Top Ten Boxing Movies of All Time

Does the Internet really need another “Top Ten Movies of All Time” blog post?

Not really.

Does it need a “Top Ten Boxing Movies of All Time” blog post?


But does it need an answer to the question “is ‘The Champ’ one of the greatest boxing movies of all time”?

Yes. It does. Kind of.

This weekend I watched “The Champ” for the first time. This rare movie specimen had been on my list of DVDs-to-buy for about 8 years before I finally got it from JB Hi-FI. Before I get on with this post, let me clarify a couple of things:

1 – Yes, I still buy DVDs.

2 – Yes, I keep lists of everything. Here’s my list for DVDs I want to buy.

3 – Yes, “The 13th Warrior” is in that list.

So I figured, why not come up with my own “Top Ten Boxing Movies of All Time” list and decide whether “The Champ” would be in it or not?

Why. The. Heck. Not?

Here we go. There might be spoilers ahead, so proceed at your own peril.

#10 – Southpaw

Jake Gyllenhaal hates going to the dentist.

The Good: Jake Gyllenhaal pulls off another transformational performance while up-and-coming Oona Laurence shows a lot of promise.

The Bad: way too predictable.

The Ugly or the Pretty: the soundtrack.

#9 – The Champ

The Champ
Hairstyles, youknowhatimsayin?

The Good: gotta appreciate a finale where the hero goes down swinging.

The Bad: this movie hasn’t aged well… keep that in mind while you watch it.

The Ugly or the Pretty: what’s with all the horses?

#8 – Rocky II

Rocky II
He broke my nose again.

The Good: it’s just as funny as the first one.

The Bad: while it’s great that they managed to capture the sense of humor of the first one, everything else feels like a repeat of the first installment which, at times, feels a little bit boring.

The Ugly or the Pretty: Burgess Meredith is absolutely amazing as Mickey. This particular line is just sublime.

#7 – Ali

Sting like a bee.

The Good: a must-see for Ali fans. It’s accurate enough to do “The Greatest” justice.

The Bad: with a length of 2h37min it does feel like it drags on a bit.

The Ugly or the Pretty: It feels like a documentary more than a movie; sometimes that’s ugly, sometimes it’s pretty.

#6 – Creed

Kid, you need to buy a hat.

The Good: succeeds at revitalizing the Rocky legacy.

The Bad: there’s pretty much nothing original about the third act.

The Ugly or the Pretty: there might be a sequel.

#5 – Raging Bull

Raging Bull
DeNiro before he got roped into doing Grudge Match

The Good: the folks at RogerEbert said it all: “Boxing is the arena, not the subject”.

The Bad: it starts with an epic music piece and that’s about the only time you’ll hear an orchestra.

The Ugly or the Pretty: it’s black and white.

#4 – Rocky Balboa

Rocky Balboa
Let it snow let it snow let it snow.

The Good: some of the most memorable and awe-inspiring lines ever delivered in a movie, including this one and this one.

The Bad: Rocky has some awesome lines but everyone else seem to have had theirs written by a random sentence generator.

The Ugly or the Pretty: it’s a story about Sylvester Stallone trying to become the Sylvester Stallone he once was.

#3 – The Fighter

The Fighter
Who’s the pride of Lowell now?

The Good: Christian Bale.

The Bad: I love Wahlberg and he puts on one heck of a performance; I’m just not sure he was the best choice to portray Micky Ward.

The Ugly or the Pretty: Dickie singing Bee Gees to his mom.

#2 – Rocky

Let’s go buy some turtles.

The Good: an historical movie. It paved the way for all the Boxing movies that came after it.

The Bad: it’s kind of cheesy here and there.

The Ugly or the Pretty: Sylvester should have won an Oscar for this one.

#1 – Million Dollar Baby

Million Dollar Baby
Everything about boxing is backwards.

The Good: everything.

The Bad: there’s no Bad. It’s perfect.

The Ugly or the Pretty: there will be no sequels.