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Raging Bull
Drama, Biography, Sport
IMDB rating:
Martin Scorsese
Robert De Niro as Jake La Motta
Cathy Moriarty as Vickie La Motta
Joe Pesci as Joey
Frank Vincent as Salvy
Nicholas Colasanto as Tommy Como
Theresa Saldana as Lenore
Mario Gallo as Mario
Frank Adonis as Patsy
Joseph Bono as Guido
Frank Topham as Toppy
Charles Scorsese as Charlie - Man with Como
Don Dunphy as Himself - Radio Announcer for Dauthuille Fight
Bill Hanrahan as Eddie Eagan
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.
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Not too great
I'll sum the whole movie up for you: 75% of the movie is wife beating and screaming. 25% is boxing reenactments. Jake lamotta isn't a hero, but more of a villain. I couldn't really connect with his character, because whenever he got a chance to talk, he screamed at everyone. Boxing didn't seem to be a big part of his life either, there were never any scenes where he was struggling with his career, or boxing was affecting his life in any way. You might as well make a movie documentary on joey buttafuco. This movie wasn't any good in my opinion. And when I hoped that he would come to his senses, he doesn't. I guess it's also hard for me to connect seeing as I didn't know who Jake lamotta was until I watched this movie. If you like wife-beating new yorkers who constantly yell. Watch this movie.
Robert De Niro Goes the Distance for Martin Scorsese
In flashback, flabby ex-fighter Robert De Niro (as Jake La Motta) recalls his life, rising from Bronx, NY obscurity to become a World Championship-winning boxer. Unfortunately, the "Raging Bull" finds his soul imprisoned in the boxing ring, with demons on the ropes…

This is an amazing piece of work.

The Robert Chartoff/Irwin Winkler production team does for the seedy side of boxing what they did for the more reputable "Italian Stallion" in "Rocky" (1976). Even without the weight gain, Mr. De Niro certainly deserved his "Best Actor" accolades. Director Martin Scorsese is at an artistic peak and, arguably, should have won as many "Best Director" awards. The supporting performances, from brother Joe Pesci (as Joey) and wife Cathy Moriarty (as Vickie), are also outstanding. Mr. Scorsese, with exemplary editing by Thelma Schoonmaker and superb cinematography by Michael Chapman, creates often wondrous sequences of film art...

One of the best ever…

And, shout out to young apprentice Billy Chartoff, who was learning the ropes in style with "Raging Bull"; remember walking to the movies with sister Jenny from (was it) Apaquoque (or Georgica) Road, EH. Best wishes to you and your siblings. See you in the movies!

********** Raging Bull (11/14/80) Martin Scorsese ~ Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Cathy Moriarty, Frank Vincent
Maybe if I saw this before Casino and Goodfellas, I would have liked this more, but it sucked in comparison to those two. Apart from Joe Pesci, I thought this movie was damn near unbearable. DeNiro did a great job acting, but it was wasted on this boring character and horrendous plot! DeNiro said all of two things to Vicki and supposedly she wasn't a girl you "F and leave" but DeNiro did it with two phrases. He took a dive and got the championship and self destructed for no apparant reason. Why was this interesting? The story itself wasn't interesting and the movie didn't enhance the true story at all. Cathy Moriarty was attractive and nothing more. The rest of the characters other than the La Motta brothers added nothing and were drab and blah. Goodfellas and Casino had a better plot and the characters had more depth and overall were much better movies. Except for "I heard things" and Joe Pesci, I want the 2 hrs of my life back.
Over-rated movie
I suppose I am in the minority, but I do not believe "Raging Bull" is a great movie, or even a particularly good movie.the photography is fine and the acting is very good, but I could find no reason why anyone would make a film about Jake La Mottas' life.There is no question, that Mr. La Motta was a fine boxer, but other than that there is nothing especially noteworthy about him. In fact, Mr. La Motta seems to have been a violent, abusive man.During the film, Mr. La Motta, beats on opponents in the boxing ring, beats on his wife, beats on strangers, beats on his own brother, and beats on cement walls.Jake La Motta isn't the only violent member of the family. Jakes brother Joey(Joe Pesci) commits an extremely brutal assault against a stranger just for talking with his brothers wife. Its fine to make biographical films about less than noble people, but there should be an underlying lesson.All I learned from "Raging Bull" is that Mr. La Motta was a violent, abusive jerk.
There is a reason why they are referred to as the greatest....
From my understanding, before this film was made, Martin Scorsese, arguably America's greatest filmmaker, was at the end of his rope. He was about to call it quits. His good friend, arguably America's greatest film actor, Robert De Niro, approached him with a book he had read. The title of the book was Raging Bull. After some coaxing, Robert finally convinced his friend to do the film, and it resulted in a MASTERPIECE!!!!!

"Raging Bull" is the story of former boxing middleweight champion Jake La Motta, and his penchant for self-destruction. La Motta is not in the least a nice guy. He is well, a jerk, who eventually drives any and everyone who has ever cared about him out of his life. He evolved from a lean, trim boxer to an overweight loser who owns a night club.

This film currently ranks on AFI's 100 Greatest Movies at #24, and for very good reason. It contains arguably THE GREATEST acting performance in the history of cinema, by arguably the greatest actor in the history of cinema, directed by arguably the greatest director in the history of cinema. But together, nothing needs to be argued, they are the greatest tag team in the history of cinema. Robert De Niro is flawless, superb, excellent, amazing, any positive adjective is warranted by his performance. There is a reason why they call him the greatest actor. This is it. (also "Taxi Driver") Naturally, Scorsese's direction is flawless, and Thelma Schoonmaker's editing will pretty much speak for itself. The black-and-white(or tinted monochrome) was an ingenious touch, similar to William Friedkin's gunshot at the very end of "The French Connection". It is the most beautiful movie I have ever seen, if it were a woman I could only beg to drink its bathwater. Joe Pesci is excellent as Jake's brother Joey, as is Cathy Moriarty as Jake's long suffering wife. It is sad when you realize that De Niro will never act that great again, but you find solace in the fact that he once did. He is maybe my favorite actor, Scorsese maybe my favorite director, and I only hope to have a millionth of the impact they've had on film. Far superior to "Rocky", even though Rocky is very good and contains maybe the most inspirational theme song ever.

This film was criminally robbed of 1980's Best Picture and Best Director Academy Awards, by "Ordinary People", another one of those dysfunctional family drama's. The Academy has since lost a huge amount of credibility, but I find solace in the fact that they honored De Niro with an award for Best Actor, in a performance that warrants two of them and makes me want to shine his shoes.

The film gets nothing less than a 10. It was voted the film of the 1980's decade. I agree wholeheartedly.

Scorsese and De Niro forever.
Brutal and Honest
Since John Wayne and John Ford stopped making films, the greatest director/actor combination of the last 35 years is in my mind Martin Scorsese and Robert DeNiro.

In Raging Bull these two guys are within their element. An added dimension to Scorsese's direction and DeNiro's portrayal is that these are the people they know and grew up with. Raging Bull invokes a world of the past that isn't always pleasant, but is brutal and honest.

Jake LaMotta as middleweight champion of the world 1949-1951 may have had the hardest chin in boxing. He was a good puncher, but he had a marvelous ability to not only take a punch, but roll with it so it did less damage than thought. He fooled many an opponent like that and set them up for the kill.

Large parts of the boxing establishment was controlled by organized crime back in his days, the fathers of the people you'd later see DeNiro play in Goodfellas. You had to play ball with them or you went nowhere in the fight game. Jake compromised himself by agreeing to throw a fight to someone named Billy Fox in order to get a title shot at the middleweight crown. It seared his very soul in doing that.

One thing that wasn't covered in Raging Bull was the drama behind the title fight itself with Marcel Cerdan the man who LaMotta took the crown from. Cerdan was a national French hero, resistance fighter, lover of Edith Piaf and possessor of a murderous punch who had never been knocked out and only had sustained three losses in his career, two by disqualification. He was quite a brawler himself.

Cerdan broke his elbow in the first round and for 10 rounds literally held LaMotta off with one hand. When he failed to answer the bell for the 11th round, LaMotta got the title on a TKO. He was immediately promised a rematch and was on his way to the USA for that rematch when he was killed in a plane crash in the Azores. His death set off a national period of mourning in France.

LaMotta later admitted throwing the Fox fight to Congressional investigators and that with the win over the injured Cerdan cast a pall on his career and reputation. Sad because it was something he couldn't help. Jake the Bronx Bull certainly did have reason to rage.

DeNiro is something special. Watching this film you really think you are peeking into a heavenly newsreel highlights and lowlights of the life and career of Jake LaMotta. This film should be seen back to back with Somebody Up There Likes Me, the Rocky Graziano story that Paul Newman brought to the screen. Covers roughly the same era with the same quality.

Joe Pesci as DeNiro's manager/brother and Frank Vincent as the neighborhood wise guy would work together again and well with DeNiro and Scorsese. Cathy Moriarty gets her first notice as Jake's second wife Vicky who became a celebrity in her own right after Jake's boxing career was over.

Raging Bull is one of the finest boxing films ever done by a master director assembling a perfect cast to tell the tale of a bygone era.
Difficult to watch but an absolute masterpiece
Contains possible spoilers.

First of all I should qualify this comment by saying that I am a massive fan of Scorsese - pre-Cape Fear anyway. This is definitely his masterpiece (although Goodfellas gives it a run for its money) and the finest of his collaborations with Robert De Niro. The fact that its shot in black and white works very well because it gives it an authentic feeling - sometimes its easy to forget that this film was made in 1980 and not 1940. Robert De Niro gives his all in arguably his best performance. The scene where his punches the cell wall and bangs his head against it is incredibly difficult to watch and possibly the best single piece of acting I have ever seen on film. He IS Jake La Motta for the 2 hours of this movie. The way he gets inside the psyche and mindset of a brutal cold hearted beast like La Motta is admirable to say the least and absolutely mindblowing to be honest. Yes this film can be hard to watch simply because La Motta is such an unlikeable guy and his self destructive personality is difficult to warm to. The domestic violence he inflicts on his wife is particularly hard to swallow but it's this violent and abhorrent behaviour which makes the character so compelling whilst so unlikeable.

The cinematography of the fight scenes is simply amazing. On the DVD it explains that Scorsese put a fire underneath the camera lens to get the hazy appearance of some of the shots - genius. The scene which sticks in my mind most vividly is where Sugar Ray Robinson is destroying La Motta and his face explodes in a burst of blood and broken noses. The shot of La Motta's blood flying into the faces of the boxing judges is pretty gruesome, as is the shot of his blood dripping from the ropes after he loses the fight.

What makes this film so powerful is the fact that is based - quite accurately - on Jake 'The Bronx Bull' La Motta's real life. He appears on some of the special features of the DVD. Now a frail, cracked faced old man, he cracks jokes and comes over as quite a charmer. But having seen his antics portrayed so convincingly by De Niro in the movie, it still isn't easy to like him.

This really is a magnificent film. Superb acting from the ever brilliant De Niro and good support from Joe Pesci and Cathy Moriati complement Scorsese's stunning direction. One of my top 3 films of all time along with Amelie and Shawshank Redemption. Do not miss.
A "raging " triumph
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.
Well made, but dull
It would be wrong to say this film is rubbish, it certainly isn't, but it's important to remember that a films purpose is to entertain, inform or move you in some way. Unfortunately this film is devoid of all three.

Like a number of films it's technically well made, the acting is fine, but the story and the characters are exceedingly uninteresting. People say that DeNiro's performance is amazing, well, I don't know how you can say that. His character comes across as selfish paranoid psycho, with absolutely no morals and no redeeming qualities. Yet we know he has married twice, so there must have be something people liked about him. Unfortunately the film is too heavy on the negative side, no balance is shown to Jake's character, so the believability and ultimately the interest in the film disappears.

In fact this is rather typical of Scorsese, a very overrated Writer/Director. I liked Taxi Driver and GoodFellas, but most of his films are actually very poor (Casino, Gangs of NY, Cape Fear).

Forgettable and uninteresting, yet technically well made film.

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