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Raging Bull

theatrical poster
Directed by Martin Scorsese
Produced by Robert Chartoff
Irwin Winkler
Written by Screenplay:
Paul Schrader
Mardik Martin
Martin Scorsese (uncredited)
Robert De Niro (uncredited)
Book:
Jake LaMotta
Joseph Carter
Peter Savage
Starring Robert De Niro
Cathy Moriarty
Joe Pesci
Nicholas Colasanto
Theresa Saldana
Frank Vincent
Cinematography Michael Chapman
Editing by Thelma Schoonmaker
Distributed by United Artists
Release date(s) United States:
November 14, 1980 (1980-11-14)
United Kingdom:
February 19, 1981
Running time 129 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $18,000,000 (est.)
Gross revenue $23,383,987

Raging Bull is a 1980 American biographical film directed by Martin Scorsese, adapted by Paul Schrader and Mardik Martin from the memoir Raging Bull: My Story. It stars Robert De Niro as Jake LaMotta, a middleweight boxer whose sadomasochistic rage, sexual jealousy, and animalistic appetite exceeded the boundaries of the prizefight ring, and destroyed his relationship with his wife and family. Also featured in the film are Joe Pesci as Joey, La Motta's well intentioned brother and manager who tries to help Jake battle his inner demons, and Cathy Moriarty as his abused wife. The film features supporting roles from Nicholas Colasanto, Theresa Saldana, and Frank Vincent, who has starred in many films directed by Martin Scorsese.

After receiving mixed initial reviews, (and criticism due to its disturbing level of violence, and upsetting material) it went on to garner a high critical reputation and is now widely regarded among the greatest movies ever made. It is one of five films that has been named to the National Film Registry in its first year of eligibility, (along with Do the Right Thing, Goodfellas, Toy Story, and Fargo.)

Contents

Plot

Beginning in 1964, where an older and fatter Jake LaMotta (Robert De Niro) practices his stand-up comic routine, a flashback shifts to his boxing career in 1941 against his opponent, Jimmy Reeves, in the infamous Cleveland bout. Losing the fight by a fixed result causes a fight to break out at the end of the match. His brother Joey LaMotta (Joe Pesci) is not only a sparring partner to him but also responsible for organizing his fights. Joey discusses a potential shot for the title with one of his Mafia connections, Salvy Batts (Frank Vincent), on the way to his brother's house in their neighborhood in the Bronx. When they are finally settled in the house, Jake admits that he does not have much faith in his own abilities. Accompanied by his brother to the local open-air swimming pool, a restless Jake spots a 15-year-old girl named Vickie at the edge of the pool (Cathy Moriarty). Although he has to be reminded by his brother he is already married, the opportunity to invite her out for the day very soon comes true when Joey gives in. Jake has two fights with Sugar Ray Robinson, set two years apart, and Jake loses the second when the judges rule in favor of Sugar Ray because he was leaving the sport temporarily for conscription in the US ARMY. This does not deter Jake from winning six straight fights, but as his fears grow about his wife, Vickie, having feelings for other men, particularly Tony Janiro, the opponent for his forthcoming fight, he is keen enough to show off his sexual jealousy when he beats him in front of the local Mob boss, Tommy Como (Nicholas Colasanto) and Vickie. The recent triumph over Janiro is touted as a major boost for the belt as Joey discusses this with journalists, though Joey is briefly distracted by seeing Vickie approach a table with Salvy and his crew. Joey has a word with Vickie, who says she is giving up on his brother. Blaming Salvy, Joey viciously attacks him in a fight that spills outside of the club. When Tommy Como hears that the two of them rose fists in a public place, he orders them to apologize and tells Joey that he means business. At the swimming pool, Joey tells Jake that if he really wants a shot, he will have to take a dive first. In the fight against Billy Fox, Jake does not even bother to put up a fight. Jake is suspended from the board on suspicion of throwing the fight, though he realizes the error of his judgment when it is too late. This does little to harm his career, when he finally wins the title against Marcel Cerdan at the open air Briggs Stadium.

Three years pass and Jake asks his brother if he fought with Salvy at the Copca because of Vickie. Jake then asks if Joey had an affair with his wife. Joey refuses to answer and decides to leave. Jake decides to find the truth for himself, interrogating his wife about the affair when she sarcastically states that she had sex with the entire neighborhood (including his brother, Salvy, and Tommy Como) and "sucked his brothers cock" after he knocks down the bathroom door where his wife is briefly hiding from him. Running straight towards his brother's house, he starts a fight with Joey. Defending his championship belt against Laurent Dauthuille, he makes a call to his brother after the fight, but when Joey assumes Salvy is on the other end, Jake says nothing. This drags Jake down to when he eventually loses to Sugar Ray Robinson on their final ( very violent) encounter, letting Sugar Ray land several hard blows on him as punishment for what he did.

A couple of years later, in the middle of a photo shoot, Jake LaMotta surrounded by his wife and children, tells the journalists he is officially retired and that he has bought a new property. After staying out all night at his new nightclub in Miami, Vickie tells him she wants a divorce (which she has been planning since his retirement). Arrested for introducing under-age girls (posing as 21-year-olds) to men, he serves a jail sentence after failing to raise the bribe money by taking the jewels out of his championship belt instead of selling the belt itself. In his jail cell, Jake brutally pounds the walls whilst sorrowfully questioning his misfortune, as he sits alone crying in despair. Returning to New York City, he meets up with his estranged brother Joey in a parking lot where they share a nervous hug. Going back to the beginning sequence, Jake refers to the "I coulda' have been a contender" scene from On the Waterfront complaining that his brother should have been there for him but is also keen enough to give himself some slack. Darting across the room at the information of the crowded auditorium by the stage hand, the camera remains pivoted on the mirror as LaMotta chants 'I'm the boss' whilst shadow boxing. The film ends on an ambiguous note with a biblical quote: "All I know is this: Once I was blind, and now I can see" — symbolizing that even men like LaMotta can be redeemed.

Cast

Development

Raging Bull came about when De Niro read the autobiography upon which the film is based on the set of 1900. Although disappointed by the book's writing style, he became fascinated by the character of Jake LaMotta when he showed the book to Martin Scorsese on the set of Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore as a means to hopefully consider the project.[2] Scorsese repeatedly turned down his offers by resisting the director's chair, claiming he had no idea what Raging Bull was about, even though he did read some chapters of the text.[3] The book was then passed onto Mardick Martin, the film's eventual co-screenwriter, who said "the trouble is the damn thing has been done a hundred times before — a fighter who has trouble with his brother and his wife and the mob is after him". The book was even shown to producer Irwin Winkler by De Niro, who was willing to assist only if Scorsese agreed.[4] After nearly dying from a drug overdose, Scorsese agreed to make the film for De Niro's sake, not only to save his own life but also to save what remained of his career. Scorsese knew that he could relate to the story of Jake LaMotta as a way to redeem himself when he saw the role being portrayed as an everyman that "...the ring becomes an allegory of life" making the project a very personal one to him.[5][6][7][8]

Robert De Niro in training with the real Jake LaMotta

Preparation for the film began with Scorsese shooting some 8mm color footage featuring De Niro boxing in a ring. One night when the footage was being shown to De Niro, Michael Chapman, and his friend and mentor, the English director Michael Powell, Powell pointed out that color of the gloves at the time would have only been maroon, oxblood, or even black. Scorsese decided to use this as one of the reasons to film Raging Bull in black and white. Other reasons would be to distinguish the film from other color films around the time and to acknowledge the problem of fading color film stock - an issue Scorsese recognized.[9][10][11] Scorsese even went to two matches at the Madison Square Garden to aid his research, picking up on minor but essential details such as the blood sponge and latterly, the blood on the ropes (which would later be used in the film).[11]

Screenplay

Under the guidance of Winkler, Mardik Martin was asked to start writing the screenplay.[12] According to De Niro, under no circumstances would United Artists accept Mardik Martin's script.[13] The story was based around the vision of journalist Peter Hamill of a 1930s and 1940s style, when boxing was known as "the great dark prince of sports". De Niro was unimpressed when he finished reading the first draft, however.[14] Taxi Driver screenwriter Paul Schrader was swiftly brought in to re-write the script around August 1978.[14] Some of the changes that Schrader made to the script saw a re-write of the scene with the uncooked steak and inclusion of LaMotta seen masturbating in a Florida cell. The character of LaMotta's brother, Joey, was finally added, previously absent from Martin's script.[13][14] United Artists saw a massive improvement on the quality of the script. However, its chief executives, Steven Bach and David Field, met up with Scorsese, De Niro, and producer Irwin Winkler in November 1978 to say they were worried that the content would be X-rated material and have no chance of finding an audience.[9] According to Scorsese, the script was left to him and De Niro, and they spent two and a half weeks on the island of Saint Martin, extensively re-building the content of the film.[8] The most significant change would be the entire scene when LaMotta fixes his television and then accuses his wife of having an affair. Other changes included the removal of Jake and Joey's father; the reduction of organized crime's role in the story and a major re-write of LaMotta's fight with Tony Janiro.[15][16] They were even responsible for the end sequence where LaMotta is all alone in his dressing room quoting the "I could have been a contender" scene from On the Waterfront.[16] An extract of Richard III had been pondered but Michael Powell thought it would be a bad decision within the context of a film that was American.[8] According to Steven Bach, the first two screenwriters (Mardick Martin and Paul Schrader) would receive credit but since there was no payment to the writer's guild on the script, De Niro and Scorsese's work would remain uncredited.[16]

Casting

One of Scorsese's trademarks was casting many actors and actresses new to the profession, which on this occasion there would be no exception.[17] De Niro, who was already committed to play Jake LaMotta, began to help Scorsese track down unfamiliar names to play his on-screen brother, Joey, and wife, Vickie.[18][19] The role of Joey LaMotta was the first to be cast. De Niro was watching a low budget television film called The Death Collector when he saw the part of a young career criminal played by Joe Pesci (then an unknown and struggling actor) as an ideal candidate. Prior to receiving a call from De Niro and Scorsese for the proposal to star in the film, Pesci had not worked in film for four years and was running an Italian restaurant in New Jersey. Pesci initially claimed that it would have to be a good role for him to consider it, and he later accepted the part. The role of Vickie LaMotta, Jake's wife, would have much interest across the board, but Pesci who suggested the actress, Cathy Moriarty, from a picture he once saw at a New Jersey disco.[19] Both De Niro and Scorsese believed that Moriarty could portray the role after meeting with her on several occasions and noticing her husky voice and physical maturity. The duo had to prove to the Screen Actors Guild that she was right for the role when Cis Corman showed 10 comparing pictures of both Moriarty and the real Vickie LaMotta for proof she had a resemblance.[19] Moriarty was then asked to take a screen test which she managed—partly aided with some improvised lines from De Niro — after some confusion wondering why the crew were filming her take. Joe Pesci also persuaded his former show-biz pal and co-star in The Death Collector, Frank Vincent to try for the role of Salvy Batts. Following a successful audition and screen test, Vincent received the call to say he had received the part.[20] Charles Scorsese, the director's father, made his film debut as Tommy Como's cousin, Charlie.[20]

While in the midst of practicing a Bronx accent and preparing for his role, De Niro met both LaMotta and his ex-wife, Vikki on separate occasions. Vikki, who lived in Florida, would tell stories about her life with her former husband and also show old home movies (that would later inspire a similar sequence to be done for the film).[10][21] Jake LaMotta, on the other hand, would serve as his trainer accompanied by Al Silvani as coach at the Gramercy club in New York getting him into shape. The actor found that boxing came naturally to him; he entered as a middleweight boxer, winning two of his three fights in a Brooklyn ring dubbed "young LaMotta" by the commentator. According to Jake LaMotta, he felt that De Niro was one of his top 20 best middleweight boxers of all time.[10][19]

Principal photography

The filming of the boxing scenes with director, Scorsese (center left, with beard) and the director of photography, Michael Chapman (center right, with white shirt).

The film began shooting at a Los Angeles warehouse in April 1979.[19][22] The warehouse was modified to replicate the Madison Square Garden venue in New York as the site of the boxing scenes.[19] Scorsese made it clear during filming that he did not appreciate the traditional way in films to show fights from the spectators' view.[11] He insisted that one camera operated by the Director of Photography, Michael Chapman would be placed inside the ring as he would play the role of an opponent keeping out of the way of other fighters so that we could see the emotions of the fighters, including those of Jake.[19] The precise moves of the boxers would be done as dance routines from the information of a book about dance instructors in the mode of Arthur Murray. A punching bag which sat in the middle of the ring was used by De Niro between takes before aggressively coming straight on to do the next scene.[19][23] The initial five-week schedule for the shooting of the boxing scenes took longer than expected, putting Scorsese under pressure.[19] According to Scorsese, production of the film was then closed down for around four months with the entire crew being paid, so De Niro could go on a binge eating trip around Northern Italy and France.[10][23] When he did come back to the United States, his weight increased from 145 to 215 pounds (66 to 97 kg).[19] The scenes with the heftier Jake LaMotta — which include announcing his retirement from boxing and LaMotta ending up in a Florida cell — were completed while approaching Christmas 1979 within seven to eight weeks so as not to aggravate the health issues which were already affecting De Niro's posture, breathing, and talking.[19][23][24] The final sequence where Jake LaMotta is sitting in front of his mirror was filmed on the last day of shooting taking 19 takes, with only the thirteenth one being used for the film. Scorsese wanted to have an atmosphere that would be so cold that the words would have an impact as he tries to come to terms with his relationship with his brother.[8]

Post-production

The editing of Raging Bull began when production was temporarily put on hold and was completed in 1980.[23][25] Scorsese worked with the editor, Thelma Schoonmaker to achieve a final cut of the film. Their main decision was to ditch Schrader's idea of LaMotta's nightclub act intervening with the flashback of his youth and instead just follow along the lines of a single flashback where only scenes of LaMotta practicing his stand-up would be left "bookending" the film.[26] A sound mix arranged by Frank Warner was a delicate process taking six months.[25] According to Scorsese, the sound on Raging Bull was difficult because each punch, camera shot, and flash bulb would be different. Also, there was the issue of trying to balance the quality between scenes featuring dialogue and those involving boxing (which were done in Dolby).[23] Raging Bull went through a test screening in front of a small audience including the chief executives of United Artists, Steven Bach and Andy Albeck. The screening was shown at the MGM screening room in New York around July 1980. Later, Albeck praised Scorsese by calling him a "true artist".[25] According to the producer, Irwin Winkler, matters were made worse when United Artists decided not to distribute the film but no other studios were interested when they attempted to sell the rights.[25] Scorsese made no secret that Raging Bull would be his "Hollywood swan song" and he took unusual care of its rights during post-production.[5] This caused some friction with Irwin Winkler, who accused Scorsese of doing the editing process "inch by inch". Scorsese threatened to remove his credit from the film if he was not allowed to sort a reel which obscured the name of a whisky brand known as "Cutty Sark" which was heard in a scene. The work was completed only four days shy of the premiere.[27]

Reception

Distribution

Raging Bull first premiered in New York on November 14, 1980 to mixed reviews.[25][28] Jack Kroll of Newsweek called Raging Bull "the best movie of the year"[25] Vincent Canby of The New York Times said that Scorsese "has made his most ambitious film as well as his finest" and went on to praise Moriarty's debut performance as "either she is one of the film finds of the decade or Mr. Scorsese is svengali. Perhaps both."[29] Time praised De Niro's performance since "much of Raging Bull exists because of the possibilities it offers De Niro to display his own explosive art".[29] Steven Jenkins from the British Film Institute's (BFI) magazine, Monthly Film Journal said "Raging Bull may prove to be Scorsese's finest achievement to date".[29] Many critics however were repelled by the film's violence and its unsympathetic central character. For example, Kathleen Carroll from the The New York Times criticized the character of Jake LaMotta as "one of the most repugnant characters in the history of the movies" who also criticized Scorsese because the movie "totally ignores [LaMotta's] reform school background, offering no explanation to his anti-social behavior".[25]

The unsettling brew of violence and anger, combined with the lack of a proper advertising campaign, led to the film having a modest box office intake of $23 million. Scorsese became concerned for his future career and worried that producers and studios might refuse to finance his films.[29] According to Box Office Mojo, the film grossed $23,383,987 in domestic theaters.[30]

Awards

Raging Bull was nominated for eight Academy Awards (including Best Picture, Director, Actor, Supporting Actress, Supporting Actor, Cinematography, Sound, and Editing) at the 1980 Academy Awards.[29][31] However, when it was revealed that John Hinckley, Jr.'s assassination attempt of the then president Ronald Reagan had been influenced by his love for Taxi Driver, this hurt the chances for the film to pick up the Oscar.[29] Out of fear of being attacked, Scorsese went to the ceremony with FBI bodyguards disguised as guests who escorted him out before the announcement of the Academy Award for Best Picture was made - the winner being Ordinary People. Nevertheless, the film managed to pick up two awards including Best Actor (De Niro) and Best Editing (Schoonmaker).[29]

The Los Angeles Film Association voted Raging Bull the best film of 1980 and best actor for De Niro. The National Board of Review also voted best actor for De Niro and best supporting actor to Pesci. The Golden Globes awarded another best actor award for De Niro and National Society of Film Critics gave best cinematography to Chapman. The Berlin Film Festival chose Raging Bull to open the festival in 1981.[29]

Legacy

By the end of the 1980s, Raging Bull had cemented its reputation as a modern classic. It was voted the best film of the 1980s in numerous critics' polls and is regularly pointed to as both Scorsese's best film and one of the finest American movies ever made.[32] Several prominent critics, among them Roger Ebert, declared the film to be an instant classic and the consummation of Scorsese's earlier promise. Ebert proclaimed it the best film of the 1980s, and the fourth greatest film of all time.[33] The film has been deemed "culturally significant" by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.

Raging Bull was fifth on the Entertainment Weekly's 100 Greatest Movies of All Time. The 2002 Sight and Sound Poll found listed tied for sixth with The Bicycle Thief.[34] In 2002, Channel 4 held a poll of the 100 Greatest Movies,on which Raging Bull was voted in at number 20. Halliwell Film Guide, a British film guide, placed Raging Bull' seventh in a poll naming their selection for the "Top 1,000 Movies". In 2008, Empire Magazine held a poll of the "500 Greatest Movies of All Time," taking votes from 10,000 readers, 150 film makers and 50 film critics: Raging Bull was placed at number 11.

American Film Institute recognition

Soundtrack

Martin Scorsese decided to assemble a soundtrack made of music that was popular at the time using his personal collection of 78s. The songs were carefully chosen so they would be the ones that you would hear on the radio, at the pool or in bars and clubs reflecting the mood of that particular era.[35][36] Some lyrics from songs would be slipped into some dialogue. The Intermezzo from Cavalleria rusticana by Italian composer Pietro Mascagni would serve as the main theme to Raging Bull after a successful try-out by Scorsese and the editor, Thelma Schoonmaker over the film's opening titles.[36] Two other Mascagni pieces were used in the film: the Barcarolle from Silvano, and the Intermezzo from Guglielmo Ratcliff.[37] A two-CD soundtrack was released in 2005, long after the film was released, because of earlier difficulties receiving permissions for many of the songs, which Scorsese selected from his childhood memories growing up in New York.

Raging Bull II: Continuing the Story of Jake LaMotta

In 2006, Variety reported that Sunset Pictures was developing a sequel entitled Raging Bull II: Continuing the Story of Jake LaMotta. It still in the early stages of production and chronicles Jake's early life, as told in the sequel novel of the same name.[38] According to the Internet Movie Database, the film is to be directed by Martin Guigui and is rumored to star William Forsythe as Jake LaMotta.

References

Notes

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Evans, Mike The Making of Raging Bull 2006 p.177.
  2. ^ Biskind, Peter Easy Riders, Raging Bulls 1999, p.254.
  3. ^ Biskind, Peter Easy Riders, Raging Bulls 1998, p.378.
  4. ^ Biskind, Peter Easy Riders, Raging Bulls 1998, p.315.
  5. ^ a b Friedman Lawrence S. The Cinema of Martin Scorsese 1997, p.115.
  6. ^ Phil Villarreal. "Scorsese's 'Raging Bull' is still a knockout," The Arizona Daily Star (Tucson, AZ), February 11, 2005, page E1.
  7. ^ Kelly Jane Torrance. "Martin Scorsese: Telling stories through film," The Washington Times (Washington, DC), November 30, 2007, page E1.
  8. ^ a b c d Thompson, David and Christie, Ian Scorsese on Scorsese, pp. 76/77.
  9. ^ a b Biskind, Peter Easy Riders, Raging Bulls 1998, p.389.
  10. ^ a b c d Total Film The 100 greatest films of all time pp180-181
  11. ^ a b c Thompson, David and Christie, Ian Scorsese on Scorsese, p.80.
  12. ^ Biskind, Peter Easy Riders, Raging Bulls 1998, p.379.
  13. ^ a b Biskind, Peter Easy Riders, Raging Bulls pp384-385
  14. ^ a b c Baxter John DeNiro A Biography,pp.186-189.
  15. ^ Biskind, Peter Easy Riders, Raging Bulls , p.390.
  16. ^ a b c Baxter, John DeNiro A Biography, p.193.
  17. ^ Evans, Mike The Making of Raging Bull, p.65.
  18. ^ Evans, John The Making of Raging Bull, p.61.
  19. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Baxter, John DeNiro A Biography pp196-201
  20. ^ a b Evans, Mike The Making of Raging Bull, pp. 65/66.
  21. ^ Baxter, John DeNiro A biography p.192.
  22. ^ Biskind, Peter Easy Riders, Raging Bulls 1998, p. 391/2.
  23. ^ a b c d e Thompson and Christie Scorsese on Scorsese pp83-84
  24. ^ Baxter, John The Making of Raging Bull, p.83.
  25. ^ a b c d e f g Biskind, Peter Easy Riders, Raging Bulls, p.399.
  26. ^ Evans, Mike The Making of Raging Bull, p.90.
  27. ^ Baxter, John DeNiro A biography, p.204.
  28. ^ Baxter, Mike The Making of Raging Bull, p.90.
  29. ^ a b c d e f g h Evans, Mike The Making of Raging Bull pp124-129
  30. ^ "Raging Bull". Box Office Mojo. http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=ragingbull.htm. Retrieved 2008-10-17. 
  31. ^ "Raging Bull - Academy Awards Database". AMPAS. http://awardsdatabase.oscars.org/ampas_awards/DisplayMain.jsp?curTime=1183090826415. Retrieved 2007-06-28. 
  32. ^ Walker, John Halliwell's Top 1000, The Ultimate Movie Countdown 2005, p.561.
  33. ^ Top Ten Lists of Roger Ebert
  34. ^ BFI | Sight & Sound | Top Ten Poll 2002 - Directors' Poll
  35. ^ Thompson, David and Christie, Ian Scorsese on Scorsese p.83.
  36. ^ a b Evans, David The Making of Raging Bull p.88.
  37. ^ "FAQ 9. What is that nice music in Raging Bull?". Mascagni.org. http://www.mascagni.org/faq#raging-bull. Retrieved 2009-02-26. 
  38. ^ Variety: Sunset Pictures in shape

Bibliography

  • Thompson, Christie, David, Ian (1996). Scorsese on Scorsese. 
  • Evans, Mike (2006). The Making of Raging Bull. London: Unanimous Ltd. ISBN 1903318831. 
  • Biskind, Peter (1998). Easy Riders, Raging Bulls. Bloomsbury. 
  • Baxter, John (2006). DeNiro A Biography. 

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Raging Bull is a 1980 film about the life and fights of the explosive and disturbed middleweight-champion boxer Jake LaMotta.

Directed by Martin Scorsese. Written by Jake LaMotta (book), Joseph Carter (book), Peter Savage (book), Paul Schrader and Mardik Martin

Contents

Jake LaMotta

  • I remember those cheers
    They still ring in my ears
    And for years they'll remain in my thoughts.
    Cuz one night I took off my robe
    And what'd I do?
    I forgot to wear shorts.
    I recall every fall, every hook, every jab;
    The worst way a guy could get rid of his flab.
    As you know, my life wasn't drab...
    Though I'd rather hear you cheer,
    When I delve into Shakespeare.
    "A Horse, a Horse, my Kingdom for a Horse,"
    I haven't had a winner in six months.
    I know I'm no Olivier
    But if he fought Sugar Ray,
    He would say
    That the thing ain't the ring,
    It's the play.
    So gimme a stage
    Where this bull here can rage.
    And though I can fight,
    I'd much rather recite
    That's entertainment!
    That's entertainment..
  • Friends. They're in a huddle. Big business meeting. By the pool, they sit around and talk. Big deals. They make sure she can hear. Big Man. Get the fuck outta here. Big shot. Get 'em all in a back room, smack 'em around, no more big shot, without his gun. They're tough guys. They're all tough guys....Big Shot.
  • [to Vickie] You know how beautiful you are? Anybody ever tell you how beautiful? Yeah, tell you all the time.
  • [to Vickie] You ever think of anyone else when we're in bed?...You know, like when we made love?
  • Who's an animal? Your mother's an animal, ya son of a bitch.
  • I'm gonna win. There's no way I'm goin' down. I don't go down for nobody.
  • I take the dive. What more do they want?...They want me to go down too? Well, I ain't goin' down, no, not for nobody.
  • [After being beaten half to death by Sugar Ray Robinson, Jake is still standing.] Hey, Ray, I never went down, man! You never got me down, Ray! You hear me, you never got me down.
  • It's over for me. Boxing's over for me. I'm through. I'm tired of worryin' about weight all the time. That's all I used to think about was weight, weight, weight. After a while, you know, you realize other things in life. I mean, I'm very grateful. Boxing's been good to me: I've got a nice house, I've got three great kids, I've got a wonderful, beautiful wife - what more could I ask for?
  • That's the kind of girl that you want to bring home to your father - especially if he's a degenerate. Ah, seriously folks, it's a thrill to be standing here before you wonderful people tonight. Well, in fact, it's a thrill to be standing.
  • That reminds me of two friends of mines. One was married, one was single. The married guy tells the single guy: 'Oh, what's the matter with you? What's the matter with you? Look at me. And look at you. And look at me. And look at you. Let me get on with it. When I come home at night, my wife's at the door with a tall drink in her hand. And she gives me a nice hot bath. Then she gives me a nice rub-down. Then she makes passionate love to me. Then she makes me a nice dinner. What more could you ask for? You oughta try that.' The other friend says: 'Hey, that sounds great. When does your wife get home?'
  • Why? Why? Why?...Why'd you do it? Why? You're so stupid...I'm not an animal. Why do you treat me like this? I'm not so bad.
  • Guy comes home, finds his wife in bed with another guy. The wife says, 'Look who's here. Big mouth. Now the whole neighborhood'll know.'
  • [Last lines, to himself] Go get 'em, champ. I'm da boss, I'm da boss, I'm da boss, I'm da boss, I'm da boss... I'm da boss, I'm da boss, I'm da boss, I'm da boss, I'm da boss, I'm da boss.

Joey LaMotta

  • What are ya thinkin' about? Ya keep lookin'. Where the fuck you going? You're dead! You're married! You're a married man, it's all over. Leave the young girls for me.
  • [on the phone, not realizing it's his brother Jake who's called him] Salvy, this ain't funny anymore. Is it you? I know somebody's there. I can hear you breathin'. You listenin'? Your mother sucks fuckin' big fuckin' elephant dicks. You got that?
  • He gave you the old good news/bad news routine. The good news is - you're gonna get the shot at the title. And the bad news is - they want ya to do the old flip-flop for 'em.

Others

  • Irma: I'm not gonna be here when you get back, you fuckin' bunch of guineas, you're always hangin' out together. Why don't you fuckin' stop? You're not goin' on business. You're gonna suck each other off, right? Suck 'em, suck 'em baby. You fuckin' queer. Faggot.
  • Tommy Como: [After Janiro fight] He ain't pretty no more.
  • Vickie: [to Jake] I fucked all of them! What do you want me to say?...I fucked all of them - Tommy, Salvy, your brother! All of them! I sucked your brother's cock, what do you want me to say?...I sucked his cock and everybody else on the fucking street, too. What do you want? You're nothin' but a fat pig, selfish fool! [Jake viciously slaps her again] His fucking cock is bigger than yours, too!

Dialogue

Salvy: That shit would've never happened if Tommy was over there takin' care of him. You know he's gotta be with Tommy to fight in New York to get a title shot. I mean, he's gonna wind up fuckin' punch-drunk, your brother.
Joey: I know.
Salvy: You know. You gotta make him understand that it's the best thing for everybody involved.
Joey: I said, I know.
Salvy: You know, but you gotta make him know. You gotta tell him and make him understand.

Jake: Is it done?
Irma: No, it's not done.
Jake: Don't overcook it. You overcook it, it's no good. It defeats its own purpose.
[Irma gives Jake a look.]
Jake: What are you doin'? I just said don't overcook it. You're overcookin' it, bring it over.
Irma: You want your steak?
Jake: Bring it over. Bring it over! It's like a piece of charcoal! Bring it over here!
Irma: You want your steak!?
Jake: YEAH, RIGHT NOW!!
[Irma stabs the steak and slams it on his plate.]
Irma: Okay. There's your stupid steak. Can't wait for it to be done?
Jake: No, I can't wait.
Irma: Good! Okay? Happy? Happy!?
Jake: That's all I want. That's all I want!
Irma: That's...there! No, more! There!
[Jake violently upends the table.]
Jake: Botherin' me about a steak, huh?
Irma: That's GREAT!!
Jake: You're botherin' me about the steak!?
Irma: YEAH!!

Jake: What's wrong with me? My hands.
Joey: Your hands? What about 'em?
Jake: I got these small hands. I got a little girl's hands.
Joey: I got 'em too. What's the difference?
Jake: You know what that means? No matter how big I get, no matter who I fight, no matter what I do, I ain't never gonna fight Joe Louis.
Joey: Yeah, that's right. He's a heavy-weight. You're a middle-weight. What of it?
Jake: I ain't ever gonna get a chance to fight the best there is. And you know somethin'. I'm better than him. I ain't never gonna get a chance. You're askin' what's wrong.
Joey: But you're crazy to even think about somethin' like that...

Jake: Come on, hit me. Harder. Harder. Come on, don't be a little faggot. Come on. Hit me. You throw a punch like you take it up the ass. Come on. Harder.
Joey: What the fuck do you want? That's hard. What are you trying to prove?

Joey: They only came up here because Tommy told 'em to come up and try to help us.
Jake: Whatsa matter with you? Help who? Whatsa matter with you?...Help me by takin' my money? Is that what you're talkin' about - takin' my money? I'm here breakin' my ass, not them. Don't ever bring 'em up here again, ya hear me?

Joey: She ain't the kind of girl you just fuck and forget about, this girl.
Jake: Joey, how many times I gotta tell ya? Why're you always cursin' when I'm talkin' to you? Don't do it around me. Do it around your friends...
Joey: She's a, the kind of girl you bang and forget about - she's not like that. You gotta spend time with her, get involved, you know...
Jake: Did you bang her?
Joey: No.
Jake: Tell me the truth.
Joey: I just told you the truth. I tell you the truth the first time. You don't have to ask me again. I never do that. I always tell you the truth. If I did it, you would know. [Joey pauses.] ...I took her out a couple of times.
Jake: You went with her and you didn't try to fuck her?
Joey: I try to fuck anything.

Vickie: You sure we should be doin' this?
Jake: Come here.
Vickie: You said never to touch ya before a fight.
Jake: Come here, before I give ya a beatin'.
Vickie: You said I couldn't. You've been good for two weeks.
Jake: Come here.

Joey: They only gave him that fuckin' decision because he's goin' in the Army next week. That's the only reason.
Jake: I knocked him down. I don't know what else I gotta do. I don't know what I gotta do...
Joey: You won and they robbed ya. They're miserable because their mothers take it up the fuckin' ass, that's why.
Jake: I've done a lot of bad things, Joey. Maybe it's comin' back to me. Who knows? I'm a jinx maybe...

Joey: Do you want a title shot?
Jake: What am I - what am I, a circus over here?...What are ya doin'?
Joey: You're killin' yourself for three years now, right? There's nobody left for you to fight. Everybody's afraid to fight you. OK. Along comes this kid Janiro. He don't know any better. He's a young kid, up and coming, he'll fight anybody. Good! You fight him...Let's say you lose because of your weight. Are they gonna think you're not as tough as you are - you're not the same fighter? Good! They'll match you with all those guys that were afraid of matchin' with you before. What happens? You'll kill 'em. And they gotta give you a title shot.
...
Joey: Now let's say you win, you beat Janiro. Which is, definitely, you should beat him. Right?...Right?...They still gotta give you a shot at the title. You know why?
Jake: Why?
Joey: Because the same thing as before - there's nobody left. There ain't nobody around. They gotta give you the shot. You understand? If you win, you win. If you lose, you still win. There's no way you can lose. And you do it on your own, just the way you wanted to do, without any help from anybody. Do ya understand? Just get down to 155 pounds - you fat bastard. You stop eatin'!

Jake: [about Salvy] Are you interested in him?
Vickie: No, why would I be interested in him?
Jake: You're sure you're not interested in him?
Vickie: Yeah.
Jake: In other words, you're not interested in him, but you could be interested in somebody?
Vickie: Jake, don't start, huh?
Jake: Hey, shut up, or I'm gonna smack your face.

Jake: ...I'm gonna open his hole like this. Please excuse my French. I'm gonna make him suffer. I'm gonna make his mother wish she never had him - make him into dog meat...He's a nice, a nice kid. He's a pretty kid, too. I mean I don't know, I gotta problem if I should fuck him or fight him.
Tommy: Fuck him or fight him.
Salvy: If you're really in love with that fucker, just watch out.
Jake: By who?
Salvy: Janiro.
Jake: You mean, you want me to get him to fuck you?
Salvy: Me?
Jake: Yeah.
Salvy: No, I don't want him to fuck me.
Jake: I could do that easily.
Salvy: How ya gonna do that?
Jake: Because I'll get yuz both in a ring, I'll give yuz both a f--kin' beatin', ya both can fuck each other.
Salvy: Ah, I'll get all full of blood.
Jake: You're used to that.

Jake: She said he's pretty.
Joey: Yeah, well, you make him ugly.

Vickie: I feel like I'm a prisoner. I can't walk, I look at somebody the wrong way I get smacked...I'm tired of havin' to turn around and havin' both of yuz up my ass all the time...I'm twenty years old, I gotta go home and sleep by myself every night?
Joey: What the fuck did you marry him for?
Vickie: 'Cause I love him.
Joey: You do?
Vickie: Yeah, I love him. Well, what am I supposed to do? This guy - he don't even wanna fuck me.
Joey: He's just been a contender too long. He'll be all right as soon as he gets his shot and then everything will be OK...
Vickie: Jake's never gonna be champ. Too many people hate him.
Joey: You're makin' an asshole out of my brother.

Tommy: Listen to me. Now, Jake - the guy's become an embarrassment. He's embarrassin' me with certain people. And I'm lookin' very bad. I can't deliver a kid from my own god-damned neighborhood. What is it with him? Why does he have to make it so hard on himself, for Christ's sake? He comes to me - I'll make it easier for him. The man's got a head of rock.
Joey: You know, it's hard to explain, Tommy. Jack respects you. I mean, he don't even say hello to anybody. You know, you he talks to, he likes you. It's just that, uh, when he gets somethin' on his mind, you know, he's got a hard head, he likes to do things his own way. I mean, Jesus Christ he'd come off the cross sometimes and he don't give a fuck. He's gonna do what he wants to do. He wants to make it on his own, you know. Thinks he can make it on his own.
Tommy: Make it on his own. He thinks he's gonna walk in there and become champion on his own. Huh?...he's got no respect for nobody. He doesn't listen to nobody...He doesn't respect anybody. Now you do this for me, you understand? You tell him, I don't care how colorful he is or great he is. He could beat all the Sugar Ray Robinsons and the Tony Janiros in the world, but he ain't gonna get a shot at that title - not without us he ain't. Now you're a smart kid, you go to him...

Jake: I know she's doin' somethin'. I just wanna catch her once. Just once.
Joey: Hey Jack, you wanna do yourself a favor? Bust her fuckin' hole, throw her out, either that or live with her and let her ruin your life, 'cause that's what's happenin'.

Jake: I heard some things...Did Salvy fuck Vickie?
Joey: What?
Jake: Did Salvy fuck Vickie?
Joey: Now Jack, don't start your shit...
Jake: Joey I asked ya, didn't I ask ya to keep an eye on her?
Joey: And I did keep an eye on her, yes I did.
Jake: How come you give him a beatin'?
Joey: I told you that. I told you what that was all about. That it had nothin' to do with you. He, he thinks he's a wise guy now.
Jake: Joey, don't lie to me.
Joey: I'm not lying.
Jake: What do I look like to you, huh?
Joey: Hey, I'm your brother. You're supposed to believe me. Don't you trust me?
Jake: No I don't.
Joey: Oh you don't? That's nice.
Jake: I don't trust you when it comes to her. I don't trust nobody. Now tell me what happened.
Joey: I told you exactly what happened. He got out of line, I slapped him around. Tommy straightened it all out, and it's all over.
Jake: Don't you give me that look, Joey. I gotta accept your answer, you know. But I'm tellin' you now, if I hear anything, I swear on mother, I'm gonna kill somebody. I'm gonna kill somebody Joey.
Joey: Well, go ahead and kill everybody. You're the tough guy. Go kill people. Kill Vickie. Kill Salvy. Kill Tommy Como. Kill me while you're at it, what do I care? You're killin' yourself the way you eat. You're a fat fuck. Look at ya.
Jake: What d'ya mean? I don't understand. What d'ya mean, kill you? You?
Joey: Me. Kill me. Start here. Kill me first. Do me a fuckin' favor, 'cause you're drivin' me crazy...
Jake: Excuse me, what d'ya mean by 'you,' though?
Joey: So? What does that mean? It don't mean nothin'.
Jake: You don't even know what you meant by 'you.'
Joey: Don't mean nothin'.
Jake: Joey, that meant somethin'. You mentioned Tommy, you mentioned Salvy, you mentioned you. You included 'you' with them. You could have said anybody but you said 'you' and them.
Joey: You really let this girl ruin your life. Look at ya. She really did some job on ya. You know how fuckin' nuts you are? Look what she did to you.
Jake: You fucked my wife?
Joey: What?!
Jake: You fucked my wife?
Joey: How could you ask me a question like that? How could you ask me? I'm your brother. You ask me that? Where do you get your balls big enough to ask me that?
Jake: Just tell me.
Joey: I'm not answerin' ya. I'm not gonna answer that. It's stupid.
Jake: You're very smart Joey. You give me all these answers, but you ain't givin' me the right answer. I'm askin' ya again. Did you or did you not?
Joey: I'm not gonna answer. That's a sick question, you're a sick fuck, and I'm not that sick that I'm gonna answer it. I'm not tellin' ya anything. I'm going to leave. If Lenore calls, tell her I went home. I'm not stayin' in this nuthouse with ya. You're a sick bastard. I feel sorry for you, I really do. You know what you should do - try a little more fuckin' and a little less eatin'. You won't have troubles upstairs in your bedroom and you won't take it out on me and everybody else. Do you understand, you fuckin' wacko? You're crackin' up! Fuckin' screwball, ya.

Cast

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