Cinderella Man which came out in 2005 is one of the greatest all-time boxing movies without any doubt. The boxing scenes, unlike movies like Rocky 3 and 4, were realistic and exactly like the fights were fought in history. This movie is about the boxer James Braddock whose career spanned incredible highs and lows all occurring the time of the Great Depression. The story stretches from his early career which was successful to the middle years where he could not even get a fight and had to work on the docks, constantly struggling for money and even having to ask his friends and trainer for handouts. Braddock had a wife and 3 kids and one can only imagine the struggles of raising a family during the Great Depression.
Braddock’s fight with Max Baer on June 13, 1935, is considered one of the greatest ever and in terms of upsets against a fighter who was not only knocking out but in 2 cases killing his opponents. Braddock’s fight with Baer is the equal to the Ali-Foreman fight in 1974 where like Ali, nobody thought Braddock had a chance and most were afraid he might be killed by Baer. Despite all the long odds, Braddock won in a decision and completed an amazing comeback to win the heavyweight championship.
Ron Howard directed this great movie and its one of his best ever. Russel Crowe was outstanding playing Braddock as was Renée Zellweger who played his wife. The actor who stole the entire movie was Braddock’s trainer, played by Paul Giamonte. Giamonte’s emotion and concern over Braddock and his enthusiasm for his comeback were the best parts of this move and he was nominated for best supporting actor for this role, arguably his best ever.
At the end of this movie, the audience I saw it with stood up and applauded, which is something very rare in my experience. Everything about this movie was great, the acting and the boxing scenes and the great story. Cinderella Man is a definite must see movie.