The Champ (1979)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Director Franco Zeffirelli (Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet) trades in his puffy shirts for boxing gloves in this 1979 re-make of the Wallace Berry/Jackie Cooper classic. Jon Voight plays Billy Flynn, a down-on-his-luck boxer who is working as a stable man for horses in Florida. T.J. (Ricky Schroder) is his plucky son who looks after him. An unrepentant gambler and drinker, Billy needs looking after. But the father/son bond is torn asunder when Billy's upper-crust ex-wife Annie (Faye Dunaway) suddenly reappears to claim T.J. Billy realizes that the only way for him to hold on to his son is to re-enter the boxing ring and try for a comeback.
Drama , Sports & Fitness
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
MGM Home Entertainment

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Jon Voight
as Billy
Jack Warden
as Jackie
Joan Blondell
as Dolly Kenyan
Stefan Gierasch
as Charlie Goodman
Allan Miller
as Whitey
Shirlee Kong
as Donna Mae
Jeff Blum
as Jeffie
Dana Elcar
as Hoffmaster
Gina Gallego
as Cuban Girl
Jody Wilson
as Mrs. Riley
Bob Gordon
as TV Reporter
Jodie Wilson
as Mrs. Riley
Gene Picchi
as Dolly's Trainer
Anne Elizabeth Logan
as Horse Owner
Bill Baldwin
as Race Track Announcer
Rita Turner
as Lady at the Rail
Dorothy Strelsin
as Dolly's Guest
Lionel Dozier
as Hot Walker
Charles W. Camac
as Head Starter
David Peden
as Ship's Captain
William Fuller
as Steward
Vanna Salviati
as Pitch Lady
Ernesto Morelli
as Bar Patron
Robert Ray Sutton
as Second Gambler
Philip Tuersky
as Bartender
Micki Varro
as Nikki
Geoff Marlowe
as Security Guard
George Stidham
as Exercise Rider
Willie White
as Willie
Curtis Jackson
as Sparring Partner
Wally Rose
as Bowers' Manager
Dick Young
as Referee
Sonny Shields
as Bowers' Handler #1
Larry Duran
as Bowers' Handler #2
Lars Hensen
as Ring Doctor
Jeff Temkin
as Ring Announcer
Eddie Lopez
as Boxer Corner Man
Ralph Gambina
as Timekeeper
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Critic Reviews for The Champ

All Critics (20) | Top Critics (5)

A three-alarm, three-hanky movie of the highest order, perfect for your kids who don't get to see many truly sad films.

Full Review… | April 1, 2007
Denver Post
Top Critic

The tear-jerking is so determined and persistent that your ducts feel as if they'd been worked over with a catheter.

Full Review… | April 1, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

A pointless update of King Vidor's '30s weepie.

Full Review… | February 8, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

The most offputting thing about such canny, tear-stained movies as The Champ is not their naïveté but their unholy sophistication. These movies don't mean to deal with the world as it really is, but as it should be.

Full Review… | May 8, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

Zeffirelli's inferior remake to King Vidor's 1932 classic, starring Jon Voight in the Oscar-winning role that Wallace Beery had originated, is a manipulative tear-jerking melodrama.

Full Review… | August 21, 2010

The original film took 85 minutes, this one 121; the extra length has not improved the story.

Full Review… | April 1, 2007
TV Guide

Audience Reviews for The Champ

This extremely maudlin remake may seem acceptable to those who haven't seen the original 1931 Oscar Best Picture winner by King Vidor and starring Wallace Beery and Jackie Cooper. It pales very badly by comparison; a remake that should NEVER have been made. Don't bother with this one. See the original which is much more compelling with the inherently melodramatic plot.

John Lind
John Lind

Effective tearjerker is peopled with fine talent, some like Joan Blondell underused, but will stop at nothing to wring those tears from the audience.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer


A great movie! Rick Schroder coming of age in this one. Good story plot.

Leo L
Leo L

Super Reviewer

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