MGM’s Raging Bull Bluray has been in my library for a dozen years, give or take.

Having seen Martin Scorsese‘s raw and turbulent classic two or three times during the original run in late 1980, I can say without hesitation that the 2009 Bluray looks much sharper and cleaner. The texture and detail have always looked magnificent, and the sound is far superior to what I heard in theatres in the final days of the Carter administration — the levels were so low at times you could barely hear the dialogue.

And of course, you can stream it on Amazon, Apple +, Vudu, etc. If there’s a difference in quality between the 2009 Bluray and the streaming version, my eyes can’t see it.

I’m therefore having trouble feeling excited about Criterion’s forthcoming 4K/Bluray version (7.12). It’ll look first-rate, of course, and I’m guessing that a certain extra-vivid quality will be apparent in the 4K version, but Michael Chapman‘s Raging Bull compositions have always had a rudimentary, right-down-the-middle 35mm look. Raging Bull was never meant to be pretty. It can never look as dazzling as Pawel Pawlikowski‘s Cold War or Ida.

It would be one thing if it had been shot in black-and-white VistaVision (like The Desperate Hours and Fear Strikes Out were in the mid ’50s), but it wasn’t. So I can’t imagine a significant “bump” effect.