Though there are many sports that capture the attention of an audience, boxing has always been a favorite thanks to its combination of athleticism, strategy, and sheer brutality. When it comes to big screen boxing matches, there have been some truly legendary bouts that also inspire people in real life. The following lists the five best big screen boxing matches and why their artistry makes them must-sees.
The Fighter (2010)
The Fighter is a biographical sports drama film that follows the life of professional boxer Micky Ward, played by Mark Wahlberg. The film depicts the struggles and triumphs of Ward's career, and the relationships he has with his family, particularly his brother and trainer, Dicky Eklund, played by Christian Bale.
The final fight in the film, where Wahlberg takes on his contender, is a truly epic showdown. The tension leading up to the fight is palpable, as Micky's family and friends are divided over whether he should even take the fight. But when Micky steps into the ring, all reservations are gone. The fight itself is a brutal and intense affair, with both boxers exchanging blow after blow. In the end, Micky emerges victorious, cementing his legacy as a true champion.
The camera work is dynamic and visceral, putting the audience right in the middle of the action. And the editing is masterful, capturing the ebb and flow of the fight and leaving the audience at the edge of their seats.
Rocky III (1982)
Rocky III is the third installment in the Rocky film series, and sees Rocky Balboa facing off against his toughest opponent yet: Clubber Lang, played by Mr. T. The film is known for its iconic training montage, as well as its memorable soundtrack.
The final fight in the film, where Rocky takes on Clubber in a rematch, is prefaced on redemption and insecurity. Rocky struggles with his fear of his contender and his own insecurities about his abilities; however, once he steps into the ring, he is ready to take on whatever comes his way. Each man puts their all into the fight, demonstrating perhaps one of the most iconic scenes in boxing history.
Though the genre of boxing has been featured on-screen before, the Rocky franchise elevated the ways in which boxing is portrayed to a mass audience. This scene in particular, accurately captured the raw intensity of a real boxing match. The camera work is gritty, and sometimes unrealistic, but the fight choreography is superb and gripping. What makes the Rocky franchises especially appealing is the way it reflects real boxing life and became a symbol of self-respect and perseverance.
Creed is a sports drama film that serves as both a spin-off and a sequel to the Rocky film series. The film stars Michael B. Jordan as Adonis "Donnie" Johnson Creed, the son of legendary boxer Apollo Creed, who is on the quest to become a champion.
The final fight in the film, where Donnie takes "Pretty" Ricky Conlan is a truly electrifying showdown. The build-up to the fight is intense, as Donnie struggles with the weight of his family legacy and the pressure to succeed. But once the bell rings, audiences view a fast-paced and exhilarating affair, with both boxers trading devastating blows.
This scene blends classic Rocky-style storytelling with modern, high-energy filmmaking. And of course, the performances of Jordan and Stallone are exceptional- the third installment of this series, Creed III, will be released on March 3, 2023.
Ali is a biographical sports drama film that follows the life of the legendary boxer Muhammad Ali, played by Will Smith. The film explores Ali's rise to fame, his conversion to Islam, and his refusal to fight in the Vietnam War.
The film culminates in Ali's iconic "Rumble in the Jungle" fight against George Foreman. The fight itself is a masterclass in boxing, as Ali uses his trademark speed and footwork to wear down Foreman and ultimately knock him out. This scene is not only representative of Smith’s exceptional talent as an actor, but his ability to embody one of the most iconic individuals, Ali, in boxing history. The way the scene is shot and edited, as well as the powerhouse performances of the actors makes this scene a must-watch.
This biographical drama tells the story of Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, a middleweight boxer who was wrongfully convicted of murder and spent nearly 20 years in prison before being exonerated. The film stars Denzel Washington as Carter, and follows his fight to prove his innocence and clear his name.
The film has some gripping scenes, including a powerful monologue by Washington, but the most memorable is the boxing match between Carter and Joey Giardello, which is shot and edited in a way that captures the brutality and intensity of a real boxing match. This scene captures Washington's powerhouse performance, as well as the film's exceptional storytelling and emotional depth.
Creed III is now playing at Regal.