Raging Bull (1980)


Biography, Drama, Sport


Martin Scorsese




Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Cathy Moriarty, Nicholas Colasanto, Theresa Saldana, Frank Vincent, Johhny Barnes


It follows two decades of the life of middleweight boxing champion Jake La Motta (Robert De Niro) involving a lot of violence, not only inside the ring, and jealousy.


After putting off Raging Bull for years because I wasn't in the mood, I finally decided to give what critics call Martin Scorsese's finest film a shot. And I do not agree, this is not Scorsese's finest. I do agree, however, that it's painful to watch and powerful. While the powerful is a good thing, the painful is not as it's referred to how boring the film eventually gets.

The biggest problem is arguably the story. It's based on the true story of boxer Jake La Motta, a man so horrible that does not deserve a movie. A story about a man who self-destructs for no apparent reason, and that I struggle to find something interesting about. There is barely a plot, it's tedious and hence hard to follow. 

The characters are equally boring and uninteresting (most of them don't even have a reason to be in the film), although I have to admit Jake La Motta has some impressive characterisation and development. If done right, De Niro's obnoxious and unlikable character could have been very fascinating. The lack of proper writing did not prevent De Niro from giving a great performance though. He delivers La Motta's violent temper and obsessive nature beautifully and you can really see what a disturbed man La Motta is - or was. I hope he got better with age. Like wine.

But, now that I've mentioned several times how boring and uninteresting Raging Bull is, let's talk about the good stuff. Like the cinematography and the graceful camera movements. The use of black and white instead of colour is just brilliant and proves what a great filmmaker Scorsese is. It's perfect to put even more emphasis on the violence, and the fighting scenes come off more brutal and shocking than ever. 


  1. I am like you...putting this off and now I may still put this one off. I'm not big into boxing movies with all the violence and I had heard the character has no redeeming qualities but it is so raved about that I thought I have to see it one day....one day

    1. You might as well skip it. You won't lose much. That character, arg, he makes me so angry!

  2. I don't think this is Scorsese's finest, but I am a big fan of this film. Sorry it didn't work for you. Watching La Motta self destruct is mesmerizing for me. And I thing the performances are out of this world good. Oh well, we can't all like the same thing.

    1. No, we can't. But that's a good thing, right? Anyway, the performances are fantastic.