(Review originally written at 29 June 2008)

I don't know what it is with boxing movies but a lot of the movies involving the subject are among the finest movies. Perhaps its because of the complexity of the main characters, that are tough but yet always likable in a way. I just can never get enough of these movies.

What I really loved about this movie was the way it got directed. Robert Wise really knew how to handle the story and actors in this one. Every sequences is basically made with a lot of class and professionalism put into it. The story is filled with all of the cloches you could expect. I mean, if you have seen a couple of boxing movies before, then nothing that happens in this movie should come as a surprise to you. But because everything is done and handled in such a good way the movie is a great and an original as well to watch, despite being formulaic. It's also a movie with lots of pace. The story pretty much covers most of the life of famous boxer Rocky Graziano, so basically every 10 minutes the movie is set at a different location or time period. This often doesn't work out for biopics and makes the movies overfull to watch, this is especially the case with modern biopics though and for this movie it works out just fine, which is not only due to the directing approach of the story and characters but also not in the least thanks to the acting performances.

This is one great role from Paul Newman. Normally he's just he pretty boy, or the old man in his recent movies but in this movie he shows that he also convincingly can play a real tough trouble making character. It's an early role from Newman and actually one of his first movie roles out of his career. The same goes for the later turned stars Pier Angeli, Sal Mineo, Robert Loggia and even Steve McQueen in a very small role. McQueen and Newman would much later star again together in the movie "The Towering Inferno", in equally big roles this time.

It's also a great looking movie, especially with its cinematography and it's editing also makes sure that the movie at all times is a well flowing one. The movie provides a great and interesting look into '30's and 1940's life in New York

It's a movie about the rise and fall and rise again of a boxer with all of the usual drama and clich├ęs involved. It's nevertheless an interesting and a just plain great movie to watch, due to its directing and acting performances. I now also see were Martin Scorsese got his inspiration from for "Raging Bull". It's a movie that's pretty much made in the same style and even the way the boxing sequences are shot show some striking similarities.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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