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Scorsese’s almost last film: ‘Raging Bull’ turns 40

Martin Scorsese’s masterpiece almost marked the end of his career and his life.

I hope you never know what bottom feels like I hope that your life will lead you in directions that will keep you away from the pain and tragedy that can bring you to the end of your rope.

But for the people who are there who feel like they can’t get out of this pit of desperation, you know it is possible to climb out. You must take the necessary steps to survive and return. You’re not alone. Even the great Martin Scorsese was there once. Wild bull was what he thought was his last film.

But it wasn’t.

Wild bull is an American biographical sports drama from 1980 produced by Robert Chartoff and Irwin Winkler and adapted by Paul Schrader and Mardik Martin from Jake LaMotta’s 1970 memoir Angry cop: My story.

At this year’s final evening of the Tribeca film festival, Robert De Niro and Scorsese sat down to think about how the film was made.


Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci on the set of “Raging Bull” (1980)
Recognition: Brian Hamill

De Niro and Scorsese came from the same neighborhoods in New York. They knew each other, they knew the people from these places, and they could work together with a shorthand. They did it Medium streets and taxi driver. And each of them had careers outside the other. Yet they knew how strong this collaboration could be, and although each of them drifted towards different images and passions, they retained the desire to work together.

The project De Niro really wanted Scorsese to hug was a boxing film, but Scorsese wasn’t into sports. He found boxing boring and didn’t get it. Even so, De Niro carried LaMotta’s memoirs around and talked about them all the time.

Scorsese is quoted as I said, “The idea of ​​’let’s get two guys in the ring and let them hit each other’ was something I couldn’t – could not believe.”

Meanwhile, Scorsese was walking through something dark. He did drugs and partied way too much. It went from being a way of relieving tension to being a huge addiction problem. His health was failing and he was still a young man. Scorsese was near death, he was in the hospital and thought, “I didn’t know if I could be inspired to make another film,” he said.

For Scorsese to have the opportunity Wild bull was a “rebirth, in a way”.


‘Wild Bull’Recognition: Allstar / Cinetext / United Artists

When he left the hospital, he joined De Niro on the island of St. Maarten and the two set about refining the script written by Mardik Martin with a rewrite by Paul Schrader. Together, De Niro and Scorsese were able to polish up and adapt the story they wanted to tell. When they got back from the trip, they made it their business to make the film.

They showed up on the set, ready to make a movie that was an allegory for their life. Every time you make a movie it’s like stepping into the ring to fight.

As Scorsese said, “I’ve made it seem like this is the end of my life. Over. Suicide movie. I didn’t care if I did another movie … In a way, it wiped me out. I had to start over and learn again. Every day while shooting: ‘This is the last one, and we’re attacking him.’ ”

In the end, the two produced a masterpiece. It’s a film that defied what the book was and became about something bigger than these two men. It made money at the box office, but more importantly, it took them to the stratosphere as filmmakers. They were men of vision and meaning.

The legacy of the film lives on to this day. In the 40 years since it was first published, it has been on countless “greatest of” lists. In 1990, the film became the first film to be selected by the National Film Registry for inclusion in its first year of eligibility Library of Congress. The American Film Institute It was ranked the fourth greatest American film of all time.

Let us know your favorite parts of the movie in the comments.

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