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Raging Bull
Raging Bull
Actors: Robert De Niro, Cathy Moriarty, Joe Pesci, Frank Vincent, Nicholas Colasanto
Director: Martin Scorsese
Genres: Drama
R     2000     2hr 9min

Martin Scorsese's brutal black-and-white biography of self-destructive boxer Jake LaMotta was chosen as the best film of the 1980s in a major critics' poll at the end of the decade, and it's a knockout piece of filmmaking....  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Robert De Niro, Cathy Moriarty, Joe Pesci, Frank Vincent, Nicholas Colasanto
Director: Martin Scorsese
Creators: Hal W. Polaire, Irwin Winkler, Jake LaMotta, Joseph Carter, Mardik Martin, Paul Schrader, Peter Savage
Genres: Drama
Sub-Genres: Family Life
Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
Format: DVD - Black and White,Color,Full Screen,Widescreen,Letterboxed - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 01/01/2000
Original Release Date: 12/19/1980
Theatrical Release Date: 12/19/1980
Release Year: 2000
Run Time: 2hr 9min
Screens: Black and White,Color,Full Screen,Widescreen,Letterboxed
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English, French, Spanish
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
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Member Movie Reviews

Reviewed on 12/25/2022...
Robert De Niro, Cathy Moriarty, Joe Pesci and shine in this. Really well-done plotline based on true events written by boxer Jake La Motta. A must watch for Rocky, Goodfellas and boxing fans!

Movie Reviews

Raging indeed
Wayne Klein | My Little Blue Window, USA | 02/24/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The Academy has been wrong on many occasions. This would be one of them. As interesting a drama as "Ordinary People" was Robert Redford's film can't hold a candle to the complex drama that was passed over for both best director and best picture. "Raging Bull" features Scorsese's cinematic gifts at their peak. The kinetic camera of Michael Chapman and Scorsese's unusual but powerful compositions capture the boxing ring in a way never quite seen before. He also captures the human element in the same way. Jake LaMotta's gift is his ability to punish himself for his sins. He can be pummeled by others and withstand every single massive punch of his opponents. Yes he can knock them out but it's also his ability to outlast them that makes LaMotta so difficult to beat in the ring. The boxing ring changes from a place of sport to a place of war for one man's soul. Robert DeNiro's brilliant portrayal of LaMotta earned him a well deserved Oscar but without Scorsese's sharp as nails direction and the rich imagery of Michael Chapman's cinematography, "Raging Bull" would just have been another biopic about a famous boxer. The difference between the deluxe two disc edition of "Raging Bull" and the single disc version comes down to the featurettes and documentary on disc two and the commentary tracks on disc one. Both the single disc and two disc versions feature the same top notch transfer.

A beautiful, detailed transfer brings out the rich shadows, dark blacks and bright whites of Michael Chapman's cinematography. Presented in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio for the first time this anamorphic transfer captures all the detail missing from the previous version released on DVD (which was reportedly cropped from the 1.33:1 TV version. Shot in black and white on high contrast film, the film retains it's grainy texture that added a sense of gritty reality to the original theatrical release. Presented in an enhanced Dolby Digital 5.1 and the original 2.0 Dolby Digital Surround soundtrack, the detailed soundtrack sounds terrific with virtually no compression issues and great presence.
Extras: In Before the Fight the principle cast and crew discuss all the struggles that producers Chartoff and Winkler faced in making the movie. A project that DeNiro had first proposed to Scorsese when he was making Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore. It's ironic that Scorsese who was never a big sports fan would make the ultimate boxing movie. Scorsese discusses how he was ultimately persuaded to make the movie by DeNiro (who had the idea of doing the physical transformation for LaMota as he ages from the very beginning). Luckily Chartoff and Winkler had produced Rocky. The duo used the success of their film as leverage to get Raging Bull.

"In the Ring" focuses on the actual production issues they faced. Watching pre-production footage Scorsese came to the conclusion that Irwin Winkler's suggestion to shoot the film in black and white was perfect for capturing the "vintage" look of the era. Editor Thelma Schoonmaker points out that amazingly Raging Bull was shot with only one camera. Schoonmaker also points out the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) differences between fights and how changing the design of the ring, the lighting and how the sequences reflected Jake's emotional state at the time. While the film was storyboarded, Scorsese primarily used them to help keep track of the way the film would ultimately look when put together.

"In Outside the Ring" Pesci points out that the film was far from improvised. Schrader provided the dramatic structure and the actors would improvise during the rehearsal sessions and would then be, for the most part, written in stone. We learn much more about the dramatic scenes in this section with Cathy Morarity discussing everything from how the hairdresser would use corn syrup to keep her hair perfect. Chapman shot many of the color home movies then realized he couldn't shoot them with bad framing like typical home movies. The teamsters working on the production shot these sequences.

"After the Fight" Pesci and Schoonmaker justify the extreme violence of the film by pointing out that Scorsese wasn't trying to glorify it but make it as ugly as possible particularly when it came to the fight sequences but also during the domestic fights between LaMotta and his family. Sound Effects editor points out some of the simple ideas that he used to highlight the differences between the fights sometimes during various punches such as the sound of a horse shuttering or an elephant braying during two intense fights. Warner would routinely burn the tapes he used for the sound effects at the end of each production forcing himself to create anew all over again with a new concept for each movie.

"The Bronx Bull" features Jake LaMotta discussing seeing the movie for the first time. We then hear from film critics as to the reaction to the film. Schoonmaker talks about how the trade papers warned distributors NOT to book the film. Ironically, the critics asked about the film are British critics who seem to have the best appreciation for the film. The Bronx Bull duplicates many comments in the 20 minute featurettes included but, nonetheless, it provides additional background on the film not available elsewhere.

"DeNiro vs. LaMotta" compares the reel world vs. the real world from still photos and archival footage. It shows the detail that Scorsese and DeNiro went into to recreate the look and feel of the real fights. We also get the original theatrical trailer and a promo trailer for the Rocky boxed set.

If you elect to go for the single disc edition of the film, all you'll get is a bare bones presentation. It does, however, sport the best transfer to date of the film presented in the correct aspect ratio (widescreen image heighth and width). It's a pity that MGM chose not to include the commentary tracks on this edition as they would have provided information every bit as useful as the extras on the deluxe edition. Ironically, the image quality might be better in theory because there's less bit space being turned over to the commentary tracks.

A superb movie that lost the Oscar to the fine film Ordinary People on a technicality (the repulsive violence alienated much of the Academy's core members), Raging Bull proves to be the deeper, richer film of the two. There's no doubt that both are classic films of a different sort but, truly, Raging Bull proves that if a classic is overlooked that time will repair the damage done.
Bull on blu is a knock-out!
R. Becker | Ross, CA United States | 02/26/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a blu-ray for film lovers. The film grain has been reproduced beautifully. There is some minor ringing on a few high contrast edges, but other than that nit-pick, this looks just like watching it at the movie theater, but with a pristine print. Looks just as Scorcese intended in gorgeous black and white. One of the greatest films has been given a great restoration and now looks its very best on blu-ray!"
A Classic Film of Fighting, Loss, and Life. Superb!
Mark | East Coast | 02/09/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Raging Bull is an incredible film featuring some of the greatest directing, cinematography, and acting ever to grace the silver screen. Such an incredible movie also has to have a strong foundation in the form of a powerful script, moving music and incredible set work. In all, this is a movie that comes together on all fronts, and it's a credit to Scorcese for making that happen.

Jake LaMotta is a fighter who relies on his physical gifts over his mind. Over the years, the mindless beatings he allows himself to take take a toll on his mind and body. His decline is a metaphor for his personal life as well. He neglects his wife and family just as much as he neglects his health. He eventually loses everything, but retains a certain pride in his thickheadedness.

Yes it's true, LaMotta was not an angel. But this film is great because of its honesty. Deniro's portrayal of LaMotta is legendary. His talents were never better used in a motion picture.

Joe Pesci gives a strong performance in his supporting role as Jake's brother Joey. Cathy Moriarty gives an incredible performance as Jake's Wife. I was surprised to learn she was only 19 years old and cast mainly because of looks. She is very believable throughout the entire movie, as the wild young sexpot and the resolute divorcee.

The fight scenes bring out the best in the film's cinematography. Every scene is expertly framed in the ring with realism and sharp contrast. This is the closest a non-boxer will ever get to stepping inside the ring. The music is perfectly timed with the action, highlighting the beauty and brutality of this blood sport.

The rivalry with Sugar Ray Robinson is expertly done. "You never hurt me," sums up Jake's pride after Robinson inevitably outclasses him.

From world champion to lounge bum, Jake LaMotta's rise and fall come to life in this film. Buy it, study it, watch it over and over. This is an incredible edition as well, with great clarity and nice features.