Movie Villains Wiki

William Cutting is the main antagonist of Gangs Of New York. Known throughout the setting as the infamously violent leader of the Natives gang.

He is portrayed by Daniel Day-Lewis.

Gangs Of New York

For many outside the United States, the shores of America represent opportunity and freedom. For William "Bill the Butcher" Cutting, an American mobster, foreigners entering the USA are unwelcomed guests and ought to be turned back or exterminated by the rightful inhabitants. As a "Nativist," Cutting controlled the Five Points section of New York with an iron fist, and personally led a number of New York's worst Nativist gangs into battle against their Irish counterparts, led by Priest Vallon. Fighting by the rules of the streets, the Natives won when Bill killed Priest. However, Bill decreed no one would desecrate Vallon's body, and that Vallon was an "honorable man" who "died a noble death."

Every year on the anniversary of the battle, The Butcher would celebrate his victory at a private celebration in which he would honor his fallen opponent with a "glass of fire." Many years later, the tradition would continue, and one mysterious young man would appear and hope for an invitation of his own: his name was Amsterdam and he was the Preist's son, hell-bent on revenge. Spending many months infiltrating the Natives, he gains Bill's trust and even his respect, all the while waiting for the opportunity to assassinate him at the next victory celebration.

Bill grows attached to Amsterdam, even regarding him as a son of sorts; upon learning his true identity, however, Bill easily deflects the incoming assassination attempt and tortures him in front of the entire crowd, branding his cheek with a heated blade. Against all expectations, Amsterdam survives the torture, and returns to the streets, this time opposing Bill publicaly and earning respect and leadership among many Irish living in the Five Points. Infuriated, Cutting swears to kill Amsterdam just as he did his father. 

Amsterdam then attempts to beat Bill through politics. When corrupt political boss William Tweed courts Amsterdam's gang support, Amsterdam agrees to help him win the election if they back his father's old ally Monk McGinn as an Irish candidate for sheriff. Through muscle and voter fraud, Amsterdam helps Tweed win the election, hoping he will now be able to match Bill's power, and for a time they are able to overwhelm xenophobic political candidates sponsored by the Natives. However, Bill gains the upper hand again when he publicly murders Monk, forcing Amsterdam to challenge him to direct combat to settle control of the Five Points. 

Unfortunately, on the day of the fight, the working-class of New York begin a riot over the Civil War draft, ulimately leading to an artillery barrage that leaves half the city in ruins. Bill and Amsterdam's attempt at an honorable gang battle is dispersed, leaving the two gang leaders to square off in the growing wreckage of the riot - until another artillery blast leaves Bill mortally wounded by shrapnel. Ultimately, Bill dies at Amsterdam's hand, and is buried next to Priest Vallon.