Gangs of New York

From Wikiquote
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Gangs of New York is a 2002 film about Amsterdam Vallon, who returns to the Five Points area of New York City seeking revenge against Bill the Butcher, his father's killer.

Directed by Martin Scorsese. Written by Jay Cocks, Steven Zaillian, and Kenneth Lonergan.

Amsterdam Vallon

  • It's a funny feeling being taken under the wing of a dragon. It's warmer than you'd think.
  • When you kill a king, you don't stab him in the dark. You kill him where the entire court can watch him die.
  • You know there's more of us coming off those boats everyday? Some say 15,000 Irish a week! Get all of us together and we ain't got a gang, we got an army!
  • The past is a torch that lights our way. Where our fathers have shown us the path, we shall follow. Our faith is the weapon most feared by our enemies. For thereby shall we lift our people up against those who would destroy us.
  • Our name is called "The Dead Rabbits" to remind all of our suffering, and as a call to those who suffer still to join our ranks. However far they may have strayed from our common home across the sea. For with great numbers must come great strength in the salvation of our people.
  • 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.

William "Bill the Butcher" Cutting

  • 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.
  • [to Amsterdam] You get to know a lot butchering meat. We're made up of the same things - flesh and blood, tissue, organs. I love to work with pigs. The nearest thing in nature to the flesh of a man is the flesh of a pig...This is the liver. The kidneys. The heart. This is a wound—the stomach will bleed and bleed. [stabs the pig] This is a kill. [stabs the pig] This is a kill. Main artery. [stabs the pig] This is a kill.
  • [to Boss Tweed] 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, anytime that I wish, I can turn it against you.
  • [to Boss Tweed] I don't see no Americans. I see trespassers, Irish harps. Do a job for a nickel what a nigger does for a dime & what a white man used to get a quarter for.
  • 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?
  • Ears and noses will be the trophies of the day.
  • 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.
  • On the Seventh Day the Lord rested, but befores that he did, he took a squat over the side of England and what came out of him... was Ireland. [To Amsterdam] No offense son.
  • You see this knife? I'm gonna teach you to speak English with this fucking knife!

Boss Tweed

  • The appearance of law must be upheld, especially while 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.

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?
  • A glorious resurrection will spring from the depths... to which these miserable creatures have fallen. In God, they will find their true home.


Bill: [smirking] Is this it, Priest? The Pope's new army? A few crusty bitches and a handful 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.
[Vallon's Dead Rabbits are joined by a coalition of other gangs; the O'Connell Guard, the Plug Uglies, the Shirt Tails, the Chichesters, and the Forty Thieves; each gang's leader walks in front of their groups to identify them as they arrive.]
O'Connell Guard leader: The O'Connell Guard!
Plug Ugly leader: The Plug Uglies!
Shirt Tail leader: The Shirt Tails!
Chichester leader: The Chichesters!
Forty Thieves leader: The Forty Thieves!
Priest Vallon: [after all the other gangs are gathered] Well, what do you think of us now, Bill? Together with the other five gangs, my new army matches the number with yours. What say you, brother?
Bill: [smiling] Uh-huh. Well, I guess we're even now. So, let's get started, then. [to his fellow natives] Bené? [two Natives remove Bill's overcoat and top hat; Bill and the other Natives then arm themselves as the leader gives his pre-battle speech] On 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 right-wise to this fine land, or the foreign hordes defiling it.
Natives: Yeah!!!
Priest Vallon: By the ancient laws of combat, I accept the challenge of the so-called "Natives". You plague our people at every turn. But from this day out, you 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!
Dead Rabbits and other gangs: YEAH!!!
Bill: Then may the Christian Lord guide my hand against your Roman popery!
Priest Vallon: [Priest unsheathes his sword] Prepare to receive the true Lord!
[With a final cheer, the Natives and the other gangs charge at each other.]

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 hatred and withering abuse on 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.

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: What's that word? [Points to newsletter with knife]
Amsterdam: It means bodysnatchers.
Bill: I didn't ask the meaning. I asked the word.
Amsterdam: Ghoul?
Bill: Ghoul? That's a good word. A fresh outrage in the Five Points. A notice that you can be proud of. Thank you.
McGloin: Low thing, to do that to a body. Low.
Bill: Why? They could've left that ship with nothing. Instead they made the Police Gazette. A periodical of note.
McGloin: A body is supposed to stay beneath the earth.... wearing a wooden coat... until the resurrection.
Bill: These two are just a pair of bug eating sons of Irish bitches. Just like you. Don't seem to bother them none. Maybe they don't share your religious scruples.
McGloin: Maybe they're just a couple of fiddeling bends.
Amsterdam: I've been called a lot of things, mister... but I've never been called...?
McGloin: Fiddeling bends.
Amsterdam: Fiddeling bends. Right. If I knew what in the hell that meant... I might be inclined to take offense.
McGloin: A fiddeling bend is a fellow who would steal anything... dead or alive. Because he's too low to work up a decent lay for himself. Count that careful! I'm telling you that's all there is. That's all they gave us. That's all they gave us. Chiseler!
Amsterdam: If you had said chiseler, now that's a word I understand. Is that what you're calling us?
McGloin: I can think of a number of things to call you, boil!
Amsterdam: Right. But I asked if you was calling us chiselers?
McGloin: Supposing I am?
Amsterdam: Well, then we got business.
McGloin: That we do!
Spectators: 2 dollars on McGloin! 5 pieces on the kid! 5 on Amsterdam! Come on, McGloin, it's just a kid. Watch his left, McGloin!
[after McGloin is beaten by Amsterdam]
Bill: Alright, that'll do. What do you say now, huh? That'll do, for Christ sake. Drag him off. That's enough, kid. You got him.
Amsterdam: McGloin? How would that head look without the ears and nose on it? You'd better leave that head alone, Bill.
Bill: I think I'm gonna trim the beak and the ears off that head. Make a nice pot of soup out of that head.
Amsterdam: You can find a tastier head than that, Bill. I ain't got no stomach for an Irish stew.
Bill: The mighty McGloin. Almost fish hooked by a sprat. 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? Ireland! No offense, son.
Amsterdam: None taken, sir.

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

Bill: No, I don't never sleep too much. I have to sleep with one eye open, and I only got one eye, right? 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. That one tonight, who was he? A nobody. A coward. What an ignominious end that would have been. I killed the last honorable man fifteen years ago. Since then, it's... You seen his portrait downstairs?
Amsterdam: Mm-hmm.
Bill: Is your mouth all glued up with cunny juice? I asked you a question.
Amsterdam: [angrily] I said I seen it, sir.
Bill: [smiles] Oh, you got a murderous rage in you, and I like it. It's life, boiling up inside of you. It's good. The Priest and me, we lived by the same principles. It was only faith divided us. He gave me this, you know. That was the finest beating I ever took. My face was pulp, my guts was pierced, and my ribs was all mashed up. And when he came to finish me, I couldn't look him in the eye. He spared me because he wanted me to live in shame. This was a great man. A great man. So I cut out the eye that looked away. Sent it to him wrapped in blue paper. I would have cut 'em both out if I could have fought him blind. Then I rose back up again with a full heart and buried him in his own blood.
Amsterdam: [pause] Well done.
Bill: He was the only man I ever killed worth remembering. I never had a son. Civilization is crumbling. [places a hand on Amsterdam's head] God bless you.

Bill: [after foiling Amsterdam's attempt to kill him] I want you all to meet the son of Priest Vallon. I took him under my wing and see how I'm repaid. He saved my life one day so he could kill me the next like a sneak thief, instead of fighting like a man. A base defiler, unworthy of a noble name. [pulls the knife out of Amsterdam's chest]
Amsterdam: Oh, God! Jesus!
[Bill hits him in the face. Amsterdam falls to the floor and McGloin begins to search him for hidden weapons]
Bill: That'll do, McGloin. Spread him out.
[Amsterdam is spread out on a table. Bill climbs on it with cleaver in his hand]
Bill: This is fresh meat! You know what I mean? [drives a cleaver into the table] We need to tenderize this meat a bit. Alright, lets kiss goodnight to that pretty face of yours!
[Bill leans down and actually tries to kiss Amsterdam, who spits in his face. In response, Bill screams furiously and headbutts Amsterdam several times]
Jenny: No!
Bill: [stands up and grabs the cleaver] What'll it be then? Rib or chop? Loin or shank? [throws the cleaver up in the air; the cleaver is shown going up, and then falling, in slow motion, and eventually hits the table right next to Amsterdam's head]
Crowd: The liver! The spleen! The kidney! The lung! The liver! The tongue! The heart! The heart!
Bill: The heart? This boy has no heart.
Crowd: Then kill him!
Bill: He ain't earned a death! He ain't earned a death at my hands! He'll walk amongst you marked with shame. A freak! Worthy of Barnum's museum of wonders. God's only man, spared by the Butcher. [grabs a red-hot knife and burns a mark on Amsterdam's cheek]

Bill: Tell me, this charge. Does it sit on easy with you?
Happy Jack: No. Not uneasy , Bill. I wouldn't say that. allegiance is to the law. I'm paid to uphold the law.
[Bill lowers his head, lets out a sigh of frustration, makes a slow facepalm and then spreads his hands - all in theatrical manner - before finally answering]
Bill: What in Heaven's name are you talking about? You may have misgivings, but don't go believing that, Jack. That way lies damnation.
Happy Jack: I'm in no danger of damnation, Bill.
Bill: Here's the thing. I don't give a tuppenny fuck about your moral conundrum, you meat-headed shit-sack. That's more or less the thing. And I want you to go out there... You, nobody else. None of your little minions. I want you to go out there. And... [feigns crying] I want you... to punish... the person... responsible [sobs loudly] for murdering this... poor little rabbit [sobs again, twice, then becomes serious] Is that understood?

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.

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 mine own hand. Get back to your celebration and let me eat in peace.

Amsterdam: Challenge.
Bill: Challenge Accepted.


Wikipedia has an article about: