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Gangs of New York

A detective undergoes plastic surgery to impersonate a gangster in this stylish film noir written by Samuel Fuller
294K ratings
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Format:  DVD-R
sku:  ALP 7679D
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DVD-R Details

  • Run Time: 1 hours, 7 minutes
  • Video: Black & White
  • Encoding: Region 0 (Worldwide)
  • Released: August 4, 2015
  • Originally Released: 1938
  • Label: Alpha Video

Performers, Cast and Crew:

Starring &
Performer: , , , , &
Directed by

Entertainment Reviews:

Certified Fresh73%

Total Count: 211


User Ratings: 293,986
Rating: 4/5 -- Brilliant but devastating. High schoolers and up. Full Review
Common Sense Media
Dec 24, 2010
Gangs of New York is one of those haunting failures. I can't get over it; it still gives me a pang every time I think of it. It seemed so filled with potential. Full Review
The eXile
Oct 31, 2018
Rating: 2.5/4 -- Martin Scorsese's Les Miserables. Full Review
Oct 24, 2019
Rating: 3.5/5 -- Scorsese scores some fine political points along the way and demonstrates the mastery of his craft in every scene, but the underlying theme of brutal revenge at any cost loses its way too early on... Full Review
Mar 2, 2012
It's never less than compelling, driven by an overwhelming, larger than life performance from Day-Lewis and by Scorsese's grandiose historical imagination. Full Review
Time Out
Feb 9, 2006
n the end, you're left feeling that Scorsese has put on a great show. As to what he means by it, I doubt he knows. Full Review
Sydney Morning Herald
Mar 7, 2003
The visuals are strong, while the central narrative is weak (a disastrous combination for a long movie). Worst of all, Gangs of New York achieves far too little while trying much too hard. Full Review
Times (UK)
Jan 2, 2018

Description by

Gang leader "Rocky" Thorpe may be behind bars, but the city's crime wave continues unabated. The police are shocked to discover that Thorpe has be communicating with his men via a shortwave radio in his cell. Seeing a way to end the bloodshed once and for all, John Franklin undergoes plastic surgery to become the gangster's identical twin. Pretending to be released on a technicality, the disguised detective is welcomed with open arms by Rocky's men. But his mistress is not so easily fooled, and has the real mobster sprung from prison. Now John finds himself on the run from both the Thorpe gang and the police, who can't tell the real racketeer from the imposter.

Gangs of New York is a stylish film noir from Republic Pictures with a tortured history. In 1936, the studio purchased the rights to Herbert Asbury's popular history of the New York underworld. After several screenwriters' attempts to adapt the book met with rejection from the Hays Office, Republic decided to go with an original story from Samuel Fuller, "suggested by" Asbury's work. A former crime reporter, Fuller was only two years into his scripting career. He would later become famous for directing hard-hitting films such as Pickup on South Street (1953), Shock Corridor (1963), The Naked Kiss (1964) and The Big Red One (1980). The Hays Office still heavily censored Fuller's script, toning down the gang violence and the illicit relationship between John Franklin and Rocky's mistress. The altered script was assigned to James Cruze, a prolific director of silents including The Covered Wagon (1923) and The Great Gabbo (1929). He had more recently made an impression in the talkie era with I Cover the Waterfront (1933). Popular supporting player Charles Bickford was tapped to showcase his skills in a rare (dual) leading role. The actor would later be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor three times, for The Song of Bernadette (1943), The Farmer's Daughter (1947) and Johnny Belinda (1948). The gorgeous Ann Dvorak shot to fame after appearing in another gangster picture, Scarface (1932), as Paul Muni's sister. Martin Scorsese attempted to film Asbury's book again over 60 years later, but his Gangs of New York (2002) would also end up being only tangentially connected.


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Product Info

  • Sales Rank: 1,937
  • UPC: 089218767998
  • Shipping Weight: 0.25/lbs (approx)
  • International Shipping: 1 item

Film Collectors & Archivists: Alpha Video is actively looking for rare and unusual pre-1943 motion pictures, in good condition, from Monogram, PRC, Tiffany, Chesterfield, and other independent studios for release on DVD. We are also interested in TV shows from the early 1950s. Share your passion for films with a large audience. Let us know what you have.
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