Keeping up with my annual theme of Boxing Day Brawlers and Bruisers (which can be revisited here) it’s time to shine the light on classic film posters of movies that revolve around the sweet science. From the dawn of movies, the sport of boxing remains to this day one of the great inspirations to screenwriters looking to wow audiences with a whole new take on a man looking to overcome both his personal demons and the man sitting on the stool across from him.
From Harold Lloyd to Sylvester Stallone, from Robert Ryan to Paul Newman, every generation has a long list of actors who stepped into the ring for a role in a feature film to bring us comedy, drama, excitement and that key element of entertainment.
A rare Duke title from 1936 sees him lacing up the gloves.
Western favorite and real life military legend Audie Murphy took to the ring in 1956.
Thanks to home video and channels like TCM, this Robert Ryan/Robert Wise classic has continued to grow in stature.
I’ve still yet to see this one that stars two of my favorite actors, Ernie and Stoney.
A pair of foreign titles for both versions of the Kid Galahad story. Great cast in that first one and you gotta love that second one meant to capture the rise of a certain tough guy during the 1970’s on a rerelease.
Proof positive that Jeff Chandler was the screen’s very first Iron Man.
Lost film? Perhaps. There isn’t as much as five viewers weighing in with a rating on the IMDB. While I don’t own this 1933 poster I have had the opportunity to buy it from a local dealer.
John Huston’s boxing film with a great turn from Stacy Keach. “Hey kid. You want to spar a little?”
Cameron Mitchell scored one of his better roles/performances as real life fighter Barney Ross.
Kirk Douglas goes from playing second fiddle in Noir films to becoming an Oscar contender and eventual film legend after portraying Midge Kelly.
1939 saw John Payne as Kid Nightingale. Did he make a better boxer or tenor? You’ll have to tune in to find out.
Paul Newman scored a hit as Rocky Graziano early on in 1956 just as he was launching his iconic acting career.
I wouldn’t bet a plug nickel on any of the above so called tough guys if they had to face Shelley Winters in the ring.
As a fight fan growing up I was very aware of the artistry of Leroy Neiman whose artwork was featured on a large number of fight posters including this one for the third meeting between Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto “Hands of Stone” Duran.
I’ll end with a poster from my own collection. Penned by Rod Serling, 1962’s Requiem For a Heavyweight, stars Anthony Quinn as a washed up fighter looking to keep his self respect while being promoted by a shady promoter, Jackie Gleason. Fine film that evens features an appearance by a young fighter named Cassius Clay.