This magnificent display of method madness earned De Niro his second Academy Award, his first Oscar was for best supporting actor in The Godfather Part II, this time round, he (deservedly) won Best Actor.
More Trivia from Raging Bull
Black and white biopic, charting the rise and fall of boxing legend Jake La Motta, a man whose prize fighting tenacity was rivalled only by his impulsive nature and domestic ferocity.
Jake La Motta was the world middleweight champ in the early 50s' but after a string of controversial bouts, days of running a nightclub and the inevitable decline into fat land, the once lean, and admirably mean La Motta had gone from Raging Bull to Beached Whale.
Perhaps brother/manager Joey (Pesci) "...shoulda looked out for him just that little bit" or maybe Salvy (Vincent) and Tommy Como (Colasanto) were to blame, perhaps it was Vicky (Moriarty) or maybe it was someone else, maybe the toughest opponent Jake La Motta ever faced... was a man named Jake La Motta.
"I remember those cheers
They still ring in my ears
And for years they'll remain in my thoughts
Cuz one night I took off my robe
And what'd I do
I forgot to wear shorts.
I recall every fall, every hook, every jab
The worst way a guy could get rid of his flab
As you know, my life was a jab...
Though I'd rather hear you cheer
When I delve into Shakespeare
"A Horse, a Horse, my Kingdom for a Horse,"
I haven't had a winner in six months
(he lights his cigar)
I know I'm no Olivier
But if he fought Sugar Ray
He would say
That the thing
Ain't the ring
It's the play
So gimme a stage
Where this bull here can rage
And though I can fight
I'd much rather recite
That's entertainment. That's entertainment..."
A classic movie which is about a lot more than guys beating each other up in a boxing ring.
De Niro is too excellent for words as the man who could've been a contender, a fine athlete with a real short fuse, one who took on everybody from Marcel Cerdan and Sugar Ray Robinson to hapless try-hard Pretty boy Janeiro, La Motta is portrayed as a great fighter whose insufferable temper makes for some repulsive scenes of wife beating and an equally disturbing decline into self abuse when the raging bull is briefly locked up.
This is method acting taken beyond its extremes you can tell that every frame has been carefully directed, with the boxing matches being among the most technically proficient and convincingly brutal ever seen on film.
Raging bull is the kind of movie that may be a little hard to get into at first, but once you're hooked, it rarely lets go. With some great acting from Joe Pesci and a powerhouse performance by De Niro, this is one of the few films that lives up to it's hype.Notice any mistakes? Review
Beautiful directing, great acting and a strong story made all the more interesting because it's true.
9.2 out of 10Review Written by Kashif Ahmed: Contact | More Reviews by Kashif Ahmed