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Great boxing movies do not only show boxing matches. They are extraordinarily choreographed. They showcase the raw emotions, the ups and downs of the boxers life. The sacrifice. The pain and hardships. But best of all they show the glory and they can inspire a whole generation.

Boxing and movies go a long way with the first documented boxing movie in the 40s and 50s. Since then boxing movies have become a lot better and have much more substance to them and are way better choreographed.

These are the 10 best boxing movies in our opinion. They have tons of grit, drama, resiliency and most important is that they are motivating.


The Great White Hope

A film based on heavyweight boxer Jack Johnson starring James Earl Jones. In the early 1910’s, in a completely different era and in a more racist and a time that was ignorant. The film shows the racial tensions faced and the hatred Jack encountered.

The Great White Hope shows Jack Johnson’s rise to heavyweight champion and as the first black champion. Titled  The Great White Hope because the white people at the time were hoping for a white boxer to beat Jack Johnson and have a white champion


This depicts the story of former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson and his road to becoming champion. A made for TV release produced by HBO and starring Michael Jai White as the titular role.

The film shows how Tyson had a troubled childhood and found mentor and trainer Cus D’Amato. It shows him rising up through the ranks as an undefeated fighter but also shows the loss of D’Amato, his decline and fall and his troublesome relationships.

This movie takes a good look at his life and lets us take a peek inside Mike Tyson and how he become one the the greatest heavyweight boxers of all time.

Million Dollar Baby

A classic film directed by and starring Hollywood legend Clint Eastwood and Hillary Swank. Released in 2004, it tells the story of how a old boxing trainer reluctantly takes on and coaches a female boxer.  She goes on to be a great boxer and starts knocking out many boxers before moving up in weight division.



A riveting and emotional movie that will keep you glued too your seats. This is a must have movie for any boxing fan or movie addict to add to their movie collection.


Will Smith takes on the role of ‘The Greatest’ in this biopic about Muhammad Ali. The film shows different parts of Ali’s life including becoming heavyweight champion after beating Sonny Liston, converting to Islam, refusing to partake in the Vietnam War among other things.

Will Smith does a good job of playing Muhammad Ali and shows the journey of becoming the champion and what it takes well. He does a great job capturing his charisma, charm and wit.

Smith spent two years preparing for the role including training properly, training like a boxer, getting his voice similar to Ali’s and learning about Islam.

A good movie to watch and get inspired as well as have a glimpse on what it take to be a great boxer.


A relatively recent movie starring Jake Gyllenhaal as a undisputed light heavyweight champion. For this role Gyllenhaal got incredibly lean and muscular. He trained for five months as a professional boxer would. At times he would train for 7 days a week, often twice a day.

Southpaw follows Billy Hope as he goes through his boxing career but faces a devastating tragedy.  After tragedy strikes he faces a hard battle with alcohol and drugs before trying to get his life back on track and get back into the boxing match.

This movie is filled with emotions, ups and downs and triumphs.

Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson

This documentary takes a look at the life of the first black heavyweight champion. It shows his struggles and the racial tensions and hatred that he faced at the time. Jack Johnson was the son of former slaves but despite all odds stacked him.

Johnson was confident, cocky, and dated and married white women. At the time it was unheard of and black people weren’t even allowed to look at white people.

Jack Johnson was the guy who paved the way for many African-American boxers. A must watch for any boxing fan and an interesting look into history.



When We Were Kings

A documentary showing the build up and fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. The film covers the 1974 superfight, Rumble in the Jungle.  When We Were Kings shows Muhammad Ali at his best. It shows both boxers preparing for the match and training while also showing the action of the movie.

The film shows Muhammad Ali at his best, trash talking and telling the press funny quips, “Only last week, I murdered a rock, injured a stone, hospitalised a brick! I’m so mean I make medicine sick!

Not only does it show the build up to the match but it also shows the social tensions of the time and the black culture. It shows Muhammad Ali standing up for black people and his religious beliefs.

It was during this fight that Ali used his now famous ”Rope-a-dope” strategy to defeat George Foreman in eighth round.

The Boxer

Former Irish Republican Army member and boxer faces a 14 year prison stint. After returning from prison he wants nothing to do with his former life and wants to go straight. When coming back home he starts up a boxing club, but he can’t get away from his past so easily.

Daniel Day Lewis puts in a stellar performance and was nominated for the Best Actor award for his role. For this role he trained with former Irish professional boxer Barry Mcguigan for over a year and a half and he got so good that he could of competed as a professional boxer in the middleweight division.

Raging Bull

Based on the life of famous middleweight boxer Jake Lamotta. Robert De Niro nailed the performance in this movie and bagged a Academy Award for Best Actor.

One of Martin Scorsese’s best movies made and he does a perfect job portraying Lamotta’s life. Raging Bull shows the rage and anger of Jake Lamotta and his road to become world champion. The film shows the emotions, the success and the jealousy of the boxer.

For preparing for Raging Bull, Robert De Niro was trained personally by Jake Lamotta and only started when Lamotta thought De Niro was professionally prepared.



This classic is a definitive edition to your boxing movie collection.

Rocky IV

You can’t have a list of boxing movies without Rocky. Rocky is one of the best rags to riches stories ever. An average Joe gets a shot at fighting the heavyweight champion of the world.

All the Rocky movies are actually awesome and inspirational but our favourite has to be Rocky IV. The film shows he gets challenged by the formidable Russian Ivan Drago, played by Dolph Lundgren. When facing off against Rocky he says the infamous quote, “I must break you!”.

Set during the times of the Soviet Union and the Cold War, Rocky IV does a good job of showing the side of Russia as powerful and emotionless. The great thing about Rocky is his tenacity and that he never gives up.

As always the training scenes in the movie are inspirational and make you want to get out and train yourself.



Do you agree with our list of the best boxing movies? Let us know if we missed any in the comments?