on 23 August 2011
Can I assume that you are all familiar with this film? An iconic classic that features one of the finest ever performances from Robert Deniro as Jake LaMotta, chronicling the rise and fall of the ill-tempered, insecure, flawed man but brilliant boxer. You are? Good, ill move onto the Bluray itself then. If you aren't familiar with this movie though, you owe it to yourself to see it. Fantastic acting performances from literally everyone involved, beautifully shot in black and white with a mesmerising soundtrack and moments in the boxing ring that look, at times, impossibly authentic.
This 30th Anniversary edition of Raging Bull uses the same transfer as the 2009 Bluray release, although that is no bad thing to be honest. The picture quality is excellent and one of the finest Bluay transfers from a 1980's film ive seen. Blacks are solid, whites are nice and crisp, the greys are varied which considering it was shot in black and white means a lot. Fine detail is very good and no DNR has been applied. There is a layer of grain over the picture, but not only is this a natural by product of the film used, it also adds to the gritty realism of the movie. Inside the boxing ring you can see the swirls of smoke passing across the ring lights, the beads of sweat on the boxers, and the blood appears thick and dark. The increased detail also allows you to really appreciate the shape Deniro got himself in to play this role. Which makes the transformation to washed up LaMotta all the more impressive.
The DTS-HD audio track is also very good, standing out in particular during the boxing scenes. You really get the feeling that you are in their with LaMotta.
Extras: Some quality extras here, most of them will have been seen before though. Thankfully, there are 4 new featurettes on this release which total up to around 40 mins. We have interviews with Scorcese and DeNiro on the making of the film and the impact it has had on their careers. Scorcese also has a feature where he talks about his early career. Remembering Jake Lamotta is from the Veteran boxers association of New York, who discuss various points of LaMottas career.
The rest of the extras have been on previous releases, but are worthwhile if you've never seen them before. The 3 audio commentaries from previous releases are all here; Cathy Moriarty on the Tonight Show; Raging Bull: Fight Night - a 4 part feature length documentary; a behind the scenes featurette; newsreel footage from Lamotta defending his title and most interesting, Deniro vs LaMotta; a shot by shot comparison of the two. It is eery how close DeNiro resembles LaMotta during the in-ring fights.
And that is your lot I guess. Overall I would say that Raging Bull has received the Bluray treatment it deserves. A fine transfer, very good audio track, all the previous extras and 40 mins of new ones. If you don't already own the 2009 release then this one to go for.
Martin Scorsese 'topped and tailed’ his 1980 'biopic’ (a wholly underselling description) of Bronx-born boxer Jake LaMotta with two magnificent scenes – opening with a balletic-like Robert De Niro floating, slo-mo, across the ring to Mascagni’s Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana and thence, having come full circle, to the same actor’s (though almost unrecognisable due to his 'new’ frame) warm-up 'Brando routine’, before hitting the 'down and out’ night-club stage for his 'pathetic’ variety turn. For me, Raging Bull is Scorsese’s ultimate masterpiece, as good an examination of physicality (and its decline) to ever reach the screen and, to boot, the finest 'sporting film’ ever – Taxi Driver, Mean Streets, King Of Comedy, Goodfellas, New York, New York (even) are all contenders but none quite attains the 'pure cinematic’ qualities of Raging Bull.
Not only is the film a compelling and visceral tale of a man’s battle with his inner demons (and questionable sanity) but it is (still, 35 years on) a mightily impressive technical achievement. Cinematographer Michael Chapman’s evocative black-and-white photography is stunning – whether it be the fast-cut, wide angle boxing ring shots, the steadicam, vérité-like sequences or the lingering, more intimate close-ups. Similarly, the film’s sound design (courtesy of Frank Warner) is like something straight out of Leone – with its echoing camera flashes and punches adding to the film’s sense of realism. Certainly, Scorsese does not hold back in terms of the brutality of his sporting focus – this is barbaric stuff (and, admittedly, rather exaggerated for effect) as LaMotta dishes out and (happily) takes vicious beatings ('He ain’t pretty no more’).
The film’s central pairing of De Niro and Joe Pesci as brothers Jake and Joey has never been better – all the more surprising (and thus impressive) given that this was Pesci’s first 'big film break’. The pair provide as good (and compelling) a portrayal of a fraternal relationship as I’ve seen – De Niro, (initially) cool (just look at that jacket, and demeanour, for his first meeting with Vickie), tender, masochistic, jealous and (latterly) brutal, bordering on the edge of insanity, whilst Pesci (in the main) provides the 'calming influence’ and voice of pragmatism to his volatile sibling. Scorsese, as ever, portrays his Italian-American Catholic community brilliantly – there’s a fine line between mutual 'family’ respect and overstepping the boundaries, as the excellent Frank Vincent’s mobster, Salvy, discovers to his cost, provoking Joey to a bout of brutal violence in one of the film’s standout sequences (followed by the hilarious 'make-up’ aftermath with Nicholas Colasanto’s great character turn as 'community godfather’, Tommy Como, acting as mediator). Plaudits should also go to Cathy Moriarty’s depiction of the 'street-wise’ 15-year old (I don’t think so), Vickie, initially nervy and 'innocent’, latterly world-weary and broken, at the hands of LaMotta’s constant beatings. Also, look out for John Turturro in his first (uncredited) film role, appearing in an early scene at a restaurant table.
And, although, the film’s violence is (pretty much) all-pervading, Paul Schrader and Mardik Martin’s script still has moments of great humour – Jake showing Vickie his abode, 'It was a bird. It’s dead now’ or the scene where Joey wrecks the changing room following a Jake defeat.
My final reflections of Scorsese’s film would simply be to bemoan Hollywood’s Academy system. Whilst De Niro (deservedly) won for Best Actor, it is a great travesty that Ordinary People beat the film to the top film award and that each of Scorsese, Pesci and Chapman were passed over in the director, supporting actor and cinematography categories.
on 9 September 2003
This is by far De Niro's best performance, and that is saying something. The performance is raw and he depicts the boxer La Motta perfectly. The film shows the highs and lows of the boxer Jake La Motta, and the film is a real roller-coaster ride, De Niro takes you through all the emotions, and put together with Scorsese's brilliant direction, this film is well worth its title of 'Best film of the 80s'.
Raging Bull is the best sports film ever made, the sheer emotion it puts you through, the detailed fights scenes, the first-class sound, this has never been repeated on big screen. Rocky may be fans favourite, but this is the best.
It is hard to believe that De Niro trained for the part for over a year, fought in three fights, then shot the film, take a few months out of filming to put on 50 pounds and then finished filming. Not only the best actor, but also this shows commitment to the part.
I loved Raging Bull from the first time I saw it, I am sure I am not the only one.
Martin Scorsese has directed many films showing the grit and passion found in the underside of American life. Among the best of his movies is "Raging Bull" (1980) which tells to story of middleweight boxer Jake LaMotta, played in a stunning performance by Robert De Niro.. I loved the movie when it was released and have finally seen it again. The movie received little fanfare upon its initial release, but it soon achieved the stature of a classic.
Filmed in black and white, "Raging Bull" consists of brutally realistic fight scenes of LaMotta's tough fights with the likes of Sugar Ray Robinson, Tony Janiro, and Marcel Cerdan that may be famous to boxing fans. The film centers around a fight LaMotta threw at the behest of his Mafia handlers to a fighter named Billy Fox. Throwing the fight plagued Lamotta for the rest of his life. Lamotta himself coached DeNiro in the fight scenes. LaMotta proved himself hard, tough, and vindictive in the ring.
LaMotta's brutality in the ring is mirrored in his life outside. The film develops Lamotta's relationship with his brother, Joey,(Joe Pesci) who served as his manager, and with his wife Vickie (Cathy Moriarty). Pesci and Moriarty were unknowns and both turned in stellar performances. Jealous, paranoid, and violent, Jake LaMotta was his own worst enemy as he abuses and groundlessly suspects both his wife and brother throughout the film. For most of the film, Lamotta is portrayed as a brutal, bullying,and unstable.
The film captures the raw world of professional boxing, with its pervasive criminal element. It is difficult not to be fascinated. Scenes of shabby streets and rooms alternate with scenes at posh night clubs and with the anger unleashed in the ring. The music score, which ranges from Italian opera to 1940''s standards, to the doo-wop song "Lonely Nights" by an early girl group called the Hearts is integrated seamlessly into the film.
After he retires from the ring, LaMotta gets in serious legal difficulty and is imprisoned. But the film shows an individual who has a degree of ability to reflect on his life and to achieve a measure of redemption. A Biblical passage at the end of the film suggests the possibility of forgiveness with time and repentance.
"Raging Bull" is a story about the harder parts of American life combining an unsparing message with the possibility of hope. I enjoyed revisiting the movie at last and remembering why I loved it when seeing it many years ago.
on 14 December 2012
There's a long introduction to the film.. not that it matters!
"I'd rather you cheer when I delve into Shakespeare."
"Give me a stage where the bull here can rage."
"I want you to fight him, kick him, do anything you have to do!"
The first fight scene is really realistic!!
Somehow Jake LaMotta loses the first fight in spite of knocking his opponent down.
Chaos erupts in the ring.
Two of the same actors from Casino. Joe Pesci plays Jake's brother.
"..The people knew."
Its very far from domestic bliss for Jake and his wife as the argue over the steak she is cooking him.
"That son of a b&tch is calling me an animal!"
"Come on honey. Let's be friends. Truce."
- ".. - You eat, drink like an animal. - You can't keep doing this. You've got fights coming up."
LaMotta wants to fight Joe Lewis. The best there is. Although he's a heavyweight and LaMotta is a middle weight.
"I want you to hit me in the face!"
- "Your cuts are opening and everything. What does it prove?!"
"I'm here breaking my a^se. Not them!" - That's in reference to Joe not bringing his friends up to the ring.
Jake's obsessed about a blonde haired woman - Vicky.
An interesting (and dangerous) way to drive!
So they play pitch n put.
"I've never played this game before!" (Guess it was a new game in the '50s!)
"..You're so far away like in the other side of the room!"
"That's a bird. - Was a bird, its dead now!"
So La Motta fights Sugar Ray Robinson.
He knocks him out and wins the fight.
He fights Robinson for the third time! Somehow Sugar Ray Robinson wins the fight!
- "You won and they robbed you!" - The way Joey smashes up a chair in the dressing room reminds me of his character in Casino!
Interestingly a bit of the film is shot in colour when Joey and Jake are filmed on an old fashioned camera. (Probably the first of its kind).
He marries Vicky!!
We see a whole host of La Motta's triumphs in the ring.
He's trying to get his weight down to 155 pounds. - He's obviously not earning much due to where he lives.
Joey is his manager!
"If you win you win. If you lose you lose. - There's no way you can lose!"
Jake asks Joey to keep an eye on his wife, Vicky.
"Come on lady laugh it up. - I laughed it up when you came in!" (A compare).
This whole Vicky, Jake relationship is just like Ginger, Ace in the film Casino!! (A lot of suspicion and mistrust!)
"I would say bet everything you've got.. I'm gonna make him suffer!"
LaMotta really takes it out on JaNiro in the ring.
"He ain't pretty no more!"
"I made a lot of money out of it!"
- "Probably more than he did. - That's for sure!"
And Joey is just as mad and violent as the character he plays in Casino!!
Joey is forced to make up.
"He thinks he's gonna walk in there and become champion on his own!!"
"Remember when I meet her here."
Jake is determined to catch Vicky cheating.
"As a matter of fact all bets are off on this one."
So what's Jake doing??!
It looks like Jake threw the fight!!
1949 : La Motta is challenging for the championship belt.
Perhaps Jake is working out who Vicky is having the affair with..
The fight is discontinued and Jake becomes world champion!
"You're supposed to be a champion. You eat like there's no tomorrow!"
"I don't trust you when it comes to her. I don't trust anyone."
Has Joey cheated with Vicky??!! (Just like Casino..)
"I'll ask you again. Did you do it?!"
This film illustrates the problems in relationships.
Jake La Motta has a fantastic come back in his title defence.
Jake has an absolutely awful fight! It looks like he has given up.
"You never got me down Ray."
1956 : We see an overweight Jake La Motta retired in Miami with his young family.
"Well folks its a thrill to be standing before you wonderful people tonight. In fact its a thrill to be standing!"
The last part of the film is fantastic. Seeing a faded star's fall from grace.
Kissing 21 year old women - its just sad.
He actually reminds me of George Best.
"Yeh can't you get the money from your friends?!"
- "Yeh what friends!!"
He gets put in jail.
"Hey why don't you leave me alone?! - I'm trying to do my routine!"
He bumps into his brother Joey.
Unfortunately he just can't the comedy scenes any more.
"Go get them champ!"
on 14 December 2010
Its hard to pin point Scorsese and DeNiro's greatest film, but this must surely be a contender. The film follows the story of boxer Jake La Motta's rise and fall in the boxing game. DeNiro plays La Motta with tremendous understated complexity, only exploding into visceral attack when pushed. Scorsese directs the film beautifully, the fight scenes in his hands become works of brutalistic poetry, and as for DeNiro, this is a tour de force performance from him. He won best actor at the Oscars for the portrayal, and its easy to see why. The film also benefits from a great supporting cast, Cathy Moriarty plays La Motta's smouldering lover, and Joe Pesci playing La Motta's brother. (As an aside, one would love to have seen in Raging Bull, Goodfellas, or Casino, Robert DeNiro's character go head to head with Joe Pesci's. That would have been a sight to behold.) The film then is on one hand brutal and uncomprimising, but on the other is majestic and graceful, fervor, much like boxing itself.
A lot of people feel this is De Nero’s best film, and though I prefer Taxi Driver, who am I to argue? Most certainly the tale of Jake La Motta, is an action – packed, real life epic. Jake is still going strong at 93!
Raging Bull was not a big box office success; time has been more than kind to the film, now of course it’s regarded as a classic.
De Nero had already won his first Oscar in Godfather 11; this became his second - to date.
The story is very true to LaMotta’s career. He fought Sugar Ray Robinson an incredible six times!
De Nero, with his nose job, actually looks a little like LaMotta. For the latter part of the film, when Jake was fat, De Nero went away for several months of eating, and put on nearly five stones!
Excellent film – I love the De Nero - Joe Pesci combo's – all great films.
And finally, according to his biographies, LaMotta, was, as the film shows, a brute to his women. He’s been married six times and remains a very popular character in America.
on 18 December 2006
While Raging Bull is the best boxing film ever put to celluloid, it is not really a film about boxing. Instead, we get a biopic of the man, a chance for Scorese to examine his own issues of Catholic guilt -- a recurring issue in his films. Having been seriously addicted to cocaine prior to making this movie, it is also a chance for Scorsese to look at the self destruction he caused to himself by examining the rise and fall story of Jake La Motta.
Consdiering Scorsese thought this could be his last film, he put his all into making it, and it shows. Creatively this is his zenith, with his mesmerising black-and-white style and the brutal yet almost grandiose fight scenes.
If Scorsese is at his best in this movie, it can be argued that so too is De Niro. Famously pilling on pounds to play the overweight La Motta, he took his Method acting genuis to spectacular heights. Joe Pesci is superb also, another actor on top of his game in probably his best role, with Moriaty also superb as La Motta's long-suffering wife.
While De Niro got an Oscar, Scorsese was criminally ignored for the film he most deserved one. This is him at his best, though, producing a raw, brutal, visceral tale of a pugilist at war with himself that is difficult to watch yet hugely rewarding. But, alas, as with alot of film classics, they are not recognised upon release for what they are. Raging Bull is no different, widely regarded now as a modern classic, yet upon its release it lost out on the Best Picture Oscar to Ordinary People. Criminal.
on 25 March 2015
In 1989 a number of leading film critics were asked to pick their top movie of the 1980s.The result was Raging Bull and its not hard to see why. The story of Jake LaMotta who won and lost the boxing heavyweight champion of the world and his subsequent downfall where he ended up being a nightclub host in a sleazy fleapit.Robert DeNiro is truly astonishing as LaMotta Joe Pesci is his brother/manager and Cathy Moriarty is his teenage bride.Beautifully photographed in black and white and with amazing scenes inside the boxing ring this is director Martin Scorsese at the top of his game.Not a pretty movie by any standards as its scenes of violence both inside the ring and out is sometimes hard to watch but once seen its impossible to forget.An 80s Citizen Kane.,
on 3 April 2014
It is an OK film, acting by the main players was good however storyline let this film down. Like a few other reviewers I thought the story long winded and a little hard to maintain interest at times. Not a patch on Rocky.