Raging Bull (Special Edition)
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Product Description

Robert De Niro teams with director Martin Scorsese in this "extraordinarily compelling" (Leonard Maltin) film that introduced unflinching realism to stunned audiences in 1980. An "exceedingly violentas well as poetic" fight picture that maps "the landscape of the soul" (The New York Times),Raging Bull garnered eight Oscar?(r) nominations* and won two, including Best Actor for De Niro. De Niro gives the performance of his career as Jake La Motta, a boxer whose psychological and sexual complexities erupt into violence both in and out of the ring. Joe Pesci and Cathy Moriarty are unforgettable as the brother who falls prey to Jake's mounting paranoia and jealousy, and the fifteen-year-old girl who becomes his most prized trophy. A "brilliantly photographed film of extraordinary power and rare distinction" (The Wall Street Journal), Raging Bullis filmmaking at its riveting best. *1980: Best Picture, Director, Supporting Actor (Pesci), Supporting Actress (Moriarty), Cinematography, Sound, Editing (won)

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. Robert De Niro plays LaMotta (famously putting on 50 pounds for the later scenes), a man tormented by demons he doesn't understand and prone to uncontrollably violent temper tantrums and fits of irrational jealousy. He marries a striking young blond (Cathy Moriarty), his sexual ideal, and then terrorizes her with never-ending accusations of infidelity. Jake is as frightening as he is pathetic, unable to control or comprehend the baser instincts that periodically, and without warning, turn him into the rampaging beast of the title. But as Roman Catholic Scorsese sees it, he works off his sins in the boxing ring, where his greatest athletic talent is his ability to withstand punishment. The fight scenes are astounding; they're like barbaric ritual dance numbers. Images smash into one another--a flashbulb, a spray of sweat, a fist, a geyser of blood--until you feel dazed from the pummeling. Nominated for a handful of Academy Awards (including best picture and director), Raging Bull won only two, for De Niro and for editor Thelma Schoonmacher. --Jim Emerson

Stills from Raging Bull (Click for larger image)

Customer Reviews:

  • A story not worth telling.
    Maybe its my lifelong aversion to horror movies but this is 2+ hours of distilled unpleasantness. Anyone who has ever lived in NY or NJ knows guys like this, but so what.

    The one thing that might have redeemed Raging Bull would be if there was any light at all on why he was the way he was. And if that's too much to ask, I'd settle for why anybody would make a movie about him.

    In the end its really just a brilliant portrayal of an angry lowlife. ...more info
    "Raging Bull" (1980) is, bar none, the best work that director, Martin Scorsese has ever done in American cinema. Though not recognized as such at the time of the film's original release, and somewhat eclipsed in popularity by the later successes of "Casino" and "Goodfellas", it is in "Raging Bull that Scorsese really hits his stride. The film is a not-so-fictional, often critical and harsh account of real life boxing legend, Jake LaMotta (Robert DeNiro). Not that LaMotta would disagree with that assessment. In fact he would probably add that the film pales in comparison to the sort of lunk-headed jerk he was with his first wife, Vickie (Cathy Moriarty). Scorsese, admittingly not a fan of boxing at the start of production, sinks deep into the material and comes out swinging as the undisputed champion. The evocative black and white (except for rare color sequence) cinematography really captures the mood and feel of old time boxing news reels. Of course the other half that makes the story sparkle like no other sports movie before or since, and cannot be overstated, is Robert DeNiro's masterful performance as Jake. Gaining and losing some sixty pounds for the shoot, in every ounce of his being and delivery, DeNiro is LaMotta. The line between character and actor is so poignantly blurred that the performance stands out as genuine and raw in its reverence and sincerity to both LaMotta and the sport. Joe Pesci, who at this point in his career had almost decided that acting was not for him, establishes an indelible light as Joey LaMotta that would continue to burn in his many works since this one - both with and without Scorsese. The rest of the cast, hand picked by Scorsese for their non-actor-eque qualities, come off as real life patrons of the ring, an inspired artistic mileau that with each new viewing seems more like a hidden camera account of LaMotta than its fictional equivalent. DeNiro rightfully took home the Best Actor Oscar for "Raging Bull". Scorsese and the film were wrongfully overlooked.

    MGM/UA has given us a stunning new transfer of "Raging Bull". The black and white image is smooth, beautifully contrasted and very nicely balanced. Blacks are deep and rich. Whites are generally clean, except where Scorsese has deliberately toned down the contrast for artistic effect. Fine detail is fully realized throughout. There is no edge enhancement or other digital glitches for a picture quality that is staggeringly beautiful in all of its sustained and intense glory. The faded color sequences, deliberately rendered that way, are poignant snapshots of a private life that add yet another layer to the telling of this tale. The audio, remixed to 5.1, like the Raging Bull himself, packs an incredible one/two wallop. The sound field is engaging, intense and always on pitch. Extras include a string of interesting documentaries that chart the film from conception to post production. LaMotta as well as DeNiro are on hand to comment. There's even a side by side LaMotta to DeNiro fight sequence to compare styles in fighting. The film's theatrical trailer, a gallery and audio commentary round out the extras. ...more info
  • A Work of Art
    I haven't seen this movie since it opened. I think it was dark, confusing and overwhelming. I tended to avoid it over the years because of what I perceived as its length and how good the movie really was. Seeing it now is a revelation. I am able to comprehend it more and found it wonderful. (I was a teenager in 1980.) Robert De Niro does a wonderful job as Jake LaMotta, one of the great boxers but an ignorant man who was brutal in all areas of his life. The story is laid out without explanation from the filmmakers. We don't empathize with the character nor totally despise him. Jake LaMotta is who is and no one else. Still, the movie is a statement in itself for making films in a different way and as art. Martin Scorcesse deliberately makes a film that defies the rules in much the same way Jake La Motta found himself defying rules in order to box. He constantly breaks down barriers and walls and never gives up. People reject him and leave him but he doesn't stop. I think Scorcesse sees that in himself in making this film. Even to film in black and white would have caused problems with the film studios. What a wonderful film it is. ...more info
  • Raging Bull -Blu-ray Info
    Version: U.S.A / FOX-MGM / Region A, B, C(?)
    Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
    MPEG-4 AVC / BD+ / High Profile 4.1
    Running time: 2:09:03
    Movie size: 36,50 GB
    Disc size: 45,01 GB
    Total bit rate: 37.71 Mbps
    Average video bit rate: 28.48 Mbps

    DTS-HD Master Audio English 3829 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3829 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
    DTS Audio French 768 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit
    Dolby Digital Audio Portuguese 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
    Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
    Dolby Digital Audio Turkish 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
    Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / Dolby Surround
    Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps
    Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps
    Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps

    Subtitles: English SDH, Mandarin, Cantonese, French, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Spanish, Thai
    Number of chapters: 36

    #Commentary by Director Martin Scorsese and Editor Thelma Schoonmaker
    #Cast and Crew Commentary with Irwin Winkler, Robbie Robertson, Robert Chartoff, Theresa Saldana, John Turturro, Frank Warner, Michael Chapman and Cis Corman
    #Storytellers Commentary with Mardik Martin, Paul Schrader, Jason Lustin and Jake Lamotta
    #Raging Bull: Before the Fight (The Writing, the Casting and Preproduction) (26m:08s)
    #Raging Bull: Inside the Ring (The Choreography of the Fight Scenes) (14m:49s)
    #Raging Bull: Outside the Ring (Behind-the-Scenes Stories on the Making of the Film) (27m:19s)
    #Raging Bull: After the Fight (The Sound Design, the Music, the Impact of the Film) (16m:01s)
    #The Bronx Bull (Making of Documentary) (27m:52s)
    #De Niro Vs LaMotta (Shot by Shot Comparison in the Ring) (3m:48s)
    #La Motta Defends Title (Newsreel Footage) (0m:57s)
    #Original Theatrical Trailer (3m:55s)...more info
  • A knockout
    Martin Scorsese's black-and-white film, an underdog in its day and a classic today, makes a rousing comeback in this double-disc set from MGM. All of the key participants return with blow-by-blow accounts of making the movie, including a repentant Jake La Motta. The DVD can go toe-to-toe with Warner's great "Goodfellas" DVD.

    Extras dig deep into Scorsese's methods and motivations, drawing heavily on the observations of Thelma Schoonmaker, his longtime editor who won an Oscar for the film. One of the DVD's best extras is a featurette in which Schoonmaker sits at her editing bay, breaking down the fight scenes, running film backward and forward as Robert De Niro does battle with the real-life boxers he faced during filming. The old champ La Motta says he went "a thousand" rounds with De Niro in preparation for filming. "I'm positive he could have fought professionally," La Motta says.

    A short but telling extra shows how carefully Scorsese and De Niro followed the script from La Motta's real fights. The 3-minute "Shot for Shot" intercuts footage from the actual and movie fights, the drama heightened by Frank Warner's jungle-beast sound effects from "Raging Bull."

    The DVD's widescreen anamorphic images (1.85:1) look sensational, with concussion blacks and silky grays across a distinct scale. The Dolby Digital (5.1) sounds all right, with plenty of punch, but requires some bobbing and weaving with the volume control to catch all of the dialog but not be blasted out in louder moments.

    Most viewers will be satisfied with the film's history as told on disc 2's quartet of featurettes directed by Laurent Bouzereau. They're solid pieces, but viewers may tire of sitting through opening titles and end credits as they navigate the short films, obviously separated at birth. De Niro participates in the featurettes, not the commentaries.

    Scorsese and Schoonmaker's commentary will be familiar to owners of "Raging Bull" laserdiscs. Their talks were recorded separately, and include some lengthy silences, but there's no shortage of content or insight.

    There are three commentary tracks. A lot of material gets repeated across the hours of extras presented here, and in one or two cases audio comments seem simply ported over to the featurettes. The frenetic trailer kicks ass. ...more info
  • A Look All Its Own
    I watched the movie the other day for the first time since I saw it on opening day in New York, with Jake La Motta in the audience in the front row. At that time it seemed so strange to have a movie in black and white. Woody Allen had released some black and white films, as had Peter Bogdanovich earlier in the 1970s, but for the most part, Hollywood was a slave to color, often in garish film processes that seemed to bleach out even as you watched them.

    The DVD addresses the reasons that Scorcese decided to go with black and white, but ultimately, a preference for color is one thing that modern audiences have made themselves clear about, and producers know that if they release a picture in b/w, they're cutting their box office take in half instantly, so it isn't a popular decision. However for period pieces like this one, that harkens back so vividly to the 1940s and 1950s, b/w seems almost inevitable, indeed ideal, for as a way to blur the years and the distances between eras, once you take away the color you are left with the barren surfaces of things.

    Watching the 25th anniversary DVD for RAGING BULL directly after having seen the new feature SIN CITY, you can tell where Rodriguez got many of his ideas from, except that the blood spouting from his character's mouths after being belted would be blood red against the black and white ring action, and Cathy Moriarty's lips would be vivid scarlet, the trail of her lit cigarette a pale twisting blue. Michael Chapman's photography has never been bettered (in RAGING BULL), and whoever designed the film's proletarian settings deserved the Oscar for the sheer creativity and enthusiasm with which so many gyms, bars, and New York tenements were re-created from out of old Weegee photos and the memories of so many involved with the underground worlds of boxing and the mob.

    When it first came out, some critics complained that Scorcese seemed to be playing up the story as some sort of American tragedy like Othello, when its basic design lacked any grand Shakespearean heights or depths, but in the passage of time you can see that with this film Scorcese was moving away from Shakespearean models into some sort of rough poetry all his own....more info
  • Have a beer, tough guy
    What makes a movie great? What are you looking for in a movie? The answers to those questions will determine your reaction to this movie.

    There's a lot of realism here, though not in the boxing scenes. I haven't yet seen a realistic boxing scene in a movie. I've watched maybe hundreds of boxing matches, but I've never seen boxing done accurately in a movie, and it is nowhere near accurate here. It is laughable here, as usual. Overly dramatic, the punches way too noisy, the reactions of the fighters way too stupid and unrealistic, like LaMotta standing along the ropes with one hand on the ropes, neither hand even trying to protect his head, while Robinson pummels him. Yeah, right, whatever. No effing way. And that moment with Robinson raising one fist slowly. Spare me. That was just stupid, boxing for non-fans in a dream world. Maybe you think this bit of unrealism is artistic, but if you are a boxing fan you see it for what it is, overdramatic nonsense that doesn't look anywhere near real.

    If you enjoy that scene because it shows how the hero ignored his own safety and opened himself up to pain, and you like identifying with that macho behavior, well go have a beer and picture yourself as this character. To me, it's just baloney. It's like that silly Rocky nonsense, completely unreal, a macho fantasy, a little kid thing.

    But the rest of this movie, pseudo-boxing scenes aside, is too real. It is about a guy who makes a mess of his life. There's a lot of agita in this movie as the lead character behaves like a jealous and paranoid violent dictatorial jerk. That's not easy to watch and it's not enjoyable to watch either.

    There was a Bogart film noir film like this one. Bogart played a jealous and violent guy who messes everything up. I didn't like that movie either. It was like cod liver oil. You watch it, you realize that the main character has a lot wrong with him that is painful to watch, you applaud it for being realistic because some people are that way, and when the movie is over you are glad it's over and you don't have to go through it anymore.

    It's hard, as a reviewer, to realize that other people have other things they are looking for in a movie. Look at this site. So many people are calling Raging Bull one of the greatest movies ever made. I don't get it. Why? What are they looking for in a movie? To me, this was just a lot of agita with no payoff. This didn't deliver what I'm looking for in a movie. It just basically annoyed me from start to finish.

    I didn't get the female character at all. I don't know what her game was. It wasn't fleshed out. She was a cardboard wife, pretty much. I didn't see a real person there. I think one weakness of Scorsese as a director is that he doesn't understand women on screen. They don't really matter either. They are just props. This isn't about them. They are just there to be the lover, the cheater, fill one role or other in the lives of the men.

    So it seems to me that all the rave reviews on this site are kidding themselves. This movie really isn't Great with a capital G. No, it isn't. And since I didn't enjoy following this crazy man's messed up life, since I was happy when they started showing the credits and I could be free of this annoying and messed up man's problems, I can't even give it three stars....more info
  • Scorsese's Film He Will Never Be Forgotton For.
    Raging Bull is possibly the finest boxing film that you can see, and have to see. The feature was released in 1980 and was directed by Martin Scorsese, with Paul Schrader(also wrote Taxi Driver) and Mardik Martin with the writing credits. The film won two oscars, one for Robert De Niro and one for Thelma Schoonmaker for best editing. Both were rightly deserved wins, but one of the most outrageous decisions from the acadamy was the best director award, Scorsese was robbed once again, but I'll speak about that later. This is considered Martin Scorsese's best feature, and possibly his most popular and most acclaimed film to date. This film is shot in a beautiful black & white picture and also has colour footage in only one segmant of the film.

    Raging Bull is a film that depicts the rise and fall of Jake LaMotta's boxing career, which spanned from the 1940's to the 1960's, the film doesn't just follow his boxing life, but it also follows his life after boxing, when he retired. The film starts off with Jake(De Niro) in the 60's as an overweight man reciting some words for an upcoming show he is preparing for(you find out what the "show" is in the movie), emediatly after his last words and a puff of his cigar, we are thrown into the 40's with a gritty boxing match. He's taking a beating, but turns around to knock out the other fighter. He leaves his opponent dazed and confused, but still loses the fight. His brother Joey(Joe Pesci) who is also his boxing managertells him to stay in the ring, all the spectators and Joey think that Jake was the victor and that he won the fight fair and square. Eventually a riot breaks out at the fight and we are hurled into a chaotic moment in the film. Afterwards we see Jake's marriage and living problems at home, him and his wife spark an argument which leads into a fight. Later on he meets a young girl named Vickie(Cathy Moriarty), who he dates and eventually marries during the film, the rest of the film follows his troublesome life with boxing, weight, his brother, and his family. The film is a telling of his rise and fall of the boxing world and his personal life. Remember, this is all based on true events, and is all from a book based on Jake LaMotta's boxing career.

    The cast and crew's efforts to make brilliance are accomplished with a brilliant performance by De Niro, where he put on weight, trained with Jake LaMotta and could've actually been a professional boxer, he was wonderful as LaMotta and definately deserved the oscar for best actor. Joe Pesci's excellent performance as Jake's supportive brother Joey is not a weak performance at all, their chemistry on screen is wonderful to watch, and you get a clear idea of how they got along and how they fought in their personal lives involving boxing, family, friends, and Vickie, Joe Pesci was nominated for best supporting actor as Joey. Cathy Moriarty is Vickie, Jake's young girlfriend and, later on, wife. She is also a stunning example of fine acting when under pressure with great actors and a great director on board. She is another actress that's showed great chemistry on screen with her fellow actors and their characters, she is actually the perfect Vickie, a brilliant casting choice, she was nominated for best supporting actress as Vickie. The script is a great piece of writing and storytelling, with character writing and story plot that creates tension, love, loyalty, betrayel, and distrust between the characters. The cinematography is an eye opener here, and keeps you focused and inlove with the film, plot, and it's characters, with brilliant camera work in the boxing scenes(only used one camera in each fight scene), and an excellent switch from black & white to colour during the home video footage of them. Thelma Schoonmaker's editing is some of the finest editing ever, with complex fight scenes put together, and just carefuly put together with a love for the film. Scorsese's direction is indeed noteworthy, he managed to guide inexperienced actors like Joe Pesci and Cathy Moriarty through a tough task of a very technical and important film. His imagination for the perfect fight scenes, visuals, and performances caused stressful problems, especially the boxing sequences with one camera, but paid off with his most perfectly made film that will be remembered in cinema history for generations to come. It is radiculous that he did not win the oscar for best direction, instead it went to Robert Redford for Ordinary People, Scorsese's brilliance and tireless effort isn't rewarded once again. But for someone this good, you don't need awards to prove that he's brilliant. The music is classical music that gives the film another beautiful edge to it, finishing off the film's perfection.

    The cast and crew's blood, sweat and tears are rewarded with a film that pleases audiences with rivetting performances, stunning visuals, brilliant direction, and absolutely breathtaking cinematography. The use of drama and exilarating boxing scenes blend well with dialogue, story, and beautiful music. A beautiful film in every aspect, and will bring you back time and time again to crave your lust for more black & white films you don't get too often, and makes you wonder why Scorsese hasn't won an oscar yet. This is a film anyone can enjoy, and will find a place in your heart. This is an inspiring film that you should definately watch and add to your DVD collection. The opening sequence alone is another reason to purchase this. A Must-see.

    This "Ultimate Edition"(special edition) is definately worth buying, It has all the facts the film enthusiast needs to know, and every other person that is interested to learn about the film's grueling process. It has a highly detailed, but greatly awarded commentry by all the people who were involved in the film(including Scorsese and Jake LaMotta), it has a feature called "Before the Fight", which is another rewarding doc about the casting, writing and preproduction of the film, with how they started the idea to adapt LaMotta's biography. "Inside the Ring" contains the highly detailed look at how the actors trained and prepared for each carefully planned boxing fight, as well as the extremely tough shooting of each fight that was carefully planned and expertly finnished. "Outside the Ring" is simply a behind the scenes look at the film, and all the interesting stories and facts that happened on the sets and production period. "After the Fight" is a look at the impact that the film made on audiences, and a look at how the sound and music were carefully planned together. "The Bronx Bull" is the making of documentary, bassicly everything before that is summed up into a 30 minute doc.
    "De Niro vs. LaMotta" is shot by shot comparison with De Niro and the real LaMotta in the ring, this bassicly follows the accuracy of the film. There's also newsreel footage of Jake LaMotta and the original theatrical trailer. This is the definitive edition of Raging Bull, and is a brilliant set with an excellent film and brilliant extra features. The film: 4.5/5 The extras: 5/5...more info
  • A Classic Film That Finally Has That Classic 2 Disc Edition
    All I really have to ask is, "Why did it take so long for them to make a special edition for Raging Bull?"
    Raging Bull is an American classic film that portrays the rise and self destruction of boxer Jake LaMotta (played by Robert Dinero). Raging Bull is, in my opinion, regarded as great because it is tragic. Most films of this sort will give you a happy ending where everyone is getting along in the end. Raging bull, however, presents a more raw view of what can really happen. Martin Scorsese does not shy away from showing us the violent and not so happy life that Jake LaMotta lead. Also, Scorsese does a great job with the boxing scenes. If you watch the shot-by-shot extra, you will see the extreme lengths that were taken for accuracy.

    As for the extras, they are very good. The disc two features are all worth watching. The commentaries on disc one are pretty well done, but I was really hoping for one with Robert Dinero and Joe Pesci. Despite this, Raging Bull is well worth your money. Any movie fan must add this to their repertoire of DVDs....more info
  • 2005 'RagingBull ' single DVD ..is it TRUE Widescreen?
    A 1999 reviewer lamented/contended that the "widescreen" version was "phony" (i.e. that MGM just cropped the top&bottom off the standard TV format to appear as faux-widescreen). The 2005 DVDs use the same box artwork for both the excellent 2-disc Special Edition and the single disc (film-only) box. But is the 2005 1-disc Raging Bull a TRUE (theatrical)widescreen, or just a re-boxing of the old "widescreen"?...more info
  • Well-made film, but it lacks emotional punch...
    I made it 20-something years without seeing this film, and I finally caved and bought it on the cheap. It's good enough to spend $10 on, but I can't see anybody watching it more than 2 or 3 times, tops.

    The film follows the life and career of an Italian boxer in the 40's and 50's. It is filmed in black and white, and the visual style is solid. The boxing scenes (and one of my biggest disappointments is that there aren't enough of them) are very exciting. Although I have no idea if this played a part in Scorcese's decision to film in b&w, I suspect that if it were in color the boxing would have been too gruesome for most viewers. LaMotta is basically squirting fluid all over the place in his last fight against Sugar Ray.

    In addition to covering LaMotta's career, the film follows his relationship with his brother, Joey, and his wife. His levels of jealousy regarding his wife border on the inconceivably insane, and consequently that entire dimension of the film is unbelievable. Quite frankly, LaMotta would have to be mentally disabled to act that stupid.

    The film also suffers from a slow start. We eventually do care about LaMotta, but it takes awhile.

    But ultimately, why do we really care? We never see a single scene that shows us why he loves his wife, nor one that shows why his wife loves him. They date, they fool around, they marry (in a montage), they fight, and then after all the bad times are apparently behind them she does something she should have done years ago. Their relationship makes absolutely no sense.

    In the end, we see LaMotta (in a scene most younger viewers will think was lifted from the end of "Boogie Nights") quoting verbatim a lengthy monologue from a much better movie, "On the Waterfront". That's a good point, I must admit... why didn't I spend the last 2 hours watching "On the Waterfront" instead?...more info
  • Raging Bull no Bull
    This movie is mad crazy! De Niro's best movie produced....more info
  • What makes a film a "classic"??
    I went into this film expecting a lot, since it was voted the best movie of the 80s, not to mention that it had Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci. But I can't say that was all that impressed with this film. First off, I couldn't find myself rooting for De Niro's character in the film. Maybe that was the point that the Scorsese was looking for, but I found myself not really caring for the Jake La Motta character. The character almost seemed like a schizophrenic at times, becoming angry, paranoid, and abusive for no apparent good reason. If this was the way the real Jake La Motta was, then I think he should've been in an insane aslyum. Also, I must say, that I think that Pesci has the better performance out of the two, in the film. But props to De Niro for gaining all that weight to play an out-of shape, aging boxer towards the end of the film. I seriously was shocked with De Niro's appearance. I also give credit to the filmmaking by Scorsesse. The choice to film in black and white was a good one. Their are some excellent shots during the boxing sequences, the one that stands out in my mind the most is the blood dripping off the rope of the ring. But to say that this movie is one of the best movies ever made is a huge overstatement. Really, its good, but not THAT great. I don't really understand what separates the "classic" films from just the "average" films. How do some many people connect to a film that I feel was maybe a bit better than average? Maybe you have to have an aquired taste to really appreciate movies like this one, maybe I need to watch it a few more time, or maybe I was just overexpecting too much, whatever the reason, at this time, I just don't see why this movie is so greatly praised....more info
  • This is a Masterpiece!
    Raging Bull is #24 in the 100 Best American movies ever, and it is among the 1000 Best Movies on DVD by Peter Travers. Later on was named the best movie of the decade (80's), which I think is true. I rate this movie 5 stars or 9.5/10. It was nominated for eight 1980 Oscars, but won only two: De Niro for Best Actor, and Thelma Schoonmaker for her editing (the Academy seems to have a problem with Scorsese). Schoonmaker appears on one of the audio commentaries of the movie, along with Martin Scorsese, producer, the real LaMotta and others. This DVD is exactly what we collectors like about special edition DVDs. The package is beautifully done (Yes! The package matters a lot), containing a small booklet with some short essays and pictures of the movie. Then, this special edition comes with a second DVD full of special features, such as 4 behind-the-scenes featurettes, a making of documentary, trailers, and some other very interesting stuff.
    This movie is a masterpiece. The acting is perfect, and I don't only mean De Niro, who got the Oscar for this role and is in my opinion one of the best actors ever, but Joe Pesci, who is as always sensational, and Cathy Moriarty in the role of Vickie. The shooting in black and white is a very wise decision, the photography by Michael Chapman, the music (Cavalleria Rusticana fits perfectly), the editing that got an Oscar is also a great job well done, the story, the screenplay, and even the fight scenes are just absolutely amazing (and I just hate violence ...). As The New York Times put it "Though it's a movie full of anger and nonstop physical violence, the effect or Raging Bull is lyrical".
    I recommend this movie to absolutely everybody. You will like it for sure. If you can, get this special edition (though while I am writing this review, it looks it is not available anymore at amazon).
    P.S. If you like my review vote YES. You can read all my other reviews if you wish to. I modestly write them to help people form an opinion about movies, music and books, but if nobody reads them (if you don't vote I do not know if you did) there is no point in writing them :-)...more info
  • Raging indeed
    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.
    ...more info
  • The Bronx Bull Is Back Now!!!
    For the past few years I felt this film has been forgotten a bit. Now it is re-released on DVD in a special 2 disc form. The bonus disc is so great and well worth the money alone! Almost better than the film. If you loved the Rocky movies or if you loved the mob films like The Godfather or Goodfella's, This is the best of both worlds for you!! Boxing and the mob back in the day WERE hand in hand. This real life story shows that. However, Jake LaMotta never wanted to sell out or take a dive for the fixed money. You can still find an old copy of this film on DVD but this brand new 2 disc version is the way to go. ...more info
  • Outstanding
    You have a great screenplay, great direction, and some outstanding actors. All together, it makes one of the greatest films of the 80's and a top ten of all time for me. The story of Jake LaMotta is fantastic because Jake is such an interesting character. Brutal and sad at times, you never know whether you should hate Jake or feel sorry for him. This is Deniro's finest performance. The actual boxing scenes aren't always as realistic as I would like, but that is the only minor quibble I have....more info
  • Classic comes to blu!!!!
    Raging Bull is an instant classic and is the best of the tandem of Scorsese and DeNiro's work. Now it's a must own blu ray. The picture quality is the best to be released for this film to this date and the sound quality is 4.5/5 starts. What an amazing emotional journey Raging Bull takes us through as we see all of Jake's demons as he tries to be the best of the best. A truly great charachter study of a controlling man struggling to reach his ideal. 5/5 and one of the top 15 films ever made. A true classic. ...more info
  • I say in a most humble fashion, Yes, it is the best!
    Dear Mr. DeNiro,

    I was in awe the first time I watched this movie, 25 years ago. I thought at the time you were cinematic perfection as an actor.

    Recently, I bought this special anniversary edition and my opinion is the same. You are awesome, sir.

    This DVD was issued with total care. The sound track was upgraded to today's standards of excellence. The comments from Mr. Scorsese and others, notably Mr. La Motta, were intelligent and very interesting. The final result of this edition is flawless.

    Your acting made me all emotional, Mr. DeNiro. At times I had tears streaming down my face, other times I was laughing, then emotional again, and so on. Your performance covered such a variety of human emotions that it is impossible to describe. We do not attempt to describe perfection, do we?

    What else can I add? Well, I believe your performance was an inspiration for all the people involved in this project. The result? A movie that will remain the best in its genre, frozen in time, way up there among the great ones.

    Thank you, sir. You will remain unforgettable....more info
  • True Classic
    I am a 12 year old movie freak and I have to say that this movie is and Goodfellas are by far the best Robert DeNiro and Martin Scorese Film of ever. This is a true classic and everyone should watch it. Based on the true story of Jake LaMotta...more info
  • Robert DeNiro packs a punch in this film.
    Watching this movie again reminds you just how incredible an actor Robert DeNiro is and he actually gained weight for this role of "Jake La Motta". Yup! That's Roberet DeNiro's real belly.
    The close-up shots of the boxing scenes are gruesome, but shown in black & white as the entire film is give it a much more dramatic effect. The film changes to color for the home movie scenes.
    The real Jake La Motta is portrayed here as a boxer, but as a man he was over-masculated, macho, a womanizer, cheater, violent and foul-mouthed. he only cries when he knows he wrongfully took a dive and almost lost his boxing career. Then he cries when thrown in jail insisting he is not a bad person. Well being a bad person is what got him there.
    DeNiro is so believable in this role you forget that it is DeNiro. You might like this film better than those "Rocky" films.
    The real Jake la Motta was a consultant on the film. Martin Scorsese appears as the Barbizon stagehand.
    I would also like to recommend to you, Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956) starring Paul Neuman, Pier Angeli, Sal Mineo.
    Also Cinderella Man starring Russel Crowe as a boxer, to be released June 3, 2005.
    Okay. I'll say it. Yes there was Cinderfella (1960) starring Jerry Lewis.
    This DVD release only has the theatrical trailer.
    A new DVD release of "Raging Bull" is available this month (April 2005) called the "Special Edition" with plenty of extras, behind-the-scenes, film clips of the real Jake La Motta in boxing action compared to Robert DeNiro's boxing scenes.
    ...more info
    I am sick and tired of some peoples critical knit-picking! This movie is an all time classic and De Niro is at his best!! This movie shows the lifestyle of Jake Lamotta and the warrior he was in the boxing ring! I don't really care how Jake Lamotta got his problems or how he was as a kid, whether he was good in school or bad in school like some critics would like to know! I am not a phychologist nor do I want to be! Lamotta was a true tough guy in the ring that beat Sugar Ray Robinson as some say is the greatest ever! "YOU DID'NT KNOCK ME DOWN RAY....YOU DIDN'T KNOCK ME DOWN!!"...more info
  • Best boxing movie ever, Raging Bull
    Every boxing movie fan should agree that the best boxing movie ever is Raging Bull. Forget Rocky. A third-rate actor named Sylvester Stallone acually got praised for it. Raging Bull is a finely made movie, with great performances including Joe Pesci, Cathy Moriarty-Gentile, and the incomperable Robert DeNiro. **** Ordinary People. The Academy people who voted that as Best Picture must've been smoking something when that decision was made. Martin Scorsese should get an Oscar for The Aviator. He should've gotten it for this one, but a broken down director named Robert Redford had to get it. But i'm glad that De Niro got it. Overall, a superb film!...more info
  • Scorsese & DeNiro are the greatest team ever!
    Well i've been waiting ever since I got my 1st dvd player for this one to get the "Special Edition" treatment! I was very disapointed in 2000 when Scorsese didn't release a 20th Anniversary Edition, but the extra 5 yr wait was worth it!

    These dvd's contain an incredible collection of special features!
    The commentaries by different producers/writer/actors is incredible(I just wish a few more people could have done them too!)but my absolute fave feature is "LaMotta vs DeNiro" which gives you an UNCANNY look at these 2 men boxing. The attention to detail is scary by Scorsese & DeNiro's preperation to actually spend a year learning how to box is truly beyond belief!
    He boxed over 1000 rounds w/LaMotta alone! LaMotta always said DeNiro could have actually been a vg Middleweight, even in his late 30's when he learned how to box & coming from a World champ that did defeat the greatest boxer ever(Suar Ray Robinson)that's a GREAT compliment, & a true one!

    Indeed it is a crime that Scorsese never wins an Oscar, as I don't think he ever will. However when his films like this come out he always wins more prestigious awards(New York & other filmwriters awards, The Cannes award, ect ect,)& will likely get a lifetime achievment award which will be the Academy's way of saying, "Oh excuse us! WE SCREWED UP!"

    I never understood how a film can win the "Best Piture of the Year" but the Director not win?? Who directed the damned movie? A grip?????

    Anyway, the greatest movie ever made has now, finally gotten the treatment it deserves! What a joy to watch! If you don't own a copy yet but want to see the finest performances by the finest actors & a fabulous soundtrack & film direction the way only Scorsese can do it then buy this dvd! Scorsese will never be a "Hollywood" director, but that's fine w/me Marty! Keep on giving us your New York, the REAL one! Thank you for this masterpeice!...more info
  • The GREATEST of the DeNiro/Scorsese films!
    Of the eight films that Robert DeNiro and Martin Scorsese have made together, "Raging Bull" remains the GREATEST. Although all of them are GREAT. But how could they not be when you have a collaboration of America's GREATEST actor with one of the all-time GREAT directors.

    Anytime there is a paring of Joe Pesci and Robert DeNiro it's DYNAMITE! They just work SO WELL together. They are one of the GREAT duos in cinema history. I think by now everybody knows all the stories behind this movie. Including Robert DeNiro's famous weight gain of about 50 pounds so he could more resemble Jake Lamotta.

    I keep a list of my "50 Favorite Movies" and I MUST include one DeNiro film in it so I chose "Raging Bull". Premiere magazine said it better than I can when they said of DeNiro's performance: "DeNiro gives a performance that belongs in a museum".

    "That's entertainment"...more info
  • Scorsese's Brilliant Depiction of One Man's Life Journey...
    The opening scene is shot in slow motion with Jake La Motta (Robert De Niro) dancing on the balls of his feet in a boxing ring while wearing a robe with the hood over his head. The area in which the boxing ring is located is full of cigarette smoke, as occasional flashes of cameras try to capture the moment before a fight. Jake throws some punches into the smoky air while soothing music is played throughout the scene. It seems absurd to play this kind of music to boxing, yet the music continues. Despite the absurdity of the music it will make sense to the audience as the story unfolds. The blood red title, Raging Bull, appears as a bad omen between the ropes of the boxing ring while Jake keeps dancing on the balls of his feet. Shortly after, the screen shows the year to be 1964 and the name of the city as New York. The audience can hear Jake's voice saying, "I remember those cheers, they still ring in my ears, for years they remain in my thoughts, `cause one night, I took off my robe and what'd do? I forgot to wear shorts."

    After the recital by Jake in 1964, the film turns into one monumental flashback beginning in 1941, which is unlocked by a powerful hook into Jake's face. This punch into Jake's face has a symbolic value as to how he sees the world. Hubris comes to mind when one thinks of Jake's persona, a man with exaggerated pride and confidence. Overtly he walks the talk that he backs up with his two lethal fists and an attitude that can take any kind of beating. His attitude also projects an image that he needs no body, as he punishes those who he fights in the ring through murderous punches. Through boxing Jake dreams of getting a title match, but his attitude seems to turn people away from him. His brother, Joey (Joe Pesci), tries hard to get him the match while he tries to sway him to do what the people in power want him to do.

    In the world of boxing testosterone flood every aspect of life, as hurting someone is what brings home the bread. Successful boxers are treated like gold and their aggressiveness is nurtured to perfection. Hostility is needed to destroy the opponent while compassion and sympathy are being perceived as a weakness. Everything surrounds this attitude in boxing, and Jake is the best there is at hurting others. Domination is what he brings with him wherever he goes--even home to his small apartment, where his wife slaves for him in front of the stove. De Niro does a magnificent job in being perceived as a male chauvinistic pig in his role as Jake when he uses his wife as a verbal punching bag.

    When Jake first sees the neighborhood girl Vickie (Cathy Moriarty) he falls in love at first sight. When Jake's wife finds out about it she leaves him, which probably was the best thing for her, and he begins to date Vickie instead. Their relationship is not based on mutual respect and commitment, but more on Jake's bestial desires. During the time when Jake sees Vickie he continues to box and dream for a title match. However, no one is willing to give him one. Something happens at home where Jake does not give into Vickie's desires, as Jake does not want it to affect his boxing. Nonetheless, in between fights Jake and Vickie get married. The moments between fights, including the wedding, are depicted through the only color scenes in the film, seemingly shot by a personal camera without sound, but symbolically it offers some of the happiest moments in Jake's life.

    Through Jake's attitude he does not get any chance at the title, and because of the way he has been knocking out his opponents no one wants to box him. When Jake finds out that Joey has set up a fight against a younger and lighter boxer, he gets upset. This moment turns the whole film in a new direction, as Jake's inability to understand women is magnified. His view of women seems to be heavily colored by his upbringing where women were supposed to serve the men while in a social context they are perceived as either virgins or whores. In addition, Jake must begin to diet which probably plays further tricks with his mind while he is working out to get into top shape for a possible title match. His aggressiveness turns into jealousy and distrustful paranoia, as he begins to watchfully observe Vickie's every move while he is around. Eventually, Jake begins to imagine that Vickie is doing something dishonest, which explodes on the day when he asks his brother if he has slept with her.

    It turns into a downward spiraling affair for Jake, as he loses everything he has worked so hard to gain in the boxing ring, the only place where it seems that he fits in--a place where he feels that he is in harmony. This brings back the notion of the soothing music in the opening of the film. Nonetheless, Jake learns his lesson, but at a very high price. As the film comes full circle, the audience is brought back to New York in 1964. In the beginning of the film, the audience can see the same poster that was shown in the beginning of the film, which showed Jake La Motta's name on the top and botton stating "Tonight 8:30". This is the second time the audience gets to see the whole poster, which will provide some insight to what Jake La Motta gained throughout the film.

    Martin Scorsese directs a powerful film that deals with wisdom, identity, and love through boxing. Using visual symbolism and other ways he directed many of the scenes. The black and white photography makes it feel like minimalism, yet all scenes are very rich in details, but not excessively thanks to Scorsese's meticulous approach to what is in the frame of the camera. De Niro's performance was brilliant and well worth the Oscar it won, as he must have gained a tremendous amount of weight during time it took to make the film. The cinematography is excellent by Michael Chapman, as it helps highlight the emotional moments and the brutal fight scenes. When all the cinematic aspects of filmmaking come together in Raging Bull it offers a truly brilliant cinematic experience, which will leave the audience in awe for a very long time. ...more info
  • Genius Brutal Film of a Famous Boxer
    "Raging Bull", released in 1980, is truly one of the greatest films released that year, receiving eight Oscar nominations and winning two (Best Actor and Best Editing). It stars Robert De Niro, Cathy Moriarty, and Joe Pesci. Director Martin Scorsese uses his infamous genius to create this phenomenal film of world-famous boxer Jake LaMotta. This true story explores the brutal side of his life from fighting his inner demons through destructive behavior to his challenges in the ring. All have lasting effects within himself, his friends, and his family. Through these chains of events, serious consequences arise that change his future. This powerful scenery leads to a powerful conclusion. Therefore, this is not just a boxing film. This is a powerdrama.

    Through the writing and the physical aspects lies one of Scorsese's best works in his long career. Unfortunately, he has yet to win an Oscar for Best Director despite multiple nominations. This unique film offers its hardhitting message through words, violence, blood, and graphic images. The overall black-and-white theme intentially explores a deeper side of Jake LaMotta's madness. Scorsese's signature directing style explores the psychological themes deeply without distracting the elaborate setting. The overall result offers a deeper examination of LeMotta's life and turbulances. Scorsese used this similar style to give "Taxi Driver" (1976) its unique genius result. However, "Raging Bull" takes this to the next level. This style has since influenced upcoming film directors and their films, including "Pi" (1998), "Requiem For a Dream" (2000), and "L.I.E." (2001).

    The amazing cast adds their emotional value to this film, namely Robert De Niro, Cathy Moriarty, and Joe Pesci. All received an Oscar nomination. Words can't possibly describe De Niro's groundbreaking performance as Jake LaMotta. His madness never loses its severity. Such acting style gives new meaning to the term "raging bull", hense the film title. Moriarty makes a strong debut in her emotional performance as Vickie, LaMotta's wife. Her reactions as a battered and neglected wife are acted beautifully. Pesci also makes a strong debut as Joey, LaMotta's brother and manager. His signature aggressive acting style offers the extended brutality of this film, yet keeping De Niro in the spotlight. This similar style made him a household name through the 1980's and the 1990's.

    Such overall quality makes "Raging Bull" one of the most legendary boxing films released. This unique film is sure to leave audiences speechless as it has since its theatrical release. Other boxing films that fans may like are "The Hurricane" (1999), "Million Dollar Baby" (2004), and "Rocky" (1976)....more info
  • Doing Religious Penance In The Ring
    After making the classic and thoroughly joyous rock-jam film The Last Waltz with marvelous `guest' performances from Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Muddy Waters, Eric Clapton, Neil Young backing up The Band & good friend Robbie Robertson, Martin Scorsese took a two-year break from moviemaking, during which he was wed and divorced to actress Isabella Rossellini. Their falling out left him in a state of deep depression, from which 1980's Raging Bull emerged. Like Travis Bickle's gruesome homicidal explosion at the end of Scorsese's modern-urban-Dostoyevskian masterpiece Taxi Driver (1976), making Raging Bull was Scorsese's personal catharsis, which he apparently used to empty every negative and self-destructive aspect of himself onto celluloid.

    Shot in stark, merciless black-and-white to reproduce the urban grittiness of Little Italy circa 1940, Scorsese's film pays tribute to champion boxer Jake La Motta's primitiveness. Much like British director Mike Leigh's movie Naked (1993), Scorsese presents a reprehensible, brutal main character sympathetically, as if his paranoid, cruel and violent behavior is utterly beyond his control - as if it's the corrupt society in which the character lives which deserves the blame for this abhorrent behavior, but certainly not the character (or the simple-minded storytellers). It's the old `absolute product of the environment' dramatic scheme which argues against the existence of characters' having any access whatsoever to personal choice; Jake La Motta is Scorsese's embodiment of the human being as total animal, nothing more, who behaves solely as `nature' dictates.

    Stylistically, Scorsese's self-described "kamikaze" style of filmmaking, of throwing himself at the material, here bears both the exhilarating highs and wretched lows of free-writing. The boxing sequences are the greatest ever put on film: Scorsese's camera pinwheels, pirouettes, dollies in and counter-dollies, and he has Oscar-winning editor Thelma Schoonmaker provide ample freeze frames, slowdowns and speed-ups of the footage; all to create a searingly Expressionist depiction of La Motta's destroy-or-be-destroyed P.O.V. in the ring. (Frank Warner's sound design in particular helps to lend the sequences an added bit of surrealism: for example, when La Motta bears down on Sugar Ray Robinson, the shrieks of a condor closing in on its prey can be heard in the background.)

    Yet in the dramatic sections, the film is bland, stale, stagnant. Scenes drag on endlessly, like dialogues in a later Kubrick film; only Scorsese uses improvisation, and gets repetition and anticlimax. (That anticlimax is all too literal when De Niro pours a pitcher of ice water (!) down his boxer shorts right after fooling around with girlfriend Vicki (the stellar Cathy Moriarty) - La Motta's got a fight coming up, and he wants the additional tension of sexual frustration to use as fuel in the ring.) Self-pity suffuses Raging Bull, and is actually its unstated (and very likely unconscious) central theme. Scorsese's and star Robert De Niro's concept of Jake's character is a strictly one-note affair: Robert De Niro's monotonous, quasi-autistic performance as La Motta says over and over again, "I'm dumb, I don't know any better, therefore I deserve your sorrow." This `new' form of non-acting was awarded with the Best Actor Oscar of 1980 (an honor that De Niro deserved infinitely more for his extraordinary performance as the haunted Travis Bickle five years earlier, which still stands next to Brando in Last Tango in Paris, Orson Welles in Citizen Kane, Daniel Day-Lewis in My Left Foot, etc., as perhaps one of the twenty greatest performances in movie history).

    While Joe Pesci as Jake's brother Joey is individually funny, charismatic and winning, his scenes with De Niro go nowhere; he says something, then De Niro asks him to repeat what he just said. Also, the movie's ending is beyond ponderous: after Vicky, then his wife, finally comes to her senses and ditches him (looooong after we've started rooting for her to do so), La Motta winds up in a lousy nightclub, telling lousy jokes. (It wasn't enough for us to see his lousy behavior, so we've got to be witness to his lousy sense of humor too?) Whether or not these scenes are genuinely biographical is irrelevant; they aren't dramatic, because there's no conflict, no sense of going anywhere...which very unfortunately might be Scorsese's ultimate, self-indulgently depressive point. We have here a movie where mundanity itself is the subject, a movie which prefers to childishly implore for the audience's sympathies in regards to its self-defeatism, rather than intelligently deal with its issues. Jake doesn't want inner health, he hasn't the vaguest notion of what that means - he wants power and control, and when he doesn't have it he cries like a baby and pounds his head against a wall. Scorsese's lingering on him screaming "I'm not an animal!" again and again isn't visually psychologically fascinating, it's the definition of cinematically banal (and maybe the most overwrought temper tantrum in movie history). It's the visual equivalent of Scorsese the movie-director-who-also-wanted-to-be-a-priest grisly administering himself lashings as penance, with us the audience as his spectators. (If you happen to be a secular movie viewer, as I am, the sight of all this gratuitous, almost medieval self-flagellation and punishment can be an especially head-scratching and unpleasant experience.)

    Raging Bull has been acclaimed one of the twenty greatest movies in history by most of the major critics' and directors' polls (Sight and Sound, etc.), and it's proven to have been deeply influential to future generations of moviemakers. Whether or not that influence has produced movies of quality is open to debate; personally, I think Raging Bull's unique and very unfortunate aesthetic combination of chaotic-urban-emptiness-as-divine-holiness has inspired as many terrible and amateurish takes on this theme (think the majority of Abel Ferrara's movie career) as Tarantino's profoundly more entertaining Pulp Fiction later did for the ironically-wisecracking-hitman genre. Some moviegoers may indeed pray at screenings of Raging Bull, but I think they're bowing their heads to a false idol. To me, Raging Bull is nowhere near as thematically imaginative or psychologically complex - or directorially and cinematically ingenious - as Scorsese's Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, The Last Temptation of Christ, GoodFellas, The Aviator, or his brilliant short `Life Lessons' from the New York Stories movie anthology. It's these works, plus his masterful documentaries The Last Waltz, My Personal Journey Through American Movies, My Voyage To Italy and the recent No Direction Home: Bob Dylan, that stand as the very finest examples of Scorsese's most vital, creative, passionate and rewarding work in the movies....more info
  • would be 4 stars-edited
    this was a fine film back in 1980 in its original form.Like many fine dramas of that era it has since fallen victim to politically correct censorship, which is done to gut the films of realism and power.La mottas racial attitudes and taunting have been removed, along with racial street talkof other Italian American characters of the time and place that render the film far less autentic than the original cut. This kind of thing has been done to many films of the past. It appeared tobegin Post Reagan and is now worse than ever.can't recommend censored art work-we already saw the original cuts....more info
  • Masterpiece!!
    This is the best sports film you will ever be privied to. Robert Deniro is at the top of his game here and it makes the film all the better. The story of an aging and faltering boxer is the most humanistic story you can find in any sports film.

    Scorese hit the nial on the head here, it is quite possibly his best film, and may remain so for years to come. The casting by Corman was great and every character was perfect in their interations with Deniro, it looked so natural!! It was the best film of the 1980's according to AFI and deserves that recognition....more info
  • I did like the special feature disk
    Deniro is one of the best actors of all time. Most all of Scorcese's films are jewels. But...
    I couldn't get through this film in one sitting. An overdose. The script seemed ad-libed and overfull. It was boring. It was depressing from start to finish with no sense of salvation for any of the characters, nor did they deserve it.
    I bought the special edition and absolutely enjoyed the special features, though it won't drive me back to watch the film again.
    "Mean Streets" and "Taxi Driver" did the same thing to me,,so perhaps I'm peculiar. ...more info
  • One of those films
    Raging Bull is one of the most gripping, brutal, and magnetic films ever made. I myself am not a fan of boxing--I find it hard to like sports that I wouldn't enjoy playing myself. However, like or dislike of boxing doesn't really matter in this movie. This movie features Robert De Niro at his best (long before slumming for sub-par Hollywood comedies and slashers) as famed boxer Jake La Motta, whose massive insecurity makes Woody Allen look arrogant. Always worried about his wife leaving him, at one point grilling his brother (Joe Pesci, in his memorable screen debut) to see if he had, uh, indulged, La Motta was like an alternate history version of Brando from On The Waterfront, only with many more "F"-words--he wanted more than anything else to be the top, and then when he got there, he promptly lost everything, no longer having any worlds left to conquer. De Niro, of course, put on a ton of weight for the movie's end, and he delivers really bad stand-up in anonymous night clubs, having alienated nearly everyone in his path by his various demons and neuroses.

    This rise-and-fall picture was filmed, of course, by Martin Scorsese, and was definitely passed over for Oscars in its time (I won't diss Ordinary People because I loved that movie too). Maybe they should have been co-winners for Best Picture? Then again, Citizen Kane didn't win Best Picture either, and How Green Was My Valley was a much worse film than Ordinary People. This film, along with GoodFellas, represented Scorsese's apex--exciting, gut-wrenching, powerful cinema. He will probably get a few long overdue Oscars come the end of February, but it will be just like Paul Newman's win for The Color of Money (another Scorsese film)--an apology for not being nominated for more worthy work. Awards, though, don't matter--the work does. For an extraordinary film, look no further....more info
  • One of the best films of the '80s, and a great DVD.
    I recommend purchasing the Martin Scorsese Box Set from MGM, which includes this along with other Scorsese classics. "Raging Bull" is one of the great films of the 1980s and this DVD is an excellent companion piece. Highly recommended....more info
  • Packs A Real Punch.
    Voted best film of the 1980s', Martin Scorsese's 1980 boxing tour de force "Raging Bull" is indeed one of the best movies ever made. Covering the life of famed boxer Jake La Motta (portrayed by Robert De Niro, whose physical transformation throughout the movie is as impressive as his performance, which is a contender for his best). Spanning 25 years through Jake's life, we see his rise and fall well documented. We see his struggle to keep his title, to stay fit, to maintain a solid family life as well as his relationship to his brother Joey (Joe Pesci). This is what true filmmamking is all about.

    The two disc special edition dvd is excellent, and I recommend this movie to all major film buffs, as it is a must have....more info
  • One of the most overrated films of all time.
    The best thing about this tiresome mess is the stunning cinematography and Scorsese's knowledge of New York personalities. But the film utterly fails to capture the magnetism of boxing in its heyday, or provide a fascinating insight into a driven contender from the streets.

    From the all-too-obvious movie references to the overweening sentimentality, Scorsese tries to make an Elia Kazan-esque masterpiece and fails miserably. DeNiro's performance as LaMotta is a lot of what we would see from him in later years --monomaniacal mumbling, zero charisma; an almost self-congratulatory exercise in the excesses of dramaturgy.

    Who was Jake La Motta? Why was he this way? What was his background? What did he hope to achieve? On the Criterion Laserdisc of this film, La Motta himself in three minutes gives more insight into these things than Scorsese and Schrader's drama does in over two hours. To me, that's BAD filmaking.

    I have heard from film snobs that much of Raging Bull's fascination lies in the significance it holds in the oevre of Scorsese. He had just failed miserably with New York, New York and this was almost a religious purging of his soul. I suppose if you want to read into it, be my guest. I consider that self-absorption. I have also heard the patronizing "it's funny" angle regarding LaMotta. I do not think this was Scorsese's intention and I do not find the serious issue of spousal abuse very amusing.

    Interestingly, Raging Bull is very similar to a film Scorsese made shortly thereafter, "The King of Comedy". I am a bigger fan of the later film, but it similarly masks a depressingly pathetic idiot under the near-impenetrable cloak of "satire". Neither one of these films is very honest with its characterizations or its ironic conclusions; if anything they are total indulgences born of a hubris wholly unique to little "Marty". ...more info
  • A masterpiece
    Robert De Niro's Oscar winning performance is only one of the many highlights of Raging Bull: Martin Scorsese's classic portrait of boxer Jake LaMotta. When he's not accusing his young, stunning wife (Cathy Moriarty) of infidelity, he is, as the title implies, a rampaging animal in the ring: looking to claim the middleweight title. De Niro's transformation into LaMotta is still one of the greatest things to be seen in cinematic history, and 25 years later, the only performance to come close to the visceral ferocity of De Niro's is Charlize Theron in Monster. The fight scenes are incredibly re-produced, and incredibly violent. Only Scorsese could make such bloody carnage look flowing and beautiful, and the black and white color of the film makes it feel like you are watching history. It's hard to believe that Raging Bull is 25 years old, and if you've never seen it you owe it to yourself to give it a look. No other movie that deals with boxing, the Hurricane, Ali, whatever else, can hold a candle to this strangely poetic portrait. MGM's Special Edition DVD is a labor of love, including a horde of extras and commentaries (featuring LaMotta himself), and while one may wish that De Niro and Joe Pesci would have offered some input, this is still how DVD's should be. ...more info
  • Pound for Pound, the Greatest Filmmaker in the World
    I'm talking about Martin Scorsese. If he doesn't win an Oscar for directing The Aviator, and he probably won't, his legions of admirers won't be any more disappointed than they were in 1981 or 1991 when he was overlooked in favor of Robert Redford and Kevin Costner, respectively. (Redford is a class act and gave Martin a plum role in "Quiz Show," but as for Costner...) Anyway, Martin's award is this: tell just about anyone that he hasn't ever won, and they are flabbergasted. Stunned. And this movie, Raging Bull, is one of the reasons why. Having seen muddy, murky VHS copies and an OK DVD in past years, this version is a revelation. Disc 1 gives you the movie with 3 outstanding commentary tracks. Scorsese is always engrossing and entertaining with his remarks, and he always seems like just a big movie fan instead of an ego-driven director. Because Scorsese is, above all, a collaborator and not a dominator. He gives those who help him realize the vision plenty of credit. And that includes DeNiro and Pesci, in some of the most convincing and breathtaking acting you'll ever witness. People take these two actors for granted these days, and perhaps they've been overexposed, but remember--this was Pesci's first movie with DeNiro and Scorsese, and only his second movie overall. With all respect to Goodfellas and Casino, I think this is his best performace (Pesci). DeNiro--what can I or anyone say about this legendary portrayal that hasn't been said? Just marvel at it. One of the bravest performances committed to film, up there with Brando in Last Tango in Paris. This is where DeNiro, in fact, confirmed that he is Brando's heir, especially by recreating Marlon's On the Waterfront speech--"Could've been a contender."
    One interesting thing I learned in the commentaries and documentaries was that except for DeNiro, most of the actors in the movie were newcomers or relative unknowns. As an ensemble, they are brilliant, another example of Scorsese's directing brilliance.
    Special Features: For me, the commentary tracks are the best extras because they allow you to see the film from multiple perspectives. The documentaries are nice, but much of the information overlaps, a common problem in DVD documentaries.
    As for the quality of the movie transfer, I've seen the film probably two dozen times prior to this release, and I saw and heard new things as I watched the discs. For instance, the checkered pattern in Pesci's suit when he's talking to DeNiro by the swimming pool in the rain is sharp and vivid. That's just one small but significant example of how strong this new version is, aesthetically. I've always been, well, knocked out by the use of sound in this movie, and not only can you hear the effects better than ever, the documentaries and commentary explain how the effects were put together. Also, when you're not watching the movie, the packaging is beautiful. It's like having a new edition of a classic book with first rate binding and printing on your shelf. Sorry to gush, but this is almost a holy relic, something that fits with Scorsese's abiding theme of anguish and redemption through violence and blood.
    Favorite scenes: the second Robinson fight; the home movie sequence; Jake wins the title; Jake loses the title; and, a quirky one, fat Jake setting up a tower of champagne glasses and filling all of them by pouring champagne into the top glass and letting it overflow like a fountain. The unique touches like that are what set Scorsese/DeNiro apart and take this film into the atmosphere of the sublime.
    Also, before I forget, Nicholas Colasanto, later of Cheers where he played the beloved but not so bright Coach, shows up here as a neighborhood mobster who is both gentle and lethal. His scene with Pesci in the "Debonair Social Club" is brilliant, with Colasanto conveying barely restrained anger and frustration. Beautiful performance....more info
  • Bull on blu is a knock-out!
    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! ...more info
  • Raging Bull is one of those superb films at its finest.
    Raging Bull" has been called the greatest film of the 80s. After seeing this film last night I would say it is one of the most powerful films of all time. De Niro, was also at the top of his game here, as Jake LaMotta, the infamous boxer known for his abusive life style and somewhat paranoid delusions during his reign as world middleweight boxing champion, 1949 - 1951. Throughout the film, he beats his wife (played expertly and convincingly by the 19-year-old Cathy Moriarty), convinced that she is cheating on him, and that is more or less what the film is truly about. The boxing is just what he does for a living, and could be considered as a way to release some of his deeper, harbored anger.

    The film is most often compared to "Rocky," more than any other, apparently because they both concern a certain level of boxing. As much as I absolutely adore "Rocky," "Raging Bull" is a deeper, more realistic film. But whereas "Raging Bull" is raw, "Rocky" is inspiring. The only connecting thread is the apparently central theme of boxing, which is used as a theme in "Rocky," and a backdrop in "Raging Bull." They're entirely different motion pictures -- one uplifting, the other somewhat depressing -- and the people who try to decide which is better need to seriously re-evaluate their reasons for doing so. They both succeed splendidly well at what they are trying to do, and that's all I have to say about their so-called connection.

    The boxing scenes easily rank with the most brutal and violent moments ever put on film, shot in stark, unadorned black and white and utilizing unlikely sounds including shattering windows and animal cries to great effect. Thelma Schoonmaker's jarring, discordant editing in these scenes also deserves special mention. The scenes of domestic violence are not for the faint of heart, but there is really no other way to tell this story.

    This is certainly one of the most intense films Scorsese has directed, and one of the most important of his career. Along with "Taxi Driver," it is an iconic motion picture that will stand the test of time for years and years to come.
    ...more info
  • Absolutley Brilliant
    One of my favorite movies. great acting, great directing, and great story. The true story of La Motta who is played by Robert De Niro who is possibly the best actor of his generation. Co-starring Joe Pesci as De Niro's brother; he has a great performance. Great film. Highly recommended!!!!...more info