Big Year for Boxing movies Pt. 1

The Boxing movie genre has been a good one over the years. Some of the great movies of all times have been ones based on boxing movies. Directors like Martin Scorsese,Ron Howard,Micheal Mann, David O. Russell and Robert Wise have made movies based on boxing legends like Jake LaMotta,Gentleman Jim Braddock, Irish Mickey Ward, Muhammed Ali and Rocky Graziano. Other movie directors who made boxing movies have been Clint Eastwood,John Ford,Karyn Kusama ,John G. Alvidsen and Norman Jewison. There movies include Million Dollar Baby,Quiet Man,Girl Fight,Rocky and The Hurricane. Boxing movies have been based on true stories and fiction. Most are dramas that capture the tough lives and the tough streets where these men and women come from. Later this year we will see three other boxing movies Southpaw,Creed and Bleed for this.

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Raging Bull is about the middle-weight champion Jake La Motta. Robert DeNiro plays The Bronx Bull in Martin Scorsese’s masterpiece. Jake struggles in and out of the ring with with his wives,brother and Sugar Ray Robinson. Scorsese based this film on La Motta’s own book called Raging Bull:My Story. Deniro gains sixty pounds to play the middle-weight champ. The black & white scenes were perfect to show the times the movie takes place. La Motta fought Sugar Ray Robinson six times. He was the one true adversary La Motta had in the middle weight category.Jake La Motta defeats Marcel Cerdan to become the middle weight champ for the first time. “My favorite boxing movie is Martin Scorsese’s 1980’s classic Raging Bull. The almost dream like opening of that film is one of the most haunting images you will see in cinema. Raging Bull is the ultimate rise and fall boxing film and no other will surpass it. Scorsese and DeNiro have created a timeless,dark,honest masterpiece that transcends the boxing genre.”-George McCann  I have to agree with filmmaker and writer George McCann Its my favorite boxing film as well.

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Rocky is the fictional tale of Rocky Balboa portrayed by Sylvester Stallone. Rocky is the every man who who rises to become a boxing legend. In this first Rocky movie he goes against Carl Weather’s Apollo Creed. His manager Micky is portrayed famously by Burgess Meredith and his Adrian wife is played by Talia Shire. This American tale of Rocky is one everyone can relate to. A lot of us have struggled like Rocky so its a story we all fell in love with. Rocky won the Oscar for Best Picture in 1976 and all the main Actors were nominated for Oscars that year. John G. Alvidsen won for Best director as well for Rocky. Rocky would go on to spawn  four sequels and later this year a spin-off called Creed.

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Cinderella Man is about James J. Braddock played by Oscar winner Russell Crowe (Gladiator) and his wife Mea Braddock played by Oscar winner Renee Zellweger (Cold Mountain). This is a down an out man and his family. He struggles to feed them while also trying to become the boxing contender again. While working on the docks he resorts to borrowing money from the government. This film takes place in the early 1920’s and Oscar Winner Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind) really captures the times and the plight of his characters perfectly. Paul Giamatti plays Braddock’s friend and manager Joe Gould and he is very entertaining and inspiring in the this role. Braddock eventually rises to fight famous boxing champ of the time Max Bear.

“I really enjoy Cinderella Man directed by Ron Howard. It tells the story of Jim Braddock, who during the depression gave America someone to root for. Russell Crowe is terrific in this film and fits the character so well. Paul Giamatti’s supporting work as his trainer was outstanding and his Oscar nomination was well deserved. This is an underrated film that more people should see, because its not just a boxing film its about hope and overcoming odds.”-Cole Boone I couldn’t say it better myself Cole.

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The Fighter is based on the life of Irish Micky Ward. Micky Ward is played by Mark Wahlberg and he’s from Lowell,Mass. His brother Dickie played by Christain Bale and Micky grow up together and are both fighters.Together they try and be a team as manager and fighter after Micky’s career ends. Once again a hard luck story off a  boxer from the tough streets  rising to become the champ. On the way Micky has his ups and down in the ring and with his brother who is a drug addict.  He ends up meeting his eventual wife Charlene played by Amy Adams  Alice Ward played by Melissa Leo tries to hold the family together. Both Christian Bale and Melissa Leo won Oscars for there respective roles as Alice and Dickie Eklund. David O. Russell really captures the struggle of this family and there journey together in this rousing film.

“I loved the Fighter because it felt authentic and not just the fight scenes. Russell really captured that hard lower class lifestyle showing the ups and downs while not being to condescending. The characters aren’t pitiable, they actually have dignity despite the circumstances and the relationships between everyone feel 100% natural.”-Rachel J. Cushing  http://www.getreelwithrachel.com/

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The Hurricane is about Rubin “Hurricane” Carter. Denzel Washington plays the wrongly accused of murder, fighter. Sentenced to life in prison for something he didn’t do. He is confronted by some people who read his memoir later in life after spending many years in prison.A teen and three Canadian’s who think he is innocent and agree to help him get out of prison. Carter came up with the famous quote “Hate got me into this place, and love got me out.”  Lesra Martin plays Vicellous Reon Shannon the boy who finds Carter’s book and then recruits Liev Schreiber’s Sam Chaiton, John Hannah’s Terry Swinton and Deborah Kara Hunger’s Lisa Peter’s to help him prove Carter innocent after twenty years. A famous song was written and sung back when Carter was imprisoned by Bob Dylan.

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Ali is the movie based on the life of legendary boxing great Muhammed Ali. Ali is portrayed brilliantly by Will Smith. This movie explores the life of Ali from his religious background to all of his three wives. Ali got involved with political activists Malcolm X played by Mario Van Peebles and Martin Luther King played by Lavar Burton.The main theme of the movie though is how Ali became the greatest heavy weight boxing off all time. Jon Voight portrays legendary ABC sports announcer Howard Cosell. Without Howard there probably wouldn’t be a Ali. His is the yin to Ali’s yang. They were perfect for each other. Feeding each other banter and popular quotes like “Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee”. Ali fought to keep his purse and not let boxing promoters like Angelo Dundee or Don King get the better of him. Ali really shows us the entire life of the boxing great. Michael Mann really capture his life and the people who have surrounded him throughout it. To be continued in Part 2

Dan Skip Allen

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