Boxing is a sport that plays well on the big screen, which is why there are so many movies about it. The unfathomable elements of why people would want to physically attack one another is played with the inner turmoil of wanting strength and fame as well as the impact of the life resonates with family members. It is evocative drama that is told countlessly time, and time again.
To celebrate the release of Bleed For This, we’re looking at some of those best movies.
Honourable Mentions: The Fighter and Southpaw.
MILLION DOLLAR BABY (2004)
Funnily enough, Clint Eastwood also has a film out this weekend with Sully: Miracle on the Hudson. Arguably, the most famed piece of work is Million Dollar Baby which helped Hilary Swank scoop up an Academy Award. The brutal and unflinching flick is one of the first to revolve around women boxing, a sport that goes largely unrecognised despite it’s prominence (GB have one a tonne of Olympic Medals in this sport, by the way.) Moving forward, what you think you are going to get is a plucky underdog tale and, let me tell you, the movie is a whole lot more than you’d expect. It revolves around a gruffy and moody boxing trainer who takes a chance on a plucky underdog who dreams of going professional. With Swank giving one of the best performances of her career (come back to us Swank,) this is a tense and wrought boxing movie.
The movie also won Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Supporting Actor for Morgan Freeman. With an impressive boot and critical acclaim, it’s one of the most visceral sporting dramas ever.
Creed is a continuation of the Rocky franchise and holds up well against an unrelenting saga, telling the story of Apollo Creeds son Adonis, who tries to rise to boxing fame under mentor Rocky. Michael B. Jordan continues to impress as a young, poignant actor who understands the crux of his characters journey’s and elevates them gloriously on screen. Despite the shaky Fantastic Four, Jordan proves his might in Creed with yet another captivating lead performance with Coolger as his glorious conductor. Without giving Adonis clichés, Jordan excavates a splendidly visceral performances that helps you yearn for the character similarly to how you did Rocky. He is matched by Sylvester Stalone, a69 year old actor can still punch out tough and engaging performances that so rightfully earned his Oscar nomination with this phenomenal turn.
Creed is unexpectedly brilliant and will certainly score big with the audiences this weekend. Coolger and his team have rejuvenated the Rocky lore. Sure to knockout any January blues you were having, step into the ring with Creed and enjoy a powerful, emotional, and thoroughly enjoyable movie.
RAGING BULL (1980)
Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese have had a beautiful friendship, lending itself to some of the more palpable and stirring dramas of all time including Taxi Driver and The Departed. One of there more triumphant movies was the boxing biopic Raging Bull. The film told the story of Jake LaMotta, a middleweight boxer who had a troubled domestic life, choosing the wage his anger, jealousy, and rage at his manager and his wife, leaving him is a worse off place than when he started.
Many people deem this one of the pair’s finest film and there is no doubt that the Scorsese and De Niro don’t hold back on the grim, gritty violence of LaMotta’s life. A hard watch, a stirring performance, and an astutely directed piece, Raging Bull is a tentative and powerful work that will resonate long after first viewing.
ROCKY (1976) – (BY ROBBIE JONES)
The 1976 Best Picture winner that kicked off this whole thing is a cinematic masterpiece. When I was re-watching the other day, I had been so used to the montages and what not that I actually forgot that Rocky is a very character driven, dialogue heavy drama (Mainly cause Rocky never shuts the fuck up). It’s the most inspirational and the most satisfying, to see an underdog rise from nothing and being a somebody, proving himself in the ring against the champion of the world. Every bit of dialogue, every character, and every event is so well formed, it’s such a convincing and involving movie. Rocky is such a well written character. When you think “Screenwriter”, you don’t think of Sylvester Stallone, but it’s arguably what he’s best at. The characterisation of Adrian and Paulie, not just in this film but over the whole series, is fantastic. (On a note: I forgot how much of a prick Paulie was in this movie. I actually hated him for a little bit.
Rocky is a riveting sports drama that has been praised for the last 40 years and will continue to be praised for many years, for it is one of the best films of all time.
Bleed For This is out now.
Read our review!