Top Ten Boxing Movies Of All Time
Of all the fighting genres in movies, it seems as though boxing has been the most realistic and successful. Whether it is a true story about a rags-to-riches fighter or a legendary fictional character, fans have fallen in love with movies featuring the sweet science. For content variety reasons, this list will limit franchise movies to just one.
Best Boxing Movies of All Time
Best Boxing Movies
10. The Fighter
A star-studded cast did not disappoint in the 2010 biographical film about Micky Ward and his half-brother Dicky Eklund. Despite his dysfunctional family Ward somehow manages to stumble through life to find the success that eluded his more talented brother. While Mark Wahlberg played the main character, it would be Christian Bale who stole the show in a supporting role.
9. The Hurricane
While it was a boxing film at heart, The Hurricane, featuring Denzel Washington, was also a movie about injustice, resilience, and making the best of wrongful convictions. After Rubin “The Hurricane” Carter was jailed for a crime he didn’t commit, the middleweight boxer, who finished his career with 27 wins in 40 fights, would be released twenty years later.
Starring Wil Smith as Muhammad Ali, the 2001 biographical flick touched on everything about the multi-time World Heavyweight Champion. From his rise to glory, to his religious, moral and ethical beliefs, to his iconic fights against Joe Frazier (the Thrilla In Manila) and George Foreman (“the Rumble In The Jungle”), the film may have struggled at the box office, but among fight fans, it is considered one of the best.
Although it received mixed reviews from critics, fight fans had positive feedback about the 2015 Kurt Sutter film featuring Jake Gyllenhaal as Billy Hope. After his wife was murdered and his child was taken away by the ministry, Hope looked to get his life back together. Despite being the defending Light Heavyweight Champion, Hope found himself fighting numerous personal demons before setting out to conquer his biggest challenge in the ring.
6. The Great White Hope
Featuring James Earl Jones as Jack Johnson, this 1970 movie was inspired by the man who would become the first African-American World Heavyweight Champion. In addition to the story of his in-ring life, Johnson’s (known as Jefferson in the movie) struggles with racism, interracial relationships, and civil rights were addressed throughout the movie.
5. Million Dollar Baby
When it comes to the top boxing movies of all time, not all fans will have the Clint Eastwood and Hilary Swank movie on their bingo card, however, the 2004 movie was well deserving of every award it received. As Maggie Fitzgerald (Swank) attempts to change her career path from a struggling waitress to a professional boxer, she enlists the help of Frankie Dunn (Eastwood). While her journey to the top would be filled with various successes, it would also result in a tragic, life-changing event.
Few knew what to expect from the Rocky spinoff series, but all three of the movies that tell the story of Adonis Creed have been just as successful as the franchise that inspired them. Featuring Michael B. Jordan as the son of former Heavyweight Champion “Apollo Creed,” the first installment sees the younger Creed enlist the help of his father’s former foe turned friend as he navigates his way through the boxing ranks.
3. Cinderella Man
Starring Russell Crowe as James J. Braddock, the former Heavyweight Champion, Cinderella Man tells the fairytale-like story of Braddock’s struggle from poverty during the Great Depression to upsetting the much more powerful and seemingly unbeatable Max Baer. More than just a great boxing movie, Braddock’s rags to riches tale during a time of hardship is one of the most inspirational stories in sports history.
2. Raging Bull
From its unique cinematography to its storytelling to Robert De Niro’s award-winning role as Jake LaMotta, the former Middleweight Champion, Raging Bull is not only one of the best boxing movies of all time, but it is widely considered one of the best sports movies. From his rise and fall in the squared circle to his toxic life outside of the ring, the story of LaMotta was captured perfectly by director Martin Scorsese.
Spawning five additional films and a spinoff series, the iconic 1976 Sylvester Stallone story about a small-time down-and-out boxer is easily the greatest boxing movie of all time. As the ultimate underdog against then-World Heavyweight Champion Apollo Creed, Rocky Balboa is given the opportunity of a lifetime. Despite being an obvious underdog in what was set up to be an easy win for Creed, Balboa battled through adversity to take the champ to the limit. The Rocky franchise would set the bar for any future boxing films.