Peter Savage Film Enterprises


   
  

   This website showcases the life and work of Peter Savage, an independent
    Italian-American filmmaker who created RAGING BULL in 1963 as a
    biography/memoir of his lifelong friendship with the boxer Jake La Motta.
    Among his many other film projects, Savage developed RAGING BULL for
    17 years, ultimately serving as a producer and boxing consultant/trainer
    on the film as well as acting in a key scene with Joe Pesci. 

    RAGING BULL, released in 1980, was nominated for eight Academy Awards
    and won two, for editing and cinematography.  It is number four on AFI's
    2007 list of 100 best films and in 1990 was added to the Library of
    Congress' National Film Register in recognition of its cultural significance.

    Here you will find clips from Savage's original films, samples from "Roll
    With the Punches," the upcoming book on his life, and many never-before
    published photographs.  Two of Savage's independent films are currently
    undergoing digital restoration and will be available soon. 

   We hope you enjoy!

Peter Savage
Born in Italy in 1920,  Peter Savage (Francesco "Pete" Petrella) immigrated to America as a child in 1926 and grew up on the harsh, crime-infested streets of the Depression-Era Bronx, New York.  He was a colorful and creative artist and business man whose difficult youth exposed him to the underside of society early in life and informed his later creative endeavors.  As a wayward teenager, he joined forces with another young thug, Jake La Motta, and they forged a lifelong friendship - becoming  partners in crime, boxing over 1,000 rounds together and ultimately collaborating on RAGING BULL.

Savage was a natural storyteller and student of human nature.  After finding himself in prison as a young man, framed by jealous gangsters and an over-zealous district attorney, he picked himself up and started examining his life.  He spent five years educating himself and fighting for his release, and his voracious reading led him to creative writing.  His screenwriting career was born when he heard a moving performance of Tchaikovsky's "Pathetique," and based his first screenplay on that symphony.  He would go on to pen another fifteen screenplays; write, direct, produce and act in almost ten films; and of course document his and Jake's lives with RAGING BULL, which he started writing in 1963. 

While developing RAGING BULL, Savage created several independent films.
  One of his first, CAULIFLOWER CUPIDS, is a comedy starring Jane Russell, Alan Dale, Savage himself  and six of his closest boxing buddies including Jake La Motta and Rocky Graziano.  THE RUNAWAYS, Savage's first drama, is a dark, psychological WW II story dealing with PTSD that was shot in Italy and stars Savage, La Motta and Italian actress Teresa Pellati.  These films are currently being digitally restored so they can be made available to the public in the near future.

Savage's daughter, Paula Petrella, is currently writing his life story, entitled "Roll With the Punches."  It will detail Savage's history, his unique life challenges, and the unknown backstory as to how RAGING BULL came to be.  He enjoyed using his life as a parable, and often said, "If I could do it, anybody can."

Savage died suddenly in 1981 and left a tremendous legacy which is finally being unveiled and preserved.

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