Gangs of New York

Essay by 2hvy4grvty December 2007

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Gangs of New York was a 2002 film by Martin Scorsese. It attempts to depict the lifestyle for gang members in the 19th century. The film starts with a huge fight between two gangs in 1846. While fights between different gangs over their differences in the mid-1800s were quite common, the amount of bloodshed and chaos shown in the movie is completely unrealistic. There were rivers of blood on the streets of New York; fights at the time resulted in one, maybe two deaths, never something as huge as the catastrophe in the movie. Also, struggles between two opposing groups most often occurred during summer, when the climate was warm and the tensions built up, rarely in the winter as depicted in the movie.

The general theme of Gangs of New York was that the Irishmen and other immigrants were discriminated against by the natives to the country. The movie provides an accurate portrayal of the persecution of the Irish, however it fails to neglect the other races that too immigrated to the United States, such as the Germans and the Jewish.

Also, it movie implies that the Chinese were a common sight in the streets of New York, while in reality, there were only a handful of Chinese population in the entire nation at the time. The Chinese, especially Chinese women, were such a rare sight that they often made headlines in newspapers for things such as "First Chinese-born American". In Gangs of New York, Scorsese shows the Chinese having their own restaurant, their own shops, and even their own shows in renowned theatres, a complete contrast to realities of the 19th century.

By the Civil War, the Irish had already moved up the social ladder an immense degree. They were tolerated a lot more by the...