Cinderella Man
Runtime: 2 h 24 min
Rated: PG-13
Released: 03 Jun 2005
Director: Ron Howard
Writer: Cliff Hollingsworth, Akiva Goldsman
Actors: Russell Crowe, Renée Zellweger, Craig Bierko, Paul Giamatti
DVD release: 06 Dec 2005
Box Office: $61.5M
Company: Universal Pictures
official website

IMDB link

Tomato user meter: 91%
Tomato consensus: With grittiness and an evocative sense of time and place, Cinderella Man is a powerful underdog story. And Ron Howard and Russell Crowe prove to be a solid combination.

Cinderella Man

2005
Biography, Drama, History, Romance, Sport
The story of James Braddock, a supposedly washed-up boxer who came back to become a champion and an inspiration in the 1930s.
7.9IMDB
80%Rotten Tomatoes
    All subtitles
    TRAILER:
    REVIEWS:
    • Russell Crowe K.O.The dilemma: I hate boxing movies; I love Russell Crowe movies. I've already seen "Million Dollar Baby" and "Raging Bull" this year, and accidentally watched part of one of the "son of Rocky" serial movies on a Saturday afternoon. I feel like I am being punched, as Renee' Zellwegger's character Mae Braddock says, and I'm not as tough as these prize fighters.

      But this one has Russell Crowe in it. And that makes all the difference.

      It is not that Renee Zellwegger and Paul Giamatti, Paddy Considine, Bruce McGill and Craig Bierko, among others, give less than stellar performances: they all live up to their justifiably great reputations. You have to believe they are at the top of their game. But for all of Russell Crowe's reputation for being "difficult", it is hard to think of actors who can equal his personal force on the screen. He is brilliant.

      Ron Howard has made of the real life of Depression-era prize-fighter James J. Braddock a work of art. The camera work is phenomenal. Without using violins or cliche' pull-back shots showing the numbers of people homeless and in soup lines, Howard makes the Depression a visceral reality with scenes of near-hopeless men at the docks, pleading for a day's work; a stolen salami; Crowe's giving his daughter his breakfast piece of bologna, telling her he dreamed he was full. The bleakness of the times is the graininess and the sepia/greyness of the camera shots; the images are stark but completely descriptive. Crowe as Braddock with hat in hand and tears in his eyes, begging for twenty dollars so he can get his children back into his home, is the personification of pride sacrificed to desperation. But when Braddock is later asked at a press conference why he is fighting at his age and after so many poor showings, all he has to say is "milk" to be supremely eloquent.

      Doubtless many people know the history of James Braddock, and know the outcome of his fights, including the championship bout with Max Baer, who had already killed two men in the ring. If you don't know, DON'T look it up before you see the movie, and if you DO KNOW, DON'T TELL, but go. Analogous to watching Howard's film "Apollo 13", you may know the outcome, but there's wonderful suspense in the details. These were among the most exciting last twenty minutes I've seen on film. I didn't expect to be able to watch, but like Braddock's terrified wife Mae, I was unable to tear myself away.

      The audience was like a prize fight audience, cheering, booing, gasping, groaning during the fights. We applauded Braddock's wins, suffered his defeats. It is a great movie, with authentic heart. Solid A.
      show full movie reviewsource9/10
    • Old story well told!Geez, another boxing movie! Yeah, Yeah, I know the story. Down and out guy gets a break and makes the most of it. He's fighting for his family, he's fighting for all those other hopeless people. Been there, done that.

      Oh, I forgot to mention one thing. This movie is about the best 140 minute I've spent in a movie theater since . . . . since . . . ., Oh, well, you get the picture. Better yet, instead of getting the picture, go see it.

      Russell Crowe owns the character of James Braddock, the unlikely hero who makes the most of his second chance. He's a good fighter turned hack. Injury, bad luck and this thing called the Depression sends him down the drain.

      His wife, Mae, played by Renee Zelleweger, wants to be his biggest fan, but the kids need a dad, the rent has to get paid and the money from boxing dried up along time ago. Her husband's courage is undoubted, but his nerve is killing her.

      And then there's Joe Gould, played by Paul Giamatti.

      A boxer by the name of George Cochan once told me his manager was the bravest man he ever knew, he was willing to pit his man (Cochan) against anyone. As a result, Cochan had his head handed to him multiple times by the likes of Jake LaMotta and other class middle weights of the Forties and Fifties. Gould, is that brave manager, if not literally, in spirit. He pits Braddock, out of shape and with one day notice, against the number two heavy weight contender. Regardless of the risk, it's a pay day needed by both Gould and Braddock.

      The story, while familiar, is executed brilliantly. The camera work is both subtle and, in turn, spectacular. Craig Bierko, Paddy Considine, Bruce McGill and the rest of the cast give flawless performances.

      Yes, been there, done that! And I'm ready to do it again for anyone who wants to go with me.
      show full movie reviewsource10/10
    • Wonderful!This is a truly great film. Russel Crowe, Rene Zellweger and Paul Giametti were all fabulous. Russell Crowe is the best actor of our time. I am not a boxing fan, but I was so engrossed by the character of the Cinderalla Man that I was totally involved in every punch. I didn't know how the story would end, so I had the added thrill of suspense during the final fight.

      The story of a family in the midst of the Great Depression was as compelling as the boxing story. The solid family man played by Russell gives us a much needed role model. The historical and socio-economic background was powerfully shown and greatly added to the audience's involvement and is particularly relevant to today. This is a classic film.
      show full movie reviewsource10/10
    • Very little to say...My heart was firmly lodged in my throat for the last hour and a half of The Cinderella Man. Nobody does true-story heroism like Ron Howard, and few can do heroes like Russell Crowe. Though Howard fictionalizes his subjects, and does not pretend to make documentaries, he does accurately depict the feeling and the major points of his subjects.

      Jim Braddock was a depression-era boxer who everybody thought was down for the count. Though there is a lot of boxing in this film, this is not a boxing movie, but rather his story and the story of the family that inspired him to fight back against prejudice and hopelessness, to rise to heights that would inspire a nation. Braddock is portrayed in a moving and powerful manner, with remarkable performances all around, one of the best scripts I can remember in recent years, and occasionally brutal action.

      Those who have run into my reviews may note that this is one of my shortest. Please understand that I really don't think there's much to say about this simple, beautiful and very human story, besides - see it!
      show full movie reviewsource10/10
    • a Truly Moving PictureI saw this film on May 17th in Indianapolis. I am one of the judges for the Heartland Film Festival that screens films for their Truly Moving Picture Award. A Truly Moving Picture "...explores the human journey by artistically expressing hope and respect for the positive values of life." Heartland gave that award to this film.

      The impact of this film on the viewer is as powerful as Rocky and Million Dollar Baby. While all three films have boxing and love of the underdog as a common theme, this movie is much more. The backdrop of the movie is Depression-era America around NYC. And you are taken back to this depressing and hopeless time of willing, hard-working, idle, discouraged, poor people.

      The threesome of Russell Crowe, as the fighter Braddock, and Renee Zellweger, as his wife, and Paul Giamatti, as his manager were Academy-Award worthy. They professionally played their parts and let the story be the real star.

      Braddock is a down-on-his-luck aging and hurt boxer who can no longer box and can no longer find enough work to support his wife and three kids. By a twist of fate, he is given another chance to fight, and his career begins again.

      Braddock and his wife display low-key dignity and honor that we wish we all had. They are good spouses, parents, neighbors and citizens without "showing off." While this is a serious drama, it has a lot of light humor throughout the picture that is entertaining and appropriate. Director Ron Howard does a wonderful storytelling job and has kept directorial tricks to a minimum. The fight scenes were the most real I have seen in any movie.

      This is film-making at its best.

      FYI - There is a Truly Moving Pictures web site where there is a listing of past winners going back 70 years.
      show full movie reviewsource10/10