What is it about boxing films that appeals? Is it that the world of boxing represents a microcosm of the real world, where it takes hard work, grit and fearlessness to get ahead, and where the risks are high, and the rewards often come with their own problems? We enjoy the element of risk, and it makes as think that perhaps we have what it takes to understand our own problems.
Regardless of why we love them, a good boxing film is a great way to fight boredom on a rainy afternoon. So next time you feel like fighting against the day, why not check out one of these great boxing films currently available on Netflix.
IMDB Score 5.8/10
This film follows Miguel ‘Bayonet’ Galíndez, played by Luis Gerardo Méndez, a retired Mexican boxer who finds himself in Finland after his life takes a shocking turn for the worst. An unexpected opportunity to put his gloves back on in Finland my offer him a path to redemption, and the possibility to return to his family in Mexico. This is director Kyzza Terrazas’ second film, and while it might be a bit slow to get started and reveal it’s protagonist’s motivations, the combination of a redemption story and a mystery to solve works.
Cinderella Man (2005)
IMDB Score 8/10
Featuring Russell Crowe at the height of his career, this Ron Howard film stars Crowe as heavyweight boxing champ James J. Braddock, who was forced out of the ring by injury and into poverty due to the Great Depression. He returns to the ring despite his injury and has the opportunity to regain his fame and dig himself out of debt, but at what cost? Renée Zellweger plays Crow’s wife, and Paul Giamatti stands out in his supporting role.
Counter Punch (2017)
IMDB Score 6.8/10
In this Netflix original written and directed by Jay Bugler, we follow three boxers: a seasoned pro, an Olympic hopeful and a young up and comer. Each struggle as the popularity of boxing wanes and the opportunities to make it big, or make it at all, dry up. Each must make their own sacrifices to pursue their dream. The film has three strong leads in Oscar De La Hoya, David Diamante and Bernard Hopkins and will become an instant classic with any fans of the genre.
Dawg Fight (2015)
IMDB Score 6.3/10
This documentary film directed by Billy Corben dives into the life and career of mixed martial arts fighter Dhaffir ‘Dada’ Harris. Living in a suburban ghetto in Florida, Dada turns his passion and talent for fighting into an opportunity with an illegal backyard fighting ring. The documentary reveals the brutality of unregulated bare-knuckle fighting, and the sacrifices that people will make for their families and a better life. Meanwhile, can Dada make it in the mainstream MMA world?
Hands of Stone (2016)
IMDB Score 6.6/10
This biographical sports film follows the career of Panamanian former professional boxer Robert Durán. Featuring Édgar Ramírez as Durán and Robert De Niro as the legendary boxing trainer Ray Arcel that notices his raw talent. It plots Durán’s course from Panama to America and eventually a bout with Sugar Ray Leonard. Unfortunately, Durán seems determined to let the demons of his past stand in the way of his future success.
Heavy Heart (2015)
IMDB Score 7/10
This German boxing drama by director Thomas Stuber examines the career of former East German professional boxer Herbert, who takes on work as a debt collector and bouncer while training an upcoming boxer. Although Herbert tries to cover up his health problems, it is soon discovered that he has ALS, and must learn to live with the debilitating condition. How will he find meaning in his life when there is no longer a place for him in the world of boxing?
Mary Kom (2014)
IMDB Score 6.8/10
This Indian biographical sports film stars Priyanka Chopra as Mary Kom, a woman determined to become a boxer despite the objections of her family and culture. We follow Kom overcome all the odds to win the 2008 World Boxing Championships in Ningbo. Kom’s remarkable life is compelling enough, but Chopra’s performance, as well as the script by Saiwyn Quadras and Omung Kumar’s direction, are all excellent. The movie features Hindi music throughout, including a song by Chopra, named Chaoro (a lullaby).
South Paw (2015)
IMDB Score 7.4/10
This film stars Jake Gyllenhaal as a boxer who sets out to get his life back on track after losing his wife in an accident and his young daughter to protective services. Giving into alcohol abuse in the aftermath of his wife’s death, Gyllenhaal’s Billy must get the rest of his life back on track before returning to the ring to regain his fighting spirit. The film can be a bit harrowing, and may have drawn on every cliché, but Gyllenhaal’s performance, along with a strong supporting cast including Forrest Whitaker and Rachel McAdams, makes it a good watch.
IMDB Score 6.2/10
Steve Landry is an aging boxer with more losses than wins under his belt. With little prospects left in his fighting career, he takes a job as a sparring partner for an emerging talent. Starring Mattheu Kassovitz, this film manages to be more than just the French answer to Rocky. The movie has strong lessons about the power of will and determination, and about facing your limitations regardless of what other have to say.
IMDB Score 4.9/10
Directed by Alister Grierson, this sports drama is based on the true story of former Ontario flyweight boxing champion Pardeep Nagra. He was a Sikh boxer whose dreams were hindered by his refusal to shave his beard for religious reasons. A fighter, Nagra does not take this sitting down and fights against his discrimination, making him more well-known for his battle in the court room than the ring. Prem Singh stars as Nagra, and is supported by Mickey Rourke (the mandatory grizzled old American in all boxing movies).