Remembering Muhammad Ali: Top 15 boxing films of all time

Updated: Jan 17, 2020, 08:02 | Shawn.Dsouza
  • When We Were Kings (1996, Starring Muhammad Ali)
    When We Were Kings is a documentary directed by Leon Gast about the famous "Rumble in the Jungle" heavyweight championship match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. The fight was held in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) on October 30, 1974.
  • Rocky Marciano
    American professional boxer and world heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano beat Jersey Joe Walcott for the title in 1952 and won an unrivaled 49 straight fights. Marciano defended his title six times. He retired in 1956 and died on August 31, 1969, near Newton, Iowa. (PIC/AFP)
  • Raging Bull (1980, Starring Robert De Niro)
    ‘Raging Bull’ is a biopic directed by Martin Scorsese and adapted from Jake LaMotta's memoir ‘Raging Bull: My Story’. It stars Robert De Niro as Jake LaMotta, an Italian-American middleweight boxer who’s self-destructive and obsessive rage, sexual jealousy, and animalistic appetite destroys his relationship with his wife and family.
  • Rocky (1976, Starring Sylvester Stallone)
    Reportedly, loosely based on Muhammad Ali's fight with Chuck Wepner, ‘Rocky’ is a film both written by and starring Sylvester Stallone. It tells the rags-to-riches story of Rocky Balboa, an uneducated but kind-hearted debt collector for a loan shark in the city of Philadelphia. Rocky starts out as a club fighter who later gets a shot at the world heavyweight championship.
  • The Fighter (2010, Starring Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale)
    ‘The Fighter’ centers on the life of professional boxer Micky Ward and his older half-brother Dicky Eklund.
  • The Hurricane (1999, Starring Denzel Washington)
    The Hurricane is a biopic starring Denzel Washington. The script was adapted from the books ‘Lazarus and the Hurricane: The Freeing of Rubin "Hurricane" Carter’ and ‘The Sixteenth Round: From Number 1 Contender To #45472’. The film tells the story of a former middleweight boxing champion who was convicted for a triple homicide in a bar in Paterson, New Jersey. The film also depicts his life in prison and how he was freed by the love and compassion of a teenager from Brooklyn named Lesra Martin and his Canadian foster family.
  • Million Dollar Baby (2004, Starring Clint Eastwood, Hilliary Swank)
    ‘Million Dollar Baby’ is a film directed, co-produced, and scored by Clint Eastwood and starring Eastwood, Hilary Swank, and Morgan Freeman. This film is about a boxing trainer who is not appreciated, the mistakes that haunt him from his past and his quest for atonement by helping an underdog amateur boxer achieve her dream of becoming a professional.
  • The Boxer (1997, Starring Daniel Day-Lewis)
    Set in Northern Ireland, ‘The Boxer’ is about a boxer, played by Daniel Day-Lewis, who is released after a long prison term. To break the cycle of violence, he starts a youth boxing club – and the IRA doesn’t like it.
  • Cinderella Man (2005, Starring Russell Crowe)
    Cinderella Man is a film by Ron Howard, titled after the nickname of heavyweight boxing champion James J. Braddock and inspired by his life story. Author Damon Runyon is credited for giving Braddock this nickname. Russell Crowe, Renée Zellweger and Paul Giamatti star in the biopic.
  • Requiem For A Heavyweight, (1962, Starring Anthony Quinn)
    Requiem for a Heavyweight is about Harlan "Mountain" McClintock, a once-promising but now washed-up boxer who faces the end of his career after he is savagely defeated by a younger boxer. Cassius Clay, later known as Muhammad Ali, appears as Quinn's opponent in a boxing match at the beginning of the movie, a memorable sequence filmed with the camera providing Quinn's point of view as the unstoppable Clay rapidly punches directly at the movie audience.
  • The Great White Hope (1970, Starring James Earl Jones)
    The Great White Hope tells a fictional idealized life story of boxing champion Jack Johnson, called Jack Jefferson in the film. Acting as a lens focused on a racist society, ‘The Great White Hope’ explores how segregation and prejudice created the demand for a "great white hope" who would defeat Johnson and how this, in turn, affected the boxer's life and career. Johnson, the first African-American to hold the World Heavyweight Championship title, was the best fighter of his generation.
  • Gentleman Jim (1942, Starring Errol Flynn)
    Gentleman Jim is a about heavyweight boxing champion James J. Corbett (1866-1933). The movie was based upon Corbett's autobiography, ‘The Roar of the Crowd’. James John Corbett became world heavyweight boxing champion on March 17, 1897 when he knocked out John L. Sullivan in twenty-one rounds. He was the first successful fighter to use the Marquis of Queensberry rules.
  • Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956, Starring Paul Newman)
    'Somebody Up There Likes Me' is based on the life of middleweight boxing legend Rocky Graziano. The role of Rocky Graziano was originally to be played by James Dean, but he died before filming began, and Paul Newman was asked to take the part.
  • Rocky Balboa (2006, Starring Sylvester Stallone)
    Rocky Balboa (also known as Rocky VI) is the sixth installment in the Rocky franchise, written, directed by, and starring Sylvester Stallone.
  • Girlfight (2000, Starring Michelle Rodriguez)
    ‘Girlfight’ follows Diana Guzman, a troubled teen who decides to channel her aggression by training to become a boxer, despite the skepticism of both her abusive father and the prospective trainers in the male-dominated sport.
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About The Gallery

Today, we celebrate the birth anniversary of former world heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali. On this day, we take a look at some of the finest movies based on the sport of boxing