Raging Bull Movie Behind The Scenes

Making Raging Bull



Go behind the scenes on the 1980 Drama movie starring Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Cathy Moriarty More Cast

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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.
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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.
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De Niro had his hairline thinned in order to imitate La Motta's high forehead.
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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!
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During the later boxing scenes Scorcese used a larger ring in order to convey La Motta's diminishing stature as a fighter.
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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.
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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.
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Although only a few minutes of boxing appear in the movie, they were so precisely choreographed that they took six weeks to film.
Thanks to 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.
Thanks to 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.
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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.
Thanks to 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.
Thanks to Britt
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.

Next Section: Deleted Scenes

Deleted Scenes

There are often scenes cut from the final version of a movie. Sometimes these will have been seen by preview audiences, or be included in Blu-ray or DVD extras etc.

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Next Section: Alternate Versions

Alternate Versions

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 on Blu-ray or DVD.

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Jump To: Filming Locations
1980 MGM
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