A new episode of the Bowery Boys Movie Club — from Tom and Greg of the Bowery Boys: New York City History — exploring the film Gangs of New York and its rich historical details. An exclusive podcast for those who support us on Patreon.
Gangs of New York is a one-of-a-kind film, a Martin Scorsese 2002 epic based on a 1927 history anthology by Herbert Asbury that celebrates the grit and grime of Old New York.
Its fictional story line uses a mix of real-life and imagined characters, summoned from a grab bag of historical anecdotes from the gutters of the 19th century and poured out into a setting known as New York City’s most notorious neighborhood — Five Points.
Listen in as Greg and Tom discuss the film’s unique blend of fact and fiction, taking Asbury’s already distorted view of life in the mid 19th century and reviving it with extraordinary set design and art direction. The film itself, released a year after September 11, 2001, had dated itself in some interesting ways.
And unfortunately some elements of the film are more relevant in 2019 than ever.
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Should you watch the movie before you listen to this episode? This podcast can be enjoyed both by those who have seen the film and those who’ve never even heard of it.
We think our take on Gangs of New York might inspire you to look for the film’s many fascinating (but easy to overlook) historical details, so if you don’t mind being spoiled on the plot, give it a listen first, then watch the movie! Otherwise, come back to the show after you’ve watched it.