If you are a young pup and The Fighter is your first boxing film, then I recommend that you take the release of the special 30th Anniversary Edition of Raging Bull as an opportunity to familiarize yourself with another battling brother boxing classic.
If like me, it's been three decades since you witnessed what is considered one of Director Martin Scorsese's greatest films, then revisit this new Blu-ray version and revel in the black and white cinematography that looks lush and raw at the same time.
I'll admit that when I received this disc, I wasn't overjoyed about the prospect of experiencing the violent fight scenes again. Perhaps, in the last thirty years, my senses have been hardened by too many movie bloodbaths. Whatever the reason, I found the ring scenes more balletic than brutal.
The real pain came from watching Jake La Motta self destruct in slow motion. Robert De Niro gives a bravura performance as Jake; as does Joe Pesci as his brother, Joey. They play off each other like jazz musicians.
And Cathy Moriarty was still a teenager when cast as Vickie La Motta. This was her first movie and she did a remarkable job of holding her own in scenes with De Niro.
This two disc set is full of cinephile goodies. The running commentary by Scorsese and his long time Editor, Thelma Schoonmaker, is worth the price of admission.
The two of them offer intimate behind the scenes nuggets about making the film. Some of them are technical - the Robinson fight scene was shot through fire, which caused the wavy, surrealistic look to the bout. (See clip below.)
And Scorsese, being the consummate film historian, peppers his comments with references to past movies - how Hitchcock shot dialogue in Psycho or how he was inspired by John Garfield in Body and Soul, a fight movie from the 40's.
Here's a list of the Extras, beginning with the ones new to this 30th Anniversary release:
New - Marty & Bobby
New - Raging Bull: Reflections On A Classic
New - Remembering Jake
New - Marty on Film
New - Cathy Moriarty on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, March 27, 1981
Raging Bull: Fight Night
The Bronx Bull
DeNiro vs. LaMotta
LaMotta Defends Title
Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment & MGM
Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Cathy Moriarty
Length: 128 minutes
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
DTS-HD MA 5.1
Dolby Digital 5.1