Robert De Niro
made frequent visits to the Raging Bull's ex-wife Vicky in order to establish a greater sense of character. He also put himself through intensive training and won 2 out of 3 amateur boxing matches in Brooklyn N.Y.
De Niro ate his way around Italy and put on 60lbs in order to get up to 14st 5lbs and play the old Jake La Motta., Joe Pesci
on the other hand, trimmed down by about 30lbs to play Jake's brother Joey.
De Niro had his hairline thinned in order to imitate La Motta's high forehead.
Robert De Niro sometimes got a little carried away whilst he was in character and ended up breaking a couple of Joe Pesci's ribs during a sparing shot, he also bruised him in another sparring session and even knocked out Cathy Moriarty during one of their rowing scenes!
During the later boxing scenes Scorcese used a larger ring in order to convey La Motta's diminishing stature as a fighter.
The scene where De Niro breaks Joe Pesci's ribs was kept in and Scorcese cut away at the last second for a different reaction shot.
When Jake (De Niro) asks Joey (Pesci) "Did you f**k my wife?" director Martin Scorsese didn't think Pesci's reaction was strong enough, so he asked De Niro to say "Did you f**k your mother?" and cut the scenes together during post production.
Although only a few minutes of boxing appear in the movie, they were so precisely choreographed that they took six weeks to film.
Contributed by: David Batterson
As for those who said the actors were really hitting each other in the boxing scenes, I can tell you the truth. They did not. It was incredibly choreographed and edited to look real, but they didn't really "fight" as it appeared in the completed film. All the blood was fake too and they used bottles and bottles of it.
Contributed by: David Batterson
It wasn't smoke surrounding the boxing ring, it's actually made by a small machine that creates a mist that looks like smoke.
Joe Pesci, at the time a frustrated, struggling actor, had to be persuaded to make the film rather than return to the musical act he shared with colleague Frank Vincent.
Contributed by: James Noble
The first pass of the Raging Bull script, adapted from Jake La Motta's autobiography, was actually written by Mardik Martin (who co-wrote Mean Streets with Scorsese). When DeNiro disapproved, the director brought on board Paul Schrader
(writer of Taxi Driver), who turned in a very dark script. De Niro and Scorsese undertook another re-write. Schrader, at the time, at least, considered the scene the best he had ever written.
The scene between La Motta and his first wife was half improvised. The man in the apartment below them didn't know they were shooting a movie and so when La Motta and his wife are arguing, the man below yelled at them to be quiet "you animals!" etc. Scorcese told DeNiro to improvise lines back, making the finished product a very real, comedic scene.
Know some good info about the making of Raging Bull?
Use our simple iRewind system to add it to this page in just
a few clicks.
When movies are made, scenes are often
left on the cutting room floor.
Sometimes, there will be several versions
of a movie floating about on cable, tv or video etc. Other times, a Director may
release a special cut of the movie.