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 by attempting to liberate a presidential campaign worker and an underage 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.
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
According to Martin Scorsese on the DVD, when first screening some test 8mm footage of Robert De Niro sparring in a ring, he felt that something was off about the image. Michael Powell, who at that time had become something of a mentor and good friend to Scorsese, suggested that it was the color of the gloves that was throwing them off. Realizing this was true, Scorsese then decided the movie had to be filmed in black and white. See more »
Tommy Como's hand position changes between shots when he has his arm around Jake when sitting at Tommy's table at the night club. 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 ...
[...] See more »
The film is in black and white, but during the opening credits, the title is in red letters. See more »
CBS edited 8 minutes from this film for its 1986 network television premiere. See more »
Impressive From A Filmmaking Standpoint But Lacking Flavour In Narration
Bringing the life story of one of the roughest brawlers to ever step into the boxing ring, Raging Bull finds director Martin Scorsese & actor Robert De Niro teaming up once again to deliver yet another quality work but just like their other collaborations, it left me cold & indifferent to whatever it had in store and while I respect the legacy of this sports drama, I'm no fan of it.
Raging Bull chronicles the life of Jake LaMotta, a middleweight boxer whose rage, jealously & bouts of violent outbursts helps propel him to the top of the division but his inability to keep those vicious tendencies in check outside the arena leads him on a path of self-destruction, as he destroys his relationships with his wife & family over the years and wounds up all alone in his later life.
Directed by Martin Scorsese, the film is incredibly faithful to its source material and recreates the events with accuracy. Shot in black & white, which gives the picture a timeless quality, it illustrates the good, bad & ugly side of LaMotta with finesse and his arc is undeniably compelling. But he also comes off as an insufferable persona whose problems are of his own making which makes his downward journey all the more deserving.
What also affects the experience is that the story remains a monotonous ride for the entirety of its runtime. There is no escalation whatsoever whether we are witnessing LaMotta's boxing bouts or personal life. It's just a similar set of events repeated time n again for 125 minutes and that's not enough to keep the interest alive. It's brutal & violent in the ring but it fails to deliver the desired emotional impact because we are just not invested in his journey.
However, from a filmmaking standpoint, Raging Bull is an outstanding piece of work. The staging of events, the era-appropriate set pieces, the boxing choreography, the controlled camerawork, all of it exhibit an exactness that's quite commendable. And as for the performances, Robert De Niro leads the show from the front and delivers a smashing showcase as Jake LaMotta, and he is brilliantly supported by Joe Pesci & Cathy Moriarty who play his brother & wife respectively.
On an overall scale, Raging Bull is impressive in its craftsmanship but the narration is lacking in flavour and becomes repetitive after a while. Scorsese's direction & De Niro's commitment to his role certainly stand out but the longer it goes on, the more wearisome it becomes. Painting a faithful portrait of a character with no redeeming characteristics, Raging Bull is significant from a filmmaking viewpoint but there isn't much to gain by investing in someone who refuses to learn from his own mistakes.
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