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The Harder They Fall (1956)

Passed | | Drama, Film-Noir, Sport | 31 March 1956 (USA)
Down-on-his-luck ex-sportswriter Eddie Willis is hired by shady fight promoter Nick Benko to promote his latest find, an unknown but easily exploitable phenom from Argentina.

Director:

Mark Robson

Writers:

Philip Yordan (screen play), Budd Schulberg (based on a novel by)
Reviews
Popularity
4,197 ( 4,901)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Humphrey Bogart ... Eddie Willis
Rod Steiger ... Nick Benko
Jan Sterling ... Beth Willis
Mike Lane ... Toro Moreno
Max Baer ... Buddy Brannen
Jersey Joe Walcott Jersey Joe Walcott ... George
Edward Andrews ... Jim Weyerhause
Harold J. Stone ... Art Leavitt
Carlos Montalbán Carlos Montalbán ... Luís Agrandi (as Carlos Montalban)
Nehemiah Persoff ... Leo
Felice Orlandi ... Vince Fawcett
Herbie Faye ... Max
Rusty Lane ... Danny McKeogh
Jack Albertson ... Pop
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Storyline

After 17 years as a recognized and respected sports journalist in New York City, Eddie Willis finds himself out of a job when his newspaper folds. He's approached by a major fight promoter, Nick Benko, to act as a public relations man for his new heavyweight fighter Toro Moreno. Eddie knows the how the fight game works and after watching Toro in the ring, realizes Toro is nothing but a stiff who has no hope of succeeding. Benko offers him a sizable salary and an unlimited expense account and given his financial situation, he agrees. Benko's strategy to make money is one that has been used time again. Starting in California and moving east, they arrange a series of fights for Toro with stiffs and has-beens. All of the fights are rigged to build up his record and get him a fight with the heavyweight champion, Buddy Brannen, where they will make a sizable profit at the gate. Along the way, one boxer gets killed in the ring and Eddie begins to have serious doubts about what he is doing. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

No Punches Pulled! If you thought "On The Waterfront" hit hard... wait till you see this one!


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

31 March 1956 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La caída de un ídolo See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$1,350,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Columbia Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Joe Greb has a small and uncredited role as a brain-damaged boxer who gives an interview about the damaging effects of the sport. In reality, Greb had a 12 year career as a boxer and fought in 119 bouts during that period. Greb suffered irreparable brain damage from his time as a boxer and was a vocal proponent of fighter safety. In essence, he plays himself in this film. See more »

Goofs

As Eddie crosses a row of seats on his way to sit down at the Dundee fight, the collar of his overcoat turns up and down. See more »

Quotes

Reporter: What gives, Eddie? I looked up Toro in the book. There's no record of him in South America.
Eddie Willis: He knocked out thirty-eight guys in a row. None of them went over three rounds. You believe that one and I'll tell you another.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Dinner for Five: Episode #1.4 (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Bogie's last
14 February 2015 | by SnoopyStyleSee all my reviews

Respected sports writer Eddie Willis (Humphrey Bogart) is jobless when his newspaper folds. Fight promoter Nick Benko (Rod Steiger) wants to hire him as the press agent for his new heavyweight fighter Toro Moreno. The problem is that Toro is a big dumb giant stiff. Benko schemes to rig Toro's fights with nobodies building up his resume and get him a fight with the heavyweight champion Buddy Brannen.

Bogart is terrific as the morally conflicted Eddie. It's impressive considering he was unwell and this is his last film. He still carries the movie. Steiger is incredible as the bombastic croaked promoter. It's also a fine morality tale. The fight game has always been corrupted and this takes it to the extreme.


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