Martin Scorsese and the Raging Bull

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Martin Scorsese and Raging Bull

Martin Scorsese is said to be one of the greatest American filmmakers of all time. Graduating with a Masters in filmmaking from New York University, Scorsese has directed films including: Taxi Driver, New York New York, Good Fellas, Raging Bull, and more recently – The Boardwalk Empire.

Now - to dive into the aspect of color versus black and white in the movie, Raging Bull. Researching both the movie and the mindset of Martin Scorsese led to some interesting and inspiring reasons for his interpretation of Raging Bull.

Many concrete reasons led up to the decision to make the movie black and white including: quality of the film stock, the strength of certain colors, and the intention of the movie’s future.

Firstly, Scorsese had high intentions for the film and the legend it would lead. Working side by side with Robert Di Niro, Scorsese feared the incompetency of the current color film stocks would lead the movie to fade and not ‘preserve’ as it should. Secondly, to prepare for the movie, Scorsese watched many live fights in Madison Square Garden and is quoted to have noticed the absurd amount of blood on the ropes of the ring. The blood was a quality, even though it was so small and maybe unnoticeable, that Scorsese did not want to highlight in the film. Also, when filmmaking began for the movie, Robert DiNiro’s red gloves were overbearing for the capabilities of color film. Both of these facts, plus qualities soon to be explained, led to Scorsese’s decision to make Raging Bull black and white.

When it came down to the message and voice to be portrayed in Raging Bull, Scorsese wanted to be as authentic as possible. He believed that the black and white film stock would trigger the nostalgic feel of boxing as an older sport, first filmed and watched on B&W television. The use of black and white both intrigued the current audience (who was so use to color films, now) and was able to capture the essence of the era...
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