- Jake La Motta (Robert De Niro) after being thrown in jail on a morals charge at the end of his career
Academy Awards 1980 -
Best Actor: Robert De Niro
Academy Awards 1980 -
Best Film Editing
Rolling Stone - 12/14/1989
"...A fiercely poetic study of violence. Stunningly shot in black-and-white..."
New York Times - 08/04/2000
"RAGING BULL is not simply the greatest boxing movie ever made; Martin Scorsese's 1980 masterpiece is arguably the finest American film released in [that] decade..."
New York Times - 11/14/1980
"...[Scorsese's] most ambitious film as well as his finest....The performance of [De Niro's] career..."
Los Angeles Times - 01/05/1990
"...One of the bloodiest and most beautiful reflections on atonement in the Scorsese canon....It is still one of cinema's most breathtaking films..."
Chicago Sun-Times - 05/10/1998
"...Pesci's performance is the counterpoint to De Niro's, and its equal; their verbal sparring has a kind of crazy music to it....RAGING BULL is the most painful and heartrending portrait of jealousy in the cinema..."
Total Film - 03/01/2004
"De Niro has gone above and beyond. Yet nothing can match his mesmerising performance as middleweight boxing champ Jake LaMotta..."
Premiere - 02/01/2005
"[A] monumental biopic..."
Sight and Sound - 11/01/2005
"[A] troubling, exhilarating, masterfully made study of self-destructive masculinity."
Uncut - 01/01/2006 Ranked #2 in Uncut's Best DVDs Of 2005 -- "'Ultimate' is, for once, an accurate description."
Empire - 09/01/2007 5 stars out of 5 -- "[I]t is without a doubt De Niro's ultimate immersion into 'The Method', up there with Brando in ON THE WATERFRONT and A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE."
Entertainment Weekly - 01/21/2011
"De Niro is both charismatic and creepy, finding the humanity inside a monster." -- Grade: A
With RAGING BULL, Martin Scorsese's personal approach to filmmaking is taken to a whole new level. Shooting in a crisp black and white, Scorsese tells the story of middleweight boxer Jake La Motta, played with incredible intensity by Oscar winner Robert De Niro. As La Motta rises through the ranks to earn his first shot at the middleweight crown, he falls in love with Vickie (Cathy Moriarty), a gorgeous girl from his Bronx neighborhood. Jake's inability to express his feelings pours out in the ring and eventually takes over his life in his dealings with his brother, Joey (a brilliant Joe Pesci). Irrational jealousy over Vickie, as well as an insatiable appetite, sends him into a downward spiral that costs him his title, his wife, and his relationship with Joey. As the out-of-control fighter, De Niro delivers one of the screen's most unforgettable performances. Pesci is just as intense as Joey, who finally realizes that he is unable to tame his animalistic brother. Cinematographer Michael Chapman shoots the film with a stylish flair that fills the boxing scenes with boundless energy and adds immediacy to the arguments that erupt whenever Jake is outside the ring. Simply put, RAGING BULL is one of American cinema's masterworks.
Considered by many critics to be the best film of the 1980s, this gritty docudrama about hardheaded prizefighter Jake La Motta is so astonishingly real it seems like the champ's black-and-white home-movie reels have been spliced together. Robert De Niro's Oscar-winning performance is intense and awe inspiring, and Martin Scorsese uses his regular bag of camera tricks to add to the proceedings. The film features a stellar supporting turn by Joe Pesci as La Motta's brother, Joey.
Classic Fight Scenes |
Essential Cinema |
Rags To Riches |
Theatrical Release |
Filmed on location in New York City.
RAGING BULL was added to the Library of Congress National Film Registry in 1990.
Robert De Niro gained 50 pounds and spent hours learning how to box in order to play Jake La Motta. It was the beginning of a trend among American actors of excessive preparation for film roles.