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Raging Bull
Year:
1980
Country:
USA
Genre:
Drama, Biography, Sport
IMDB rating:
8.3
Director:
Martin Scorsese
Robert De Niro as Jake La Motta
Cathy Moriarty as Vickie La Motta
Joe Pesci as Joey
Frank Vincent as Salvy
Nicholas Colasanto as Tommy Como
Theresa Saldana as Lenore
Mario Gallo as Mario
Frank Adonis as Patsy
Joseph Bono as Guido
Frank Topham as Toppy
Charles Scorsese as Charlie - Man with Como
Don Dunphy as Himself - Radio Announcer for Dauthuille Fight
Bill Hanrahan as Eddie Eagan
Storyline: When Jake LaMotta steps into a boxing ring and obliterates his opponent, he's a prizefighter. But when he treats his family and friends the same way, he's a ticking time bomb, ready to go off at any moment. Though LaMotta wants his family's love, something always seems to come between them. Perhaps it's his violent bouts of paranoia and jealousy. This kind of rage helped make him a champ, but in real life, he winds up in the ring alone.
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Reviews
Although he could fight, he'd much rather recite... that's entertainment
Don't be misled into thinking that Raging Bull is simply a film about boxing, à-la Rocky. It does indeed focus on the life of a boxer, but there is so much more to it then that. Rather than simply being a sports story of redemption, or something of the like, Raging Bull is one of the most startling and powerful portraits of stunted machismo ever captured on film. De Niro, following up on other such personas of tough guy losers, gives arguably his strongest performance here as Jake La Motta, who slowly but surely tore down everything he had managed to accumulate around him, including a marriage, relationships with all those close to him, and his hard won boxing career. De Niro is clearly the center of attention here, and he lives up to his reputation with wonderful flair, his performance is one of the most deserving of his Oscar in history.

But don't go thinking this is a one man show, although De Niro's electrifying performance is easily the highlight of the movie, once again, there's so much more to it then that. For one thing, the technical genius of director Martin Scorsese, whose bold decision to shoot the film in black and white paid off immensely, giving the film a stark, bold look, almost like an old photograph, lost in the depths of time. It's really a shame more movies aren't shot in black and white these days, in today's colour saturated world, the occasional flash devoid of colour can come as quite the relief.

The legendary fight scenes are also incredible, with Scorsese determined to get his cameras directly in the middle of the action, instead of simply watching from a distance. We as an audience genuinely seem to feel every bone jarring punch, which really helps us sympathize with La Motta, rather than creating an antagonist out of the character. In fact, one of the most praiseworthy aspects of the film is Scorsese's ability to maintain a completely balanced view of the character, never taking sides to present him as a hero or a villain - a flawed lead in all cases. Even at times of spousal abuse and such, when we are genuinely meant to hate the character, we still realize exactly what in La Motta's troubled psyche is making him do such a thing, and still, somehow manage to empathize with the character.

Although the film really does belong to De Niro, he is ably supported by numerous similarly phenomenal supporting performances. Joe Pesci gives a terrific performance as La Motta's brother who also falls prey to Jake's increasing paranoia and aggression. The scene between Jake and Joey with Jake continually challenging his brother to hit him as hard as he can is one of the most powerful in the movie. Cathy Moriarty is also memorable as La Motta's 15 year old trophy girlfriend, who, even though at one point being the one person he could trust, also finds herself pushed away by the boxer's growing distrust of everyone. These two fantastic performances provide excellent backup for the incredible De Niro.

All in all, it seems fair to say Raging Bull is one of the most powerful and well made films in film history - with Martin Scorsese establishing himself as a master director, and Robert De Niro giving an astonishingly affecting performance, perhaps the strongest of his career, driving the stunted machismo mood of the film home. Definitely worth seeing, if you have yet to do so!

-10/10
2006-03-05
Don't believe the hype
I don't write reviews on IMDb very often, but this particular movie baffles me. How is this in the IMDb Top 250? The only positives I have are that it's well shot and does an excellent job portraying what it's like to be in the same room as a group of people with nothing good to say about each other. The acting is solid all around but nothing groundbreaking. Joe Pesci played Joe Pesci. I didn't find Robert Deniro's performance that amazing; yes he gained 60 pounds to play the retired LaMotta, but besides a lot of yelling, nothing about this universally lauded performance stood out to me. Speaking of yelling, about 70% of the movie is comprised of angry people yelling at each other. I guess all the characters are supposed to be unhappy, but that doesn't mean they all have to be unlikable. There's no reason to care about any of the characters since we hardly get to know them. Maybe the fact that a more relatable side of the characters is never displayed is part of what the film is going for thematically, but the presentation could have been a lot better. For these reasons, I found Raging Bull mostly boring and somewhat exhausting to sit through. I've at least liked every other Martin Scorsese film I've seen, but this one left me unsatisfied and with a sour taste in my mouth.
2017-08-04
Gritty yet still maintains beautiful artistic illustration (Like most of Scorsese's movies in that period)
The partnership between revolutionary director Martin Scorsese and iconic actor Robert De Niro which spanned for about 20/25 years will forever be remembered by critics and fans as one of the greatest periods for cinematic achievement. A time were both of these legends peaked in their careers. Of course there were other actors involved (Joe Pesci, Frank Vincent, etc) But the two constants of these movies were Scorsese and De Niro. They are credited with making some of the greatest movies of all time IE; Taxi driver, Raging bull, Goodfellas and Casino just to name a few. These movies have received marvellous critical acclaim and continue to be loved even after 30 after some of them were made. They gave us a look at a world most of us had never seen, the underworld of society. They made us feel for characters we wouldn't usually associate with. And they set a standard for their type of movie which hasn't yet been conquered. But as much as I could talk all day about how these two geniuses revolutionised cinema the main concentration of this review will be based on the 1980 movie raging bull. To an outsider given only a vague idea to the story of Raging bull it is just another boxing movie. But if we look deeper into the surface we find that it is much more. It is more than just another rocky movie, it's not about a brain dead boxer who tries hard and wins it has much more deaph than that. The movie tells the story of an emotionally self destructive boxers rise (ish) And fall. It is a study of a man (Jake La Motta played by De Niro) who keeps knocking himself down everywhere he goes in life. A man who we learn more and more about throughout the course of the movie. We see he abuses the women in his life he sees them as slaves not human beings. We see throughout the course of the movie that he ends up despising himself. We see that he will be willing to change himself just for the sake of masculinity something which most men can relate to. The boxing ring is nothing more than a symbolic parallel to his life outside it. it's almost as if he is punishing himself for what he has done in his life. La Motta ends up in a state were he doesn't demand pity but the audience feels sorry for him anyway. Although La Motta is a scumbag we are still interested and relating with the character throughout the 2 hour long movie. Scorsese makes Raging bull a lot more classical with the use of classical music throughout the films gritty tale it gives us a feel of beauty beneath the surface of this man tough guy exterior.

The film won Robert De Niro a best actor in a leading role Oscar although Scorsese's fully deserving best director Oscar went to Robert Redford.
2008-03-16
one of the most powerful movies, ever!
From the story of a one time middle weight champion of the world and his apparent necessity for internal conflict and self destruction, America's greatest director in the history of cinema has carved a masterpiece of a feature, teaming up with the greatest actor of his generation in order to establish what will no doubt go down in history as one of the most powerful films of all time. "Raging Bull", directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Robert deNiro in the brilliant performance that ensured him a well deserved Academy Award, is a raw feature film that will have you stunned at its conclusion and leave you reeling in your theatre, couch or bed until the final credit has finished rolling off the screen.

The film, adapted from another source, revolves around the rise and fall of Jake LaMotta (deNiro), an ambitious middle weight fighter who has struggled for years along with his manager brother (an unforgettable Joe Pesci) to get a shot at the title for the middle weight champion of the world. Frustrated with himself and the life that he's had to lead, LaMotta presents the complex mind of a self destructive man who's inhumanity and self-destructive nature push him away from all the people in the world that love him and ultimately transform him from a prize fighter into an overweight sleaze with nothing but the clothes on his back. From the flawless and gripping boxing scenes to the raw yet accurate portrayal of his abusive habits towards both his brother and wife, "Raging Bull" succeeds on absolutely every level.

DeNiro's performance in the film is unquestionably his finest piece of work in his own personal career, if not throughout the history of cinema altogether. Completely believable as a boxer, he furthermore went on a diet to put on 60 pounds for his scenes situated in the latter half of the film when he has hit rock bottom which is testament to both his dedication and his unparalleled skill of establishing a believable character. Joe Pesci is absolutely brilliant as his portrayal of Jake's brother, Joey LaMotta, and considering the fact that was one of his first feature films in the spotlight, he completely delivers a character who loves his brother unquestionably but who also has internal struggles regarding his own nature and his methods of dealing with his brother. I fell in love with Joe Pesci due to his performance here, and he is clearly one of the more talented and gifted actors within Hollywood.

Scorsese is also in top form, and you can feel his presence, his brilliance and his uncompromising dedication to showing you the real life and times of Jake LaMotta in every single piece of footage presented to you on the screen. Martin Scorsese illustrates the reason why he is considered by many to be cinema's greatest film director of all time as he takes you on a journey of Jake LaMotta's personal and public existence. Scorsese doesn't leave anything out, and his brilliance obviously lies within the fact that he can illustrate everything about a character in the simplest of scenes to make you empathise but simultaneously make you comprehend the various fundamental layers of such a despicable character in cinema history. And on top of that, he can make you like the character and hate the character at the exact same time - a brilliance unprecedented throughout Hollywood and surely testament to Scorsese's superiority to directors such as Steven Spielberg and Clint Eastwood who, despite having tremendous talent, cannot realistically present characters to the extent that Scorsese can.

Further supporting cast members, Cathy Moriarty and Frank Vincent deliver completely credible characters with Moriarty well deserving of her Oscar Nomination for her performance as Vickie. The editing was completely flawless and top notch throughout the entire feature with Scorsese's other partner - Thelma Schoonmaker - bringing Scorsese's incredible vision to life once more without a single complaint in the world. Brilliant cinematography ensured a visually compelling piece of work, exemplified further by an Oscar Nod towards this element of the picture also.

All in all, this is arguably the finest achievement from the Scorsese-DeNiro partnership, and it delivers everything that you would predict from our beloved Martin Scorsese. Love, deceit, hate, an underlying theme of violence, some of the best acting ever put on film as well as some of the most brutal and compelling sequences of boxing you'll ever see: all are shown with flamboyance and an honest brutality that we've come to accept as the trademark of Martin Scorsese in this poignant tale of one man's annihilation of self. And who is the only director who could realistically bring this to life? We all know the answer.

Well done, Mr Scorsese. Regardless of what the pretentious fools responsible for the decisions that the Academy makes, the people are fully aware of who the best director in town is.

"Raging Bull" is flawless and perfect. 10 out of 10, all the way.
2005-10-02
In My Top 3
Like I said, this film is in my top 3 films ever made, along with The Shawshank Redemption and Pulp Fiction. I think that it is debatably De Niro's best performance ever (but is he better in taxi driver?), and it was first line up of De Niro, Pesci and Scorsese, one of the best cinematic trios ever. So, enough has been said for me to make even the most cynical people out there believe me that the acting in this is absolutely top quality. The directing is incredible. The stylish black and white makes this stand out among other movies and really gives some strong ground as to when this story was set. The fight scenes are among the best scenes in cinematic history, and the most brutal. Just be warned, this film is not for children. The violence in emotionally intense and the language is foul (yet appropriate and accurate.). Having said that, anyone from fourteen to fifteen should be okay with this.

So if you don't believe me that this is one of the best films ever, at least acknowledge that it is easily the best film of the eighties, which is some achievement.
2011-03-20
Another reason why you should love De Niro and Scorsese
"The thing ain't the ring, it's the play. So give me a... stage where this bull here can rage and though I could fight I'd much rather recite... that's entertainment."

In 1976 Martin Scorsese teamed up with Robert De Niro and screenwriter Paul Schrader to deliver what in my opinion is one of his best films: Taxi Driver. That year that complex character study lost out on the Oscar to Stallone's Rocky. So what does Scorsese do next? He directs a real boxing movie with another memorable and complex character played by Robert De Niro making Rocky look like a cartoon character. Don't get me wrong, I loved Rocky, but Jake La Motta is a character that feels much more authentic. He's deeply flawed and unpleasant to be around with, but his violent temper is what made him such a successful boxer on the ring. It was actually Robert De Niro who approached Scorsese to make this film based on Jake La Motta's autobiographical book and despite hesitating to make a sports movie at first, he ended up directing what is considered by many to be the best boxing film of all time. The boxing scenes are violent and bloody, but what was most surprising for me was the way in which De Niro captured the rage and paranoia of his character off the ring. La Motta isn't a very sympathetic character and his anger and jealous outbursts led him to his ultimate downfall, but somehow there is still something redeeming about him and De Niro captured that essence perfectly in this Award winning performance. It's much more a character study than a boxing film, but Scorsese also explores Jake La Motta's bond with his brother Joey turning this into a sibling relationship study as well. Jake tries to channel his rage through boxing, but ultimately it defeats him outside of the ring destroying the relationships he has formed. Near the end there is a nice nod to Brando's On the Waterfront, which was a perfect touch by Scorsese who seems to always be in control of his craft and at the same time honoring other famous films. Raging Bull is an artistic film dealing with a difficult subject matter but it still is considered by many as the best film from the 80's. It's a near masterpiece in my opinion with another outstanding lead performance by De Niro, who was without a doubt the best actor at that time.

Jake La Motta (Robert De Niro) is the raging bull who during the 40's dominated every rival inside the ring. No one could take hits like he did and despite losing a couple fights he took pride in the fact that he never went down. Jake's brother, Joey (Joe Pesci) is his sparring partner and at the same time he manages his fights so they have a very close relationship. Joey has a few connections with the mob, but Jake refuses to deal with them and wants to get a chance at the title on his own. Joey also introduces him to a fifteen year old girl named Vickie (Cathy Moriarty), whom he later marries. As the years go by, Jake defeats his opponents but the title shot keeps eluding him since he refuses to work with the mob despite Joey's connection with Salvy Batts (Frank Vincent). While Jake's professional boxing career begins to take off, his personal life takes a blow when he allows his jealousy and paranoia to take over as he fears his wife is seeing other men. Despite channeling his rage in the ring, he also takes it out in his home on his wife and brother. What at first served as his inspiration for becoming a boxing champion escalated so much that it also became his downfall and ruin. Raging Bull centers on Jake's self destructive boxing journey and it is a very complex and emotional one. In the midst of it all there is still a redemptive quality to this antihero and he accepts his punishment through personal beatings in the ring.

I don't know if Scorsese would be around making movies today if it weren't for Raging Bull. Just like his lead character Jake, Scorsese was dealing with some personal demons of his own struggling with drug addiction. De Niro convinced him to make this film and somehow he channeled his addictions through his direction. Jake unsuccessfully channeled his rage in the ring, but Marty found redemption for both of them thanks to Raging Bull. The black and white cinematography is gorgeous and the performances were powerful. De Niro gives another physically demanding performance after his work in Taxi Driver and he once again is very impressive. Joe Pesci is also wonderful as he will later become a recurring actor in other Scorsese films. The chemistry between both actors in this film is really strong and they shine together on screen. The boxing scenes were really raw and violent. They are hard to watch at times, and an extreme close up of dripping blood from the rope in the ring really captured the violence that Scorsese was trying to transmit. Raging Bull is a fascinating film which explores the mind of a very emotionally disturbed man who we wouldn't want to be around with, but somehow Scorsese draws us into his mind and he absorbs us.
2014-04-21
Perhaps the Only One in the U.S. to put down this film
I may be alone on this but Martin Scorsese's Raging Bull does not deserve the praise it has garnered recently, best illustrated by its lauded praise for the recently released commemorative double DVD box set.

I hate to be the one to attack Scorsese who just directed the best film in a long, long time, in The Aviator and it pains me to write this scathing review. It is only I have not seen any critic criticize the film's plot holes, jarring dialogue or disparate scenes that do not gel into a coherent portrait.

The film is too redundant, and at times silly, as we watch De Niro's LaMotta transform into a heavy-set monster. It is mainly silly in LaMotta's cell late in the film, in which DeNiro (clearly given the green light by Scorsese to improvise) basically talks in gibberish as a way to pity LaMotta.

Take also for instance the strange editing from DeNiro in the ring against Sugar Ray Robinson, which is juxtaposed by making love to Cathy Moriarity's Vikki. I do not get the montage when DeNiro pours ice water on his genitals with shots in the ring. It is very confusing and also, unintentionally funny.

It is an authentic film for sure, taking much from 1950s boxing films, most notably Bogart's last film, The Harder They Fall.

I have not come across one critic who has put down this film, often cited as the "best film of the decade," and a "masterpiece." Scorsese has directed a lot of films befit for those descriptions, Casino and The Aviator stand out for me.

Yet, Raging Bull hardly is a masterpiece, and yet hardly anyone agrees with me. Maybe someone will… maybe in another twenty five years.
2005-02-18
The greatest boxing film ever made.
People speak very highly of Rocky and other boxing films. This is truly the best of all boxing films. All others are cheap imitations. Cinderella Man, Rocky, Million Dollar Baby, and Ali are not as good as this film. It is magnificently shot- EXCELLENT CINEMATOGRAPHY- the score works wonderfully with the story- the rise and fall of boxing star Jake LaMotta. I am convinced that Robert DeNiro delivers one of the greatest acting performances of movie history. He is literally up there with Marlon Brando and rightfully received the Best Actor Oscar of 1980. I am shocked that Raging Bull did not receive Best Picture. Maybe for its time, the language and sexual dialogue was not too appreciated. Don't let this deter you from seeing the movie. Joe Pesci and Robert DeNiro work very well together and this is Martin Scorsese's greatest film. Taxi Driver, Gangs of New York or GoodFellas could not top this film. A true cinema masterpiece. 10/10.
2006-01-27
One of De Niro's Most Powerful Performances,
Raging Bull is a great movie with a really well developed storyline and a terrific cast. The movie is mostly a great watch because of Robert De Niro's absolutely outstanding performance, he owns this character from start to finish, delivering an honest, sincere and real role that makes it very clear why he is one of the most successful actors of all time. I honestly don't think it comes near to be being Martin Scorsese's best film, it is very character driven, more so than the majority of his films are, which is fine but it isn't entirely exciting the whole way through, delivering little of the violence I've come to expect from Scorsese. Stunning performances and a superb script, I would recommend Raging Bull to anyone looking for a good sports drama.

A boxer with a huge temper begins to isolate himself from the people around him.

Best Performance: Robert De Niro Worst Performance: Nicholas Colasanto

If you have any recommendations on films/TV series I should watch or review,or any questions to ask me,just tweet me @DillonTheHarris
2015-03-20
Marty's Masterpiece; De Niro's greatest performance
RAGING BULL (1980) **** Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Cathy Moriarty, Frank Vincent, Nicholas Colasanto, Theresa Saldana.

Martin Scorsese's masterpiece film bio of pugilist Jake La Motta (De Niro, who gained nearly 50 lbs and a Best Actor Oscar) and his personal demons plaguing his career's moments of glory.

Excellent portrayal of a man of violence trying to achieve an inner peace and the effects it had on his family. Filmed in gorgeous black and white photography by cinematographer Michael Chapman it captures beautifully the graphic images of boxing and the immediate violence permeating the entire story. Oscar-winning editing by Thelma Schoonmaker. Look sharp for John Turturro in the first bar scene.
2003-04-21
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