The Set-Up (1949)

The Set-Up




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

The Set-Up is the memorable, brutal story of washed-up boxer Stoker (Robert Ryan) as he fights the last fight of his career, a fight he is intended to lose. Directed with grim intensity by Robert Wise, and featuring a masterful, nuanced performance by Robert Ryan, the audience is taken into a nightmarish world where Ryan must face his own personal emotional demons as he battles with his own fears and searches for meaning in his life and his own personal integrity. Reminiscent of Raging Bull … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Art House & International, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Art Cohn
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jul 6, 2004
RKO Pictures



as Bill "Stoker" Thomps...

as Little Boy

as Julie Thompson

as Tiger Nelson

as Shanley

as Luther Hawkins

as Gunboat Johnson

as Danny

as Ring Caller

as Hawkins' Second

as Handler

as Husband

as Manager

as Gambler

as Nelson's Second

as Blind Man

as Tobacco Man

as Hamburger Man

as Pitchman

as Photographer

as Announcer

as Handler

as Referee

as Tiger Nelson
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Set-Up

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Critic Reviews for The Set-Up

All Critics (10) | Top Critics (2)

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Robert Wise's virtuosically squalid microcosm

Full Review… | June 16, 2015

Its boilerplate fatalism undone by overbearing moralizing and the fact that Ryan's boxer is too one-dimensionally good to register as tragic.

Full Review… | May 1, 2006
Slant Magazine

This is one of the top boxing films ever made, along with Raging Bull and Body and Soul.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

September 9, 2005

Audience Reviews for The Set-Up


this film is TIGHT.

Bob Stinson

Super Reviewer


Playing in real time, The Set-Up is the story of a washed up prizefighter looking for one last shot at glory. According to IMDb, the screenplay was actually based on a poem about a black boxer named Pansy Jones. The author, Joseph March, was reportedly unhappy about his character being changed to Stoker Thompson, a white man.

Unlike most films about boxing, the fight scenes here seem raw and unchoreographed. Robert Ryan (who, by the way, was a boxer at Dartmouth) is completely believable in his portrayal and director Robert Wise manages to make the dark tension of the piece tangible. You can almost feel the punches and smell the sweat.

Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

Tough tight little noir. Lean in the best sense, not one shot is wasted.

jay nixon

Super Reviewer

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