Raging Bull (MGM feature-only disc) (1980)

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Released 12-Feb-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 1980
Running Time 123:46
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (66:31) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Martin Scorsese
Studio
Distributor

MGM
Starring Robert De Niro
Cathy Moriarty
Joe Pesci
Frank Vincent
Nicholas Colasanto
Theresa Saldana
Mario Gallo
Frank Adonis
Joseph Bono
Frank Topham
Lori Anne Flax
Charles Scorsese
Don Dunphy
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $14.95 Music Pietro Mascagni


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
Not 16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Firstly, I need to point out that this movie has now been released three times in Region 4, however this is the only version still widely available. It was originally released as a bare bones version similar to this one, and then in a special edition version. Based upon these reviews, I believe that the actual transfer is the same in all three cases. It should also be noted that there are significant packaging errors on this disc, as the cover wrongly indicates that this transfer is 16x9 enhanced and that the soundtrack and subtitles are available in multiple languages.

    This was a difficult review for me because, although not having seen the film before, I was obviously aware of the high critical regard it is held in. I am also a fan of Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese's other work. Scorsese has never been a filmmaker to back away from difficult subjects such as is the case in Taxi Driver, The Gangs of New York, Casino or Goodfellas, or from the violence inherent in such subject matter. He generally makes hard-hitting, powerful and yet entertaining films with an interesting story to tell.

    To my mind, this film is powerful and stylish but is lacking in watchability and entertainment value. I found the main character, portrayed in stunning and Oscar-winning fashion by Robert De Niro, very difficult to relate to in any way. He was a violent man, with virtually no redeeming features. He alienated the few people in his life who cared enough about him to ignore his personality and tried to help him by attacking them and believing them to be working against him. I suppose the fact that Scorsese and De Niro have managed to make a film of such power and undoubted technical quality about such a difficult man is an achievement on its own.

    From a plot perspective, this film tells the story of real-life boxer Jake La Motta, a world middleweight champion in the late 1940s. He was involved with the production of the film as a consultant. During his life he has gone through seven or eight wives, of which three are portrayed in the film. The film covers his rise to glory, his reputation as a vicious fighter in the ring and his fall from grace after losing the world title to Sugar Ray Robinson. The only other major character is his brother Joe, portrayed brilliantly by a young Joe Pesci, who puts up with him for many years but finally cannot take any more, much like his second wife, Vicki.

    Overall, this is a film which is easy to admire from a film-making perspective but is very hard to like or want to watch again. It is probably the greatest anti-boxing advertisement ever made.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is quite good for a film of this age.

    The feature is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio non 16x9 enhanced which is the original aspect ratio.

    The picture was generally clear and sharp throughout (although the opening titles were a bit fuzzy to the right hand side of the screen), with no evidence of low level noise. Shadow detail was very scene dependent - sometimes they were reasonable, and at other times, like in the jailhouse scene non-existent, although this was probably a stylistic choice.

    The film is in black & white except for a short section of home movies which are in washed out colour. The contract between the black and white was fine.

    There were quite a few white & blacks specks and lines on and off throughout the film, noticeable when you are looking for them but usually not too bad (although one or two were quite large). Also some minor aliasing was present, such as on Joe La Motta's jacket at 61:23.

    There are subtitles in English and English for the Hearing Impaired on the disc, but not for the other languages mentioned on the packaging. They were clear and easy to read but some lines or words were missed.

    This is a dual layered disc and the layer change is well placed and not terribly distracting at 66:31.
    

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio quality is good, but very front and centre focussed.

    This DVD contains only one audio option: an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s.

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand and there were no problems with audio sync.    

    The score of this film is mostly music from the great Opera composer Pietro Mascagni including some music from his masterpiece Cavalleria Rusticana. There are also snippets from various popular tunes of the time in which the film is set.

    The surround speakers were essentially not used at all.

    The subwoofer was used occasionally to add to the boxing scenes (when played using Dolby ProLogic II).

    

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    The menu included a scene selection function but no sound.

Trailer

    This is a stylish trailer featuring the music of Pietro Mascagni.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This movie is available on a very similar disc in Region 1. Taking the PAL/NTSC differences into account, I would go for the Region 4 version.

Summary

    This disc contains an technically brilliant but difficult to watch film featuring a magnificent performance by Robert De Niro.

    The video quality is quite good but is missing 16x9 enhancement.

    The audio quality is good.

    The disc has only a trailer as an extra.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Wednesday, June 02, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 1200, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD Player, Dolby Digital and DTS.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersBose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
1 point off for 'false advertising' and another 1 point off for non 16x9 - TonyG REPLY POSTED
Why Bother? - Mauro REPLY POSTED
Bloody MGM w***ers - J Sebastian