Robert De Niro doesn't pull any punches in this 1980 biopic about middleweight boxing champ Jake La Motta. In fact, under the direction of Martin Scorsese, De Niro brings to life a character that is both despicable and sympathetic. And talk about commitment: De Niro gained 60 pounds while making this film about one of the most unlikable protagonists ever depicted on film. Seriously...Jake La Motta makes Rocky Balboa seem like Richard Simmons, so don't watch Raging Bull hoping for a feel-good training montage. This film captures the raw intensity of a boxer's life, and the desperation of a man so insecure and paranoid, he beats the crap out of the only people who see any good in him. Come for the film's potent character study, and stay for the graphic fight scenes (in and out of the ring)! They are both gnarly and cinematically beautiful, rivaling anything you've seen before or since.
Trailers + Extras
- Raging Bull Trailer
- Marty & Bobby Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese on Working on the film
- Remebering Jakes Past Fighters gather together and reminisce about Jake LaMotta
- Reflections on a Classic Various directors relfect on the film
- Marty on Film Martin Scorsese comments on how films used to get made
- EPIX Free For All Don King talked to us at the EPIX Free For All showing of...
Top 10 Fun Facts
- Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci are really punching each other in the famous "hit me" scene. Sources from backstage say that prior to the cameras rolling, De Niro was heard to say, "How'd you like a nice Hawaiian Punch?" And it went on from there.
- Squashing melons and tomatoes were substituted for the sound of punches landing. Gunshots were used for the sound of camera flash bulbs going off. The original tapes of these sound effects were deliberately destroyed by the sound technicians so they wouldn't be used again. They destroyed them by squashing melons and tomatoes onto the tapes and then shooting them.
- To play the older Jake LaMotta Robert De Niro put on an unbelievable 60 pounds. Joe Pesci went the other route - he lost weight. This was so that they could continue to play on the see-saw during filming breaks.
- Hershey's chocolate was used for blood. Little evidence remains as to what they used to make chocolate milk during lunch breaks, but I've got a hunch I know what it was.
- The commentary during the La Motta v. Robinson fight is from the real life broadcast. Life imitating art.
- If you take a drink every time the f-word is used in this film, you will have to drink 114 times. Good luck with that. Let me know how it works out for you.
- In ESPN's 25 Greatest Sports Movies Raging Bull was named #2. Basketball beat out Boxing for #1 but that's a Fun Fact for another movie.
- The original script was vetoed by producer Stephen Bach after he told Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro that Jake La Motta was "a cockroach." De Niro and Scorsese took a few weeks in Italy to do an un credited rewrite of the script, during which time the two found some sympathetic aspects of La Motta, which eventually satisfied the producers. The cockroach went on to make "Naked Lunch."
- Martin Scorsese's father Charles Scorsese is one of the mob wise guys crowding the La Motta brothers at a Copa nightclub table. And now my dad wants to write one of the trivia points on this list. See what you've started, Marty?!?
- Although only a few minutes of boxing appear in the movie, they were so precisely choreographed that they took six weeks to film. Not six weeks all at once, though, I mean, they took breaks at the end of the day and stuff. I think. I mean, can you imagine six weeks of nonstop boxing? Ouch.