10 Best Boxing Movies of All Time

Last Updated: 12.11.19

 

Boxing movies are one of the best ways to get somebody pumped up and ready to do some physical exercise. However, before you go on googling “shoes for boxing”, check out this post on the 10 best movies about the noble pugilistic art.

Due to its simple, down-to-earth nature, boxing still has much more attractiveness to the film-making audience than currently popular sports such as mixed martial arts or Brazilian jiu-jitsu. For this list, we have taken into consideration movies which, in addition to the acting performance, managed to tell a story that lasted for generations to come.

 

  1. Fat City

This movie is known as a spectacular adaptation of an earlier novel that became a strangely addictive watch to all audiences and earned a spot on this list.

Rather than being a glamorous movie, “Fat City” tells the story of a boxer named Tully who is confronting the last years of his career and a young, up-and-coming one named Ernie while each of them faces his problems inside and outside the ring. While Tully seems to be experiencing the worst of the two, both characters are great to watch as the movie winds up.

 

 

  1. Ali

This movie earned its spot here more because of the incredible effort and planning to get everything right rather than the performance itself.

Even though Will Smith pulled off a good performance as Ali, critics did not rate the movie quite as high as they were supposed to. However, that does not seem to be the fault of the famous actor who portrays the sporting model in an excellent manner.

 

  1. When We Were Kings

Even though it’s more of a documentary, this one really managed to get the public’s attention when it comes to Muhammad Ali’s history and the impact he managed to have. Topics like racial politics and African-American musical performances are also integrated.

Following his preparations for the 1974 “Rumble in the Jungle” against George Foreman, the movie also manages to show the work that Ali was doing as a pioneer for bringing change in the world and as an activist. Because of the match taking place in Kinshasa, Zaire, the movie also actively approaches The Black Power era.

 

  1. The Boxer

This movie managed to receive many praises as being one of the best boxing works of all time while also touching a sensible topic.

In it, protagonist Danny Flynn attempts to rebuild a shattered life after having spent 14 years in prison. Opening his boxing gym is a spiritual journey that’s intertwined with his conflicts with the different people in the area.

“The Boxer” also managed to show that sometimes the boxing ring, or any ring for that matter, can be the best place for a person to channel their emotions.

 

  1. Rocky IV

While not proclaimed by the critics as a “good” movie, the fourth installment of “Rocky” is a personal favorite of many fans around the world.

After retiring, Rocky Balboa is settled down with his wife and living the American Dream until his friend and former foe Apollo Creed is by all intents and purposes murdered in the ring at the hands of Russian champion Ivan Drago. His desire for revenge is also shown through the wide array of political and social problems the U.S had with the USSR.

 

  1. Cinderella Man

This movie follows the real-life story of James J. Braddock who manages to return from retirement and make a worth-watching championship run. While not an exactly original story, Russell Crowe’s often brilliant performance delivers good, old-fashioned entertainment.

After coming out of retirement and challenging the number two fighter of the world, Braddock begins an amazing series of matches that culminate with his championship bout with the infamous Max Baer.

 

  1. The Fighter

“The Fighter” is widely considered to be the best boxing movie of the last decade as it depicts the story of “Irish” Micky Ward and his journey to the top of the ranks.

While drawing comparisons to Rocky Balboa, Ward also struggles with a problematic brother played exceptionally well by Christian Bale who is, for many reasons, one of the best parts of the movie.

 

  1. Million Dollar Baby

Perceived as an instant classic, the movie features Clint Eastwood as boxing trainer Frankie Dunn who meets the enthusiastic Maggie Fitzgerald.

Famously played by Hillary Swank, the ending of the movie is top-notch and basically closes the circle for Swank after her younger appearance in “The Karate Kid IV”.

 

 

  1. Raging Bull

One can argue that almost any Martin Scorsese film is bound to be a masterpiece. However, “Raging Bull” really takes it away for a couple of reasons.

First of all, we have a then-young Robert De Niro as fearless boxer Jake “The Bronx Bull” LaMotta, who is up for any challenge. Secondly, the director expertly reproduces the real-life LaMotta who managed to fight through his emotional problems by being a physical wrecking ball in the ring.

The movie is about much more than boxing, as the protagonist’s inability to express his feelings finally takes over his in-ring performance and forces him to confront his issues.

 

  1. Rocky

With Sylvester Stallone putting his heart and soul into this, Rocky is undoubtedly the most well-known boxing movie of all time and possibly the best motivational one as well.

The story is easy to love, as struggling boxer Rocky Balboa gets an out-of-nowhere shot at the World Heavyweight Champion Apollo Creed. With the movie showcasing the differences between the 2 athletes, the ending of “Yo Adrian, I did it!” acted as an inspirational catalyst for many people since the debut.

A statue of Rocky Balboa can be found today in the city of Philadelphia, acting as proof of the emotional impact this movie has had over the generations.

 

 

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