He threw bouts, he got involved with low-life underworld crime figures, he beat his wife Cathy Moriarty, in her Oscar-nominated role , he abused all those closest to him, and he had relationships with young girls who were still considered minors. The particular visual intensity of the fight scenes, however, was partly due to financial difficulties rather than directorial choices. The boxing scenes easily rank with the most brutal and violent moments ever put on film, shot in stark, unadorned black and white and utilizing unlikely sounds including shattering windows and animal cries to great effect. Hence he decided to give the fighting scenes all he could, since he had nothing to lose anymore. The first surprising thing about Raging Bull as a film is its black and white photography, with the only colour footage being the short home video sequence of La Motta's wedding. The fight scenes were recorded in Dolby Stereo with heightened, often animalistic sound effects and a striking use of silence. Originally, the decision to shoot the film in black and white was based specifically on cinematographer Michael Chapman and Martin Scorsese's memories of 1940's boxing bouts, which they remembered as black and white flash photos in magazines.
Often during this fight, faces are out of frame. Just as important as the look of the film was the sound. But when he treats his family and friends the same way, he's a ticking time bomb, ready to go off at any moment. This is certainly one of the most intense films Scorsese has directed, and one of the most important of his career. In an attempt to keep the picture on schedule, two separate lighting styles had to be adopted. If I had to assemble a list of required viewing, this would be up there towards the top. Like most great movies, its focus is much deeper.
The most memorable use of sound in the film, in particular the use of silence, is in La Motta's fourth fight against his great rival Sugar Ray Robinson. But to say it is one of the most powerful films of all time would be no gross overstatement -- it is superb film-making at its finest. For the Reeves fight Scorsese chose to include some chaotic backlash from the crowd showing their disapproval of the judge's decision, but apart from this scene, Scorsese's mantra throughout the film was 'Stay in the ring'. I cannot argue with that opinion. When Jake LaMotta steps into a boxing ring and obliterates his opponent, he's a prizefighter.
LaMotta has a close relationship with Joey, his brother, and their interaction is often what elevates the film above others of its genre. I have watched it at least ten times, and it only gets better and better with each viewing. Scorsese shot the film in muted black and white, portraying a certain era of depression and misery. When Jake LaMotta steps into a boxing ring and obliterates his opponent, he's a prizefighter. And here he is Jake LaMotta, the infamous boxer known for his abusive life style and somewhat paranoid delusions during his reign as world middleweight boxing champion, 1949 - 1951.
For example when the two men are boxing La Motta's face is often blurred out by smoke or hidden by his opponent's body. It is simply a masterpiece for the mind and senses, leaving you knocked out cold after its brutal one-two punch. De Niro, who could justifiably be called the greatest actor of all time, is at the top of his game here. This kind of rage helped make him a champ, but in real life, he winds up in the ring alone. The viewers would think, feel, see and hear everything the boxers would. His plan was to shoot the fight scenes as if the viewers were the fighter, and their impressions were the fighter's, and never to insulate the audience from the violence in the ring.
Easily one of the most powerful films I have ever seen. What Scorsese disliked about the previous boxing films he had seen was the way the fights were shown from ringside, adopting a spectator's view, which protected the audience from the brutality inside the ring. Just as memorable was the decision to use an animal's breathing for Robinson's final attack on La Motta. Robert de Niro's performance in this film is truly amazing and the direction from Scorsese and the script from Paul Schrader are flawless. I'll come back to this film forever. They would be shot entirely in the Los Angeles studio and would be highly stylised.
Jake's life outside the ring would be kept as simple as possible, and this meant that the scenes in the ring could be concentrated on more. Though LaMotta wants his family's love, something always seems to come between them. To make the blood show up on screen during the occasional fight scenes, Scorsese used Hershey's Syrup -- which is an interesting tidbit of trivia for any aspiring film-making planning on filming a violent movie in black and white. La Motta goes from middle-weight champ to a washed-out stand-up comic at a local club. Jake La Motta was consultant for the film, and the fights were depicted as he remembered them.
Perhaps it's his violent bouts of paranoia and jealousy. He gains weight uncontrollably and ultimately just becomes another face in the crowd by the end of the film. The fight scenes are the most brutal that I have ever seen on film even though theres only like 12 minutes of them and the editing is simply brilliant. This sequence depicts a particularly upsetting part of La Motta's memories, and perfectly illustrates how he was feeling at the moment of the fight. Even his strongest tie, his younger brother Joe Pesci, in an Oscar-nominated, star-making part , gets cut during the course of his untimely self-destruction. This film is often rated the best film of the 1980s. But when he treats his family and friends the same way, he's a ticking time bomb, ready to go off at any moment.
In the opening shot of this fight, Scorsese has made everything look unclear and indistinguishable. The boxing is just what he does for a living, and could be considered as a way to release some of his deeper, harbored anger. It was after De Niro read boxer Jake LaMotta's memoirs that he knew he wanted to make the film, so Scorsese and De Niro turned to Paul Schrader for a script. The story of how boxer Jake LaMotta watched his career and marriage crumble under the weight of his violent temper and deep-rooted misogyny is told with no punches pulled excuse the bad pun , as Deniro in what may be his best performance and Scorsese unflinchingly explore what drove this man over the edge, and what ultimately may have pulled him back. Aside from the opening fight, La Motta's first professional defeat against Jimmy Reeves, there would be no cuts to the baying of the crowd. This is because La Motta won this fight, a great victory against his great rival. If there is a more perfect exploration of why as men we act the way we do, then I'd love to see it, because this movie made me re-evaluate my life.
This time, the ring is very dark and smoky which increases the blurred, unfocused feel of the fight. Thelma Schoonmaker's jarring, discordant editing in these scenes also deserves special mention. It dwindled in production hell for quite some time, with Scorsese's drug use halting production and only the duo's strong willpower that kept the project moving ahead. The greatest scene in the film is when LaMotta accuses his brother of having an affair with his wife. For Raging Bull, Scorsese was determined to get as close as possible to the raw violence of the fights. When Jake LaMotta steps into a boxing ring and obliterates his opponent, he's a prizefighter.