When Raging Bull came out in 1980, I remember it was one of the first films I had ever seen that was purposely made in black and white other than Woody Allen's Manhattan which came out in 1979.
You realize very early on while watching this classic movie that due to the gritty depressing nature of the film, making it in black and white was definitely the right choice. After seeing this movie we all learned what Robert De Niro went through to make it, which included gaining and losing 60 pounds and getting into the shape of a world class middle weight boxer. There was no way De Niro was not going to win for best actor in 1980 and one could argue that his performance in this movie might be considered the greatest of all time, given his acting and the physical and athletic achievement in making this movie. This is a must see for anyone who appreciates a great movie and an outstanding acting performance.
Raging Bull IMDB