We rank 'em. You react. That's how the Daily List rolls.
10/03/2007 08:25:00 AM
Top Five Boxing Movies
Rocky I won an Oscar for Best Picture in 1977 -- and rightfully so.
Photo courtesy of MGM
By Arash Markazi, SI.com
There is just something about boxing that makes for great cinema. While it may not have the same mainstream buzz as it once did, no sport can compare to The Sweet Science when it comes to cinematic excellence. From Rocky to Raging Bull to Million Dollar Baby, boxing films have always captivated our attention. So we asked director Rod Lurie, who just released his own boxing film, Resurrecting The Champ, to give us his Top 5 boxing movies.
1. Rocky: A beautiful film that captures the essence of athleticism of boxing, the beauty of boxing.
2. Raging Bull: Captures the horror and violence of boxing and why we have a need for regulating the corruption and the dangerousness of the sport. It's absolutely brilliantly made.
3. Fat City: Directed by John Houston, this film is about amateur boxing. It stars Jeff Bridges and I would say it's his first really truly, great role. He plays a very young boxer.
4. The Power of One: It's a movie about boxing in South Africa with Morgan Freeman playing a trainer of a boxer. It's a very inspired film.
5. Ali: I think that the Will Smith portrayal of Mohammad Ali is more accurate and more profound than the Jake LaMotta performance given by Robert De Niro.
Honorable Mention. Rocky III: It's just the most fun boxing movie. Anytime you get Mr. T and Hulk Hogan in the same film, you know, there's some good spirit behind it. Rocky III did the best, I think. I think it may have been the most successful of the bunch when Stalone really honed himself.
Did we miss any? What movie would top your list of the best boxing movies?
i'd put Raging Bull in the top slot. number two should be Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962). Anthony Quinn, Jackie Gleason, and Mickey Rooney are all geniouses in this classic film about boxing, betrayal, and corruption of the Gentleman's Sport. called Blood Money in the UK.
Dude, How can you leave "Million dollar Baby" off the list? That itself brought out some of the real horrors of boxing that actually occur in that sport. And what about the "Champ" with Jon Voight and Ricky Schroeder? Come on we all had tears in our eyes with that one! These two movies gave not only the ringside view of the boxing world, but also the human side, plus were pretty accurate in the training aspects of boxing. And probably the movie Annapolis could be considered in there as well, although it hadd other story lines.
Rocky IV beats Rocky III as pure fun. Revenge storyline (Apollo dying) is better than losing the belt to Clubber. IV had an awesome soundtrack. Rocky also ended the Cold War at the end of the movie with his speech to the Russians, how can u beat that. DRAGO!!!!!!!!
Deniro was SICK in raging bull....although i like will smith in Ali also,.....theres no comparison dude. Rocky 4 and 3 could be interchanged....i love both...but ill go with 4...."if he dies.....he dies" ...."you know what you gotta do....now do it...do it" rocky rocks.
'Ali' is garbage. Far too long of a movie and gets way too into his life. I really don't care about his conversion to Islam and how many mistresses he had. It dove far off the point, whcih was his illustrious and talented boxing career
Raging Bull should be the top. Requim for a Heavy Weight not on the list is just foolish as is probably Million Dollar Baby. And if only for the one scene with Brando and Steiger in the car On the Waterfront.
When We Were Kings. It is the real deal and not a bunch of actors pretending to be the real deal. The REAL ALI and FOREMAN. Plus it is the only one with Howard Cossell. I can't believe that I actually miss him but I do.
"Million Dollar Baby" was a good movie, but NOT a good boxing movie. It's totally unrealistic that a female boxer would make that kind of money and draw those kinds of crowds, all over the world. (Never mind all the 1st-round KOs.) "The Great White Hype," despite being just an OK comedy, really shows the sleazy underbelly of the sport.
Ali and Fat City are out. Robert Ryan's "The Set-Up" and Bogart's "The Harder they Fall" are in. A few people have said "On the Waterfront" and while it's one of the greatest movies of all time, and it's a movie about an ex-boxer, it's not really a boxing movie.
Cinderella Man. Anyone who nominates The Champ needs to turn in their man ( or woman ) card.Watching Ricky Schroeder cry as Jon Voight gets pummeled in a banal,contrived ending does not constitute a boxing movie.
Rocky is "worthless" compared to Cinderella Man! A true boxing enthusiast realizes that not "every" punch is supposed to land square on the jaw (while your opponent still stands). Ron Howard knows how to produce a movie!
I was actually really impressed with the new Rocky Movie: Rocky Balboa. This movie shows that the last thing to go for a boxer is heart. He ultimately passed the torch on to a new boxer when he lost but showed that it takes true courage to get back in the ring. "Its not about how hard you hit, but about hard hard you can get hit and keep moving"
I would have to agree Rocky is the best of all time. Cinderella Man has to be in the top 5 since the movie is based on the life of James Braddock. If i am not mistaken Stallone wrote Rocky based off of the life of James Braddock. "Cinderella Man" showed boxing in its finest days. Struggles in and out of the ring.
Is Rod Lurie retarded? Will Smith's Ali more profound than DeNiro's Lammata? C'mon. He just removed me from the list of people who will see his movie. Anyone with that skewed of an opinion couldn't possibly make a good movie. Also, leaving Million Dollar Baby off the list is truly ridonkulous.
Best Rocky (1) of course - the audience were on their feet cheering at the theatre. Rocky 2-5 were commercially driven cartoons culminating in the fiasco Rocky V - rediculous. Rocky Balboa was a nice attempt to recapture the original spirit of Rocky and for Sly to redeem himself. Second best the movie footage of the first Ali vs Fraiser fight - again, audience on their feet even weeks after the well known outcome. Will Smith nice attempt to portray Ali but will only ever be one who is "the greatest".
I cannot believe that you didn't even mention "When we were Kings" narrated by Plimpton and Mailer. It was without any doubt more revealing and more honest than any film that I have ever seen on the sport and one of it's greatest rivalries. You also didn't mention "Cinderella Man" another great film based with some license on the real life of James J. Braddock.
I'm sorry to bust bubbles here, but the entire Rocky series of movies is so contrived that I can not even take them seriously. Also whomever made this list should be fired immediately. To not list Cinderella Man, Million Dollar Baby above any incarnation of Rocky is just wrong.
Rocky is probably the best boxing movie, but Raging Bull is an infinitely better film--it isn't a sports movie but happens to have boxing matches as one of its plot devices. So, best boxing movie=Rocky. Best movie with boxing as a major part of its plot=Raging Bull by far.
And please do not disrespect anyone who has ever watched a movie by suggesting that Will Smith's performance was anything near De Niro's. De Niro's performance transcends the flimsy sports genre, and is possibly the best acting EVER. Raging Bull is acting with a capital A.
Nobody likes to hear this for some reason, but the Rocky movies are the worst depiction of boxing I've ever seen on film. They're entertaining movies if you get past stallone's incredibly cliche-filled writing and acting, but in no way can you say the actual fighting is at all believable or anything other than stupid looking