A mentally unstable veteran works as a nighttime taxi driver in New York City, where the perceived decadence and sleaze fuels his urge for violent action, while attempting to liberate a twelve-year-old prostitute.
Robert De Niro,
A tale of greed, deception, money, power, and murder occur between two best friends: a mafia enforcer and a casino executive, compete against each other over a gambling empire, and over a fast living and fast loving socialite.
A group of professional bank robbers start to feel the heat from police when they unknowingly leave a clue at their latest heist, while both sides attempt to find balance between their personal and their professional lives.
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. Written by
Joe Pesci, at the time a frustrated, struggling actor, had to be persuaded to make the film rather than return to the musical act he shared with fellow actor Frank Vincent. See more »
Early in the film when Jake is leaning out of a back window, shouting, he is leaning right out of the window when viewed from outside, but is hardly leaning out at all when viewed from inside. See more »
Jake La Motta:
I remember those cheers / They still ring in my ears / After years, they remain in my thoughts. / Go to one night / I took off my robe, and what'd I do? I forgot to wear shorts. / I recall every fall / Every hook, every jab / The worst way a guy can get rid of his flab. / As you know, my life wasn't drab. / Though I'd much... Though I'd rather hear you cheer / When you delve... Though I'd rather hear you cheer / When I delve into Shakespeare / "A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a ...
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The film is in black and white, but during the opening credits, the title is in red letters. See more »
The routine use of black-and-white film to make movies seems to have ended
in the mid-sixties, probably killed off by the advent of colour
Since then black-and-white has been used very sparingly; even Polanski's
`Chinatown', obviously conceived as homage to the films noirs of the 1940s
and 1950s, was shot in colour.
`Raging Bull'- a biography of the boxer Jake La Motta who for a time held
the world middleweight championship- is one of the few exceptions. The use
of black-and-white seems to have been inspired by the fact that the film
depicts real-life events that occurred in the forties and fifties.
has tried to capture the look of both the films and the newsreels of that
period. This is remarkably effective for the boxing scenes, which have a
raw, brutal power and graphically depict the aggressive nature of the
The other remarkable thing about the film is the performance of Robert de
Niro, for which he won a well-deserved Best Actor Academy Award. De Niro
actually learned to box for the film, and did all the boxing scenes
without using a stunt double, but his portrayal of La Motta's private life
is equally effective.
Some boxers- Henry Cooper comes to mind- are hard-hitting inside the ring
but gentlemanly and restrained outside. La Motta, as portrayed in this
did not fall into this category. De Niro portrays him as a man with a very
short fuse, seething with anger and violence. Unlike his great rival Sugar
Ray Robinson, an elegant practitioner of the art of boxing, La Motta tries
to overpower his rivals with brute force rather than relying on skill. His
aggression is not something confined to the ring, but rather an inherent
part of his personality, and comes out in his dealings with others. He
treats his beautiful wife Vicki particularly badly, frequently (and
irrationally) suspecting her of infidelity and subjecting her to both
and physical abuse. Besides De Niro's dominating performance, there are
very good contributions from Cathy Moriarty as Vicki and from Joe Pesci as
La Motta's loyal brother Joey, another frequent target of abuse despite
For me, this is a very good film, yet one that falls just short of the
classic status that some have claimed for it. At times it is enthralling
watch, but at others, particularly in the first half, it seems to lack
structure, as La Motta takes on a series of opponents without the
significance of these fights ever becoming clear. More could have been
of the gambling-inspired corruption that infested the sport at this period
and which may well have contributed to La Motta's sense of frustration- at
one time it is made clear to him that his getting a chance to fight for
world title depends upon his taking a dive in a non-title fight. The main
weakness, however, is a sense of emptiness at its centre, resulting from
lack of a character who can engage our sympathies. As I said, it is De
Niro's performance that dominates the film, but for all his fine acting,
even he cannot make us sympathise with a drunken, self-pitying, paranoid,
violent wife-beater. As a character study of an unpleasant character it is
excellent, but it can go no further than that. I cannot agree that this is
the greatest film of the eighties; indeed, for me it was not even the
greatest sporting film of the eighties. (I preferred both `Chariots of
and `Eight Men Out'). It is an easy film to admire, but a difficult one to
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