Keeping with the film theme, here are my all time great boxing movies:
Fat City. (1972) John Huston A movie about more than boxing. And like many on this list, it doesn't glamourise the sport. Stacy Keach gives a fine performance
When We Were Kings. (1996) Leon Gast's wonderful documentary about the Ali - versus - Foreman fight in Zaire. It takes in all the hoopla surrounding the fight (think Mailer, Plimpton, James Brown etc.) as well as direct footage of the two heavyweights training and fighting.
On the Waterfront (1956) Elia Kazan Brando in his "coulda been a contender" role. Rod Steiger is great as his corrupt brother. The fights are a dirty game.
Body and Soul (1947) Robert Rossen Classic biopic. Good entertainment.
Million Dollar Baby (2004) Clint Eastwood Eastwood stars too. Hilary Swank becomes another person for this movie. Utterly believeable. Morgan Freeman does a good set piece as a broken down old boxer dedicated to the cause. A toss up between this and Fat City for my fave.
The set-up (1949) Robert Wise A noir classic. Scorcese lists this as one of his influences.
The Quiet Man (1952) John Ford This flick edges into the list because the John Wayne character (Sean Thorton) plays a pro boxer who retires after killing a man in the ring. Really a love story between him and Mary Kate Danaher (played by Maureen O'Hara). Has a very Hollywood fight scene between Wayne and Victor McLaglan.
Somebody Up There Likes Me. (1956) Robert Wise Paul Newman in straight forward biopic.
Raging Bull (1980) Martin Scorcese Not my favourite boxing movie, although many people put it at no. 1. Nevertheless Scorcese and De Niro together for any movie are compelling and must-see viewing. Biopic of jake La Motta. Warts and all.
Boxing, in the movies, has often been a vehicle for telling stories with eternal truths.
[I haven't seen Cinderella Man (2005) Ron Howard yet, so it's omission is without meaning]
See a further listing here.
The Harder They Fall. (1956) Mark Robson - A film meant to be based upon the career of Primo Carnera. It stars Humphrey Bogart in his last role playing an ex-sportswriter. The crooked boxing promoter is played by Rod Steiger. Amongst the supports are jack Albertson and Nehemiah Persoff. Need I say more? Need I say noir? Also notable for the boxing roles of Max Baer and Jersey Joe Walcott.