Later this month Creed III directed and starring Michael B Jordan along side Jonathan Majors will be available to own on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital. This list I’ve decided to check out some great Boxing films that are not Creed or Rocky. As ever the list below is in no particular order and is only a selection…
Raging Bull (1980)
Martin Scorsese’s classic film is possibly outside of the Rocky films one of the most famous if not the greatest of the genre. Robert DeNiro goes through major transformation to become Jake LaMotta. This film is DeNiro commands the screen in the role about the rise and fall of LaMotta. Great chemistry between the cast especially Joe Pesci who plays Joey. The film is harsh, brutal, so no Rocky style melodrama. It’s a rags to riches to story whose life spirals out of control and loses everything.
Million Dollar Baby (2004)
Clint Eastwood’s Oscar winning film earning the veteran actor turned filmmaker his second directing Oscar. It also earned Hilary Swank her second Best Actress award. She plays a thirty something waitress who dreams one day to become a boxing champion. She has one thing against her, her age and no knowledge of the sport. She convinces a veteran trainer to she her the ropes leading to a shocking and heartbreaking ending
The Hurricane (1999)
Regardless how good or bad the film maybe, Denzel Washington always shines in his performance. This film he is the star of this okay paint by numbers, predictable film. Washington stars as Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter, a man sent to prison for a triple murder. However there is someone who said he didn’t commit any murder and this film shows what Carter did to get himself out the clink.
The Champ (1931)
I could have easily have chosen the 1979 Jon Voight version, but the original is better. The Oscar winning performance from Wallace Beery as a washed up, gambling alcoholic boxing champ. Trying to raise his son (played by Jackie Cooper) and decides to head back into the ring to pay off one debt which leads to a emotional ending. This pre-code film is a template to sports films of the future, a screenwriting Oscar for Frances Marion.
Antoine Fuqua’s film seems to be overlooked when it comes to films in this genre. Jake Gyllenhaal stars along side Rachael McAdams as his wife. He’s a boxer whose on the up in his career and looses everything thanks to bad decisions plus personal tragedy. He is given one more chance to prove himself in a film about redemption and self respect. Emotive performance from Gyllenhaal.
Boxing doesn’t have to be in the ring and guy Ritchie’s it’s knuckle fighting anywhere part from the ring. Brad Pitt with a thick Irish accent, a fighter who can knock out opponents with one punch. Snatch is not about the boxing, it’s only part of the narrative. A stolen diamond is the main crux of the film, with a gritty, dark humour and massive of cast .
Michael Mann’s solidfilm might not be ‘the greatest’ it’s ambition makes it worthy entry. This could be one of Will Smith’s greatest performances and Smith has certainly done his homework. Studying his moves, his life via footage. A compelling film that doesn’t shy away from anything especially the legend’s stance against Vietnam War
Day Of The Fight (1951)
Stanley Kubrick was a massive boxing fan and the sport has appeared in many of his films throughout the years including Barry Lyndon (be it briefly). This one he follows Irish American boxer Walter Cartier before his big bout against Bobby James. Guess what it’s only 12 minutes long!
If you have been broke once you’ll fight to make sure it never happens again. A Young Kirk Douglas stars as a poor boxer who insists he’ll never be broke again. Judgemental and damn right horrible person who will step over anyone to get to the top. A corrupt pursuit of the American dream.
When We Were Kings (1996)
The Rumble in the Jungle between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman is considered one of the greatest matches in history. Not just in the ring also outside the ring inLeon Gast and Taylor Hackford’s documentary. Fascinating watch even for non-boxing fans with comedy and wit. Ali was the older of the two and needed to use his experience against the younger opponent.
Notables: Father Stu (2022), Cinderella Man (2005), Girlfight (2010), Fat City (1972), A Prayer Before Dawn (2017), The Quiet Man (1952), Gentleman Jim (1942)
Creed III will be available to own on 4K, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital formats from 22nd May.