Then and Now: The Cast of ‘Raging Bull’ Continues to Rage on 40 Years Later
It’s funny now hearing Martin Scorsese thought Raging Bull would be the last film he ever directed. Not quite. Actually, not by a long shot. Four decades later, he still pumps out major movies every couple of years, though nothing quite matches the raw psychological intensity of Raging Bull. Legendary writer and director Paul Schrader’s screenplay is a big reason. Robert De Niro‘s performance is another factor. He paces the ring like a wild animal at some points, or sobs like a broken man at others. Scorsese pulled out all the stops. The sound editing in particular crackles with feverish intensity. It’s not hard to see why people still want to see more. We catch up with where the talent that made this film a slice of cinema history is today.
Photo: Chartoff-Winkler Productions
Forty years on, Raging Bull is still the standard by which boxing movies are judged. Its influence can be felt in films like The Fighter (2010), South Paw (2015), and even Creed II (2018).
Even after half a century behind the camera, Scorsese isn’t content to rest on his laurels or rest at all for that matter. There’s big buzz brewing for his next film Killers of the Flower Moon, which brings Leonardo DiCaprio and DeNiro together on film at the same time for the first time.
Robert De Niro
Forty years after Raging Bull’s release and De Niro is, well, everywhere. He’s in multiple Oscar-contending movies like Joker and The Irishman; he's also slated to star opposite Leonardo DiCaprio in Scorsese’s next film, Killers of the Flower Moon.
Retirement? Forget about it. Until recently, Pesci claimed to be retired, but De Niro got him to unretire for The Irishman, asking his old amigo over 40 times.
Schrader went from just writing films in 1980 to writing and directing them today, though sadly he and Scorsese had a falling out after a conflict over 1999’s Raising the Dead. The master craftsman hasn’t lost his touch, with his 2017 film First Reformed one of the strongest in his beyond-legendary career.
Legendary boxer Jake LaMotta’s memoir Raging Bull was the basis for the film’s script, which is to say his troubled life was as well. He passed away in 2017, and is now known as much as for his four-decade spanning career as an actor as his one in the ring.
It’s hard to believe Cathy Moriarty was only 17 when Scorsese cast her as Vikki LaMotta, wife to De Niro’s Jake LaMotta. It’s not surprising she’s still slaying with a leading role in Shooting Heroin, released earlier this month, and in TV series like City on a Hill and American Crime Story.
We don’t think Joseph Bono is related to U2 frontman Bono, but we like to say he is in our head canon anyways. Though mostly in the background, the former Bono has appeared with Scorsese, De Niro, and Joe Pesci in many films over the decades since, from Goodfellas to Casino to The Irishman.
Frank Vincent played Salby in the film, though his most memorable role in the Scorsese gangsterverse is probably when he tells Joe Pesci to shine his shoes in Goodfellas. The musician and actor stayed busy performing in TV series such as The Sopranos and even in games like Grand Theft Auto.