Robert De Niro in Raging Bull.

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Raging Bull

Raging Bull is a 1980 film directed by Martin Scorsese, and written by Paul Schrader, and Mardik Martin. It stars Robert De Niro as Jake LaMotta, a temperamental and paranoid but tenacious boxer who alienates himself from his friends and family. more...

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Also featured in the film are Joe Pesci (who earned an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actor) as La Motta's brother and manager, Joey, and Cathy Moriarty as his abused wife. The film features strong supporting roles from Nicholas Colasanto (who was eventually to play the character "Coach" on the TV sitcom Cheers), Theresa Saldana, and Scorsese regular Frank Adonis.

The film was distributed by United Artists; studio executives were initially reluctant to finance the project as they feared that the extreme profanity and violence in the screenplay would draw an "X" from the MPAA ratings board. However, Scorsese and De Niro reworked the script and were able to proceed. Because of his lifelong asthma, accompanied by depression (due to the critical and commercial failure of his big-budget musical New York, New York) and a serious cocaine addiction that he had only recently overcome prior to making the film, Scorsese was convinced that he would never make another movie and, therefore, he put his heart and soul into making Raging Bull the best film he could.

Robert De Niro won the Academy Award for Best Actor, his first (and only, to date) for a "leading" role. The film also won the Academy Award for Best Editing for Thelma Schoonmaker, whose revolutionary style was far different from fight scenes in other boxing films, such as the Rocky series. Raging Bull was also nominated for Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Cinematography, Best Sound, Best Director, and Best Picture.

The film has been deemed "culturally significant" by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.


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