Raging Bull is about boxing in the same way that Battleship Potemkin is about a boat. Like all the best sport films, the sport itself is a vehicle for exploring more complex themes, not least the relationship between masculinity and violence. Raging Bull shows its subject Jake LaMotta, warts and all, as a figure whose capacity for violence in the ring is indivisible from his capacity for violence outside it. De Niro, in arguably his finest performance, went into full-on Method mode and gained several stone to provide the film's most arresting image as the young winner becomes a fat loser. The juxtaposition of soaring strings above scenes of brutality would be done again-- Barber's Adagio For Strings in Platoon, for instance--but seldom have the beauty and savagery been allied to such devastating effect.
Director: Martin Scorsese Cast: Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci


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