Raging Bull (1980) Poster

(1980)

User Reviews

Review this title
92 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
9/10
It really is harder to Stay At the Top than to Reach the Top; just because Life has No Justice.
CihanVercan24 September 2008
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.
56 out of 84 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
A Masculine Messy, Bloody, Mirror
dandyc-735378 February 2020
Initially, this film did not resonate. I wasn't sure what Lamotta was supposed to mean to me. He was hard to relate to. Yet something I live by when it comes to just about anything is that you should always try something twice. So I did.

Raging Bull is one of my favorite American films after several viewings because it truly portrays unbridled masculinity. It's not pretty. It's not morally justifiable. It's just animalistic. The constant drive to wanna be the best, to conquer the competition, to dominate women, all of these things are ugly, but American and masculine. We see a man that never rises, but continues to slowly fall. The fact that he is a good fighter, and that he wins the belt, means nothing because he gets really fat and loses his brothers love. His body and dominance start to leave him as he achieves. The trade-offs and high stakes resonate in waves.

One of the most stunning sequences in cinema history for me is when we see Lamotta at arguably his lowest, in prison. The scene evokes true emotion, as we see a man who has never broken, finally break. He realizes what he is. Who he is. And I cry every time. Not because I love Jake Lamotta, but because I understand what it is like to regret something that is in your nature. You're sorry, but you're not. But you are because you were caught.

Lamotta cannot understand why people start to turn on him, despite his treatment of them. This is personified in the final scene with Joey. His ego never leaves. The constant need for attention and justification becomes Jake's fight. He can't physically dominate people anymore, so he has to use his fragile ego to manipulate people into laughter at his self deprecation.

And so what does it all mean? Is raging bull a technically excellent film? Of course. Is it well directed. Sure. But what it truly is is a mirror. A mirror that men hold up, and see themselves in, like it or not. I certainly did. And that's entertainment.
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
Fighting demons, not boxers
lastliberal14 April 2007
I don't know what took me so long to see this movie, but I jumped at the chance last night. I know it was nominated for a slew of awards, but that is not why I tuned in.

It was Joe Pesci's fourth film and he really shows the tough guy that he was to later develop in movies like Goodfellas and casino. His performance in trying to control his out of control brother was amazing.

Now, of course, Robert De Niro as Jake LaMotta was also impressive. To see someone with so little self esteem that he was beset by constant doubt is sad. he was an amazing fighter, but never happy as he dealt with his demons.

Antone wanting to see outstanding acting directing technical work in a great story needs to see this film. It is one of the best of all time.
6 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
"That's entertainment"
jakejoseph-0505812 July 2020
Warning: Spoilers
I've seen Raging Bull over a dozen times, and with every viewing I fall more in love with it.

Scorsese pulls together a brutal and emotional biography of the American professional boxer, Jake LaMotta, who's rise and fall epitomizes the consequences of blind rage and jealousy.

Robert De Niro (Jake LaMotta) and Joe Pesci (Joey LaMotta, his brother and trainer) masterfully portray the tough loving-nature of brothers, and the chemistry between them is pure cinematic brilliance.

The lesson of the film itself has stood the test of time, and perfectly characterizes the instinctual, animalistic rage of a boxer and the controlling jealousy of an insecure man.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
A Legendary Boxing Film
sterlinrivera-200020 December 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Raging Bull is basically an R-rated version of Rocky, and I'd say it is just as spectacular as Rocky in terms of story, acting, pacing, and the boxing scenes.

It is about Jake Lamotta (Robert De Niro) who is a brutal boxer that works very hard to win a championship belt. He later on falls in love with a woman, Vickie (Cathy Moriaty), and lives a good life until things get grumpy with their relationship and Jake's life goes into a downhill disaster.

Raging Bull is excellent. De Niro really stole the show here, and he was capable at pulling off the acting near the end where (SPOILER) his character gained weight. Joe Pesci is also in this as Jake's brother, and he did a pretty good and was able to deliver a pretty humorous performance.

The story I felt was great and Martin Scorsese did a great job at directing. You could easily tell he was inspired by Rocky to do this and wanted to make it even more dramatic and so forth. I also like how the film is in black & white because it's trying to be realistic with its time.

All in all, Raging Bull is a very great boxing film that holds up 4 decades later.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
Raging Bull
DanielLowery9610 October 2019
This film tells the true story of boxing icon Jake La Motta, a sometimes paranoid, hard-headed fighter from the 40s. De Niro's work in this is just sublime, he gives us 2 hours of rock-solid method acting, and the way that he and Pesci feed off each other on the screen is a landmark of not only cinema, but enterteinment in general. They are perfect together. And we should be grateful to have gotten to see these two incredible actors work together for so long.

The supporting cast is also spot-on, and combined with Scorsese's meticulous directing, they all shine in their own way.

9/10
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
Probably the best sports movie out there!
DeathSex66620 November 2018
This is in my opinion the best film directed by the legendary Martin Scorsese! While not my favorite I think it's his best. First of all this movie is beautiful, the black and white really works for the type of story it's telling. De Niro and Joe Pesci produce some of their best work as well, even better than Goodfellas in a lot of ways! The sound effects on the boxing ring jumps to mind when thinking of this movie, how they represent the animalistic nature of the main character and how that plays into a scene towards the end of the film. Can't recommend it enough it's an absolute classic! Strong 9/10
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
One of the best?
caseyt-485115 April 2018
The American Film Institute ranked Raging Bull as the 4th greatest movie of all time. Is it? It is a great film for sure. Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci are both fantastic in it and the black and white cinematography is pure perfection. Martin Scorsese is one of America's greatest filmmakers but he's made better movies. I feel that Goodfellas and Taxi Driver are superior to this movie, as good as it is. The film contains some difficult to watch scenes and isn't for everyone. It's a movie that should be viewed at least once by film maniacs. A great movie for sure, but not Scorsese's best.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
An Oddly Rousing Chronicle of the 'Bronx-Bull'!
sandnair8726 March 2015
Unequivocally unsentimental in every respect, Raging Bull offers a searing character study of boxer Jake La Motta (known as the Raging Bull). Despite being the story of a middle-weight boxer, the movie refuses to be pigeonholed as merely a 'boxing' movie. It reigns as poesy of spectacle and presents a disconcerting vision of a beastly character, who dished out savagery in the ring and also at home, yet rose in his day to be idolized to a certain extent by our pop culture.

Robert De Niro stars as Jake LaMotta, the Bronx-based boxer whose public bouts and private demons Raging Bull chronicles with bruising acuity, without judgment or sympathy. It delves even deeper into the psyche, exploring the destructive life in whimsical detail. Taking us through the highlight reel of LaMotta's life from the early 1940s through the mid-1960s, the film details how the Bronx bruiser boxed his way to professional stardom then lost everything to debilitating paranoia only to find his life in shambles, eventually descending into self-loathing and loneliness. It is a mesmerizing exploration of the mind of an emotionally disconnected man; as likely to crush those he loved as much as his opposition in the ring. It's impossible to resist following such a talented born loser on his inevitable trip into oblivion, though it's not fun. Watching his downfall from champion to pitiful stand-up comedian and club owner is no more enjoyable than it sounds, yet it is immensely rewarding.

One of the triumphs of Martin Scorsese's direction comes from how fascinating Jake remains despite his conspicuous inner rage and crippling sense of sexual insecurity. These inner struggles dovetail with La Motta's performance in the ring, and the film's artful, seemingly improvisatory construction serves to juxtapose these two worlds: the intimate, naturalistic domestic world and the smoky, expressionistic world of the boxing ring. The most obvious basis for the film's claim to greatness lies in Scorsese's devastating critique of the basic codes of masculinity and finally in Robert De Niro's performance, through which that critique is made flesh. De Niro's colossal act (astounding not in the least for his now famous weight gain) firmly holds the film together, virtually hypnotizing the viewer with intensity, pathos, and even innocence. The true power of De Niro's performance rests in his ability to crawl his way into this lug's twisted psyche and air out his personal demons for all to see.

It will be impossible to look away from your screens, much like a real boxing match. And for that, Raging Bull remains a profoundly treasured experience: bold and bloody, yet oddly stirring. What eventually pours out on the screen is pure cinema, and pure Scorsese!
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
A talented yet emotionally self-destructive boxer's life outside of the ring is destroying any chance that he has to be truly successful.
ryklinker18 December 2014
Right from the start, he's fighting. Fighting in the ring, fighting with the judges, and most of all, fighting with himself. After the first match that we see him in, we see that Jake La Motta is just as much of a fighter with his gloves off as he is with them on, possibly even more so. His home life is very troublesome; with a marriage where every interaction results in an argument, and a brother/manager who only patronizes him even more, being a great boxer is not what he thought. With every winning decision, his life out from under the stadium lights becomes worse. He meets an 18-year-old girl, and her personality is, shall we say, flirtatious in a bad way. It doesn't take long for his jealousy and covetousness of his young wife soon becomes a major distraction, and as the middleweight title gets closer, so does his demise. Considered by most as one of the best sports movies of all time (alongside Field of Dreams, Rudy, Remember the Titans, and Hoosiers), Raging Bull is a great film not only about boxing, but also about a man who is a boxer. One major difference between this film and fellow boxing classic Rocky is that the movie shows more about life outside of the ropes than it does inside. With the total screen-time of actual bouts at roughly 15 minutes, the sport is simply the background to the story of La Motta. What this movie truly is about is a man who is unstable in his everyday life, and he struggles to keep himself from ruining his own career. In this film, Robert De Niro delivers one of the best performances not only of his career, but also possibly of all time. Famously gaining 60 lbs. to play the last part of this character's story, De Niro's performance as the real-life boxer La Motta brought the very intense story to the big- screen. As one of his two Oscar-winning performances, De Niro turned in everything he had, and came home with the deserved recognition. In addition to the Best Actor, Raging Bull also was nominated for Picture, Sound, Supporting Actor for Pesci, Supporting Actress for Moriarty, Director, Sound, Cinematography, and Film Editing, winning the last one. I personally thought that the sound, cinematography, and directing were definitely worthy of their Academy recognition. This film came 4 years after director Martin Scorsese's successful film Taxi Driver, which also featured De Niro. Like Taxi Driver, this film also incorporates the social ineptness of a man, and how this difficulty has an effect on the people around him. At some point between after 1976, Martin Scorsese had become severely addicted to cocaine, and an excessive dosage one day left him in a hospital room. While visiting his great friend, Robert De Niro brought up the idea of making a film based on a book that he had recently read about an old boxer. Though at first hesitant, Scorsese delved into the story of La Motta, and he made this classic as a result. Now I must remind you, this is a rated R movie, and it is deservedly so. As one may expect, the boxing sequences are pretty brutal, with blood and pain visibly flowing throughout. Outside of the ring, both Jake and Joey La Motta engage in many heated arguments, and the language within these scenes is R-worthy in itself. Though nothing is shown, Jake's wife Vicki is very "friendly" with people, and we hear about it in pretty specific detail. With these warnings listed, I still fully promote this film. This is truly a classic film, and if you are able to endure the violence and language, Raging Bull is a must-see for anyone interested in cinematic history. This is definitely a film that requires one's attention. It is not a movie that necessarily keeps the viewer on the edge of his/her seat, and it is more about the story. The pacing is slow at times, and it can lull for a small amount of time. I definitely loved this film, and I wholly recommend this film.

www.sportsandcelluloid.blogspot.com
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
Great, intense picture
85122217 September 2014
Greetings from Lithuania.

"Raging Bull" (1980) is a very good picture, great one (like you haven't heard about it yet). It contains superb performances by all involved, and especially by the great Robert De Nido in a lifetime performance. It's gritty, ugly, true and very intense picture, with a great director in his best form - every scene in this picture pulse on tension. Boxing scenes are very disturbing, they are short, and very brutal - although this picture is filmed in black and white, it's look stunning.

Overall, a true gem, called by many the best picture of the 80's. I don't think it's that good, and there are many pictures that i would call equally great, but this one is not to be mist my a true movie lovers.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
DeNiro doesn't come much better than this
adamscastlevania27 September 2014
(89%) You can tell that this is a Scorsese film through the sheer number of aggravated physical brawls (and not forgetting the no less aggressive verbal fights) which break out every 10 minutes or so, and that's not including any of actual boxing matches themselves. And that's this film's finest accomplishment in that Jake LaMotta isn't a nice guy (which is putting it lightly), and yet seeing him fail is no less painful or easy to witness. Predominantly this is a brilliantly well made with the black and white cinematography being more than just a gimmick as it fits into the stark tale, DeNiro I don't think has ever been better, and the use of score is some of the best in any movie. Overall a must watch.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
Another reason why you should love De Niro and Scorsese
estebangonzalez1021 April 2014
"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.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
Raging Bull
Our_Feature_Presentation17 January 2014
This biopic about real life boxer Jake La Motta who is portrayed by Robert De Niro. The movie directed by, you guessed it, Martin Scorsese. The movie starts out with the greatest opening credits sequence of all time, it immediately sets you up for the mood of the movie, introducing you to the atmosphere set in black and white, the music, and Jake La Motta. He may not be speaking but just by the mannerisms you get the vibe of a cold heated, violent man, and in all honesty... he is a cold hearten violent man, you see this throughout the movie in another one of the greatest movie performances of all time again from De Niro. The other major characters are Joey and Vickie La Motta. Both performances are good but Joe Pesci is amazing as Joey the brother to boxer Jake La Motta. Joey and Jake whenever they're on screen together it's very interesting to watch. The way the two actors talk is like they're actually brothers, whether they're bickering or just talking it always feels natural. The movie's script is one of it's many high points. It's very well written that flows great despite needing to cover so many years of events. The movie's soundtrack is also a high point. A great thing that this movie was able to do was the ability to convey many emotions, the tension in the ring, the depressing aspect later in La Motta's life, and a (what I find) heartwarming scene when the audience is shown home movies of Jake La Motta, his wife and kids. The movie remains interesting because your able to witness the violent depressing life of a violent depressing man. Your able to see what to most would be something minor as a big deal in his world (for example when his wife says hi to other men at a restaurant). The boxing scenes are a highlight in the movie, most people may say there unrealistic but I don't care about it's realism, the fights are visually something great, very bloody and brutal also. In the final 15 minutes of the film you see Jake's life once he's retired boxing. Robert De Niro actually gained 60 pounds for those parts of the movie. But those final 15 minutes are actually quite sad, your able to see that his relationships have all fallen apart, his wife divorced him, has custody of his kids, and his brother wants no part of him. But yet he is at peace with himself as the biblical quote at the end explains.

Raging Bull is definitely one of the greatest movies of all time. Boasting one of the greatest performances ever, a marvelous sense of directing, great soundtrack, great script. All of this makes this movie a 9.6 out of 10.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
A modern classy masterpiece.
jackasstrange12 November 2013
Warning: Spoilers
With a flawless plot, and being arguably one of the best films from the 80s, Raging Bull tells the story of the raise to fame and the decadence of Jake La Motta, a man that is guided by his totally animal-like and impulsive personality. It's a very interesting story, i must say. The idea of making a film about Jake was brought by DeNiro himself, which tried numerous times to convince Scorsese to do the film. Scorsese, in fact, just accepted to do the film after knowing that he could relate himself with Jake.

In the technical aspects of filmmaking, this film is nothing less than great. The cinematography of the fights sequences are breath- taking. Super stylized and very different from the spectator's experience, we have a view of the fight into the ring, with a fast and very well- made edition in these sequences. And a curious fact: one of the film's main reason to be filmed in black and white was because that the colors of the gloves at the time would have only been with dark tones, such as oxblood and even black.

The acting is superb. The then relatively unknown Joe Pesci gives an extraordinary performance as Joey, the Jake's brother. DeNiro was without a doubt great, his dedication to the role leads him to a weight increase from 145 to 215 pounds (66 to 97 kg) to portray the post-boxing life of Jake. He also choreographed the fight scenes with the help of the real Jake La Motta. Not surprisingly, his job in the portrayal of Jake La Motta brought to him an Academy Award of best actor in a lead role.

I can proudly say that this film is without a doubt one of my favorites of the 80s.

So, Highly recommended. 9.4/10
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
A "raging " triumph
ankurjayawant6 October 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Raging Bull is more about a boxer's life out of the ring. Shot entirely in black and white,it is based on the turbulent career and life of the two time middleweight champion Jake La Motta.

The film opens in 1964 where an aging & overweight Jake LaMotta (Robert DeNiro) is rehearsing his lines for a standup comedy act. The scene then moves to two decades earlier with JakeLaMotta losing his first major match. Jake's brother & agent Joey (Joe Pesci) discusses his chances for a potential title shot with one of his mafia connections, Salvy Batts (Frank Vincent). He starts a relationship with a 15 year old Vickie (Cathy Moriarty) inspite of being married. He defeats Sugar Ray Robinson twice but is denied victory in the second bout due to judges. He finally marries Vickie, his love for her gradually becoming an obsession. Frequent fights erupt, most of which end in Vickie being abused physically. In one of his bouts, which he wins against Tony Janiro he brutally smashes the latter's face because he knows that Vickie finds him attractive. Later , discussing Jake's victory with journalists in a night club, Joey spots Vickie in the company of Salvy and his friends. He attacks Salvy and injures him badly in a fight. The mafia head asks Jake to throw his next match in order to have a title fight. As a result, Jake is disqualified. However, he wins the middleweight title in his next bout against Marcel Cerdan in 1949.

The title win and subsequent success the following year do nothing to quell his jealousy about Vickie, his insecurities only become worse. Things come to the worst one day when he blatantly asks Joey whether he and Vickie have something going in between them. Joey leaves, disgusted. Unmoved, he confronts Vickie asking her the same, to which she replies, fed up of the routine torture, that she has relations with Joey and every man in the neighbourhood. Enraged, Jake goes to Joey's house and beats him up brutally in front of his family. That spells the end of relations between the two brothers.

Jake defends his title against Laurent Dauthille in 1950, a match even his estranged brother Joey watches on TV. He calls Joey in an attempt to reconcile but is unable to speak anything when Joey answers the phone.He never tries to call his brother again. His career slowly starts to go downhill and he loses his title to Sugar Ray Robinson in 1951.

The scene then cuts to 1956 with a now obese LaMotta, having moved to Miami and running a nightclub. Vickie soon asks for a divorce,which she had been planning since his retirement. She gets the custody of the children and moves away. Jake then suddenly gets arrested one morning on the charge of introducing underage girls (posing as 21 year olds) to other patrons of his nightclub. He is jailed being unable to raise enough money for parole even after selling his title belt. In a memorable scene, he bangs his head and pounds the walls of his prison cell, crying and repenting his actions and questioning his misfortune. The scene then moves to 1958.On being freed, he moves back to New York and continues his gigs at various night clubs in addition to managing them. One night, he sees Joey on the street. He calls out to him and asks him to forgive him, but Joey keeps walking. Finally he catches him near his car and hugs him and asks for forgiveness. Joey reluctantly forgives him and drives away without another word. Back to the first scene in 1964 where La Motta is practicing his lines and in between pondering what might have been had things been a little different and had Joey looked out for him .A stagehand informs that his act is ready and the last shot of the film shows Jake exiting the dressing room, shadowboxing like the older days.

This isn't a biopic about a idol because this is anything but a hero. Its a story of a man who inspite of reaching great heights in the ring is pulled down to the abyss because of his abhorrent behaviour outside it. Like his other works, Scorsese does not add a bit of pleasantry but shows realism, with human nature at its ugliest, the usual expletive laced dialogues and grimness.

This is arguably Robert DeNiro's best performance & the most physically demanding role any actor can have.Not for a moment does he even try to make the viewer feel any sympathy for or like the hatred and envy filled character he is playing. Jake LaMotta on screen is the exact opposite to Rocky Balboa . Rocky is a hero in everyman who we root for in his quest to reach for the sky. For Jake, who already has reached the top, the viewer feels only revulsion and later on pity, when he begins his downward slide. To prepare for the role, DeNiro trained vigourously for weeks under the real Jake LaMotta,even fighting and winning some amateur matches. Production was halted for four months and DeNiro went on a binge eating spree on gourmet food across Europe in order to add nearly 30 kilos to portray the older La Motta. On seeing his performance, the real LaMotta quipped "I never knew that I was that bad".DeNiro deservedly won the Oscar for the Best Actor for this role where he had in his usual style erased the difference between reality and celluloid.Joe Pesci who was an unknown actor at this time, is great as Joey. He very aptly portrays the brother who tries his best to stick with his sibling but puts and end to the whole thing when it gets beyond redemption. Cathy Moriarty is impressive as Vicky in her debut film but couldn't live upto the promise she showed in this film.

A must watch simply for the appreciation of good cinema.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
Brilliant movie, with 1 of the top 5 performances ever by DeNiro
tastyhotdogs19 February 2006
Hard to sum up in words, but much easier than summing up in hand signals Robert DeNiro + Martin Scorsese + Great Story + Brilliant Script = One of the best movies ever.

"Raging Bull" tells the true story of Jake La Motta, an early 1900's boxer who went from champion to bum. The story begins with his rise in the boxing world, where his talent is obvious but equally is his womanizing, anger and paranoia. As he rises to champion, things go well for Jake, but when problems arise his character flaws bring about his downfall.

A must see for true movie lovers. An outstanding performance by DeNiro, even better than his effort in "Analyse This", who famously put on over 70lb for the role for La Motta's later years. Also great performances by Joe Pesci, in his breakthrough role before "Home Alone", and Cathy Moriarty. Outstanding directing by Scorsese, who created the most realistic boxing scenes up until that time, with the black and white effect really adding to the movie. One of the great Hollywood movies.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
De Niro at his worst and also best.
policy13425 March 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese together can only be described as the definitive symbol of cinematic excellence. They have a profound understanding of each other that everybody should aspire to, whether they're in show business or not.

Raging Bull is the ultimate Scorsese/De Niro collaboration and the snub it got from the Academy was a grim reminder where movies in the 80's where headed. Instead of making more of these quality films together, Scorsese and De Niro were virtually absent in the 80's. It wasn't until '88 that De Niro made sort of a comeback with Midnight Run. Scorsese was producing a few films but he wasn't the major influence he had been in the 70's.

The film Raging Bull also introduced Joe Pesci to a worldwide audience. He had only made an obscure film in the mid-70's which was virtually unseen except De Niro who recommended him to play Jake LaMotta's brother, Joey. Another newcomer was the actress playing Jake's wife, Vicki. She was barely out of high school when she was hired. This is by far, De Niro's absolute best performance and of course he also won the Oscar, but it is also the performance that is the hardest to watch. Every single moment he's on screen is like spending time with your worst enemy. He is such an ugly person that you can't sympathize with him at all. The thing that makes him somewhat redeemable is that he never thinks of himself as a good person. He knows, he is trash but the power to change is not in him. At the end, where he tries to make up with his brother is the most painful moment ever filmed and there doesn't seem to be any change in his character. Apparently, the real LaMotta saw the whole film and was himself disgusted of the way he was portrayed but only at himself.

De Niro has had a long career and he is always worth watching but in this film I must admit that he gave me the creeps from start to finish. Even his role in Cape Fear wasn't as disturbing as this one. So did it deserve to win the Oscar for Best Picture. Yes it did but not because the story is really compelling. It deserved to win because every minute of the film you feel something, even though it's mostly bad feelings.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
Masterfully acted and directed, but a tiny bit overrated.
benhealeyjr16 March 2005
Before I get attacked, let me just explain why I feel RAGING BULL may be a little, tiny, slight bit overrated. We're talking about a film that numerous critics have named the best of the 1980s. Now the 80s were a pretty weak time for film, and RAGING BULL is a beautiful motion picture, but the very best? It's up there with FULL METAL JACKET, MILLER'S CROSSING, RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, THE SHINING, FERRIS BUELLER, DAS BOOT, etc, as a great 80s movie, but I've never been convinced that this film lives up to the hype. I dare say that Scorsese's own TAXI DRIVER and GOODFELLAS are even more impressive. But I'm harping too much on reputation and expectation. DeNiro, Pesci, and Moriarity are outstanding, and Scorsese's direction is exhilarating. Furthermore, the cinematography is gorgeous, the music is unforgettable, and the boxing scenes are staged perfectly. Try to go in without expectation, and you'll be impressed.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
That's Entertainment
darkfalafel8 February 2005
One of the reasons that makes this movie great that it includes three big names : Martin Scorsese , Paul Schrader , and Robert De Niro . This triplet did together another great movie which was ( Taxi Driver ) in 1976 . For a start , Martin Scorsese who didn't win the Oscar for this piece of art ( as usual ) did a great job by using special effects like close - ups and slow motion techniques in the boxing ring that made us feel as we're there watching , and sometimes boxing . The use of black and white in shooting the movie gave the film its documentary-like to the 40's.

De Niro's role as this mad - destructive - full of pride boxer who could've been something big was truly amazing, and is considered to be one of the greatest roles ever played in the history of cinema , besides Marlon Brando's role in the Godfather and F. Murray Abraham's role in Amadeus .

Raging Bull was nominated for 8 Academy Awards and only won for best Actor and best Editing . But the Oscars aren't the things that makes a movie great , it's the way people think of it that does . In this movie , victory becomes loss , and the feelings of anger, sarcasm, sadness, pain and regret combines together to form this unforgettable cinematic experience . Truly , That's entertainment .
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
Excellent right up to the end
Laitue_Gonflable9 September 2003
Raging Bull was the first of the Scorsese/De Niro partnership that I watched and it was well worth my time. A powerful, emotional, beautifully crafted biographical tale of a boxer with an overly-aggressive temperament and an anger management problem, it took me to a high cliff peak and essentially just dropped me by the end.

Up to the two hour mark and Jake La Motta's final fight, this film is one of the greatest and most powerful I've ever seen, but for me the ending didn't quite stick because it came as quite an anticlimax to what was basically such a climactic story. The character of Jake La Motta is artfully constructed and De Niro's performance defies definition and yet the film as a whole left me feeling unfulfilled because the emotion that was so paramount up to that point became quite slow and stagnant; as a biography it works well, but not brilliantly.

That's not to detract anything at all from this exceptional classic, that was merely how I felt after watching the film. Scorsese really shows his true class and quality in this film, he is such a master craftsman and manages to extract one of the most memorable anti-hero performances of all time from De Niro while Joe Pesci also does a fine job as Joey.

I really wanted to enjoy this film and I really wanted it to be better but the way I see it, it could either have been made longer to extract all of the story from the final half hour, or have cut out the last half hour altogether because overall, it just seemed almost completely irrelevant in the way it was made. ****1/2 / *****
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
A Classic.
LagerLagerLagerShouting30 January 2003
How did this film only win two Oscars? (Deserved ones at that!) It is easily won of the best films in the 80's and with hindsight everyone gives this classic the recognition it deserves. I do not know much about boxing but I can understand from Raging Bull the brutality of life in the ring and how it effects people, like Jake LaMotta in their normal lifestyle. My all time favourite actor, Robert De Niro, masterfully portrays LaMotta as a determined character whose aggression and brutality that he he feels in the sport transcends into his life. In the final monologue he is almost a fallen hero as he wonderfully conveys his life in a passioned soliloquy. Scorsese uses classic film-making techniques, in depth, almost psychological, characterisation and sudden bursts of conflict, retribution and remorse to make the film very human indeed. Ultimately this is character driven drama at its finest and more this helps the film to flow excellently through the contrasts of LaMotta's domestic violence with his professional violence, which as brutal as it is, is not played for hatred but questions morality and on a deeper levels strives to be sympathetic. What also helps the relationship of the characters is the improvising, especially between DeNiro and Pesci. They argue and fight with great conviction and DeNiro especially is very believable (probably due to the amount of time he pent with LaMotta!)

Raging Bull is a masterpiece of direction and acting and a great film overall. The violence is very believable and realistic, amazing for a low budget film, and the beautiful black and white cinematography gives it extra, effective depth and a nostalgic sheen. It is a film that has everything and this is shown through the life of a influential if brutal man. Riveting, immaculate and emotional, this is a must see, especially for anyone who enjoys the work of Robert DeNiro and Martin Scorsese.

9/10
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
Harsh, Brutal and Violent and that's outside the ring!
Butch Cassidy26 October 2002
Warning: Spoilers
****SPOILERS MAY BE IN HERE SO BEWARE****

Not so long ago Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro would pair up to produce a stunning film that would be applauded by the audience and critics alike but recently neither have chosen to work together. This is a great shame as the films produced were ground breaking and thought provoking. One of these films was Raging Bull.

With only about 12 minutes of boxing being in you would be forgiven for thinking that this film is boring, it is never in the slightest bit tedious or long winded but instead the events outside the ring that show the sordid parts of La Motta's life are intriguing and complement the fight scenes like wine with a well prepared meal.

The main asset of this film has to be its fight scenes which are legendary and ingeniously fabricated by Scorsese. These are some of the best choreographed in cinema history, well above the standard of the Rocky series. This film is certainly not for the faint heart as it is filled with abusive language and violence from the outset. A quality which makes this film one of the greatest films of all-time is the way the film manages to look deeper, rather than just showing the fight scenes, by making the boxer Jake La Motta (Robert De Niro) human and suffers decline into mediocrity.

This human element injected by De Niro makes us empathise with his character instead of righting him of as a violent thug who we want to suffer. If you ever get the chance to see this film on the big screen then I truly recommend it as the scenes seem more powerful and more meaningful than shown at home. A must see for any Scorsese or De Niro fan.

Grade A
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
Extreme nosebleed
PIST-OFF25 April 1999
This is the greatest boxing movie ever. All the people I show this to who swore by Rocky, ended up thinking Rocky was a joke. Easily the most brutal fight scenes ever filmed. Three of my favorite actors DeNiro, Pesci, and Vincent hook up for the first time under Scorsese's brilliant directing. Robert DeNiro's weight gain for the late scenes in the film remain as a testament to his acting and performing ability. DeNiro does such an acting job in this that he makes me do something I never thought possible, he makes me hate Robert DeNiro. The "hit me again" scene is classic. This is a great movie but I still think DeNiro was better in Taxi Driver.

You didn't get me down Ray. You didn't get me down.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
Rage on! Raging Bull is a masterpiece. A very unique and entertaining watch.
ironhorse_iv13 March 2016
Warning: Spoilers
After finishing reading boxer, Jake LaMotta's memoir, 'Raging Bull: My Story", I have to say the movie adaptation of this emotionally story of a self-destructive boxer, Jake LaMotta's (Robert De Niro) journey through life, as the violence and temper that leads him to the top in the ring, and but also hurt his private life outside it, is a brilliant black and white bio-pic. It's crude, harsh, and shocking – with its use of violence and adult-driven profanity though not as shocking as in an earlier draft of the screenplay by screenwriters, Paul Schrader & Mardik Martin, which show a lot more of Jake's bad side. Some good examples are when Jake is seen kicking and punching, a pregnant woman. Another one, not explained in the film, is the fact that La Motta had been a petty criminal, during his teen years, and he only learned boxing while in reform school. During much of his boxing career, Jake often feared that the law enforcement would be found out that he killed a local bookie during a failed robbery attempt, and he believed that he would "pay for" what he did, one way or another. La Motta would later, find out later in his boxing career, he had badly hurt the bookie, but didn't killed him. Nevertheless, I think the part of his story would had made the film, so much better. Despite that, most of the film changes does work, such as La Motta's fights, removal of La Motta's father, and the reduction of organized crime's role in the story. One of the better changes, was the merger of the characters of La Motta's friend, Pete Savage with that of his brother, Joey La Motta (Joe Pesci). Directed by Martin Scorsese, the movie is also well-shot. I love the use of slow moment in the black and white principal photography. I like how each of the boxing scenes was choreographed for a specific visual style. The fight scenes are very impressionistic. Even the color scenes were fine. I love how La Motta's color family home movies, really look real & personally. Just the fact, that these sequences were personally scraped by Martin Scorsese with a coat-hanger to ensure a rough, naturalistic feeling, made the film, so much better. I love how Scorsese seems to have lifted the film's distinctive look and feel directly from La Motta's autobiography. However, I glad Martin didn't follow with La Motta's style in which this movie was to be played for him. After all, La Motta's idea of jerky movements, with huge gaps. A string of poorly lit sequences, some of them with no beginning and some with no end with no musical score would be a little too unwatchable. Instead, the movie is well-paced, well shot, and has tons of beautiful classical music from 19th century, composer Pietro Mascagni and 1940/1950s jukebox. In my opinion, I think, it's one of Martin Scorsese's greatest movies. It's surprising to hear today, that this movie was almost the director's last movie. After nearly dying from a drug overdose in the 1970s, Scorsese agreed to make the film for Robert De Niro's sake. Not only did, this movie save Martin's own life but also to save what remained of his career. It really did redeem the director's life. Talking about career changing. This film almost made Robert De Niro into a bigger star. Preparation for his boxing role, Robert De Niro went through extensive physical training, then entered in three genuine Brooklyn boxing matches, just show how well-trained, he got. Surprising, De Niro won two of the bouts. If that wasn't enough, Robert De Niro is infamous for this film, for gained a record 60 pounds to play the older Jake LaMotta. What a remarkable performance from him. Even supporting actors like Joe Pesci did well. This was a breakout role for Pesci, a singer, comedian, and former child-actor. He had been in only one film before this, and nearly decided to quit acting before he was asked to play Joey. It pretty much, save Joe Pesci's career. Overall: Raging Bull had cemented its reputation as a modern classic, both with the critics and with general audiences. The use of gorgeous black-and-white photography mixed with great acting continue to evoke viewers even today's world. It's a must-watch for anybody who loves movies.
5 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews


Recently Viewed