Number 4 on the AFI list was Raging Bull, the 1980 film based on the life of boxer Jake LaMotta. It was directed by Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro won the best actor Oscar for his lead role. I remember starting this movie once before and turning it off not far into it. I just couldn’t get into the subject matter. Going through this list, however, we are keeping an open mind with each movie and seeing each through to the end.
Raging Bull tells the story of a middleweight boxer and his personal struggles. He is really an unlikeable character, especially with his relationship with his wife, Vikki. He starts dating her when she is only 15 and is actually pretty creepy. My initial thought is that there is no way the actress is close to 15; she looks at least 25 to me, so that part of the story was unbelievable. I looked up the actress’s age at the time of filming and she was actually 19, so maybe she just looked mature for her age.
The boxing scenes were exciting and violent, especially the final boxing scene toward the end. I had a look away for a moment and it was a good thing the film was in black and white because I’m not sure I could have handled all of the blood.
The last third of the movie was probably the best part. The story seemed to pick up a little more as it followed Jake through the next phases of his life. I found myself cringing at the majority of his decisions throughout the movie and it was impossible to find redeemable qualities in him.
Besides the acting, which I will admit was very good, I wouldn’t put this on my top 10 movie list and I’m not sure why it would be this high up on the list either. I am looking forward to a completely different genre next…Singing in the Rain!