Friday, June 03, 2011

Raging Bull (1980)

This is an imperfect-but-creditable movie based on a true story. In 1941 Jake LaMotta (Robert De Niro) loses his first boxing match. Although he is already married, he meets 15-year-old Vickie and develops a relationship with her. They get married in 1947, but he starts to sense that she is flirting with other men and becomes jealous and abusive to her. He accuses his brother and manager, Joey (Poe Pesci), of having an affair with his wife, which strains their relationship also. By 1956, Vickie asks for a divorce. Two years later, Jake sees his brother and apologizes to him.

Jake LaMotta was forced into fighting as a childhood by command from his father. He became a professional boxer at age 19 and tried to join the military during World War II, but was rejected for health reasons. He was the first man to beat Sugar Ray Robinson in a fight. The film was adapted from LaMotta's 1970 memoir. Pesci was an unknown actor prior to the film. De Niro gained approximately 60 pounds to portray La Motta in his early post-boxing years. The film won two Academy Awards for Best Actor (De Niro) and Best Editing.

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