Boxing movies have a tired and true history in the film world - will the upcoming Southpaw join the ranks as a new classic?
Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Billy "The Great" Hope in Southpaw, the Junior Middleweight Boxing Champion of the World. Billy's trainer (played by Curtis '50 Cent' Jackson) leaves him behind, forcing the boxer to pick up the pieces and start over at a local gym.
The film was released today, July 24, and while critical reception is mixed, it holds a certain niche in the film market that will likely fill seats this weekend.
To get in the mood for boxing, here are five classic boxing movies that honor the sport and stand on their own as great films.
It's hard to not think of Rocky within the genre of boxing movies. The film, which stars Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa, is beloved by audiences and critics alike. Rocky rises through the ranks of boxing as he essentially achieves the American Dream through hard work and determination. Rocky is currently available to stream on Netflix and Amazon.
Million Dollar Baby
Hillary Swank won an Oscar for her performance in the film as Maggie Fitzgerald, a waitress at a diner who dreams of becoming a boxer. She teams up with trainer Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood) and while he doesn't think much of training a woman at first, they ultimately find success. The harrowing film can be streamed on Amazon.
Denzel Washington plays Rubin "Hurricane" Carter in this biographical/boxing film. The movie tells the story of Hurricane and his rise to middle-weight boxing title contender. Hurricane is then accused of a triple murder and convicted. He fights desperately to prove his innocence while going up against a racist society. The film is available to stream on Amazon.
Mark Wahlberg plays the real life Micky Ward in this film from David O. Russell. The film centers on Micky Ward's rise to the big leagues with the help of his troubled brother Dicky (Christian Bale). With a focus on the importance of family, The Fighter was a hit with audiences and critics and scored Bale and Melissa Leo a pair of Oscars. The film can be streamed on Amazon.
One of the most acclaimed films of all time, Raging Bull is an all-time classic that highlights the dark side of boxing and fame. Robert De Niro won an Oscar for playing the real life Jack LaMotta, a prize fighter from the 1940s. The film, directed by Martin Scorsese, centers on Jake's inner demons and showcases an unlikable yet compelling man. Stream Raging Bull on Amazon.