Many sports film enthusiasts crown boxing movies to be the best sports related genre. It may be because the sport embraces themes that Hollywood traditionally loves: struggling to succeed, overcoming adversity and underdogs rising to the top.
For Throwback Thursday, we're taking a look at the boxing films that have had Hollywood punch-drunk in love with over the decades.
In 1976 Sylvester Stallone played a working class dreamer who works his way up from small fights to earn a shot at the heavyweight title in one of the most popular and iconic boxing films of all time: Rocky.
The film was the highest grossing film of 1976 and went one to win three Oscar awards, including Best Picture. It also spawned five sequels, all written by and starring Stallone.
Million Dollar Baby
Another boxing film that knocked its competitors out to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards, is 2004’s Million Dollar Baby.
Directed, co-produced and scored by Clint Eastwood, the film about an underappreciated boxing trainer that helps an underdog boxer achieve her dream of becoming a professional - starred Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman and is considered by many as one of the best sports drama films of all time.
The many trials and tribulations of the boxing lifestyle are on full display in Martin Scorsese’s 1980 black-and-white film Raging Bull featuring Robert de Niro - a movie that’s part celebration of the sport and part cautionary tale of its trappings.
After initially receiving mixed reviews, the film went on to garner a high critical reputation and is now regarded among the greatest American films ever made.
When We Were Kings
Frequently regarded as one of the best boxing documentaries ever, Leon Gast’s When We Were kings took 22 years to edit and finance and is a must-watch for boxing fans.
Focusing on “Rumble in the Jungle”, the historic heavyweight champtionship match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman from October 1974, the documentary received strong reviews from critics and won the 1996 Oscar for Best Documentary Feature.