A Requiem for a Heavyweight (Boxing in Film Noir)

by osloj | created - 11 Jan 2017 | updated - 13 Jan 2017 | Public

"Well, that's the way it is. You're a fighter, you gotta fight."

The Set-Up (1949).

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1. The Set-Up (1949)

Approved | 73 min | Crime, Film-Noir, Sport

Because aging boxer Bill Thompson always lost his past fights, his corrupt manager, without telling Thompson, takes bribes from a betting gangster, to ensure Thompson's pre-arranged dive-loss in the next match.

Director: Robert Wise | Stars: Robert Ryan, Audrey Totter, George Tobias, Alan Baxter

Votes: 7,082

2. Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962)

Not Rated | 95 min | Drama, Sport

Mountain Rivera, a punchy has-been managed by the unprincipled Maish, is mauled in a fight and forced to quit boxing. Can his devoted cutman and a sympathetic social worker help him find a ... See full summary »

Director: Ralph Nelson | Stars: Anthony Quinn, Jackie Gleason, Mickey Rooney, Julie Harris

Votes: 3,649

3. Playhouse 90 (1956–1961)
Episode: Requiem for a Heavyweight (1956)

73 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

An over-the-hill heavyweight boxing champion who suffers from the ravages of years of head trauma is exploited by his manager, despite the efforts of a compassionate young woman who tries to help him recover his self-respect.

Director: Ralph Nelson | Stars: Jack Palance, Keenan Wynn, Kim Hunter, Ed Wynn

Votes: 207

4. Champion (1949)

Approved | 99 min | Drama, Film-Noir, Sport

Boxer Midge Kelly rises to fame...mainly by stepping on other people.

Director: Mark Robson | Stars: Kirk Douglas, Arthur Kennedy, Marilyn Maxwell, Paul Stewart

Votes: 3,317

5. Body and Soul (1947)

Approved | 104 min | Drama, Film-Noir, Sport

A talented boxer's young career hits difficult terrain when an unethical promoter takes interest in him.

Director: Robert Rossen | Stars: John Garfield, Lilli Palmer, Hazel Brooks, Anne Revere

Votes: 3,996

6. The Twilight Zone (1959–1964)
Episode: The Big Tall Wish (1960)

TV-PG | 25 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

An aging boxer finds himself the winner of a match he thought he had lost, the result a six year old's frantic wish. But can a world-weary, embittered man still believe in miracles, or will he turn his back on it?

Director: Ron Winston | Stars: Rod Serling, Ivan Dixon, Steven Perry, Kim Hamilton

Votes: 1,805

7. The Fighter (1952)

Not Rated | 78 min | Drama, Film-Noir, Sport

In Mexico, a young boxer uses his winnings to buy guns to avenge his family's murder.

Director: Herbert Kline | Stars: Richard Conte, Vanessa Brown, Lee J. Cobb, Frank Silvera

Votes: 97

8. Tennessee Champ (1954)

Approved | 73 min | Drama

A little B-picture that M-G-M tossed out, barely promoted and forgot about but one that is better than some of the A-dross from Leo in the same era. Shelley Winters, after an absence of 15 ... See full summary »

Director: Fred M. Wilcox | Stars: Shelley Winters, Keenan Wynn, Dewey Martin, Earl Holliman

Votes: 176

9. The Twilight Zone (1959–1964)
Episode: Steel (1963)

TV-PG | 25 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

In 1974, boxing has been outlawed and is performed by mechanical robots. With his next and possibly last fight approaching and his robot in need of repair, he resorts to one last desperate gamble.

Director: Don Weis | Stars: Lee Marvin, Joe Mantell, Chuck Hicks, Merritt Bohn

Votes: 1,118

10. The Harder They Fall (1956)

Passed | 109 min | Drama, Film-Noir, Sport

An ex-sportswriter is hired by a shady fight promoter to promote his latest find, an unknown but easily exploitable rising star from Argentina.

Director: Mark Robson | Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Rod Steiger, Jan Sterling, Mike Lane

Votes: 6,469

11. On the Waterfront (1954)

Not Rated | 108 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

91 Metascore

An ex-prize fighter turned longshoreman struggles to stand up to his corrupt union bosses.

Director: Elia Kazan | Stars: Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Lee J. Cobb, Rod Steiger

Votes: 131,771 | Gross: $9.60M

12. Right Cross (1950)

Passed | 90 min | Drama, Sport

Prizefighter Johnny is in love with his promoter O'Malley's daughter Pat. His best friend, sports reporter Rick, is also in love with her but knows that she loves Johnny. Lonely Rick takes ... See full summary »

Director: John Sturges | Stars: June Allyson, Dick Powell, Ricardo Montalban, Lionel Barrymore

Votes: 348

13. The Joe Palooka Story (1954– )


Joe Palooka is a mild mannered boxer who is in love with Anne and goes about life in a gentle way. This syndicated series was based on a narrative first popular as a comic book, then a radio show.

Stars: Joe Kirkwood Jr., Cathy Downs, Maxie Rosenbloom, Luis Van Rooten

Votes: 19

14. After Dark, My Sweet (1990)

R | 114 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

78 Metascore

An ex-boxer is drifting around after escaping from the mental hospital. He meets a widow who convinces him to help fix up the neglected estate her ex-husband left. Her Uncle talks them both... See full summary »

Director: James Foley | Stars: Jason Patric, Rachel Ward, Bruce Dern, Rocky Giordani

Votes: 3,020 | Gross: $2.68M

A neo-noir film.

15. The Square Jungle (1955)

Approved | 86 min | Drama, Film-Noir, Sport

Grocery clerk Eddie Quaid, in danger of losing his father to alcoholism and his girl Julie through lack of career prospects, goes into boxing. His cop friend McBride finances him; ex-con ... See full summary »

Director: Jerry Hopper | Stars: Tony Curtis, Pat Crowley, Ernest Borgnine, Paul Kelly

Votes: 192

16. Winner Take All (1932)

Unrated | 66 min | Drama

Young boxer Jim Kane, resting at a New Mexico "health ranch," meets and falls for Peggy Harmon, former nightclub table singer...who needs $600 more for her sickly son to stay in the place. ... See full summary »

Director: Roy Del Ruth | Stars: James Cagney, Marian Nixon, Guy Kibbee, Dickie Moore

Votes: 448

17. The Champ (I) (1931)

Passed | 86 min | Drama, Sport

An alcoholic ex-boxer struggles to provide a good living for his son.

Director: King Vidor | Stars: Wallace Beery, Jackie Cooper, Irene Rich, Roscoe Ates

Votes: 2,517

18. World in My Corner (1956)

Approved | 82 min | Drama, Film-Noir, Sport

Up and coming ambitious boxer Tommy Shea must choose between making dishonest money with crooked promoter Harry Cram or honestly winning a title, as advised by his manager Dave Bernstein.

Director: Jesse Hibbs | Stars: Audie Murphy, Barbara Rush, Jeff Morrow, John McIntire

Votes: 142

19. Raging Bull (1980)

R | 129 min | Biography, Drama, Sport

89 Metascore

The life of boxer Jake LaMotta, whose violence and temper that led him to the top in the ring destroyed his life outside of it.

Director: Martin Scorsese | Stars: Robert De Niro, Cathy Moriarty, Joe Pesci, Frank Vincent

Votes: 296,881 | Gross: $23.38M

Mix of neo-noir.

20. Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956)

Passed | 113 min | Biography, Drama, Sport

Boxer Rocky Graziano's biopic, based on his autobiography, from childhood to his World Middleweight Championship title win at age 28 in 1947.

Director: Robert Wise | Stars: Paul Newman, Pier Angeli, Everett Sloane, Eileen Heckart

Votes: 6,895

21. The Ring (1952)

Approved | 79 min | Drama

A young American of Mexican decent in East Los Angeles, California uses the boxing ring to make a better life for himself and his family, and learns as much about being a Latino in a white society as he does about boxing.

Director: Kurt Neumann | Stars: Gerald Mohr, Rita Moreno, Lalo Rios, Robert Arthur

Votes: 638

22. Pepe El Toro (1953)

Not Rated | 120 min | Drama

Pepe el Toro becomes a boxer and accidentally kills his best friend during a semi-final match. Channeling his anger and frustration, Pepe goes on to win the championship while beginning ... See full summary »

Director: Ismael Rodríguez | Stars: Pedro Infante, Evita Muñoz 'Chachita', Amanda del Llano, Irma Dorantes

Votes: 422

23. Gentleman Jim (1942)

Approved | 104 min | Biography, Drama, Romance

As bareknuckled boxing enters the modern era, brash extrovert Jim Corbett uses new rules and dazzlingly innovative footwork to rise to the top of the top of the boxing world.

Director: Raoul Walsh | Stars: Errol Flynn, Alexis Smith, Jack Carson, Alan Hale

Votes: 3,005

About heavyweight boxing champion James J. Corbett (1866-1933).

24. The Leather Pushers (1930)

A series of ten 2-reel dramas, each story complete in itself, centered around the sport of boxing. Individual titles are: #1: Kid Roberts/Hooks and Eyes; #2: Hammer and Tongs/David and ... See full summary »

Director: Albert H. Kelley | Stars: Kane Richmond, Sally Blane, Sam Hardy

25. City for Conquest (1940)

Passed | 104 min | Drama, Music, Sport

Danny is a content truck driver, but his girl Peggy shows potential as a dancer and hopes he too can show ambition. Danny acquiesces and pursues boxing to please her, but the two begin to spend more time working than time together.

Directors: Anatole Litvak, Jean Negulesco | Stars: James Cagney, Ann Sheridan, Arthur Kennedy, Donald Crisp

Votes: 1,974

26. San Francisco (1936)

Unrated | 115 min | Drama, Musical, Romance

A Barbary Coast saloonkeeper and a Nob Hill impresario are rivals for the affections of a beautiful singer, both personally and professionally in 1906 San Francisco.

Director: W.S. Van Dyke | Stars: Clark Gable, Jeanette MacDonald, Spencer Tracy, Jack Holt

Votes: 4,601

27. Air of Paris (1954)

Not Rated | 110 min | Drama, Sport

The story of Andre Menard, a promising young amateur boxer from an impoverished background who is mentored by former pro Victor Le Garrec, and whose career path takes a nosedive when he falls for the wealthy Corinne.

Director: Marcel Carné | Stars: Jean Gabin, Arletty, Roland Lesaffre, Marie Daëms

Votes: 428

28. They Made Me a Criminal (1939)

Approved | 92 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

A boxer flees believing he has comitted a murder while he was drunk.

Director: Busby Berkeley | Stars: John Garfield, Claude Rains, The Dead End Kids, Ann Sheridan

Votes: 1,840

29. Roaring City (1951)

Passed | 59 min | Action, Adventure, Crime

Dennis O'Brien is hired by Barton to bet on Harper, an old fighter, against Lundy, placing the bets in the name of Steve Belzig. Lundy dies of a blood clot during the bout. At Barton's ... See full summary »

Director: William Berke | Stars: Hugh Beaumont, Edward Brophy, Richard Travis, Joan Valerie

Votes: 58

30. Golden Gloves (1940)

Approved | 66 min | Crime, Drama, Sport

Bill Crane, an up and coming honest boxer, runs afoul of Taggerty and his fellow racketeers by fighting fair. They set out to ruin Crane but with the support of his girl Mary and newspaperman Matson the pugilist stands up to the mob.

Director: Edward Dmytryk | Stars: Richard Denning, Jeanne Cagney, J. Carrol Naish, Robert Paige

Votes: 30

31. Iron Man (1931)

73 min | Drama

Prizefighter Mason loses his opening fight so wife Rose leaves him for Hollywood. Without her around Mason trains and starts winning. Rose comes back and wants Mason to dump his manager Regan and replace him with her secret lover Lewis.

Director: Tod Browning | Stars: Lew Ayres, Robert Armstrong, Jean Harlow, John Miljan

Votes: 182

32. Iron Man (1951)

Approved | 82 min | Drama, Film-Noir, Sport

An ambitious coal miner is talked into becoming a boxer by his gambler brother.

Director: Joseph Pevney | Stars: Jeff Chandler, Evelyn Keyes, Stephen McNally, Rock Hudson

Votes: 147

33. Glory Alley (1952)

Approved | 79 min | Drama, Music

In New Orleans, prizefighter Socks Barbarrosa suddenly runs out of the ring before his title bout, and swears he'll never fight again. He gives no reason for his strange actions. His girl ... See full summary »

Director: Raoul Walsh | Stars: Ralph Meeker, Leslie Caron, Kurt Kasznar, Gilbert Roland

Votes: 380

34. 99 River Street (1953)

Not Rated | 83 min | Action, Crime, Drama

A former boxer turned cab driver has to hide from the police when his badgering wife is murdered by the jewel thief she was having an affair with.

Director: Phil Karlson | Stars: John Payne, Evelyn Keyes, Brad Dexter, Frank Faylen

Votes: 2,313

35. Dragnet Night (1931)

90 min | Drama

A sailor, who meets a lovely music hall singer during a police raid, falls in love. In a contest at a fair, he defeats a former boxing champ. The ex-champ trains the sailor to become a ... See full summary »

Director: Carmine Gallone | Stars: Albert Préjean, Lucien Baroux, Edith Méra, Jacques Lerner

Votes: 16

36. The Crowd Roars (1938)

Passed | 90 min | Action, Drama

A young boxer gets caught between a no-good father and a crime boss when he starts dating the boss's daughter, although she doesn't know what daddy does for a living.

Director: Richard Thorpe | Stars: Robert Taylor, Edward Arnold, Frank Morgan, Maureen O'Sullivan

Votes: 338

37. Killer McCoy (1947)

Approved | 104 min | Drama

Following a mishap in the ring, hard-nosed lightweight Tommy "Killer" McCoy gets mixed-up with a big-time gambler and falls for his educated daughter, Sheila, against her father's better wishes.

Director: Roy Rowland | Stars: Mickey Rooney, Brian Donlevy, Ann Blyth, James Dunn

Votes: 308 | Gross: $2.00M

38. The Fighting Champ (1932)

59 min | Western

Steele gets into a fight with a ranch foreman, knocking the foreman out. The foreman was supposed to represent the ranch in a prize fight with a middleweight champion. Now Steele finds himself in the fight of his life.

Director: John P. McCarthy | Stars: Bob Steele, Arletta Duncan, Kit Guard, George Chesebro

Votes: 30

39. The Big Chance (1933)

Passed | 62 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

Gangsters try to get a boxer to throw an important fight.

Director: Albert Herman | Stars: John Darrow, Merna Kennedy, Natalie Moorhead, Mickey Rooney

Votes: 123

40. The Narrow Corner (1933)

TV-PG | 69 min | Drama

An Englishman sought for murder escapes to South Seas island.

Director: Alfred E. Green | Stars: Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Patricia Ellis, Ralph Bellamy, Dudley Digges

Votes: 226

41. Palooka (1934)

Unrated | 86 min | Comedy, Music

Knobby discovers young hunk Palooka and trains him to fight the reigning champ, also drunken sot, Al McSwatt.

Director: Benjamin Stoloff | Stars: Jimmy Durante, Lupe Velez, Stuart Erwin, Marjorie Rambeau

Votes: 268

42. Flying Fists (1937)

Passed | 63 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

A lumberjack knocks out a champion boxer in a brawl, gets drawn into the boxing world where he is unknowingly set up for a fixed fight.

Director: Robert F. Hill | Stars: Bruce Bennett, Jeanne Martel, Fuzzy Knight, J. Farrell MacDonald

Votes: 35

43. Golden Boy (1939)

Approved | 99 min | Drama, Romance, Sport

Despite his musical talent, Joe Bonaparte wants to be a boxer.

Director: Rouben Mamoulian | Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Adolphe Menjou, William Holden, Lee J. Cobb

Votes: 1,619

46. Ex-Champ (1939)

Approved | 64 min | Drama

A former prizefighter tries to help his son pay off his gambling debts.

Director: Phil Rosen | Stars: Victor McLaglen, Tom Brown, Nan Grey, William Frawley

Votes: 7

47. The Kid from Kokomo (1939)

Approved | 93 min | Comedy, Romance

A fight promoter finds his fighter, Wayne Morris, in the sticks, a country hick left by his mother when he was young and he won't leave his home as he is still waiting for her to return to ... See full summary »

Director: Lewis Seiler | Stars: Pat O'Brien, Wayne Morris, Joan Blondell, May Robson

Votes: 129

48. The Big Punch (1948)

80 min | Drama

A boxer turned minister offers shelter to a tank fighter framed for killing a policeman.

Director: Sherry Shourds | Stars: Wayne Morris, Lois Maxwell, Gordon MacRae, Mary Stuart

Votes: 32

49. Winner Take All (1939)

Approved | 61 min | Adventure, Crime, Drama