A mentally unstable Vietnam War veteran works as a night-time taxi driver in New York City where the perceived decadence and sleaze feeds his urge for violent action, attempting to save a preadolescent prostitute in the process.
Robert De Niro,
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
Martin Scorsese was worried about the On the Waterfront (1954) recitation because he knew he'd be inviting critical comparison between the scene in this film and the original film's scene. Robert De Niro read it in various ways. Scorsese chose the take in which the recitation is extremely flat specifically to mute the comparison, and to suggest that it is simply a recitation and not indicative of how Jake LaMotta felt about his brother. See more »
When Joey and Salvy are told to shake hands (after the fight), their hands are interlocked in one shot, but in the next, they are back in their respective laps. 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 »
It really is harder to Stay At the Top than to Reach the Top; just because Life has No Justice.
Whoever is dissatisfied by Raging Bull, I'm sure they watched it with expectations of watching a sports movie, like Rocky. Despite the AFI chose Raging Bull as the #1 sports movie of all time, you can't expect to see the most breathtaking boxing match nor to witness the best crochet of boxing history. Raging Bull can only be classified as a drama/biography. Director Scorsese chose to go with black&white cinematography only to keep the young viewers away from this masterpiece of art. It's not fair to compare Rocky with Raging Bull. Rocky was a populist movie mostly for young viewers, and Raging Bull is a cinematic masterpiece. From a wide point of view, for instance, if you look at one of the Michelangelo's paintings; at first you see a nude woman, if you look longer and deeper you realize that her nudity expresses some thought, if you look continuously and give a life to it in your imagination you discover that the women are not just their bodies. Accordingly, like it is not enough looking once to a painting to understand what opinion does it defend; it is not reasonable and not fair to watch Raging Bull so as to see a sports movie. Also it is not reasonable to see Raging Bull only once. Raging Bull is one movie that, every time you watch it you get a better taste, every time you watch it you discover something new.
Raging Bull taught us that even if you are the best at some skill, even if you are the best of all; you need to create witnesses, admirers and supporters of your skill. It's the only way to reach the top. Moreover, it is harder to stay at the top than to reach the top. Not because someone better than you can defeat you, it's just because of the need to be accepted on every authority; like the Council of Judges, the Media and the Admiration of People. Director Scorsese draws benefit from the hypocrisy of fame. He empowers Raging Bull to make people ask to their conscience if the popular values that people choose can really cherish their values.
In Raging Bull, Jake La Motta was the best boxer of all, but people didn't like him. He was disrespectful, he was uncivilized, he was very ugly, he was arrogant, he was irritable and he didn't care; 'cause he believed himself. Despite the fact that he is the best, everybody disliked him. Soon, he was left alone; and in a very short time he lost everything he possessed. When he opened his eyes back to life, he found himself in prison. The scene that he is punching and butting the wall facing him is one of the most heart rending memorable scenes of the whole cinema history.
At the end, he finally throws in the towel of believing himself, he loses his faith and becomes to learn what he never wanted to learn: The Fame. He starts running his own business at a night club under his name, working as a stand-up comedian at the stage. People laugh at him for the jokes he made out of his memories, the jokes paraphrasing the bitter facts of life; including the very famous joke of the British King Richard-III which he said in the year 1485 just before dying: "A horse, a horse... My kingdom for a horse!". There we understand truly: For every joke there lies a share of a fact underneath.
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