Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale are the stars of "The Fighter," director David O. Russell's latest film telling the true story of "Irish" Micky Ward (Wahlberg), a Massachusetts boxer who successfully fought his way to the top thanks to coaching from his troubled brother Dicky (Bale), a former fighter himself.
"The Fighter" has earned early praise for both Wahlberg and Bale's work as well as Russell's directing, and by all accounts, it looks like the film is set to take its place as one of the great boxing movies of all time. Of course, it's got some hefty competition to weigh in against — after the jump, check out our personal picks for the best boxing movies of all time!
If he hadn't already proved himself before, Will Smith certainly showed us what he was made of with his performance in "Ali." The Oscar-nominated biopic beautifully retold the story of boxing icon Muhammad Ali in the years leading up to his famous "Rumble in the Jungle" bout against George Foreman in 1974, with performances from Smith and Jamie Foxx entertaining audiences all the way through this motivational tale.
Any time that Daniel Day-Lewis hangs his hat on a project, you know it's going to be worthwhile. Such was the case with "The Boxer," Jim Sheridan's 1997 film about Danny, an Irishman who starts up a boxing club for boys after he's released from a 14-year stint in prison. But Danny's old connections with the IRA still linger, threatening to derail his journey towards redemption.
"Million Dollar Baby"
Clint Eastwood's Oscar-winning boxing movie is just as much about the competitive nature of the sport as it is about knowing when to throw in the towel. Hilary Swank stars as Maggie, a past-her-prime woman looking to become a pro boxer, with Eastwood's character begrudgingly taking her on as a student. They form a close bond, one that's put through the most severe of tests when an accident threatens to put an end to Maggie's career and, more importantly, her life.
Following their critically acclaimed collaboration on "Taxi Driver," Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro reunited once more for "Raging Bull," a retelling of the life and times of middleweight boxing champion Jake La Motta. It achieved Oscar gold thanks to De Niro's winning performance as the titular Bronx Bull, one of the boxing world's single most compelling athletes.
The "Rocky" Franchise
Clearly, no list of excellent boxing films would be complete without mentioning Sylvester Stallone's work on the "Rocky" series. Some movies are better than others — do yourself a favor and skip "Rocky V" — but there's no question that Stallone created one of the genre's most iconic characters in Rocky Balboa, who rises from his status as a low-level southpaw Philadelphia fighter to becoming the world-celebrated Italian Stallion.
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