Both films Raging Bull (1980) and Rocky I (1976) can be regarded as one of the best films of past century, as they narrate about the fate of white boxers and the way they overcome difficulties. It is understood that both pictures are worth viewing; they reveal the sport life from different angles as well as its effect on human development. However, Raging Bull deeply contrasts Rock I, as the former is an outright story of destruction of man whereas the latter refers to sport as a chance for a person to develop.
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Deconstruction of a man against human virtues
Raging Bull is a story of a boxer, Jake La Motta, for whom boxing career was a means to reveal his furious nature and desire to kill. He was obsessed with his desire to win and become the champion, irrespective of all the obstacles. Gradually, the viewer can pursue the regression of the boxer as a personality and his incapability to sustain normal human relations. In contrast, Rocky I is an example of film where one could pursue the rise of human spirit. Sport serves as the inspiration for Rocky Balboa to overcome his weakness and reach the results. Box help the hero to cognate his possibility and find the essence of life.
The filming and philosophical ideas of the movies
On viewing both movies, we could observe that boxing acquires different meaning for both heroes. For Jake, boxing helps him to release his violence and anger. His life gradually transfers to the ring where La Motta becomes a terror whose actions are impossible to control. Outside of the ring, the hero cannot control his emotions so that inability to restrain his anger is compensated by possibility to be the winner on the ring.
Hence, Jakes loses the perception of boundaries between the real world and the world of boxing. Unlike Jake, Rocky Balboa acquires the sense of real life in the boxing career. In this film, boxing is exalted to the noble category of sport. The main hero sees sport as the best way to cultivate moral and physical persistence. Boxing, therefore, helps Rocky to find the equilibrium between body and mind; it enables him to arrange normal human relations.
Conventionalism against radicalism
It is worth saying that the directors of the film attach different meaning for boxing. Thus, in Raging Bull boxing is described as a violent action, as a means to satisfy the animalistic appetite. The Scorsese strives to show the negative impact of boxing through deconstruction as a personality thus showing Jake’s dark, cruel, and greedy inner world. The second film is the reverse side of the medal where boxing is a noble sport with notes of romanticism. Here, boxing is something more than sport, is the determination of human spirit and realization of the hidden possibilities. For Rocky boxing became a life buoy thus inspiring him for good deeds and improving his life for the better. Unlike Raging Bull, Rocky I represents sport as a kind of entertainment deprived of cruel scenes.
On comparing these two movies, it is worth saying that directors represent different sides of boxing and its impact on the sportsmen. The similarity of both movies lies in the fact that boxing help to disclose the heroes’ hidden motivations. However, the difference is that Jake failed to overcome his dark side and Balboa managed to win his animalistic instinct. Still, both movies bear a deep and complicated plot with a sophisticated idea.
Raging Bull. Screenplay by Martin Scorsese. Perf. Robert De Niro. Culver Studios, 1980.
Rocky I. Sceenplay by John Avidson Perf. Sylvester Stallone, Columbia Pictures, 1976.