Boxing is one of the most brutal sports in America, whose athletes go on roller-coaster careers that often see them reach greatness, leave them as shells of who they were, or both. This, along with the staging of fights, have also made for great cinema for more than 100 years. Here are the 10 greatest boxing movies ever made.
Related: Oscar-Winning Sports Movies
— Compiled by Aaron Tallent, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Tallent is a writer whose articles have appeared in The Sweet Science, FOX Sports’ Outkick the Coverage, Liberty Island and The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter at @AaronTallent.
10. The Knockout (1914)
Two icons of the silent film era, Charlie Chaplin and Fatty Arbuckle, duke it out in this 27-minute two-reeler (silent movie speak for short film).
9. Cinderella Man (2005)
Director Ron Howard tells the true story of Jim Braddock's unbelievable return from obscurity to win the heavyweight championship during the Great Depression with a top-notch cast.
8. The Champ (1931)
Wallace Beery won an Academy Award for his portrayal of an alcoholic former heavyweight champion trying to make a better life for him and his son. Nearly 90 years after it was released, this movie still packs a punch.
7. The Fighter (2010)
This biopic of "Irish" Micky Ward is as gritty as its subject and its portrayal of life in Lowell, Massachusetts, offers the most unique slice of life of any movie on this list.
6. Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962)
Anthony Quinn gives one of his best performances as a fighter chewed up and spit out by the sport. This movie is worth watching just for the opening scene where Quinn fights a young Muhammad Ali while former champs Willie Pep and Barney Ross watch from a bar.
5. Creed (2015)
After Sylvester Stallone put the Rocky franchise to bed with 2006's Rocky Balboa, director Ryan Coogler reinvigorated the story with a film about Apollo Creed's son starring Michael B. Jordan. The idea seemed crazy when first proposed, but the final movie proved that it wasn't.
4. The Set-Up (1949)
A boxer (Robert Ryan) in the final stage of his career finds himself preparing for a fight that he doesn't know is fixed in this dynamite thriller told in real-time.
3. Million Dollar Baby (2004)
One of two Best Picture winners on this list tells the story of an aspiring female boxer (Hilary Swank) and the risk-averse trainer (Clint Eastwood) who reluctantly takes her under his wing. If you're not choked up by the end of this movie, you are probably a textbook sociopath.
2. Raging Bull (1980)
Robert De Niro gives an Oscar-winning performance as former middleweight Jake LaMotta, and Martin Scorsese shows his cinematic brilliance in recreating the movie's many bouts. The scenes of his fights with Sugar Ray Robinson remain mesmerizing.
1. Rocky (1976)
No surprise here. The story of a club fighter (Sylvester Stallone) who is given a shot at the heavyweight title revolutionized sports movies and launched an eight-film franchise. With Creed III announced, it looks like there will be a ninth installment.