Raging Bull

In Raging Bull, Martin Scorsese and editor Thelma Schoonmaker updated the black-and-white grit of the classic boxing films into an exhilarating, rhythmic vision of disturbing revelations. Robert De Niro gave body and soul to the role of fighter Jake La Motta, the “Bronx Bull,” a character defined, comically and tragically, by aggression both in and out of the ring. The dialogue-particularly between Jake and his manager-brother (Joe Pesci in an early role)-is a brilliant amalgam of raw lyric and Bronx bull, and the production brings the lost world of the forties and fifties to vivid life, less with set dressing than with gestures and tricks of light. Village Voice critic Amy Taubin called it “a fusion of Hollywood genre with personal vision couched in images and sounds that are kinetic and visceral, and closer to poetry than pulp. Its sculptural weight can only be appreciated on the big screen.”

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