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Cinderella Man (2005)



Average Rating: 7.4/10
Reviews Counted: 209
Fresh: 167 | Rotten: 42

With grittiness and an evocative sense of time and place, Cinderella Man is a powerful underdog story. And Ron Howard and Russell Crowe prove to be a solid combination.


Average Rating: 7.3/10
Critic Reviews: 49
Fresh: 38 | Rotten: 11

With grittiness and an evocative sense of time and place, Cinderella Man is a powerful underdog story. And Ron Howard and Russell Crowe prove to be a solid combination.



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Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 280,510

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Movie Info

The true story of an athlete who achieved his greatest success against the most daunting odds of his life is brought to the screen in this historical drama. In the 1920s, James Braddock (Russell Crowe) from Bergen, NJ, was a promising contender in professional boxing; he had strength, spirit, and tenacity, but the combination of a serious hand injury and a 1929 defeat in a bout with light heavyweight champ Tommy Loughran sent his career into a serious tailspin. As Braddock's career in the ring

Dec 6, 2005


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All Critics (212) | Top Critics (50) | Fresh (167) | Rotten (42) | DVD (39)

Howard's movie skillfully delivers that primal, heart-pounding satisfaction that is the promise of all boxing tales.

November 1, 2007 Full Review Source: Newsweek
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As for the fights themselves, Howard brings nothing new to the canvas. Like the movie as a whole, they work fine enough, even while encased in leaden certitude.

August 17, 2007 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The fight scenes have a stinging authenticity and, although at 144 minutes it outstays its welcome, this is Howard's best film since Apollo 13

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A superficially rousing portrait of Depression-era legend James J. Braddock.

September 26, 2005 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The joy is in the playing, and Ron Howard pulls out all the stops like the organist at the old Madison Square Garden.

September 14, 2005 Full Review Source:
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The storytelling is fluid and gripping.

June 11, 2005 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It ain't no Rocky, but it ain't half bad.

March 18, 2011 Full Review Source:

The affection for Braddock and his story can be felt in every frame and heard in every word.

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Matt's Movie Reviews
Matt's Movie Reviews

The final justification that Russell Crowe is without a doubt one of the best actors to come along in years.

April 29, 2009 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

A very solid cast, one of the most reliable directors in Hollywood, and one of the most malleable subjects in film make Cinderella Man one of the best films of 2005 thus far.

February 27, 2009 Full Review Source: CHUD

Cinderella Man plays like a movie actively hunting for awards. But it's also a pretty darn good story.

January 16, 2009 Full Review Source:

Handsome, manipulative, simplistic. It packs an uplift that bludgeons you into submission.

July 31, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4

Cinderella Man is a contender, but it's not exactly a knockout.

July 14, 2007 Full Review Source: Big Picture Big Sound
Big Picture Big Sound

A cross between Seabiscuit (because of the Depression) and Rocky (because of the sport), yet a fine enough film to stand on its own, even if the production falls short of both in terms of its emotional punch.

May 7, 2007 Full Review Source: Princeton Town Topics
Princeton Town Topics

And as far as Cinderella's pumpkins go, though the movie ends with Braddock's boxing triumph in Hollywood's notorious freeze-frame approach to history, both Braddock and Baer went on to be decked by Joe Louis.

April 19, 2007 Full Review | Comments (3)
Long Island Press

As entertaining and uplifting a film as we'll get all year.

February 22, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

At moments it almost had me, but for the most part I just felt cold and watched with all the interest of a disgruntled spectator.

October 30, 2006 Full Review Source: Dark Horizons
Dark Horizons

A fine alternative to the louder and more brainless summer movies competing with it -- an excellent drama that relies on heart and action instead of schmaltz and melodrama.

September 22, 2006
Christianity Today

Howard may have replicated the family scenes as accurately as if he'd found film from a camera hidden in the walls of the original Braddock apartment, and yet the movie can't shake the sense that the scenes away from the boxing ring are somehow false

July 21, 2006 Full Review Source: Movie City News
Movie City News

The film wallows in the poverty and degradation of Crowe and his family, which is a real downer for a supposed feel-good movie . . .

July 6, 2006 | Comments (4)
SA Movie & DVD Magazine

Stirring and inspirational in the best and worst senses of these terms, this fact-based melodrama is stamped by the middlebrow sensibility of both director Ron Howard and writer Akiva Goldsman.

June 1, 2006 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

I only wish Howard could have shaped this and the other performances a little, toning them down or leaving a bit of a rough edge.

May 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

I have never rooted for a sporting event in my life like I rooted for Braddock. I was on the edge of my couch, balled fists on my knees, praying he would prevail...superbly edited, beautifully shot, sensitively acted, and with fantastic grit and texture

January 16, 2006 Full Review Source: Cinerina

Audience Reviews for Cinderella Man

Cinderella Man is yet another terrific Ron Howard film. Based on the life of James Braddock. The cast that Howard directs is incredible. Russell Crow deliver a great performance as struggling boxer James Braddock. Ron Howard has an eye for real life stories, and he definitely knows how to deliver a strong, powerful real life story on camera. Howard has got a great cast here, and they deliver strong performances. Renee Zellwegger delivers the second best performance of her career, and I think this film shows that she actually is able to act, and that she should pick more parts like this. This is a terrific film with a wonderful story. For me, it's hard to pick a favorite Ron Howard, almost all his films are great, with few that are awful. Cinderella Man is one of the best boxing movies since Raging Bull and is yet another solid work by director Ron Howard. The film has lots going for it, the film not only plays out as a terrific boxing drama, but the film evokes the troubles and the misery of the Great Depression very well. The story is engaging and the film is superbly directed. Cinderella Man is a well constructed, executed drama film and is one of Ron Howard's best films. If you enjoy boxing drama films, then you should check out Cinderella Man. A wonderful, well acted film that is a must see. Cinderella Man is one of the best boxing films that you can see.
October 18, 2011
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

When America was on its knees, he brought us to our feet.

Saw it again! Perfect movie, no flaws whatsoever. Undoubtedly one or the best sports and boxing movies of all time. To me Russel Crowe on his best performance ever as an actor. Renee Zellweger and Paul Giamatti did a fantastic job too. The story is like no other, deeply touching and emotional. It touches you in ways only a movie can.

Indeed, the characters and the story were the strong points of "Cinderella Man." Much credit should go to Cliff Hollingsworth for a screenplay that included thoughtful dialogue, humor, and multi-dimensional characters. Daniel Orlandi also merits praise for the brilliant costumes that helped to recreate the period of the early 1930s.

But the heart of this film experience is Russell Crowe's screen portrayal of Braddock. It was the colorful sportswriter and raconteur Damon Runyan who coined the nickname of "Cinderella Man" for Braddock. However, the real James J. Braddock was more than lucky. It was his strength of character in and out of the ring that captivated America. One of the most moving scenes of the film was a heated argument between Braddock and his wife Mae where Braddock insists that even in the most difficult of times, he would refuse to be separated from his children. As a boxer, he was fearless. But he demonstrated even more courage in fighting for family values a lesson from which we can learn a great deal today in reflecting on this sensitive film.

The story takes place in New York and New Jersey during the Great Depression, a time when people experienced the worst economic hardship in U.S. history. James J. Braddock (Russell Crowe) was a light heavyweight boxer, who was forced to retired from the ring after breaking his hand in his last fight. His wife Mae (Renee Zellweger) had prayed for years that he would quit boxing, before becoming permanently injured. To support his family, Braddock works as a laborer at the docks, but he still has a dream to box. Several years after his last fight, Braddock's old manager wants him to be a last-minute substitute to fight against the second-ranked world contender. In this case, Braddock is one of those hungry fighters who astonishes everyone by winning the fight. Braddock is back in the ring and begins to win all his fights against younger, stronger, and heavier boxers. In a sports article, Braddock is named the "Cinderella Man" for his miraculous comeback. Braddock gets a chance to fight the heavyweight champion, Max Baer (Craig Bierko), for the title. Max Baer had killed two men in the ring, and everybody believed Braddock would be number three. As the underdog, Braddock became the champion of the downtrodden masses.
August 24, 2011
Manu Gino

Super Reviewer

At first sight, Ron Howard's 'Cinderella Man' may seem like a better movie than it actually is. Not until after the credits role do you realize that you completely fell for Howards' techniques of dressing up the script and putting on a show. What Cinderella Man lacks in originality is made up for in pure entertainment. Russell Crowe drags a certain amount of depth into the character to make him a reliable protagonist, although a little uninteresting. An evocative story with good performances and great entertainment value. A strong contender in the challenging competition of boxing films.
June 30, 2011
Kase Vollebregt

Super Reviewer

    1. Max Baer: This isn't a joke, pal. People die in fairy tales all the time.
    – Submitted by Denmark H (2 years ago)
    1. Mae Braddock: Every time you get hit, it feels like I'm getting hit, too.
    – Submitted by Denmark H (2 years ago)
    1. Jim Braddock: If we can't stay together, that means we've lost, that means we've given up!
    – Submitted by Denmark H (2 years ago)
    1. Jim Braddock: This time around I know what I'm fighting for [reporter asks 'What's that, Jimmy?']
    2. Jim Braddock: Milk.
    – Submitted by Denmark H (2 years ago)
View all quotes (4)

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