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Raging Bull is a 1980 film, directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Robert De Niro. It revolves around middleweight boxer Jake LaMotta, a man who is consumed by his anger, paranoia, and shame.

The film begins in 1964, as we see an overweight, aging LaMotta, now a comedian, practicing his routine. The scene changes. It is now 1941, as LaMotta boxes and throws his fights at the behest of The Mafia. His brother and manager, Joey LaMotta, does his best to support Jake and get him a chance at success. Jake seduces Vicky, a 15-year-old girl he met at a Bronx public pool. While he catches a break and wins a string of victories, he becomes increasingly paranoid that Vicky is cheating on him, and becomes more and more abusive. Eventually, he accuses his brother of sleeping with his wife and attacks them. The rest of the film details the aftermath in the following years after LaMotta has retired, as he spirals downward ever further.

The boxing fights themselves are notable for their cinematography. Run entirely on the Rule of Drama, they look nothing like actual bouts. One Fight Unscene consists of two still frames: Jake LaMotta with his fist drawn back, and another, him standing triumphant over his downed opponent. Additionally, sponges filled with fake blood were inserted into the boxing gloves, spraying the fighters and the ropes with amounts of fluid previously unseen in a sports movie.

While critical reception was mixed at the time of its release, and it was passed up for Best Picture and Best Director at the Oscars in favor of Ordinary People, Raging Bull has since become a critical favorite, and is viewed as one of the best movies of all time.


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