Raging Bull (1980)
Director Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull, in some ways, is the exact opposite of Rocky. There are no morality duels of good versus evil. The biopic of middleweight boxing champion Jake LaMotta doesn’t hold back presenting its main character without restraints or through rose-colored glasses.
The movie isn’t deciding for you if LaMotta is someone that should be praised or not; that’s left for the audience to decide.
For as much as the Rocky films are about witnessing an underdog breakthrough, Raging Bull, at times, is like watching an incoming trainwreck. Roberto De Niro possibly provides his greatest performance as a man in a downward spiral of self-destruction. One by one, his relationships with his spouse and brother blow up in flames.
One aspect that does separate Raging Bull from other boxing films is that the violence depicted inside the ring is sensationalized to the point of being an artistic piece. However, the violence that takes place outside the ring is brutal and fast, like the temperament of LaMotta.
Raging Bull would earn an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for De Niro’s portrayal of LaMotta.
Also, one of the standouts is the opening title sequence which is considered one of the most memorable, not just in sports but in all of film.
It may not be a film for everyone, but what it does is give a glimpse into the world of a fighter that, like many, isn’t bound by the guidelines of good and bad.