• Unrated, 1 hr. 53 min.
  • Drama, Classics
  • Directed By:
    Robert Wise
    In Theaters:
    Jul 3, 1956 Wide
    On DVD:
    Nov 14, 2006
  • MGM Home Entertainment


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Somebody Up There Likes Me Reviews

Page 1 of 6
Conner R

Super Reviewer

June 4, 2010
A flawless movie on all accounts, it's one of the best boxing movies to ever be made. Its longstanding reputation is well warranted and I feel like it should be praised even more. Paul Newman is both charming and determined, he plays a character that has truly had nothing to his name since he was born and been treated as though he is worthless and stupid. It's so powerful and inspiring when he turns his whole life around and gets everything he goes for. The visual style of this is downright scary, there is not one shot that doesn't look hand crafted and meticulously planned out. Robert Wise created a film that is both a great piece of entertainment and an unforgettable piece of cinema.

Super Reviewer

October 12, 2008
dunno what took me so long to see this. now i know where sly stallone got his rocky character. this part was meant for james dean before he was killed, giving newman the break that made him a star. with sal mineo and steve mcqueen as his street gang buddies. very entertaining if somewhat predictable story. well what can u do, it's all true :P the only lame part was perry como's theme song
Byron B

Super Reviewer

March 15, 2007
Early in the movie when Rocky is running around with a street gang, including Sal Mineo and Steve McQueen, you can see why Robert Wise was later given the job of directing West Side Story. I recently read an informative biography about Paul Newman. I didn't realize that he came out of the Actor's Studio, the same method school as Brando, Dean and many others. Newman observed the real Rocky Graziano, saw the neighborhoods where he lived, trained in the gym where he trained. Incidentally, Brando based his manner and voice for Stanley and Terry on Rocky too. Newman embodies a character who seems so different from the ones I've seen him play a later in life. He is excellent. I don't think I've seen any other movies in which Pier Angeli plays a role. Her role here is not the normal doting girlfriend/wife who fades into the background of the story. True she is doting on Rocky, but she shows a strength and a vulnerability that is usually not explored in a supporting part in a biopic like this. The circle of friends and family who surround Rocky through his life are played by a great cast of character actors. Parts of this movie were filmed on location in New York, when that was still a fairly new practice. So it has a realistic feel that doesn't often shrink from the tougher issues in Rocky's life. The big boxing match near the end must have been an inspiration to Scorsese and De Niro for Raging Bull. The movies of course share black and white cinematography. While Scorsese played with the camera speed more, here Wise keeps things at realistic speeds. The makeup work done on Newman as he gets pummeled and swollen looks quite similar to De Niro's makeup. This is a lifelike biopic that covers many years in Rocky Graziano life. The worst part about it is Perry Como's rendition of the title song over both sets of credits.
cody f

Super Reviewer

November 17, 2008
I have not seen this one in awhile and still enjoyed it. Newman is great and Wise shooting on location in NYC looks great. I agree with Keith where I couldn't see Jimmy Dean pulling this off, especially with Deans unique fighting style.

Super Reviewer

July 25, 2007
Could Never had seen James Dean doing this after Giant
January 2, 2013
Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956) -- [6.5] -- Paul Newman headlines this Robert Wise biopic about real-life boxing champ Rocky Graziano. Ernest Lehman's smart, well-paced script sees Rocky through several youthful indiscretions that threaten to ruin him just as the lightweight championship comes within reach. Though he had appeared in one other film prior, this is the movie that launched Paul Newman to stardom, and it's no wonder why -- he's magnetic. (James Dean was originally slated to star, but was killed prior to the start of production.) The supporting players are competent, but Oscar-winner Eileen Heckart ('Butterflies Are Free') stands out as Rocky's mom. The set design and cinematography won Academy Awards, and the climactic fight -- with cross-cut reactions of Rocky's friends, family, and community -- creates an genuine feeling of pride and victory that wouldn't be rivaled for twenty years... Not until another boxer by the same name would grace the silver screen and make film history all over again.
January 12, 2008
Call me a little blasphemous, but isn't Perry Como a little corny? (Says the guy who has absolutely no Italian in his heritage whatsoever.) Okay, I don't really care for boxing movies. Heck, the first two times I saw Raging Bull, I was a little "eh." (I have since changed my opinion. You can continue to respect me.)

I'm plowing through these Paul Newman's and really, this is an eye opener. Yeah, I don't really see Paul Newman being from Queens. But he pulled it off. He really did. Again, this movie wasn't really a surprise for anyone who knew anything about Rocky Graziano, but it was all new for me. Again, biopics, not so big with me, but this movie was charming. Maybe I'm growing soft in my not-so-old-age (as illustrated by one of my readers. I HAVE READERS!), but normally I'd chalk a movie like this up to a Hallmark Channel film. The abused boy falls in with the wrong crowd leading to a life of crime. He begins to earn some respect as a champion boxer when his past comes back to haunt him. Again, being a true story, some elements of the story couldn't be adjusted to make the story a little more moral (ie. ratting on the fixers), but the story is good in itself.

I also find myself in the unique position of critiquing Robert Wise again. For those of you who don't know, this is the chap who refilmed and edited Orson Welles' The Magnificent Ambersons. Yeah, he's always gonna have to work a little harder to get my attention. He does a pretty solid job with Somebody Up There Likes Me, but nothing as memorable as his work on The Sound of Music. But perhaps a biopic of a boxer doesn't really require the epic crane shots over a mountain, so perhaps I'm bound to forgive him a little more than normal. It's not like he's blatently ripping off Stanley Kubrick like he did with Star Trek: The Motion Picture. One of the things that bothered me was the casting of Graziano's wife. I understand that she was supposed to have limited social skills, but she seemed very flat to me throughout the film. I know the part isn't very meaty until the end of the film, but I think this part could have been done a little better.

BUT THE BIG SURPRISE! An uncredited cameo by Steve McQueen! Damn, I love Steve. He's the king of cool and who does he play? A HOOLIGAN! Awesome job, Steve. Awesome.
February 15, 2013
a great movie from paul newman.
January 26, 2013
Not a great movie from Robert Wise, but it's very enjoyable. Paul Newman (who replaced James Dean as the film's star after the actor's untimely death) is pretty good in the role that launched him to stardom, and to quote a line from a review I really like by Bosley Crowther of The New York Times, ''Robert Wise's direction is fast, aggressive and bright, and the picture is edited to give it a tremendous crispness and pace.'' Winner of 2 Oscars back in 1956 -- Best Cinematography (Black and White) & Best Art Direction.
December 8, 2011
One of the best sports bio movies ever done.
April 24, 2011
Rocky Balboa, only 20 years earlier, with a better script, a more interesting character and amazing acting.
January 28, 2011
Never ask for a soda unless you're prepared to pay the check

Rocky grew up the son of a boxer. His father never got to live out his dream due to legal concerns and marital commitment. Rocky wasn't smart enough to see he was following the same path until a trainer grabs his arm and tells him he could get paid for the reasons he often finds himself in jail. Rocky quickly becomes a famous boxer on the verge of becoming a champion but his legal past and potential marriage threats to ruin his chances of becoming a champion.

"I look at you and I see the devil."

Robert Wise, director of West Side Story, Audrey Rose, Helen of Troy, The Body Snatcher, Blood on the Moon, and The House on Telegraph Hill, delivers Somebody Up There Likes Me. The storyline for this picture reminded me of a mix of Cool Hand Luck and Raging Bull in the way that it presents both prison sequences and the rise of a boxer through the slums. The acting is magnificent and the cast includes Paul Newman, Arch Johnson, Harold Stone, Robert Duvall, Sal Mineo, and Steve McQueen.

"I didn't marry a man, did I? I married a middleweight."

This is a movie that grabbed my attention when I discovered that it starred Steve McQueen and Paul Newman; unfortunately, McQueen only had a bit role. Fortunately, Paul Newman is awesome and delivers a captivating performance as good as De Niro's performance in Raging Bull (which is my all time favorite Scorsese picture). While Newman's performance is awesome, the picture is a bit predictable and seemed a lot like Rocky (Stallone) in some scenes. Overall, this is a must see film for those who love triumphant boxing pictures.

"There goes another little grease ball on his way."

Grade: B+
Andrew G.
October 13, 2009
This film was great, but could have been a tiny bit better. I like the characters, and Paul Newman plays his role straight rather than over-act it. The story kept me interested, and it's the sort of film that shows that life isn't perfect, and it isn't all simply easy living. It feels right for the time, and is a great film about Rocky Graziano. Perhaps the only thing I disliked was some of the humour enforced into the film, because some of it felt out of place and didn't really work.
Blind Pariah
June 30, 2008
Infernal Affairs 2 can be simply stated to be of interest to anybody who enjoyed the first entry. It holds enough intrigue to keep it a bit above the normal cops and robbers fare. The prequel does not necessitate remembering what "comes after", or at least I didn't remember enough details and still enjoyed it.

Having seen The Mission recently, it provides a good example of how Anthony Wong Chau-Sang seems to be in some the best and the worst action films. No middle ground for him.

Paul Newman carries the action in the Rocky Graziano biopic Somebody Up There Likes Me. The troubles he faces are presented well in that they seem truly insurmountable, even knowing that the man went on to score a boxing title. One cannot help but have sympathy for the incorrigible Rocky, which makes me wonder if the writing was somewhat embellished in his favour to take some of the rotten smell off his misdeeds.
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