5 Amazing Boxing Movies Outside the Rocky Franchise

It’s impossible to talk about great boxing movies without mentioning the Rocky series. Both the original Rocky movies with Sylvester Stallone and the recent Creed movies with Michael B. Jordan are considered classics among both boxing fans and movie lovers. But there are more great movies about boxing that fall outside of that franchise. Even if we concede that the Rocky movies are the best of all time, let’s explore five amazing boxing movies outside of the franchise that deserve our attention as well.


Despite having to compete alongside “Creed” at the box office, Southpaw still managed to establish itself as a noteworthy boxing film. The story revolves around Billy Hope (played by Jake Gyllenhaal), who, after announcing his retirement and facing tragic circumstances, must fight not only for custody of his daughter but also to resurrect his career and reclaim control of his life. This boxing drama embraces the familiar tropes of the genre, focusing on characters like Billy who are driven by a quest for redemption. Gyllenhaal delivers a powerful performance, infusing the character with depth and emotional resonance as he navigates through personal challenges.

The Hurricane

The Hurricane is based on the true story of Rubin “The Hurricane” Carter. Denzel Washington takes on the role of Carter, a boxer unjustly accused and convicted of murders he did not commit. Washington’s performance in the film stands out as one of his finest, earning him his fourth Oscar nomination. While the film deviates from its source material in several aspects, it remains entertaining, showcasing Washington’s talent in any project he undertakes. For those interested in comparing page-to-screen adaptations, there are two books available on the historic case: “The 16th Round” by Rubin Carter and “Lazarus and the Hurricane” by Sam Chaiton and Terry Swinton. But the movie on its own is also an amazing piece of work.

Million Dollar Baby

This Oscar-winning Best Picture is the foundational female boxing film that showcases the resilience and determination of a tough woman in a grueling sport. Hilary Swank takes on the role of Maggie, a waitress with a dream to become a champion boxer, who persuades veteran trainer Frankie (portrayed by Clint Eastwood) to coach her. Featuring Morgan Freeman as both the film’s narrator and a supporting character, Million Dollar Baby landed four wins out of its seven Oscar nominations. It serves as a powerful reminder to audiences that boxing is not for the faint of heart. This woman-led boxing drama stands tall among its iconic counterparts, particularly shining in its ability to inspire with its compelling narrative.

Raging Bull

Raging Bull stands as one of the most iconic boxing films of all time thanks to captivating performances of Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci, not to mention Martin Scorsese’s directorial prowess. De Niro embodies real-life middleweight champion Jake La Motta, a fierce and volatile presence in the ring whose life spirals into chaos outside of it. The movie is adapted from La Motta’s autobiography, “Raging Bull: My Story,” and is visually stunning, capturing the raw intensity of the sport. With eight Oscar nominations and two wins, Raging Bull solidified its status as a cinematic masterpiece, transcending the sports genre to become one of the greatest films of all time.

It’s the kind of movie that turns people into boxing fans. After watching Raging Bull, you’ll want to start watching boxing and perhaps even bet on boxing. The latter is actually more accessible than ever with several prominent sportsbooks offering betting markets in the sport.

The Fighter

Featuring a stellar cast, The Fighter is an Oscar-winning portrayal of the boxing journey of Micky Ward. Struggling to emerge from the shadow of his troubled brother Dicky (played by Christian Bale), Micky (portrayed by Mark Wahlberg) seeks his own path to boxing glory. However, he must navigate through family drama on top of traversing the challenging world of boxing. The film captures the essence of a fighter’s spirit and the resilience needed to overcome challenges, even when they originate from within the family circle. Wahlberg and Bale deliver captivating performances that elevate the film, solidifying its status as a memorable addition to the boxing genre.

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