Hollywood has been in love with boxing for centuries. Starting way back with the “John L. Sullivan Story” with Ward Bond and “Gentleman Jim” the former heavyweight champion James J. Corbett movie played by Errol Flynn.
This writer’s all-time favorite actor and former New York amateur boxer John Garfield starred in “Body & Soul”. Paul Newman starred in the part “Somebody Up There Likes Me” about Rocky Graziano with Tony Zale also in it.
In “The Harder They Fall” had former heavyweight champion “Jersey” Joe Walcott as a boxing trainer. Former Dartmouth college boxer Robert Ryan who would later star in “The Set-Up!”
Before he was Muhammad Ali Cassius Clay had a cameo bit in “Requiem for a Heavyweight”. There was the story about Barney Ross “Monkey on My Back”. Marlon Brando starred as a boxer in “On the Waterfront” proclaiming “I could have been a champion”.
Kirk Douglas starred in “The Champion!” There was the “Rocky Marciano Story,” and the “Joe Louis Story” with Colley Wallace starring who defeated Louis in the amateurs.
I may have been the only boxing person not to like “Rocky” and never watched what followed but “Smoking” Joe Frazier had a cameo part in it. Mickey Rooney played a boxer in “Kid McCoy”. Robert Montgomery played a boxer in “Here Comes Mr. Jordan!”
Elvis Presley starred in “Kid Galahad”. The Jake LaMotta story called “Raging Bull”. Mickey Ward’s story “The Fighter”. Former heavyweight champion James J. Braddock’s story “Cinderella Man”. Denzell Washington playing Rubin “Hurricane” Carter in “Hurricane”.
Will Smith playing “Ali!” Clint Eastwood in “Million Dollar Baby” and playing the female boxing villain this writer’s favorite all-time best female boxer playing Billy “Blue Bear” by unbeaten Lucia Rijker. “The Champ” played by Wallace Beery and the re-make starring John Voight.
“Diggstown” starring Louis Gossett with “Tex” Cobb. Wesley Snipes in “Undisputed”. “The Prizefighter and the Lady” with former heavyweight champion Max Baer”. Roberto Duran story “Hands of Stone”. Jake Gyllenhall starring in “Southpaw”. Charles Bronson starring in “Hard Times”.
“Great White Hope” starring James Earl Jones. “Creed” about a rich kid whose father played Apollo Creed whose son Adonis wants to be a fighter with Stallone playing his Mentor as Rocky. “Ring of Fire” the Emile Griffith story. “The Greatest” with Muhammad Ali.
We can go on and on for there must have been over 100 boxing movies made over the years. “The Champion” and “Body & Soul” were this writer’s favorites!