Best Movies on Boxing of All Time: If there’s one sport that defines life completely, then it’s definitely boxing. Can you argue with that? I doubt it.
These Best Boxing Movies are available on online streaming platforms like Netflix and Prime.
Boxing has everything that life expects from us. Focus, strength, endurance, willpower, and above all never-say-die attitude. Just like boxing, our life also comes in rounds with the only difference being that our opponent is not some other person but our own future.
The moment you give up, you lose. However, if you fight till the end, even if you don’t reach the desired goal, you will definitely reach somewhere.
The most important lesson that boxing gives is that no matter how many times life knocks you down on the floor, you will only lose if you fail to get up and keep going.
And, this is the reason, no matter how extreme or wild the sport is, the movies based on boxing are always touching and often remain close to our hearts.
Today, as a tribute to boxing, I present a good list of must-watch boxing movies of all time.
List of Best Movies on Boxing of All Time
The Champ (1931)
The Champ is a 1931 American drama film based around boxing. Directed by King Vidor, the film talks about the story of a boxer, who is struggling with his life to make amends for his young son while fighting through his addiction to alcohol and gambling.
Starring Wallace Beery and Jackie Cooper as father and son duo, the film is a pure classic and won many awards and accolades including an Oscar by Beery for Best Actor as well as Marion for Best Story at the 5th Academy Awards.
The Champ Available online on Prime
Body and Soul (1947)
A classic movie about boxing, Body, and Soul was released in the year 1947. The movie is directed by Robert Rossen and written by Abraham Polonsky, who tries to convey a story about a boxer’s life and what ends a common man could go as success and money start pouring into his life.
The film stars John Garfield as the lead character, Charles Davis, along with a supporting cast comprising of Lilli Palmer, Hazel Brooks, Anne Revere, and William Conrad.
Available on Plex TV for Free
The Set-Up (1949)
The Set-Up, released in 1949, is an emotional drama based on the life of a 35-year-old boxer, whose career is on the decline.
One must watch this classic flick on boxing to understand the closer reality of the life of a boxer or any sportsman at the time of their decline.
Directed by Robert Wise, the film stars Robert Ryan as Bill “Stoker” Thompson and focuses on the life struggles of a boxer including failure, betrayal, relationships etc. However, being a boxer at heart, he fights all the struggles and eventually comes out a winner.
Available on YouTube
With the history of this popular sport, it’s no surprise that boxing is something that is played both inside and outside the ring.
The best example of this is displayed in the 1949 American film noir, Champion starring Kirk Douglas as the lead character Midge Kelly.
The film talks about the struggles and choices of the rising boxer Midge, who is fighting his own demons while rising to fame and success in the boxing ring. Directed by Mark Robson, the film is inspired by a short story by Ring Lardner.
Available to watch online on Amazon Prime
Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956)
Based on the life of middleweight boxing legend Rocky Graziano, Somebody Up There Likes Me is the first biographical film on our list of movies about boxing.
The film was released in 1956 and starred Paul Newman as Rocky Graziano. Directed by Robert Wise, the film is centered around the life of Rocky Graziano and his boxing career, especially the struggles he faced to reach the top of the ladder in his career.
The film was so highly acclaimed that it also won 2 Oscars at the 29th Academy Awards.
Available on Apple TV
Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962)
The film adaptation of the famous teleplay written by Rod Serling.
Requiem for a Heavy Weight is a 1962 film starring Anthony Quinn in the lead role as Luis ‘Mountain’ Rivera, alongside a supporting cast comprising of Jackie Gleason, Mickey Rooney, and Julie Harris in addition to the boxing legend Cassius Clay, later known as Muhammad Ali, in a cameo appearance.
Although the movie is centered around a boxer, there’s not much boxing in the film. The film revolves around the life struggles faced by Mountain and how he copes up with them and at the end with a broken heart quits the real fighting sport boxing and joins the staged, predetermined professional wrestling.
Available on Apple TV
Fat City (1972)
Based on Leonard Gardner’s novel of the same title, Fat City is a 1972 boxing drama film directed by John Huston.
The film is centered around Billy Tully, portrayed by Stacy Keech, who once again gives a shot at the boxing career.
He makes the decision as he gets inspired after seeing the potential and determination of a young teenage boxer Ernie Munger, played by Jeff Bridges, at the same gym he trains in California. The rest of the story sheds light on how the career of a boxer ends while the other young boxer begins.
Available on Apple TV and Amazon Prime
Rocky Series (1976 – 2006)
Any list of boxing movies is incomplete without the inclusion of the films featuring Rocky Balboa, popularized by Sylvester Stallone.
In the history of cinema and the genre of sports drama, there’s an era before and after the first installment of Rocky that was released in 1976 and his run of the boxing saga continued till the last film featuring Rocky in the lead role that was released in 2006.
The reason why Rocky movies stay on top in our hearts is that the complete series is a pure symbol of determination, motivation, inspiration, and the will to survive.
Directed, written, and featuring in the titular role, Sylvester Stallone pays one of the best homages to the art of boxing and the struggles faced by boxing legends. Rocky Series is one of the best Motivational Films of all time.
Available on Amazon Prime
Raging Bull (1980)
Starring Robert De Niro in the lead role, Raging Bull is a biographical sports drama film about Jake LaMotta based on the boxing legend’s memoir Raging Bull: My Story.
Directed by Martin Scorsese, the film talks about the life of Jake LaMotta, an Italian-American middleweight boxer, who struggles with his inner demons which ruin his relationship with his wife and kids as well as his overall life Raging Bull is one of the Best Boxing Movies of All Time.
Available on Prime for Rent
The Boxer (1997)
The Boxer is a 1997 film centered upon the life of a boxer and a former Provisional IRA volunteer Danny Flynn, portrayed by Day-Lewis, who has spent a good 14-year stint in prison for the most of his youthful days.
However, he has decided to part ways with IRA, Danny plans to lead a simple life and starts training at a non-sectarian boxing club for boys.
But, the IRA ties that he left behind doesn’t leave him alone and the rest of the story forms how his love affair with an old flame, Maggie, played by Emily Watson, and few minor tussles between IRA members puts his life in danger and how he makes it out of it.
Available on Amazon Prime
The Hurricane (1999)
Based on the life of boxing legend, Rubin Carter, The Hurricane is a 1999 biographical sports drama directed by Norman Jewison.
The film stars Denzel Washington in the lead role as Rubin “Hurricane” Carter and the screenplay was adapted from Carter’s autobiography The Sixteenth Round: From Number 1 Contender To #45472 as well as Lazarus and the Hurricane: The Freeing of Rubin “Hurricane” Carter written by Sam Chaiton and Terry Swinton.
The film narrates the story of Carter’s arrest, his life in prison and how he was freed.
Girlfight is a 2000 American sports drama film that depicts the challenges faced by a female boxer in a male-dominated sport in that era.
Girlfight is a Female Boxing film. Starring Michelle Rodriguez in the lead role as Diana Guzman, the film is centered around her life and her struggles when she tries to channel her aggression by training rigorously in boxing against the disapproval of both her father and her prospective trainers.
Directed by Karyn Kusama, the film also sheds light on the mentality towards female sportspersons in the industry.
Available on Facebook Video streaming
If there’s one person who deserves the title of God of Boxing, then it could be none other than Muhammad Ali. Hence, the Best biographical drama film about the boxing legend, Ali released in 2001 makes it to our list without any doubts.
The film stars Will Smith as Ali and narrates the story of his rise to fame as Cassius Clay Jr., his change of name as Muhammad Ali, and his conversion to Islam.
Directed by Michael Mann, the film also stars Smith’s current spouse Jada Pinkett Smith as Ali’s first wife Sonji Ro, alongside a supporting cast consisting of Jamie Foxx, Mario Van Peebles, Albert Hall, LeVar Burton, Nona Gaye, and many others.
Available on Prime
Million Dollar Baby (2004)
Registering a long, successful run at the Box Office and winning 4 Oscars, Million Dollar Baby is bound to make it to our list.
Directed by Clint Eastwood and starring himself alongside Hillary Swank and Morgan Freeman in the main roles, the film is about a fading boxing trainer Frankie Dunn, played by Clint Eastwood, who finds an opportunity to put his past mistakes behind when he encounters an amateur boxer Margaret Fitzgerald, played by Hilary Swank, and helps her achieve her dream of becoming a professional boxer.
If he is successful or not forms the rest of the story!
Available on Prime
Cinderella Man (2005)
Titled under the nickname of legendary heavyweight boxer James J. Braddock, Cinderella Man is a 2005 American biographical sports drama based on the boxer’s life story.
Directed by Ron Howard, the film stars Russell Crowe in the titular role as Braddock, the Cinderella Man, a title given to him as he became a symbol of hope and aspiration during the great American Depression as the film follows the story of his rise to fame in the boxing arena despite an injured right hand.
Available on YouTube
The Fighter (2010)
The Fighter is yet another sports biopic film based on boxing. Directed by David O. Russel, the film narrates the life story of professional boxer Micky Ward, played by Mark Wahlberg, and his brother Dicky Eklund, portrayed by Christian Bale.
Nominated for seven different categories at the 83rd Academy Awards and winning 2 Oscars, the film is considered special because of its story and its realistic performances from the likes of Wahlberg, Bale, Amy Adams, and Melissa Leo.
Available on Airtel Xtreme in India
Boxing Gym (2010)
Although a documentary film, Boxing Gym deserves to be on the list because unlike other documentary films that follow talking-head interviews, re-enactments, etc.; the film takes a low-key approach and displays the life in the world of boxing, especially at the gym in Austin, Texas.
The documentary narrates the daily routines and pieces of training of upcoming and regular boxers at the gym as well as its owner Richard Lord.
The film is a must-watch for boxing fans who need a sneak peek in order to witness the real hardships and training routines, the boxers go through every day to entertain us inside the ring.
Available on YouTube
Southpaw is a sports drama film based on the life of a boxer, portrayed by Jake Gyllenhaal, who, despite retirement due to injury, risks his life by returning to the ring to avenge his wife’s insult and win back his daughter’s trust and becomes a champion.
Directed by Antonie Fuqua, the film also stars Forest Whitaker and Rachel McAdams in supporting roles.
Available on YouTube and Apple TV
The seventh installment of the Rocky franchise, Creed is a 2015 sports film produced as a spinoff as well as a sequel to the Rocky film series.
Starring Michael B. Jordan in the titular role, the film depicts the story of the son of Apollo Creed from the first two Rocky movies, who just like his dad takes up a boxing career under the mentorship of his father’s old friend a rival, Rocky Balboa, played by Sylvester Stallone.
Unlike previous Rocky films, Creed is the first not to be directed or written by Stallone. Maybe, the film ends the Rocky saga and begins a new boxing saga under a new boxing hero.
Available on Prime, Apple TV and YouTube
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