Champion - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Champion Reviews

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May 8, 2017
A complicated drama.
February 1, 2014
A true masterpiece from start to finish. This film is worth adding to your collection.
November 14, 2013
OK story but the fight scenes were very unconvincing and the music out of place and annoying.
½ February 3, 2013
Kirk Douglas' excellent Oscar-nominated performance elevates a film that goes a little flat in the middle and doesn't invest in developing its supporting characters. A pretty good effort that should've been great.
January 30, 2013
Remarkably introspective if melodramatic. Later fighter-dramas borrow much, thematically and narratively, from Champion. In particular, Rocky and The Wrestler each explore very different elements both present in Champion, the will to prove and redeem oneself vs the self destruction of narcissism. This film reinvents itself twice over during it's run so that, although the elements seem archetypal, we're never quite sure of what kind of film we're watching.
December 7, 2012
Loved it!! Although some say this is the best boxing film ever, I think The Set-Up (Robert Wise, 1949) is much better. Anyway, Douglas excels in this movie and if you have seen Raging Bull (Martin Scorsese, 1980) you will realize the last fight was the inspirations for some of the scenes.
Super Reviewer
½ November 3, 2012
"Champion" might seem like a another predictable drama at first glance, but it's more thoughtful and darker than you'd expect, and its ending is surprisingly pessimistic. Kirk Douglas gives an imperfect but rousing performance that goes well with a respectable supporting cast, which is headed by the likes of Arthur Kennedy and Paul Stewart. "Champion" is a drama crafted by capable hands, and it's pretty well-made, too.
July 23, 2012
Kirk Douglas is outstanding as he tramples over everyone in his ambition to be the champion. A classic fight film in black and white.
½ February 9, 2012
a solid noir about a guy bent on success but realizes too late that he'll never be more than a punching bag and that he's driven by all the wrong instincts...

great performances and cinematography. the fight scenes aren't what we are used to today but they are good enough not to ruin the film.
October 6, 2011
While the boxing scenes in the movie are absolute shit even it's time, everything else about the movie is pretty good, precursor or Rocky and newer age boxing movies
½ September 8, 2011
Plot falters a bit, but Douglas is at the top.
August 5, 2011
Was a fast paced movie..with good performances....and well directed...good watch overall
July 26, 2011
We're not hitchhiking anymore...we're riding!
Super Reviewer
May 17, 2011
A taut and atmospheric classic that has long been considered one of the best boxing films ever made. It is a stark and gripping character study that concerns the rise and fall of a unscrupulous boxing champion Midge Kelly, played brilliantly by Kirk Douglas in his breakout Oscar nominated star-making performance, who began as a know-nothing beginner, but because of his underprivileged life as a youth, which has given him a persecution complex, that drives his relentless ambition, it soon makes him into a natural and fearsome boxer, who rockets to the top of his sport, to become the middleweight champion of the world, but fame and wealth quickly seduce what was already a man with serious issues to began with, he alienates and thrusts aside everyone around him, including his beloved crippled brother Connie, played impressively by Arthur Kennedy in a Oscar nominated turn and the three women in his life that he uses, than discards, wonderful played by Lola Albright, Marilyn Stewart, and Ruth Roman. His quiet, knowing manager Tommy Haley, very aptly played by Paul Stewart who helped build him up into a world class fighter, he also betrays. Kelly is such a cruel, selfish, contemptible and self-destructive bastard, that the dark and tragic ending will surprise no one, but the engrossing Oscar nominated screenplay and Douglas's powerful virtuoso performance will keep your eyes glued to the screen all the way until it reaches that end. Astute direction by Mark Robson, sharp Oscar winning editing by Harry W. Gestad, with sensational black & white cinematography by Franz Planer, which makes spectacular use of light and shadow, excellent fight scenes that are very well-staged, and realistically brutal. An outstanding melodrama which earned 6 Academy Awards including Best Actor: Kirk Douglas, Best Supporting Actor: Arthur Kennedy, Best Adapted Screenplay: Carl Foreman, Best Score: Dimitri Tiomkin, Best Editing: Harry W. Gestad. Highly Recommended.
½ February 2, 2011
Midge Kelly is one of the best exhibits of integrity and greed I think I've ever seen. Douglas was always at his greatest playing deeply flawed characters.
Critique Threatt
Super Reviewer
½ January 12, 2011
Pretty much like watching "Body And Soul". Kirk Douglas is as good as Robert DeNiro was in "Raging Bull". This movie is no different from "Body And Soul". Corruption in the boxing biz, fast women, fast money, a shot at the title with consequences, shady managers, oh yeah can't forget a special love interest.
½ July 17, 2010
Pretty good movie starring Kirk Douglas as a rising boxer who doesn't really think of anyone except himself. The performances are all very good, Douglas getting his first Oscar nomination, and I also really liked Arthur Kennedy as his brother and Paul Stewart as his trainer. But it really wasn't an amazing story, it was pretty predictable and went on a bit too long. But Douglas really carries the film and gives it his all.
½ April 27, 2010
Forget any of his other films, Kirk Douglas is at his best in this dark portrait of a man who works his way to the top of his profession (boxing). On the way up he hurts all the people close to him including his long suffering brother. He uses people then discards them like rubbish. He is a Homme Fatale. A real nasty piece of work. -Brilliant.
January 6, 2010
wow what a movie......i have just seen this movie 4 the 1st time n think that this is a good movie 2 watch.......its got a good cast of actors/actressess throughout this movie.......i think that ruth roman, paul stewart, marilyn maxwell, kirk douglas, lola albright, luis van rooten, arthur kennedy, harry shannon, john daheim play good roles/parts throughout this movie........i think that the director of this drama/classics movie had done a good job of directing this movie because you never know what 2 expect throughout this movie......i think that kirk douglas was brilliant throughout this movie as a boxer.......its a really well filmed/directed movie with a great cast throughout this movie...its a great movie 2 watch
Super Reviewer
November 30, 2009
The best boxing movie you've never heard of. Kirk Douglas is under the radar but at the top of his game.
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