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.
on 7 February 2016
First of all I think that Martin Scorsese is one of the best directors out there, and this movie clearly shows why. The movie looks great in black and white, you would think that it was made in the 1940's, the acting by the main cast, as well as the rest of the cast is great and the story is great. Now I don't know much about the real Jake La Motta or his career, but I would have to say that this movie is really well done. It gives you a realistic account of what being a struggling boxer is like, with all of the weight that you have to gain and lose, all of the stress that is involved in being a boxer and trying to become a champion, and the toll that all of this can have on your mind and body. The only issue that I have with this movie, is that the fights are not that long, all you see on most of the fights is a few shots being thrown and then it is over. Also as much as I think this movie looks great in black and white, I wish that they would have released a colorized version with this blu ray, this is the 21st century after all and I think that it would have made some of the scenes pop a little bit more. All in all I give this movie 8/10.
P.S if you want to see another movie about the life of Jake La Motta, there is another movie called The Bronx Bull, starring William Forsythe.
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.
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 9 January 2016
This true story is well scripted and magnificently acted by De Niro at his very, very best. Joe Pesci is as good as ever, and I suspect against a weaker player, may even have stolen the film. Powerful and sometimes shocking, this is the US fight game with all of its raw edges on show. The boxing scenes are brutally graphic.
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.
on 27 December 2001
This is Scorsese's masterpiece and no doubt De Niro's best performance. Much can be said about this film; But one thing that comes to mind is the use of powerfull imagery that is now regarded iconic in the film industry as being art on film.
It's not hard to believe why this film was voted 'The Best Film Of The 80's' as u sit through every last minute of the film in awe and respect for its genius script and performances.
The dvd does little for the film in terms of extras but makes up for it through the crisp picture quality and sharp score.
I recomend this film to anyone who wants to be entertained in ways that only films of this caliber han achieve. Purely inspirational.
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 13 December 2014
Classic De Niro - the story of Jake LaMotta, world middleweight champion back in the 'fifties.
Not much to say really, a watchable movie relating the life and times of LaMotta from his boxing triumphs to his descent into self-destruction - I felt some of the fight scenes could have been better but a good movie overall, nothing inspiring.