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USA 1980
Directed by
Martin Scorsese
128 minutes
Rated MA

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
5 stars

Raging Bull

Raging Bull is one of Scorsese's best films, a biopic about real-life boxer Jake LaMotta, with excellent black and white photography by Michael Chapman (the fight sequences, all shot from the fighter’s point-of-view are brilliantly executed and particularly memorable) and a stand-out performance by Robert de Niro who deservedly won an Oscar, as did another longtime Scorsese collaborator, editor Thelma Schoonmaker.

De Niro has played more than his fair share of fictional Brooklyn thugs, but when combined with Schrader's script (with contributions by Mardik Martin, La Motta as original author and consultant and although uncredited in the film, De Niro), and Scorsese’s deftly-judged direction (the same three-way collaboration that yielded Taxi Driver) the outcome makes for a convincing embodiment of the world from which those fictions are derived. Cathy Moriarty, in her screen debut (she was seen the following year as Dan Ackroyd's wife, Ramona, in Neighbours but never got this close to stardom again) is effective as Vickie, the madonna-whore of LaMotta’s tortured imagination, as is Joe Pesci, also debuting, as the latter's brother, Joey.

 

 

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