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In 1863, Amsterdam Vallon returns to the Five Points area of New York City seeking revenge against Bill the Butcher, his father's killer.
Amsterdam Vallon: When you kill a king, you don't stab him in the dark. You kill him where the entire court can watch him die.
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 I want you to punish the person who's responsible for murdering this poor little rabbit. Is that understood?
Bill: You see this knife? I'm gonna teach you to speak English with this fucking knife!
Amsterdam Vallon: It's a funny feeling being taken under the wing of a dragon. It's warmer than you'd think.
Bill: How old are you, Amsterdam? Amsterdam Vallon: I'm not sure, sir. I never did quite figure it. Bill: I'm forty-seven. Forty-seven years old. You know how I stayed alive this long? All these years? Fear. The spectacle of fearsome acts. Somebody steals from me, I cut off his hands. He offends me, I cut out his tongue. He rises against me, I cut off his head, stick it on a pike, raise it high up so all on the streets can see. That's what preserves the order of things. Fear.
[Amsterdam goes to wipe blood off razor] Priest Vallon: No son, never. The blood stays on the blade. One day you'll understand.
Bill: You. Whatever your name is... what is your name? Amsterdam Vallon: 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: Thank God. I die a true American.
Amsterdam Vallon: If you get all of us together, we ain't got a gang, we've got an army.
Amsterdam Vallon: 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 mightily 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 ever knew we was even here.
Boss Tweed: Remember the first rule of politics. The ballots don't make the results, the counters make the results. The counters. Keep counting.
Bill: At 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 rightwise to this fine land, or the foreign hordes defiling it. Crowd: Yeah. Priest Vallon: By the ancient laws of combat, I accept the challenge of the so called "natives." They plague our people at every turn, but from this day out, they 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. Crowd: YEAH.
Bill: You mother-whoring Irish nigger.
Bill: He was the only man I ever killed worth remembering.
Amsterdam Vallon: 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.
Bill: Burn him, see if his ashes turn green.
Amsterdam Vallon: Lord, place the steel of the Holy Spirit in my spine and the love of the Virgin Mary in my heart.
Bill: 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, if I wish, I can turn it against you.
Bill: WOOPSY DAISY!
Bill: A *real* native is someone who is willing to die fighting for his country. There's nothing more to it.
Amsterdam Vallon: The earth turns, but we don't feel it more. And one night you look up. One spark and the whole sky is on fire.
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 my own hand. Get back to your celebration and let me eat in peace.
Amsterdam Vallon: I give you my word, this all will be finished tomorrow. Jenny: No, it won't.
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?
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.
Jenny: [after running into Johnny] Look where you are going, Johnny! [notices Amsterdam] Jenny: You look stunned and poorly, sir. [both of the men are silent and nervous] Jenny: [sarcastic] Quite a pair of conversationists, aren't you. Amsterdam Vallon: Maybe not. We're deep thinkers. Jenny: [chuckles] Well then. Gentlemen, I leave you in the grace and favour of the Lord. [walks off]
Boss Tweed: The appearance of law must be upheld, especially while it's being broken.
Bill: I took the father, now I'll take the son.
Bill: Is this it priest, the Pope's new army, a few crusty bitches and a hand full 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. [various Irish Gangs proceed to appear]
Amsterdam Vallon: Is there anyone in the five points you *haven't* fucked? Jenny: Yes! *You!*
Walter 'Monk' McGinn: [Pins Amsterdam to the wall] That's it, that's it! Tear my head off and destruct the world! Just like the rest of the stupid Irish in this country! That's why I never ran with your dad! Amsterdam Vallon: Get off me you crazy bastard! Walter 'Monk' McGinn: [Leans in and whispers a line of Gaelic. Then, in English] It means, 'If you're not strong you'd better be smart.' Now I don't know if you're being too clever or too dumb, but whichever it is just remember this much. For all his faults, your father was a man who loved his people. [Releases Amsterdam and walks away]
Bill: 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... was Ireland. No offense son. Amsterdam Vallon: Nah, none taken, sir. I grew up here. All I ever knew of Ireland was from the talk of the others at the orphan asylum. Bill: And which part of that excrementitious isle where your forebears spawned? Amsterdam Vallon: I've been told Kerry, I lost proof of it in my language at the asylum.
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 abuse to 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.
[last lines] Amsterdam Vallon: ...And no matter what they did to build this city up again, for the rest of time, it will be like no-one even knew we was ever here.
Priest Vallon: Well well, Monk. Are you with us or not? Walter 'Monk' McGinn: For the last time Vallon, I'm with you if the money's right. Priest Vallon: I'll give you ten per notch. Walter 'Monk' McGinn: Ten? Priest Vallon: You have my word. Walter 'Monk' McGinn: [Picks up his shillelagh] Ten per notch? Priest Vallon: Per *new* notch. Walter 'Monk' McGinn: [Looks at the notches already there, and loops his weapon around his wrist] Then I'm your man. [Turns around and kicks the door open]
Bill: 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.
[after someone speaks to him in Irish Gaelic] Boss Tweed: They don't speak English in New York any more?
Bill: 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.
Happy Jack: I'm paid to uphold the law. Bill: What in Heaven's name are you talking about?
McGloin: Father! Jesus, did you know there's a nigger in ya church? [the priest hits him in the head with his staff]
Bill: 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.
Boss Tweed: You know why he wears short sleeves? So they can see he's got nothing stashed. I hope that never becomes the fashion.
Bill: I killed the last honorable man, 15 years ago. Since then it's... You seen his portrait downstairs? Amsterdam Vallon: Mm-hmm. Bill: 'S your mouth all glued-up with cunny juice? I asked you a question! Amsterdam Vallon: [angrily] I said I *seen* it, sir. Bill: [smiling] Oh, you got a murderous streak in you!
Priest Vallon: Don't never look away.
Amsterdam Vallon: New York loved William Tweed... and hated him but for those of us trying to be thieves, we couldn't help but admire him.
Bill: This is a night for Americans!
Bill: 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, 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 out out the eye that looked away, I sent it to him wrapped in blue paper. I would've cut them both out if I could have fought him blind. And I rose back up again with a full heart... and buried him in his own blood. He was the only man I ever killed worth remembering.
Bill: Civilization is crumbling
Irish Singer: [singing] Well, meself and a hundred more, to America sailed o'er, with our fortunes to be made, so we were thinkin' / When we got to Yankee land, they shoved a gun into our hands / Saying "Paddy, you must go and fight for Lincoln."/ There is nothing here but war, where the murderin' cannons roar, and I wish I was back home in dear old Dublin.
Amsterdam Vallon: Suppose you back an Irish candidate, of my choosin', and I'll deliver all the Irish vote? Boss Tweed: That will only happen in the reign of Queen Dick.
Bill: Anything in your pockets? Jenny: I ain't started working yet.
Bill: Whose man are you?
Boss Tweed: Bill, I can't get a days work done for all the good citizens coming in here to harass me about crime in the Points. Some even go so far as to accuse Tammany of connivance in this so-called rampant criminality. What am I to do? I can't have this. Something has to be done. Bill: What do you have in mind? Boss Tweed: I don't know. I think maybe we should hang someone. Bill: Who? Boss Tweed: No one important, necessarily. Average men will do. Back alley amusers with no affiliations. Bill: How many? Boss Tweed: Three or four. Bill: Which? Boss Tweed: Four.
Amsterdam Vallon: Amsterdam: I've been called a lot of things, mister... but I've never been called...? McGloin: McGloin: Fiddeling bends. Amsterdam Vallon: Amsterdam: Fiddeling bends. Right. If I knew what in the hell that meant... I might be inclined to take offense.
Walter 'Monk' McGinn: Well that was bloody Shakespearian. Do you know who Shakespeare is? He wrote the King James Bible.
Priest Vallon: Prepare to meet the true lord.
Bill: It's Election Day.
Bill: Is this the Pope's new army?
Boss Tweed: We're burying a lot of votes tonight.
[as Monk McGinn runs for Sheriff] Boss Tweed: That man was right born for this. Amsterdam Vallon: He's killed 44 men, and laid low a couple hundred more. Boss Tweed: Is that right? We should have run him for mayor.
[as an anti-draft riot takes place] Boss Tweed: Sweet Jesus, war does terrible things to people.
Killoran: Monk's already won by three thousand more votes than there are voters. Boss Tweed: Only three? Make it twenty, thirty. We don't need a victory. We need a Roman triumph.
Bill: Careful, Tweedy. The Mort's Frenchified.
McGloin: What's a nigger doing in the church?
Priest Vallon: Now, son, who's that? Young Amsterdam Vallon: Saint Michael. Priest Vallon: Who's that? Young Amsterdam Vallon: Saint Michael! Priest Vallon: And what did he do? Young Amsterdam Vallon: He cast Satan out of Paradise. Priest Vallon: Good boy!
Bill: Ears and noses will be the trophies of the day. But no hand shall touch him.
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.
Bill: Pistols? Amsterdam Vallon: No pistols. Bill: Good boy.
Bill: He ain't earned a death! He ain't a death at my hands! No, 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.
Miss Schermerhorn: Is that man drunk? Happy Jack: Och, dead as Good Friday, miss.
Amsterdam Vallon: Jenny was a Bluget, a girl pickpocket and a turtledove. A turtledove picks out a fine house, disguises herself as a housemaid and robs you blind. It takes a lot of sand to be a turtledove.
Shang: [Runs at the soldiers] Bastards!
Bill The Butcher: This is a day for America.
Assassin: For the blood of the Irish!
Bill: Now that you've had a taste of my mutton, how do you like it?
Bill: Don't mind him. He used to be an Irishman.
[as the Irish are drafted as they come ashore] Irish Immigrant: Where we goin'? Another Immigrant: I heard Tennessee. Irish Immigrant: Where's that? Irish Soldier: Do they feed us now?
Bill: [after stabbing Priest] Look to me! Who is this under my knife!
[as a man is about to be hung] Bill: That's a fine locket. I'll give you a dollar for it. Arthur: It was me mother's... Bill: Dollar and a half? Arthur: Done.
Bill: Hey, have you met Amsterdam? He almost fish-hooked McGloin.
[swearing in Irish immigrants as citizens at the harbor] Army Recruiter: That document makes you a citizen, and this one makes you a private in the Union army. Now get out there and serve your country.
Bill: Well draw it mildly son. Happy Jack don't fill his lungs without I tell him he may do so.
[speaking of Bill the Butcher] Jenny: When I was twelve years old, my mother was dead, and I was livin' in a doorway. He took me in. Took care of me, in his way. After they cut out the baby... well, he doesn't fancy girls that's scarred up. But you might as well know in your own mind that he never laid a hand on me until I asked him to.
Young Johnny Sirocco: Oy! Boyo! Young Amsterdam Vallon: Johnny. Young Johnny Sirocco: What you doin', boyo? Young Amsterdam Vallon: There's a battle. The natives against the dead rabbits. Young Johnny Sirocco: Which side are you on? Young Amsterdam Vallon: What do you think? [points behind him] Young Amsterdam Vallon: Dead rabbits.
Happy Jack: I come for my due and proper.
Amsterdam Vallon: [the failed assassin is dying] I think he's making his peace with God.
Amsterdam Vallon: 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.
Happy Jack: Thank ye boys. You keep out of trouble now!
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