Top 10 Boxing Movies of All Time

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The Best Boxing Movies of All Time


There's a lot of talk these days about boxing being a dead sport. There's no question that its popularity is down from where it used to be 20-30 years ago, but the recent fight between Floyd Mayweather and Canelo Alvarez showed us that people still love boxing. The fight set records for revenues made off of pay-per-view buys and live gate sales.

The problem with boxing is that those big fights don't come around all that often. The sport usually has two or three 'must-see' fights per year, but that's it. Outside of Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, there just aren't many big names to draw casual fans in.

So it's with the decline in popularity, that we've also seen fewer and fewer boxing movies getting made. Sure, there are only so many stories that can be told from a fighter's point of view, but people like to get behind boxers on the big screen.

I believe that boxing movies are successful because of the strong spirit that the fighters must embody. It's an individual sport and boxers often leave it all in the ring. They dedicate their lives to the sport and that passion is something that people can really get behind. Especially, when a good director is in charge of the project.

It's with all of that in mind, that we'll take a look at the best boxing movies ever made:

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Rocky IV


It's not often that the fourth movie in a series is extremely popular, but people love them some Rocky IV. This movies pits Rocky Balboa against the communist machine, Ivan Drago. People like Rocky IV because it's different from the rest of the films and because there's a heavy patriotic tone throughout.

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Although this movie didn't quite live up to the hype, it's still a film about the greatest of all time. The story of Ali is one that needs to be heard if you're a sports fan. Will Smith transforms himself completely into the former champ and puts on one of the best performances of his career. If you're a Muhammad Ali fan, you need to see this film.

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The Great White Hope


This subject matter of this film is very heavy, as it deals with racism. However, the performances put on are fantastic. Both James Earl Jones and Jane Alexander earned Academy award nominations in 1970. The Great White Hope is based on real-life boxer Jack Johnson, who was the first African American to become world heavyweight champion.

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The Hurricane


Another boxing film based on real life, the Hurricane tells the story of Rubin Carter. The middleweight boxer was expected to become a champion back in the 60's, but he was wrongly convicted of a triple-murder which landed him in prison for 20 years. The movie stars Denzel Washington, and you know he's never steered you wrong.

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Rocky II


It's not often that sequels are well regarded, but Rocky II is a great film. The plot centers around another fight with Apollo Creed, which is deemed as the 'Rematch of the Century.'

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The Fighter


The Fighter stars Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale in a film about brothers and boxing. Bale's character trains Wahlberg in his quest to become a champion. This movie is pretty highly regarded by critics and its the best boxing movie to come out in years.

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Cinderella Man


This boxing film, directed by Ron Howard, is based on the real life story of James Braddock. After it seems his career might over, Braddock returns to the ring to become a champion. Like him or not, Russell Crowe puts on another great performance.

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Million Dollar Baby


This 2004 film is just more great work from Clint Eastwood. The Hollywood legend directs and stars in this movie about a female boxer that gets Eastwood's character to train her. To top it all off, Morgan Freeman is the narrator. Million Dollar Baby won four Academy Awards.

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Raging Bull


This movie depicts the real-life story of Jake LaMotta. Robert De Niro portrayed the boxer and actually trained with him for months to get ready for the role. For his efforts, he won the Academy Award for best actor in 1980. This Martin Scorsese film is a must see for any sports fan.

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When it comes to the best boxing movies of all time, there's no question what film stands alone at the top, Rocky. Sylvester Stallone wrote and starred in this classic, which tells the ultimate underdog story. It took home three Academy Awards in 1976, including Best Picture.