Tag Archives: Jake LaMotta

Best Boxing Films (10+1list)

Best Boxing Films.

written by Souranath Banerjee

The first boxing film I saw was Rocky, the epic violent scenes of rocky-posterSylvester Stallone battling it out in the ring for honor had made huge impact on me as a teenager, so much so that I wanted to be a boxer at the time! 

But soon enough I saw a real boxing match (The Bite Fight) where Mike Tyson tries to bite off Evander Holyfield’s ear and that sure helped me change my career options and for good.

In fact boxing as a game can be traced back to as early as the Bronze Age (between 3000 BC and 2500 BC).

It is indeed one of the most barbaric form of sport which has it’s roots directly imbedded in the times when gladiators were thrown in an arena for the sheer sadistic pleasure of the viewers, and the so called entertainers had to battle it out till their last breath!

champion-posterOf course the rules have been civilized and sophisticated.

Today, the boxers are generously paid and in return are encouraged only to hit and knock down their opponent (instead of killing them) and we, the (less demanding) audience still enjoy the blood, the pain and the agony of two people fighting each other purely for our entertainment.

We not only buy expensive tickets to cheer them live on stage, but also relish a few emotional movies made on their lives (be it fictional or biographical); a combination of the boxer’s sentimental family background and enough gory fight sequences always seem to work fine for us!

So, let’s celebrate some of the Best Boxing Films ever made till date.

Let the rounds begin!

10. Ali (2001)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nl2FSulKQq4

ali-posterHe often unapologetically boasted that he was THE greatest boxer of all times and who can say he was wrong in saying that?

Directed by Michael Mann, this is one of the best biographical account of the all time famous boxing legend Muhammad Ali.

The film is a perfect balance of his epic success in the ring and also his famous personal life.

9. The Boxer (1997)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o55UrRbni50

The-boxer-posterA man recently out of prison tries to resume his life as a boxer and starts a boxing club to train fresh talents.

Directed by Jim Sheridan, this film is not entirely on boxing and it’s glory but about the power of boxing as a sport that has the ability to knit a community (or at least try to). 

Brilliant film that doesn’t shy away from commenting on political violence and it’s after effects.

8. Southpaw (2015)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mh2ebPxhoLs

southpaw-poster1A tragic accident crashes a boxing champion’s life but he needs to trin himself, comeback for the title and win, at least for the sake of his young daughter.

(click for review)

Directed by Antoine Fuqua, the film boasts of some brilliant acting and realistic gory fights along with a decent touch of emotions from a boxer’s life.

7. Fat City (1972)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UevWnct5pkQ

fat-city-posterOne young enthusiastic boxer and the other one is a middle aged fighter, and how their life stories get intertwined.

Superlative acting and an uncommon way of storytelling that makes this film unique.

Directed by John Huston, this is one of the most unconventional boxing film that deserves a lot more attention than the usual.

6. Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3h4EHZSj6k

requiem-for-a-heavyweight-movie-poster-1962-1020209637According to the doctor boxer Mountain Rivera must put an end to his career because of his injuries but his crafty manager is all set to use him for one last fight!

Directed by Ralph Nelson, this is one outstanding film that revolves around a boxer’s life and portrays the sad scenario of how a boxer is often used as a tool to make money by the people he trusts.    

5. Cinderella Man (2005)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DlbHzcH4VJY

Cinderella-Man-posterThe brilliant comeback story of James Braddock, a boxer whose career was supposedly over, returned to the ring and became a winner.

Directed by Ron Howard, this Oscar nominated film is such a enchanting tale that successfully teleports you to that particular era (1930s) and makes you attached to the Braddock family for real. Probably the most emotional boxing film I have ever seen.

4. Creed (2015)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCBzWLVQgk8

creed-posterThe latest in the Rocky series, but this time Rocky Balboa doesn’t fight himself but mentors one of his past rival Apollo Creed’s son to become a champion.

Great script and awesome acting, and most interestingly superbly realistic fight sequences that makes the film unique.

Directed by Ryan Coogler, the film does keep up to the great tradition of Rocky Balboa’s legacy.

3. The Fighter (2010)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71l-kIhJ5j8

fighter-posterDirected by David O. Russell, this is one film that is very close to my heart, not entirely because of the tensions inside the boxing ring but also outside it. 

The film portrays the the early years of boxer “Irish” Micky Ward and his brother Dicky Eklund who was also his trainer.

Absolutely brilliant performances and a great biographical boxing drama.

2. Million Dollar Baby (2004)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_RsHRmIRBY

million-dollar-baby-posterWon four Oscars including Best picture, a film that tells a tale of extreme determination and courage, the story of a woman who trains herself against all odds to become a professional boxer.

Directed by Clint Eastwood, it is one of the most riveting boxing film that highlights the trainer-trainee relationship to a new height.

A recent Indian boxing drama Mary Kom also has a similar story line but then it’s also a biographical account of famous Indian boxing champion Mary Kom.

1. Raging Bull (1980)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YiVOwxsa4OM

raging-bull-posterThe biographical take on renowned boxer Jake LaMotta, his violent temper and destructive attitude that affects his life both in and out of the boxing ring! 

Exceptional performances, brilliant direction, camera and edit and a perfect script – winner of two Oscars.

An epic boxing drama, probably the most popular boxing film ever, directed by none other than Martin Scorsese!

and (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most innovative one. A must watch)

+1. The Set-Up (1949)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vbuwvR3q_o

set-up-posterA rare combination of a film-noir and a boxing film!

Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Robert Wise, this is one dark sports-drama were the boxer desperately tries to win the big game, unaware that a bet has been placed by his manager for him to lose!

Great storytelling and the boxing scenes are superbly shot, I am sure this film is the inspiration for many future boxing films that followed through the years ahead.

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.comwww.themoviedb.orgwww.traileraddict.comstallonezone.com

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Best of Martin Scorsese

Best of Martin Scorsese.

written by Souranath Banerjee.

Superlative adjectives like ‘most significant’, ‘most influential’, ‘the best director of our times’, ‘the greatest storyteller’, all begin to make sense when used in context of the one and only – Martin Scorsese.

The man with thick black, bushy eyebrows who has managed to won every prestigious awards that exists in this world (Academy Award, a Palme d’OrCannes Film Festival Best Director AwardSilver LionGrammy AwardEmmysGolden GlobesBAFTAsDGA Awards and even the AFI Life Achievement Award).

Directed almost 60 films till date, Scorsese is also renowned as a producer, screenwriter, actor, and film historian.

His innovative styles of filmmaking are taught in every film-school all over the world; one of the very few directors whose films are both commercially and critically acclaimed.

Robert De Niro, Leonardo DiCaprioHarvey Keitel are some of the actors with whom Martin Scorsese has worked the most and together they created some legendary cinema.

But for now i have listed some of his best feature films (no shorts or documentaries in this list).

Let the fun begin.

1. The Departed (2006)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=auYbpnEwBBg

departed-poster

A remake of Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs (2002), an ultimate game of deceit between an cop and a mole in the police department. 

Along with Leonardo DiCaprio we have Matt Damon and Jack Nicholson, what a combination of actors and such brilliant performances!

Four Oscar wins including best director award for Scorsese.

2. Casino (1995)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJXDMwGWhoA

casino-poster

Robert De NiroSharon Stone (got an Academy Award nomination for her role) and of course Joe Pesci – and a hard hitting story of power and greed.

One of the most violent films that Scorsese ever made and it’s also the eighth and final collaboration with Robert De Niro

Best Casino drama ever!

3. Gangs of New York (2002)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5YmI2PW9R8

gnags-of-newyork-poster

Nominated in ten categories in the Oscars, an extraordinary period film that has it’s own cult following.

Leonardo DiCaprioCameron Diaz and  Daniel Day-Lewis (as Bill ‘The Butcher’) at their very best.

A revenge drama; a boy who returns to kill his father’s murderer.

And also with this film starts the actor/director bonding between DiCaprio and Scorsese.

4. Mean Streets (1973)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rCwjzn0CncA

mean-streets-poster

One of Scorsese’s earliest classics and in this one Scorsese works with Robert De Niro for the first time.

Harvey Keitel along with David Proval gives terrific performances. 

A gang of friends, small time hoods who hustle and try to make a living in the mean streets of New York.

Extensive use of hand-held camera and also camera-strapped-to-the-body technique for drunken effect.

5. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=idAVRvQeYAE

The-Wolf-of-Wall-Street-PosterFive Oscar nominations and the most entertaining film of recent times!

Leonardo DiCaprio along with Jonah Hill and Matthew McConaughey gives out their best.

Based on a wealthy stockbroker Jordan Belfort’s exciting life, the film is a roller-coaster ride of unlimited money, crime, drugs, sex, corruption and sheer madness.  

6. Goodfellas (1990)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qo5jJpHtI1Y

GoodFellas-film-poster

Six Academy Award nominations and Joe Pesci winning the Oscar in the ‘best actor in a supporting role’ category. 

Outstanding performance by Robert De Niro and for Ray Liotta – his best role ever. 

Based on the life of Henry Hill, this film is regarded as one of the greatest gangster drama. Extreme use of curse words and violence but highly entertaining as well.

7. The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJKxg4p-Alk

last-temptation-of-christ-poster

Controversial yet brilliant, this one is Scorsese’s most courageous project till date.

Willem Dafoe superbly portrays the pain and joy of Christ. Harvey Keitel and Barbara Hershey at their best. 

Based on Nikos Kazantzakis‘s novel, the story of Christ and his last and final temptation on the cross. 

8. The King of Comedy (1982)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0wVhCCo02P4

king-of-comedy-poster

An ambitious comedian who disrupts  famous celebrity Jerry Lewis‘s private life.

This film is very different from Scorsese’s general trend; a perfect black comedy with subtle dialogues and awesome acting.

According to Scorsese himself this was Robert De Niro‘s best performance under his direction.

9. The Aviator (2004)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FebPJlmgldE

aviator-poster

A take on the life of eccentric genius film director Howard Hughes who is also ‘the aviator’!

Leonardo DiCaprioCate Blanchett (won the Oscar as the best supporting actress) and Kate Beckinsale have given their best. Acting debut of singer Gwen Stefani as well.

A biopic that had total eleven Oscar nominations and five wins!

10. Raging Bull (1980)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YiVOwxsa4OM

raging-bull-poster

Robert De Niro plays the famous boxer Jake LaMotta (for which he won the best actor Oscar) and Joe Pesci (his brother) and Cathy Moriarty (his wife).

Best boxing movie ever made which had eight Oscar nominations and two wins.

De Niro gained a record 60 pounds to look the part. A violent life both in and out of the ring portrayed to perfection.

and (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most unique and crazy one. A must watch).

+1. Taxi Driver (1976)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cujiHDeqnHY

taxidriver-posterA mentally unstable Vietnam war veteran, a nighttime taxi driver in New York, an obsessed man with a mission, a violent man with good intentions. 

Robert De Niro nominated for the Academy Awards, undoubtedly best performance of his lifetime. Jodie Foster and Harvey Keitel at their best.

The director won the prestigious Palme d’Or award for this film.

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