any, could know them in the dark. The city did this free of charge. Shang, Jimmy Spoils, Hell-cat, McGloin, and more. Friend or foe, didn't make no difference now. It was four days and nights before the worst of the mob was finally put down. We never knew how many New Yorkers died that week before the city was finally delivered. My father told me we was all born of blood and tribulation, and so then too was our great city. But for those of us what lived and died in them furious days, it was like everything we knew was mildly swept away. And no matter what they did to build this city up again... for the rest of time... it would be like no one even knew we was ever here.

Boss Tweed

  • The appearance of law must be upheld, especially when it's being broken.
  • Remember the first rule of politics. The ballots don't make the results, the counters make the results. The counters. Keep counting.
  • You know why he wears short sleeves? So they can see he's got nothing stashed. I hope that never becomes the fashion.
  • [as an anti-draft riot takes place] Sweet Jesus, war does terrible things to people.

Others

  • Army Recruiter: [swearing in Irish immigrants as citizens at the harbor] That document makes you a citizen, and this one makes you a private in the Union army. Now get out there and serve your country.
  • Jenny: [about Bill] When I was twelve years old, my mother was dead, and I was livin' in a doorway. He took me in. Took care of me, in his way. After they cut out the baby... well, he doesn't fancy girls that's scarred up. But you might as well know in your own mind that he never laid a hand on me until I asked him to.
  • Walter 'Monk' Mcginn: I've got forty-four notches on my club. Do you know what they're for? They're to remind me what I owe God when I die. My father was killed in battle, too. In Ireland, in the streets, fighting those who would take as their privilege what could only be got and held by the decimation of a race. That war is a thousand years old and more. We never expected it to follow us here. It didn't. It was waiting for us when we landed. Your father tried to carve out a corner of this land for his tribe. That was him, that was his dead rabbits. I often wondered... if he had lived a bit longer, would he have wanted a bit more?
  • Walter 'Monk' McGinn: Well that was bloody Shakespearian. Do you know who Shakespeare was, boyo? The fella who wrote the King James Bible.
  • Priest Vallon: The blood stays on the blade.
  • Priest Vallon: Don't never look away.

Dialogue

Priest Vallon: St. Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protector against the snares and the wickedness of the devil. Now, son, who's that?
Young Amsterdam: St. Michael.
Priest Vallon: Who is it?
Young Amsterdam: St. Michael!
Priest Vallon: And what did he do?
Young Amsterdam: He cast Satan out of Paradise.
Priest Vallon: Good boy.

Happy Jack: I'm paid to uphold the law.
Bill: What in Heaven's name are you talking about?

Bill: You. Whatever your name is... what is your name?
Amsterdam: Amsterdam, sir.
Bill: Amsterdam, I'm New York. Don't you never come in here empty handed again, you gotta pay for the pleasure of my company.

Bill: On the seventh day the Lord rested, but before that he did, he squatted over the side of England and what came out of him... was Ireland. No offense son.
Amsterdam: Nah, none taken, sir. I grew up here. All I ever knew of Ireland was from the talk of the others at the orphan asylum.
Bill: And which part of that excrementitious isle where your forebears spawned?
Amsterdam: I've been told Kerry, I lost proof of it in my language at the asylum.

Bill: How old are you, Amsterdam?
Amsterdam: I'm not sure, sir. I never did quite figure it.
Bill: I'm forty-seven. Forty-seven years old. You know how come I stayed alive this long? Fear. A spectacle of fearsome acts. A man steals from me, I cut off his hands. If he offends me, I cut out his tongue. He rises up against me, I cut off his head, stick it on a pike. Raise it up high so all on the streets can see. That's what preserves the order of things. Fear.

Amsterdam: Is there anyone in the five points you haven't fucked?
Jenny: Yes! You!

Boss Tweed: You killed an elected official?
Bill: Who elected him?
Boss Tweed: You don't know what you've done to yourself.
Bill: [taps his glass eye with a knife] I know your works. You are neither cold nor hot. So because you are lukewarm, I will spew you out of my mouth. You can build your filthy world without me. I took the father. Now I'll take the son. You tell young Vallon I'm gonna paint Paradise Square with his blood. Two coats. I'll festoon my bedchamber with his guts. As for you, Mr. Tammany-fucking-Hall, you come down to the Points again, and you'll be dispatched by my own hand. Get back to your celebration and let me eat in peace.

Bill: I killed the last honorable man, 15 years ago. Since then it's... You seen his portrait downstairs?
Amsterdam: Mm-hmm.
Bill: 'S your mouth all glued-up with cunny juice? I asked you a question!
Amsterdam: [angrily] I said I seen it, sir.
Bill: [smiling] Oh, you got a murderous streak in you!

Boss Tweed: You may or may not know, Bill, that everyday I go down to the waterfront with hot soup for the Irish as they come ashore. Its part of building a political base.
Bill: I've noticed you there, you may have noticed me.
Boss Tweed: Indeed I have. Throwing torrents of abuse to every single person who steps off those boats.
Bill: [gleefully] If only I had the guns, Mr. Tweed, I'd shoot each and every one of them before they set foot on American soil.

Boss Tweed: That's the building of our country right there, Mr. Cutting. Americans aborning.
Bill: I don't see no Americans. I see trespassers, Irish harps. Do a job for a nickel what a nigger does for a dime and a white man used to get a quarter for. What have they done? Name one thing they've contributed.
Boss Tweed: Votes.
Bill: Votes, you say? They vote how the archbishop tells them, and who tells the archbishop? Their king in the pointy hat what sits on his throne in Rome.

Boss Tweed: Bill, I can't get a days work done for all the good citizens coming in here to harass me about crime in the Points. Some even go so far as to accuse Tammany of connivance in this so-called rampant criminality. What am I to do? I can't have this. Something has to be done.
Bill: What do you have in mind?
Boss Tweed: I don't know. I think maybe we should hang someone.
Bill: Who?
Boss Tweed: No one important, necessarily. Average men will do. Back alley amusers with no affiliations.
Bill: How many?
Boss Tweed: Three or four.
Bill: Which?
Boss Tweed: Four.

[as Monk McGinn runs for Sheriff]
Boss Tweed: That man was right born for this.
Amsterdam: He's killed 44 men, and laid low a couple hundred more.
Boss Tweed: Is that right? We should have run him for mayor.

Killoran: Monk's already won by three thousand more votes than there are voters.
Boss Tweed: Only three? Make it twenty, thirty. We don't need a victory. We need a Roman triumph.

Boss Tweed: You're a good one for the fighting, Bill. But you can't fight forever.
Bill: I can go down doing it.
Boss Tweed: And you will!
Bill: What did you say?
Boss Tweed: I said, you're turning your back on the future.
Bill: Not our future.

Bill: Is this it, Priest, the Pope's new army, a few crusty bitches and a hand full of rag tags?
Priest Vallon: Now, now, Bill, you swore this was a battle between warriors, not a bunch of Miss Nancies, so warriors is what I brought.

Bill: At my challenge, by the ancient laws of combat, we are met at this chosen ground, to settle for good and all who holds sway over the five points: us natives, born rightwise to this fine land, or the foreign hordes defiling it.
Crowd: Yeah.
Priest Vallon: By the ancient laws of combat, I accept the challenge of the so called "natives." They plague our people at every turn, but from this day out, they shall plague us no more. For let it be known, that the hand that tries to strike us from this land shall be swiftly cut down.
Crowd: YEAH.

Cast

External links

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