9 Essential Components to Every Boxing Movie

Southpaw, starring Jake Gyllenhaal as boxer Billy Hope, enters the ring today (July 24). In honor of the film’s release, we’re looking back on some other great boxing films and narrowing down the essential components you can usually find in each one.

1. The rise to fame:

The Weinstein Company/mynewplaidpants.tumblr.com
The Weinstein Company/mynewplaidpants.tumblr.com

Usually the person is young and cocky when they first become a champ.

2. The fall from grace:

The Weinstein Company/dreamwrit3r.tumblr.com
The Weinstein Company/dreamwrit3r.tumblr.com

Something happens to derail the boxer’s success – an injury, a drug addiction, some kind of personal tragedy.

3. Family drama:

 

Paramount Pictures/msgretagarbo.tumblr.com
Paramount Pictures/msgretagarbo.tumblr.com

Out of the ring, the boxer’s home life is typically not great.

4. The long-suffering girlfriend/wife:

 

Paramount Pictures/rooneymara.tumblr.com
Paramount Pictures/rooneymara.tumblr.com

This one’s for the movies about male boxers. The woman typically stands by her man, but it’s not always easy.

5. The trainer that believes in them when no one else does:

Warner Bros. Pictures/GIPHY
Warner Bros. Pictures/GIPHY

 The trainer doesn’t stand for self-pity, either.

6. The climb back to the top:

Universal Pictures/thisisaghosttown.tumblr.com
Universal Pictures/thisisaghosttown.tumblr.com

 Victory tastes that much sweeter (and sweatier) after hitting rock bottom.

7. A training montage:

 

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Usually with some triumphant music playing in the background.

8. The rival:

United Artists/kirishi.tumblr.com
United Artists/kirishi.tumblr.com

There’s typically that one main rival with whom the boxer must have a showdown.

9. The big fight:

United Artists/totalfilm.tumblr.com
United Artists/totalfilm.tumblr.com

Everything in the movie leads up to this. It’s a make or break moment. You can likely expect lots of slow-mo punching and tense reaction shots from the audience.

If a boxing movie has all of these, it’s on its way to a knockout!

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