The Off the Ball team pick their favourite boxing films

Here are the best boxing films according to the team

BY Newstalk 14:53 Tuesday 12 January 2016, 14:53 12 Jan 2016

In case you have been living under a rock on the moon, you may have heard that there's a new Rocky film on the way and this one involves the son of one of his toughest opponents, Apollo Creed.

Creed is the seventh film in the brilliant series but there are quite a few great, albeit formulaic, boxing films out there. You know the type, underdog decides to train, boxing montage, loses his/her first fight and then finally named the champion.

With one of the stars of the movie, Tony Bellew on the show tonight, we spoke to the Off The Ball guys this week about some of their favourite boxing films and why they love them so much.

Raging Bull 

Ger Gilroy
"We interviewed Jake LaMotta in person once in Manhattan while making a documentary on John Duddy. It was 2007 I think, so he was 85 years old and for someone who'd fought 106 professional fights, he was still all there. He abused us roundly for being cheap - we were paying him a couple of hundred dollars in cash - and we were delighted to feel the sharp end of his tongue.
The movie isn't really a sports movie but the stylised fight scenes are even better than some more hyper-realistic stuff and it always stands up to repeated viewing."
Adrian Barry
"To my shame, I watched this for the first time in 2015. It's based on the life of former Middleweight Champion of the World Jake Lamotta. But it's not really a boxing movie as such. The ebb and flow of Lamotta's obsessive personality - brilliant in the ring, frequently a brute out of it - and an exploration of the human condition make this a must-see. 
Boxing is the ultimate sport to make movies about and Raging Bull is the ultimate boxing movie. And by the way, the opening titles sequence is a thing of serious beauty.

'and though I can fight, I'd much rather recite. That's entertainment!' Class."
Eoin Sheahan
"The film that may have saved Scorsese's career and provided de Niro's only best actor Oscar kills everything in this field. Gets all the plaudits for the magnificent style in which it was shot, but let's not forget Moe Szyslak's quoting of the line "he ain't pretty no more" in an episode of The Simpsons. Best endorsement possible."

The Champ

Mick McCarthy

I've gone for The Champ, the 1979 film starring Jon Voight and Faye Dunaway. It one of those films I've found myself dragged into so many times over the years and never found the will to turn it off before its incredible ending.

Voight plays a washed up former boxing champ, who is a single father to TJ, played brilliantly by Ricky Schroder. As a part time horse trainer with growing gambling debts, he struggles to bring TJ up properly and decides getting back in the ring is his only option.

Voight is brilliant as the vulnerable tough guy and the relationship between Champ and TJ is one of the best father-son dynamics in film, which is what makes the film so memorable.

Without giving away the ending - the clip below will do that fine - there will be tears."


Joe Molloy

"I'm a massive Rocky fan. Even Rocky V doesn't horrify me the way it should. The films are cheesy, overly sentimental, unrealistic and cliched to the hilt. Of the first Rocky in November 1976, the New York Times Review said "Mr. Stallone's Rocky is less a performance than an impersonation. It's all superficial mannerisms and movements. The speech patterns sound right and what he says is occasionally lifelike, but it's a studied routine, not a character. The problem, I think, comes back to Mr. Stallone." All of that is kind of true, but also overlooks the power of the whole franchise; it’s hard not to love and root for Rocky Balboa. Push me to pick a favourite and its Rocky IV. It was the first Rocky film I saw and was love at first sight. Plus, increasingly, Stallone is getting the hang of the old acting routine and the character has more depth and layers than in 1976."

Fight Club

Nathan Murphy

"Fight Club - Quit your job. Start a fight. Prove you're alive."


Colm 'Wooly' Parkinson

"What's not to love? Brad Pitt topless, buff and a brilliant boxer... in a trilby hat."

Rocky Balboa

Oisin Langan
"As my sister put it “of course you liked Rocky Balboa, it’s a guy version of a chic flick”. When I really thought about, I realised how right she was as the Rocky movies, with the exception of Rocky V which never happened, play on our emotions and deals with them in a way that we can understand and not be embarrassed, as it’s sport. Every sports fan loves nostalgia and the impossible and Rocky Balboa combined both wonderfully with some motivational speeches and well-choreographed fight scenes along the way."

The Fighter 

Tommy Rooney

"The Fighter is one of my favourite boxing films. I've always thought Mark Walhberg and Christian Bale were a brilliant combination for it. Wahlberg was great as Micky Ward but Bale's portrayal of Dicky is really memorable. Really good story and enjoyable film too!"

When We Were Kings

Raf Diallo
"It goes without saying that Muhammad Ali was an interesting fella. He's the centre-piece of this 1996 documentary film which tells the story of his iconic battle against George Foreman at the Rumble in the Jungle in dictator Mobutu's Zaire way back in 1974." 

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