This year, we saw two massive boxing movies in Southpaw, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and directed by Antoine Fuqua, as well as Creed, starring Michael B. Jordan and directed by Ryan Coogler. I would like to put forth the argument that both films belong in the top 8 boxing movies of all time.
Of course, when you make a statement like that, you need to provide context to back it up, and I have. Feast your eyes on my list of the greatest boxing movies of all time, in which both of the two aforementioned films are included. Disagree if you'd like and feel free to comment on what you think should change.
1. Rocky (1976)
I don't think there are too many people that you could find who would disagree with Rocky at number 1. An underdog story for the ages, this spawned multiple remakes, including Creed which you'll find a bit lower on this list as well.
2. Raging Bull (1980)
Scorsese and De Niro probably pack the biggest punch as far as a tandem for a boxing film. I actually considered Raging Bull at #1, but there's not the same level of classic nostalgia that you find in Rocky. Raging Bull easily could be the best film but Rocky is a more iconic character.
3. Creed (2015)
Yep. This is going to be controversial, and I understand why. But I simply think this is a legitimate #3 boxing film of all time. Everybody who doubted a Rocky spin-off (myself included) seems to be eating crow right now. It worked because of great direction, Sly Stallone, and Michael B. Jordan. In each of these films, that boxer-trainer relationship is so important and this could be one of the coolest ones on the entire list.
4. The Fighter (2010)
Mark Wahlberg perfectly encapsulated the Massachusetts demeanor and attitude in the form of a boxer made this a believable performance. And then, you throw in Christian Bale and you probably have some of the strongest acting of anything on the list as well. #4 could shock people, but I think it belongs.
5. Million Dollar Baby (2004)
Another classic tale of perseverance and "it doesn't matter where you're from, it's where you're going". Million Dollar Baby brought a female fighter into the limelight and Hillary Swank/Clint Eastwood were a great duo.
6. Southpaw (2015)
A gritty boxing film in tune with pop culture, Southpaw put Jake Gyllenhaal in the spotlight and he shined. Forest Whitaker was excellent as well, and while Gyllenhaal's character gets beaten down and loses everything... he also comes back and makes up for it through hard work and perfecting his craft.
7. Cinderella Man (2005)
Inspired by true events, a once-promising boxer (Russell Crowe) sidelined by an old injury returns to the ring to help his family during the Depression, in a true underdog story that tells of the fight of his life against heavyweight champion Max Baer (Craig Bierko). Cinderella Man may be a little low here in some eyes, but I think it's fair.
8. Ali (2001)
In one of my favorite Will Smith performances ever and in a movie about one of the best boxers ever, it would have been difficult to leave Ali off this list.
What do you think?