Hello Bro Nation! Welcome back to another edition of of our Top 5 Friday Segment. This is where we do a top 5 list regarding movie related items for no other reason than making lists is fun! In honor of the new Movie Southpaw, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, we decided to do a top 5 list of the best boxing or MMA films ever made! This is all about the sport of fighting so all of these films are about the sanctioned sport so properties like Fight Club and Mortal Combat do not count! So check out our top 5 best movies surrounding the sport of fighting!
5) Red Belt
Maybe you’ve heard of Redbelt or maybe not, but this David Mamet film about mixed martial arts is definitely an interesting take. It’s a heady approach to the sport that gives us some incredible performances. Oscar nominated Chiwetel Ejiofor is Mike Terry, a gym owner who s down on his luck, but maintains a point of pride in himself and his work. When a fateful even conspires to eject Terry into the world of motion pictures he find himself falling into a path that leads towards destruction. The man who refused to participate in competitive events has to reconsider when these unfortunate mishaps force him to enter such a competition. This is a heavy film that provides some impressive performances but ultimately becomes a bit too wordy. It tries very hard to outsmart it’s audience and winds up being a little predictable, but Ejiofor is still incredible and it’s a movie we reccommend.
4) The Fighter
No shock here, The Fighter is an incredibly powerful film, that allowed Mark Wahlberg a chance at oscar contention. Ultimately his co star Christian Bale stole the show though. The Fighter follows the life of Micky Ward and his older brother Dickie Eklund. It weaves in and out of Ward’s life as he struggles with family issues while balancing his fighting career. Centering on the family dynamic, Bale turns in an oscar winning performance as the drug addled Ecklund who is both an detriment and savior of Ward’s career. The Fighter is another great film from David O. Russell s he draws incredible performances from his cast and this is a great boxing film. It’s not a surprise that it garnered award consideration, and definitely deserves spot in this list.
3) Raging Bull
There are few films more visceral or intense as Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull. The film centers on controversial boxer Jake Lamotta and stars Robert De Niro as the lead. Lauded for its beautiful cinematography and color palette, electing to go black and white makes it that much more intense, This is without question one of the best fighting movies of all time. It’s all about the self destructive nature of a man that allows aggression to rule his life. Boxing is Lamotta’s therapy but his aggression spills outside the sport and into the rest of his life and begins to destroy a man on top of the world. This is a tragically beautiful film and De Niro is unbelievably well suited for the role turning in a phenomenal performance. This a Martin Scorcese movie all the way.
There are few films that truly dazzle and surprise, Warrior is one of those special films. Gavin O’connor directs the MMA centered film with a heavy family dynamic at it’s core. Centering on a pair of brothers that seemed to be on opposite ends of the spectrum. Tom Hardy delivers an epic performance in a role where he barely speaks. Edgerton is incredible as the more grounded older brother, and Nick Nolte crushes his role as the father atoning for his past mistakes. The film is a hyper realistic tale of a broken family. Hardy is Tommy Conlon, a veteran who returns home to his alcoholic father, who used to train him in his adolescence to be on of the best wrestlers in the country. Tommy and his brother Brendan had a falling out at a young age over the split of their parents and are now pitted against each other in a massive tournament with high implications for the family. This is an emotional film and a great character study that caught a lot of people off guard when it was released. Definitely a must see for any fan of the fight game.
My guess is very few people didn’t already know that Rocky was going to be on this list. We aren’t breaking new ground here with our choice but it’s just too hard to pick against. This is the film that started a franchise and a revolution. The most recognizable name in boxing is a fictional character named Rocky Balboa. The film penned by Sylvester Stallone is all about a wayward boxer late in his career that is picked to fight for the heavyweight title as a publicity stunt against Apollo Creed. What some people might forget is a that this film does not really revolve around boxing, but instead is mostly surrounding the lives of Rocky and his potential love interest Adrian and her brother and his best friend. It’s a tale of the 1% vs the 99% and how a man learns to make do with what he doesn’t have and never loses sight on what’s important. Nominated for best picture Rocky is definitely the best fight film, because it’s the original fight film!
Thats all for this weeks top 5 list. What do you guys out in Bro Nation think of the list? Any movies you think we missed? What’s you’re favorite fight film? Drop a comment and let’s start a discussion.