Body and Soul (1947)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Considered one of the greatest boxing film ever made, Body and Soul features the late-great John Garfield playing pugilist Joe Devlin in his desperate bid to become the world's greatest fighter. Unfortunately, the battle to the top causes him to leave his values and principles behind and though it leads him to success, ultimately it takes him on a tragic dive from which he never recovers. The story is pretty standard for the genre. What makes this tale stand tall above the others is Garfield's riveting performance and the realistic portrayal of the gritty world of professional boxing. The cinematography is also exceptional.
Classics , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
United Artists


John Garfield
as Charley Davis
Lilli Palmer
as Peg Born
Anne Revere
as Anna Davis
Joseph Pevney
as Shorty Polaski
Lloyd Goff
as Roberts
Art Smith
as David Davis
James Burke
as Arnold
Lloyd Gough
as Roberts
Peter Virgo
as Drummer
Joe Devlin
as Prince
John Indrisano
as Referee
Mary Currier
as Miss Tedder
Artie Dorrell
as Jack Marlowe
Cyril Ring
as Victor
Shimen Ruskin
as Grocer
Tim Ryan
as Shelton
Dan Tobey
as Fight Announcer
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Critic Reviews for Body and Soul

All Critics (10) | Top Critics (3)

Trite is hardly the word for the plot, which was already wheezy by the time this minor classic was made in 1947, but Abraham Polonsky's script brings such tight, painful focus to the moral choices that it seems fresh and real.

Full Review… | March 25, 2008
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Garfield's bullish performance saves the movie from its stagy moments and episodic script.

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

Altogether this Enterprise picture rolls up a round-by-round triumph on points until it comes through with a climactic knockout that hits the all-time high in throat-catching fight films.

Full Review… | January 27, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

If the movie works today, it's probably because of Abraham Polonsky's beautiful screenplay, a rich desert plate filled with glorious, lowdown street and sports prose.

Full Review… | August 22, 2012
Combustible Celluloid

John Garfield gives a wonderful performance in the noir sports melodrama, directed by the blacklisted Polonsky

Full Review… | April 23, 2011

Now only seems gripping because of Garfield's gritty performance.

Full Review… | March 20, 2004
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for Body and Soul

sure it's the same tired boxing cliches but polonsky's sharp dialogues and garfield's greatest performance made it well worth watching, for me at least. james wong howe wore skates and rolled around the ring shooting the fight scenes with a hand-held camera, creating a level of realism that influenced 'raging bull'

Stella Dallas
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer


A look at the corrupt sides of professional boxing. John Garfield plays the corrupted boxer. Fast money, fast women, expensive high rise, a corrupted manager that would make Don King's face light up with glee. "Body And Soul" isn't all that corrupt, Garfield's character has a love intrest, a good friend who is looking out for him and a mother who wishes her son would decide to get an education. Great performances by Garfield, Anne Revere, Joseph Pevney, Lili Palmer, Canada Lee and Lloyd Gough. I gave this a 90 but now am giving this a 60. We've seen this story on screen before people.

Brian R
Brian R

Super Reviewer


The original Rocky 2, complete with dying trainer

Ken Stachnik
Ken Stachnik

Super Reviewer

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