by Michael Clancy
The London Olympics may have ended but Olympic fever is still raging in Ireland thanks to Katie Taylor’s spectacular gold medal victory, earning her the accolade of the first ever Olympic female lightweight champion. So whether Katie Taylor is looking for some film choices to help her unwind after the grueling Olympic campaign, or you just want an inspiring boxing film to watch amid all the excitement, here are our five choices for a great boxing film marathon.
Before Michelle Rodriguez became the go-to-actress for ‘token tough latina action film cannon fodder’ roles, she gained critical acclaim for her starring-role in this 2000 indie film about a troubled teen who decides to channel her aggression by training to become a boxer, despite the criticism she encounters from her father, and trainers in the male-dominated boxing world. Written and directed by Karyn Kusama, Girlfight is an emotionally-charged drama, and makes an excellent choice for the start of your boxing film marathon.
While many might argue that this film is more depressing than inspiring, no one can deny the power and emotion behind this captivating story of an under-rated boxing trainer who attempts to make up for his past mistakes by helping an amateur boxer in her journey to become a professional. The film is directed by Clint Eastwood, and also stars Eastwood alongside Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman. The film garnered critical acclaim on release and went on to win four Oscars.
This classic Martin Scorsese film from 1980 stars Robert De Niro as Italian American middleweight boxer, Jake LaMotta whose personal and professional problems threaten his relationships on his quest for glory. Criticised upon its release for the level of violence depicted, Raging Bull is now considered by many to be one of the greatest films ever made. A somewhat downbeat choice for an inspiring boxing film marathon, but an interesting depiction of the pitfalls which may occur on the path to victory.
4) The Fighter
This 2010 biographical film directed by David O’Russell, and starring Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams, and Melissa Leo, tells the story of professional boxer Micky Ward and his half-brother, Dicky Eklund. At times predictable, but always inspiring, the true winner in this film is Bale who gives a powerful, and engaging performance as recovering addict and failed boxer Dicky. Bale and Leo both won Best Supporting Academy Awards for their roles.
We’ve saved the best for last. This classic needs no introduction. Written by, and starring, Sylvester Stallone, it is the original rags to riches tale of the American Dream, featuring one of the most famous music tracks of all time. Rocky is the only choice for ending a marathon of boxing films.