Cinderella Man

2005

Cinderella Man

Critics Consensus

With grittiness and an evocative sense of time and place, Cinderella Man is a powerful underdog story. And Ron Howard and Russell Crowe prove to be a solid combination.

80%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 212

91%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 282,136
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Movie Info

The true story of an athlete who achieved his greatest success against the most daunting odds of his life is brought to the screen in this historical drama. In the 1920s, James Braddock (Russell Crowe) from Bergen, NJ, was a promising contender in professional boxing; he had strength, spirit, and tenacity, but the combination of a serious hand injury and a 1929 defeat in a bout with light heavyweight champ Tommy Loughran sent his career into a serious tailspin. As Braddock's career in the ring dried up, the Great Depression put a stake through the heart of America's economy, and Braddock found himself working at the New York docks for pitiful wages as he tried to support his wife, Mae (Renée Zellweger), and three children. Desperate for money, Braddock turned to his former trainer and manager Joe Gould (Paul Giamatti), who was unexpectedly able to scare up a bout for him, battling John Griffin at Madison Square Garden. While conventional wisdom had it that Braddock was too old, out of shape, and out of practice to have any chance of winning, he defeated Griffin, and continued beating his opponents with a powerful left hook that had been intensified by years of punishing dock work. In a nation desperate for good news, Braddock's surprising comeback became a tonic to struggling workers and unemployed people, and all eyes were on Braddock when in 1935 he took on powerful heavyweight champion Max Baer (Craig Bierko) in what was both literally and figuratively the fight of his life. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Cast

Russell Crowe
as Jim Braddock
Renée Zellweger
as Mae Braddock
Paul Giamatti
as Joe Gould
Craig Bierko
as Max Baer
Paddy Considine
as Mike Wilson
Bruce McGill
as Jimmy Johnston
David Huband
as Ford Bond
Connor Price
as Jay Braddock
Ariel Waller
as Rosemarie Braddock
Patrick Louis
as Howard Braddock
Rosemarie DeWitt
as Sara Wilson
Linda Kash
as Lucille Gould
Nicholas Campbell
as Sporty Lewis
Chuck Shamata
as Father Rorick
Ron Canada
as Joe Jeanette
Mark Simmons
as Art Lasky
Art Binkowski
as Corn Griffin
Matthew G. Taylor
as Primo Carnera
Rance Howard
as Announcer Al Fazin
James Ritz
as Official at Griffin-Baer Fight
Fulvio Cecere
as Referee McAvoy
Clint Howard
as Referee
Angelo Dundee
as Angelo the Cornerman
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Critic Reviews for Cinderella Man

All Critics (212) | Top Critics (49) | Fresh (169) | Rotten (43)

  • Howard's movie skillfully delivers that primal, heart-pounding satisfaction that is the promise of all boxing tales.

    Nov 1, 2007 | Full Review…

    David Ansen

    Newsweek
    Top Critic
  • As for the fights themselves, Howard brings nothing new to the canvas. Like the movie as a whole, they work fine enough, even while encased in leaden certitude.

    Aug 17, 2007 | Full Review…
  • The fight scenes have a stinging authenticity and, although at 144 minutes it outstays its welcome, this is Howard's best film since Apollo 13

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…
  • A superficially rousing portrait of Depression-era legend James J. Braddock.

    Sep 26, 2005

    Scott Tobias

    AV Club
    Top Critic
  • The joy is in the playing, and Ron Howard pulls out all the stops like the organist at the old Madison Square Garden.

    Sep 14, 2005 | Full Review…
  • Crowe is at his best in the ring and while it's hardly surprising that he's a convincing bruiser, he also manages to make a rather one-note character compelling.

    Aug 16, 2005 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

    Nev Pierce

    BBC.com
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Cinderella Man

  • Aug 20, 2016
    Great inspiring film, and definitely worth seeing, even if you're not a boxing fan.
    Stephen S Super Reviewer
  • Jun 01, 2016
    Cinderella Man stars Russell Crowe as Jim Braddock, a boxer on-the-rise until a broken hand and the Great Depression turn his world upside-down. Forced to work the docks to provide for his family, Braddock gets a second chance when his former trainer/promoter (played by Paul Giamatti in an Academy Award nominated performance) offers him a spot as a replacement fighter. This movie is based off of a true story, and, for the most part, the facts hold up. Whenever I watch a movie based on reality, I like to look into the real story to see what was exaggerated for the sake of film. Apparently, the biggest exaggeration in this movie was the portrayal of the "villain" boxer Max Baer, who in real-life was considered a gentleman instead of the crazy cliche we got on screen. My absolute favorite part of this movie was the film score. Thomas Newman, the mastermind behind the music for the Shawshank Redemption, understands emotions and creates music that matches the tone of this film perfectly. The performances from Crowe and Giamatti were also great. However, this felt like a big soap-opera. When things went south, not a scene went by when we didn't get a lingering shot of one or more characters having a case of the sads with somber music in the background. It was really overkill in my opinion. Ron Howard has directed his fair-share of emotional movies, but he really went overboard on the emotional turmoil, which is hard considering what a tough time it really was. I understand that this is a great story of a true Cinderella Man representing overcoming tough obstacles during a low point in American history, but with movies like Rocky, Million Dollar Baby, and even Ali, Cinderella Man falls short as a sports film great. The 2-hour-plus runtime drags along, forcing you to endure the melodrama longer than you'd like. Is it a bad movie? No. Forgettable? Absolutely.
    Ben B Super Reviewer
  • Apr 18, 2012
    sincerly as one of the best boxing movie ive seen! the acting is brilliant and to the point and we feel about these characters, its directed shaprly, brilliantly filmed, its old style rocky that is done with spirit and heart and depth as rocky did. i like the story, which is based on a true story, the characters are really interesting, and most part, the movie is done right, i love it, its really one of the best boxing film ive seen since rocky. A+
    Juan C Super Reviewer
  • Dec 02, 2011
    Cinderella Man is a sports classic.
    Bradley W Super Reviewer

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