Universal acclaim - based on 14 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 213 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Scorcese recounts the gritty life self-destructive boxer Jake LaMotta (De Niro) who never backs down from a fight on his way to a middleweight title shot.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 14
  2. Negative: 0 out of 14
  1. 100
    One of the bloodiest and most beautiful reflections on atonement in the Scorsese canon... It is still one of cinema's most breathtaking films.
  2. The entire film is played at such high pitch it may well exhaust audiences that don't come prepared. And, at the heart of the film, there is the mystery of Jake himself, but that is what separates Raging Bull from all other fight movies, in fact, from most movies about anything. Raging Bull is an achievement.
  3. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    The film that many consider the finest of its decade, Raging Bull, has aged well, and not just because it was filmed in black and white.
  4. Reviewed by: Steve Daly
    Another harsh character study, with poignant echoes of "Taxi Driver."
  5. 100
    The most painful and heartrending portrait of jealousy in the cinema--an "Othello'' for our times.
  6. 100
    A fiercely poetic study of violence. Stunningly shot in black-and-white. [14 Dec 1989, p.23]
  7. 40
    As LaMotta, Robert De Niro gives a blank, soulless performance; there's so little of depth or urgency coming from him that he's impossible to despise, or forgive, in any but the most superficial way.

See all 14 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 44 out of 50
  2. Negative: 5 out of 50
  1. Nov 26, 2012
    One of the finest films of it's decade or any decade. Martin Scorsese painted not only a pretty picture but a beautiful and profound one as well. When I see this movie my breath is taken by the masterful acting ability of the great Robert De Niro. This is sure to make you hate but pitty him at the same time. Breathtaking just pure genius. Expand
  2. Oct 25, 2013
    The epic sports drama. Martin Scorsese's magnum opus, and Robert De Niro's as well. His performance is starkly authentic and amusing and all of the positive aspects of an actor put together. 'Ordinary People' is completely overrated. Expand
  3. AndrewH.
    Jun 23, 2006
    Required viewing for anyone who likes movies.
  4. JaredS.
    Oct 8, 2005
    Arguably the greatest movie of the past thirty years. Many critics regard this film as probably the last "great achievement" in American cinema...and for good reason. DeNiro is Oh-My-God good as Jake LaMotta. The film is both hard to take and beautiful to look at, which is probably why so many people nowadays have a hard time watching it. A single frame of this film has more depth than the last four "Best Picture" winners put together. Quite an accomplishment on Scorsese's part. An American masterpiece. Expand
  5. Dec 14, 2013
    Raging Bull is not so much about boxers as it is about the everyday life of them. In this case, Jake LaMotta is an insecure piteous brute of a man who knows no better. He does not inspire admiration as athletes in other sports might. The story is not about someone getting somewhere, but about the experience itself, with all the highs and lows, and the final decline.

    The plot follows two brothers as they see good and bad times together as the elder LaMotta challenges this boxer and that during the 1940s. The Mafia who runs the show always seems to have a hand in everything and keep the belt out of his grasp. Jake's obsessive behaviour toward his wife Vickie also makes up the major part of the plot. Her every gesture and remark is taken out of context and exaggerated beyond reason.

    Robert De Niro tackles yet another complicated character for his friend Scorsese. Jake is a whack job who aims big but doesn't know how to present himself. Joey LaMotta (Joe Pesci), Jake's brother, is his manager. He is also short on temper but at least he's sane enough to recognize the importance of keeping up appearances and does his best to keep his brother's public image intact. Joe Pesci does a decent job portraying him as a tentative over-shadowed little brother who has accepted his place and goes along with the occasional bullying until it's too much.

    Jake never seems to fully accept his good fortune of getting it on with his sweetheart Vickie (Cathy Moriarty), who he suspects of cheating at every turn. This suspicion threatens everything in his life. At first you might feel sorry for what he has to go through but as his family begins to suffer by his maniac outbursts, you can't help but be sympathetic to everyone but Jake.

    Vickie seems without emotion at first but as time passes some hints of her humanness pass through the filter. Moriarty does a splendid job in making her a sympathetic character even in the middle of the endless hints at her infidelity. She plays her with a laid-back, subtle approach, and feels plastic at times until she shows her quirks occasionally. I admired her greatly, and felt like if a woman carried herself like this, she is bound to have her man, or men in general, follow her around like puppies.

    Shot in black and white, the picture evokes a time when this was the standard. All the details to bring the 40s to life are captured perfectly_ the bars, clubs, cars, dresses and so on. The cinematography was a stroke of genius.

    Raging Bull is not a sports drama. Actually, after the first few fights are shown, seldom is time spent inside the ring. We witness more of Jake's life outside in the world, where he is not hidden under a guise and has to fend for himself. The movie never attempts to explain how Jake became like he did. Scorsese trusts us to derive our own meanings. He just shows us the scenes of violence, love, family and then moves on to the next scene. His touch is light and imperceptible, yet his signature is all over it.

    But unlike his other movies where everything sort of explains itself, I feel like this lacked the cohesiveness of his other works. Scorsese was successful in portraying the experiences of sudden fame and wealth and its effects but it was too vague for me to feel anything. Apart from a few scenes between the brothers which brought me close to tears, other times I just didn't feel anything at all.

    Raging Bull may be more liked than Taxi Driver, but in my opinion it was too ambitious and failed at some level. Goodfellas is where Scorsese eventually succeeded in getting everything in precisely the right amount as they are needed to make a film work. Whether the movie worked perfectly or not is immaterial in the wake of De Niro's performance, and this movie should be watched just for that.The Academy finally recognized his talent and commitment and awarded him the Oscar for Best Actor.
  6. Aug 24, 2010
    Martin Scorsese's biopic of boxing champion Jake La Motta.
    Robert De Niro is outstanding playing the insecure, paranoid & not particularly
    pleasant La Motta. With the later scenes after La Motta had retired, it's hard to believe this is still De Niro playing the same character as the transformation is so good.
    Joe Pesci is very good for his portrayal of Joey La Motta, Jake's brother.
    The fantastic music is also definitely worth an extra point for the great way in which it was used.
  7. Jul 19, 2014
    Raging bull is an overrated film that deserves appreciation for its stylish technique .however it is uninteresting, unengaging and uninvolving.There is absolutely no character we relate to. In the end , it is all about style , photography and editing but no substance. Expand

See all 50 User Reviews