The Pendragon Society

Raging Bull (1980)

Director: Martin Scorsese Cinematographer: Michael Chapman

One of a string of early 1980s box office disappointments for Martin Scorsese, the film is a hugely ambitious and superbly edited biography of Jake LaMotta (Robert De Niro), an Italian American middleweight boxer whose sadomasochistic rage, sexual jealousy and animalistic appetite destroys his relationship with his wife and family. Scorsese gives De Niro the freedom to truly transform into the unsympathetic working class boxer and he’s got strong support from relative newcomers Joe Pesci and Cathy Moriarty (as LaMotta’s brother and wife). It received mixed reviews and criticism for its violent content on release, but De Niro’s explosive and absorbing performance, the brutal yet poetic fight scenes and the bleakly beautiful black and white cinematography make Raging Bull not only Scorsese’s finest film but also one of cinema’s best ever.

Buy or Rent (watch online)
2-disc Collector Set Special Edition (DVD)
Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How the Sex-Drugs-and-Rock ‘N’ Roll Generation Saved Hollywood (Paperback)
Robert De Niro 7 Movie Collection (Raging Bull, Ronin, Men of Honor, Stanley & Iris, True Confessions, Flawless, New York, New York) (DVD)
Sports Giftset (Bull Durham / Hoosiers / Raging Bull / Rocky ) DVD



The film had initially come about because De Niro read the autobiography upon which the film is based, became fascinated by LaMotta and showed the book to Martin Scorsese. As well as making uncredited contributions to the screenplay, De Niro remarkably gained approximately 60 pounds (27 kg) to portray LaMotta in his later post-boxing years (an act that has caused lasting damage to his health). Bringing him his second Oscar, it’s truly one of cinema’s most trans-formative and intense performances, born out of his incredible commitment to method acting.

Directed by Martin Scorsese
Produced by Irwin Winkler, Robert Chartoff
Screenplay by Paul Schrader, Mardik Martin
Cinematography Michael Chapman
Edited by Thelma Schoonmaker
Running time 129 minutes
Country United States
Language English