#116: Raging Bull (1980)

When and how did I watch this?

July 26th, 2016, on Amazon.

Had I seen this film already?


What did I know about the movie before watching it?

DeNiro and Scorcese meet up again for a boxing film based on a true story.

What do I know about it now?

This was a difficult film to watch, mostly because of its coloring and dark motif.  DeNiro is a compulsive man who happens to be an excellent fighter. With too much on his plate, Jake LaMotta finds himself unable to cope with life outside the ring when all he’s concerned with is being “the best”, and the turmoil increases as his jealousy rages. His personality is well established early on, and the viewer hopes for a change in his approach to dealing with life, but it never comes. This tragic hero takes a fall at the center of the plot, and he becomes a washed up lounge entertainer, still big on himself all the way to the end of his waning fame. While unsettling, the cinematography is something unique. This is certainly not your average boxing movie, and overall makes “Rocky” look weak. Pesci is his typical f-bomb-slinging self, but seems to have a hinge of reason and self control in contrast to DeNiro’s wild persona.

What are some themes in the film?

Family, jealousy, greed/power, the mob (find me a Scorcese film that doesn’t deal with the mob, please), revenge, trust/fidelity

Did this affect me personally?

Yes.  While there is no one scene that juts out from others, the gradual decline on the back half of the movie is a reminder of how much self control you actually have.

Why is this ranked #116?

It’s a quality film bolstered by the magical Scorcese/DeNiro pairing.  It dips below the epic Casino in terms of its story development and screenplay, but the characters are far more intriguing.

Did my wife watch/like it?

She did, but was somewhat turned off by the profanity and vicious moments of violence outside the ring.

Would I watch it again?

Probably not.  Like the previous entry on this list, it’s not something I’d like to sit back and watch for fun.

Would I recommend it to a friend?

Yes. There are few movies like this you’ll ever see.

Does it deserve to be on this list as one of the greatest films of all time?

Of course.  I start to get the idea that Scorcese really knows what he’s doing, and a better understanding of why DeNiro is such a legend.  This seems to be some of their best work.

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