8.2/10
259,708
511 user 158 critic

Raging Bull (1980)

An emotionally self-destructive boxer's journey through life, as the violence and temper that leads him to the top in the ring destroys his life outside it.

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Writers:

(based on the book by) (as Jake La Motta), (with) | 3 more credits »
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Top Rated Movies #123 | Won 2 Oscars. Another 22 wins & 26 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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...
...
...
...
...
Lenore
...
Frank Adonis ...
Patsy
Joseph Bono ...
Guido
Frank Topham ...
Toppy
Lori Anne Flax ...
...
Charlie - Man with Como
Don Dunphy ...
Himself - Radio Announcer for Dauthuille Fight
Bill Hanrahan ...
Eddie Eagan
Rita Bennett ...
Emma - Miss 48's
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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. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Sport

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

19 December 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Raging Bull  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$18,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$128,590, 16 November 1980, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$49,034, 17 February 2005
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TV)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

[first lines]
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 ...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

The film is in black and white, but during the opening credits, the title is in red letters. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Sports Night: Napoleon's Battle Plan (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Two O'Clock Jump
(1939)
Music by Count Basie (uncredited) and Harry James (uncredited)
Performed by Harry James
Courtesy of CBS Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Easy to Admire, Difficult to Love
27 February 2004 | by See all my reviews



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 television. 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. Scorsese 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 sport. 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 himself 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 film, 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 verbal and physical abuse. Besides De Niro's dominating performance, there are also 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 his loyalty.

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 to 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 made 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 the 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 the 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 Fire' and `Eight Men Out'). It is an easy film to admire, but a difficult one to love. 7/10.


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