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Gangs of New York (2002)

The film’s tagline is “America was born in the streets” (on some releases changed to “Freedom was born in the streets”).’ This is where Scorsese’s America is born, in the dirty, bloody streets of New York, and it is where Scorsese himself was born, downtown in Little Italy.

It’s a time in which the new country is still in turmoil, and those seeking freedom from persecution arrive in New York City to find not much is different there than from their old home. From the beginning, violence and religion go hand in hand; Vallon’s father is called the Priest, resembling a preacher as he leads his gang into battle.

Though Amsterdam Vallon comes to New York to kill Bill the Butcher he’s quick to find in him a new father figure, despite his quest for vengeance. Trust and loyalty are prized in this world and Vallon soon reveals his loyalty to his father and the Irish, leading to Bill’s downfall. It’s not the streets, but in brotherhood and blood that New York is born.