7 Things on Sunday, Boxing Movies – R.I.P. Ali

This week’s seven things on Sunday is seven of my favorite boxing movies. I’m not really much of sports fan. I enjoy watching a little hockey, a little baseball, and a little racing here and there, but I’ve been a fan of boxing for as long as I can remember. Though, I don’t watch it like I used to, I have great appreciation for the sport and am sad to hear of the recent passing of Muhammed Ali.

muhammad ali

Muhammad Ali was an American professional boxer, widely regarded as one of the greatest and most significant sporting figures in history. May he rest in peace.

Below is a list of seven of my favorite boxing movies. They are not in ranking order.

Rocky (1976)
Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone), a small-time boxer from working-class Philadelphia, is arbitrarily chosen to take on the reigning world heavyweight champion, Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers), when the undefeated fighter’s scheduled opponent is injured. While training with feisty former bantamweight contender Mickey Goldmill (Burgess Meredith), Rocky tentatively begins a relationship with Adrian (Talia Shire), the wallflower sister of his meat-packer pal Paulie (Burt Young).

Girlfight (2000)
Newcomer Michelle Rodriguez in an astounding performance alongside Jaime Tirelli, Paul Calderon and Santiago Douglas. Nothing comes easy for Diana Guzman, a troubled girl on the brink of womanhood. Her teachers don’t understand her, her father underestimates her and her friends are few. Diana struggles to find respect and dignity every day. Diana is a quick tempered young woman who finds discipline, self-respect and love in the most unlikely place — a boxing ring.

Cinderella Man (2005)
During the Great Depression, ex-boxer James J. Braddock (Russell Crowe) works as a day laborer until his former manager Joe Gould (Paul Giamatti) offers him a one-time slot against a rising young contender. After he wins a shocking upset, Braddock goes back into the ring full time, against the wishes of his frightened wife, Mae (Renée Zellweger). Dubbed “The Cinderella Man” for his rags-to-riches story, Braddock sets his sights on the defending champion, the fearsome Max Baer (Craig Bierko).


Million Dollar Baby (2004)

Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood) is a veteran Los Angeles boxing trainer who keeps almost everyone at arm’s length, except his old friend and associate Eddie “Scrap Iron” Dupris (Morgan Freeman). When Maggie Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank) arrives in Frankie’s gym seeking his expertise, he is reluctant to train the young woman, a transplant from working-class Missouri. Eventually, he relents, and the two form a close bond that will irrevocably change them both.

The Fighter (2010)
For Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg), boxing is a family affair. His tough-as-nails mother is his manager. His half-brother, Dicky (Christian Bale), once a promising boxer himself, is his very unreliable trainer. Despite Micky’s hard work, he is losing and, when the latest fight nearly kills him, he follows his girlfriend’s advice and splits from the family. Then Micky becomes a contender for the world title and he — and his family — earns a shot at redemption.

Grudge Match (2013)
Pittsburgh boxers Billy “The Kid” McDonnen (Robert De Niro) and Henry “Razor” Sharp (Sylvester Stallone) shared a fierce rivalry back in the 1980s. Each had scored a victory in two matches, but on the eve of their decisive third bout, Henry suddenly announced his retirement, effectively ending both boxers’ careers. Thirty years later, boxing promoter Dante Slate Jr. (Kevin Hart) makes Billy and Henry an offer they can’t refuse: Return to the ring and settle the score once and for all.

Rocky III (1982)
Having become the world heavyweight champion, former working-class boxer Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) is rich and famous beyond his wildest dreams, which has made him lazy and overconfident. In a double whammy, he loses his trainer and father figure Mickey (Burgess Meredith) and then has his title stolen by the arrogant, menacing challenger Clubber Lang (Mr. T). Turning to his former adversary, Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers), for help, Rocky struggles to get his old fire back.

Honorary mention:
Warrior (2011) Technically this is a MMA movie, not boxing, but it’s good and it stars one of my favorite actors, Tom Hardy.
An estranged family finds redemption in the unlikeliest of places: the MMA ring. Tommy (Tom Hardy), an ex-Marine with a tragic past, returns home and enlists his father (Nick Nolte), a recovering alcoholic and former wrestling coach, to train him for “Sparta,” the biggest MMA tournament ever held. But when Tommy’s underdog brother, Brendan (Joel Edgerton), fights his way into the tournament, the two brothers must finally confront each other and the forces that pulled them apart.

Do any of my favorites make your list? Have one to add? I’d love to hear your comments.

Comments

  1. Such a sad loss. I’m not really a boxing fan but I respect the boxer’s for their fearless commitment, hard work and determination. That being said, I do however enjoy a good boxing movie. I think I’ve seen everything you listed except Warrior and Grudge Match. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed Cinderella Man and who doesn’t love a good Rocky movie from time to time! 🙂

  2. I really liked Warrior and Rocky. I was surprised that I didn’t like Creed. Great post!

  3. I’m a huge boxing (and MMA) fan. Thanks for sharing this list.

  4. Ron Leyba says:

    For me ROCKY is the best! I love the story of Million Dollar Baby too. So amazing and so inspiring.

  5. It’s sad that I haven’t seen most of those movies. I should have a sports movie marathon.