Million Dollar Baby (2004)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: Clint Eastwood's assured direction - combined with knockout performances from Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman - help Million Dollar Baby to transcend its clichés, and the result is deeply heartfelt and moving.

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Movie Info

Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood) is a veteran boxing trainer who has devoted his life to the ring and has precious little to show for it; his daughter never answers his letters, and a fighter he's groomed into contender status has paid him back by signing with another manager, leaving Frankie high and dry. His best friend and faithful employee Eddie Dupris is a former fighter who Frankie trained. In his last fight, Eddie suffered a severe injury, a fact that brings Frankie great guilt. One day, Maggie Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank) enters Frankie's life, as well as his gym, and announces she needs a trainer. Frankie regards her as a dubious prospect, and isn't afraid to tell her why: he doesn't think much of women boxing, she's too old at 31, she lacks experience, and has no technique. However, Maggie sees boxing as the one part of her life that gives her meaning and won't give up easily. Finally won over by her determination, Frankie takes on Maggie, and as she slowly grows into a viable fighter, an emotional bond develops between them. When a tragedy befalls one of the three characters, each comes to a decision that shows how the relationships in the film have changed them. Adapted from a short story by F.X. Toole, a former corner man with years of experience in the fight game, Million Dollar Baby also stars Morgan Freeman, Anthony Mackie, and Mike Colter. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
Rating:
PG-13 (for violence, some disturbing images, thematic material and language)
Genre:
Drama , Romance
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:

Cast

Clint Eastwood
as Frankie Dunn
Hilary Swank
as Maggie Fitzgerald
Morgan Freeman
as Eddie `Scrap-Iron' Dupris
Jay Baruchel
as Danger Barch
Mike Colter
as Big Willie Little
Lucia Rijker
as Billie `The Blue Bear'
Anthony Mackie
as Shawrelle Berry
Margo Martindale
as Earline Fitzgerald
Riki Lindhome
as Mardell Fitzgerald
Brian F. O'Byrne
as Father Horvak
Bruce Forman
as Guitarist
Benito Martinez
as Billie's Manager
Bruce MacVittie
as Mickey Mack
David Powledge
as Counterman at Diner
Joe D'Angerio
as Cut Man
Dave A. Powledge
as Counterman at Diner
Marcus Chait
as J.D. Fitzgerald
Erica Grant
as Nurse
Naveen
as Pakistani
Morgan Eastwood
as Little Girl in Truck
Jamison Yang
as Paramedic
Dean Familton
as Ref #1
V.J. Foster
as Ref #3
Marty Sammon
as Ref #5
Ray Corona
as Ref #7
Miguel Pérez
as Restaurant Owner
Jim Cantafio
as Ring Doctor #1
Ted Grossman
as Ring Doctor #2
Ned Eisenberg
as Sally Mendoza
Roy Nugent
as Fan in Vegas
Don Familton
as Ring Announcer
Mark Thomason
as Radio Commentator
Brian Finney
as Irish Fan #1
Spice Williams
as Irish Fan #2
Kim Strauss
as Irish Fan #3
Rob Maron
as Irish Fan #4
Kirsten Berman
as Irish Fan #5
Susan Krebs
as Rehab Nurse
Sunshine Chantal Parkman
as Rehab Nurse #2
Kim Dannenberg
as Rehab Nurse #3
Eddie Bates
as Rehab Resident
Marco Rodriguez
as Second (at Vegas Fight)
Ming Lo
as Rehab Doctor
Mark Chait
as J.D. Fitzgerald
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Million Dollar Baby

All Critics (253) | Top Critics (52)

The movie is simultaneously conventional and subversive, broad and nuanced, shamelessly manipulative and genuinely moving, a cheap sucker punch and a work of real moral weight.

Full Review… | February 27, 2015
The Atlantic
Top Critic

The only differences between this new film and its many forebears are that the young hopeful is a woman and the finish is unforeseen.

Full Review… | January 10, 2014
The New Republic
Top Critic

As an actor, Eastwood has rarely taken on a character as complex as Frankie Dunn.

Full Review… | January 10, 2014
Newsweek
Top Critic

It's impressive, in the sense that a sucker-punch impresses itself on your skull.

Full Review… | February 24, 2013
Slate
Top Critic

It is thoughtful, unfashionable, measured, mostly honest, sometimes clumsy or remote, often exciting, occasionally moving and eventually surprising. It's correct.

Full Review… | February 24, 2013
Wall Street Journal
Top Critic

Barely a year after the release of Mystic River, Clint Eastwood delivers a second consecutive drama that fearlessly probes the shadows of human morality without falling back on easy answers.

Full Review… | February 24, 2013
Associated Press
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Million Dollar Baby

This impressive feat from actor/director Clint Eastwood makes for a tearful cry, which is rare in a sports dramas, and it also says a lot about a character that remains an example of complex storytelling in films. Without stressing the twists and turns of the plot, and the obvious inclination at spoiler alert, this film is easy to clarify. What I can tell you is that this film is not an average sports drama and it is a film that centers more on atonement, guilt, and the pursuit of self-preservation and dignity. The film centers on the dynamic relationship between trainer Frankie (Eastwood) and fighter in training Maggie (Swank). Frankie is still pained about his friend Eddie (Freeman) having gone in blind in one eye because he didn't call a fight in time. Frankie now trains men in the local gym that he and Eddie own, Frankie dealing with cut work in-between fights and Eddie helping out some of the weaklings, including Danger (Baruchel) who toys around with the idea of becoming a fighter. Frankie meets Maggie while she pursues him to be her trainer, and they grow a friendship that leads to mutual trust and understanding. The way Frankie deals with the injuries of boxing, getting away from his past and yet relives it at the same time, is devastating to watch. One minute everything is starting to feel positive, and the story remains uplifting for both Frankie and Maggie, and then Frankie is faced with his past yet again. Maggie, as a character, is one of the most interesting women to be put onscreen in some time. Not only does she take interest in her future, but she does something about it, and becomes friends with Frankie, eventually taking on the role of daughter, since his own won't talk to him. She has a horrible family, a stalled past, and complete ambition, besides being feisty. There's also a priest character in the film who is very interesting and works well against Frankie's hardened demeanor and moral quandaries. By the end Frankie seems to have found closure, but he has also sacrificed a part of him that will never grow anew. It's heartbreaking, and if the ending is not ruined for you already, this is definitely going to surprise you.

Spencer S.
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

A masterpiece, plain and simple. A total knockout of a movie right to the heart. Absolutely perfect. Unforgettable and Powerful. Brilliant, remarkable and groundbreaking. It's compelling, astonishing, deeply moving, outstanding and breathtaking. Eastwood and Freeman have never been better. They have a unique and well-developed chemistry, it's always great to see these two icons work together. Morgan Freeman is extraordinary, he gives a soft spoken and riveting performance. Clint Eastwood is passionately raw and excellent, it's definitely one of the best and most emotionally naked performances of his career. Hilary Swank is magnificent. It's probably the best performance of her career. A heart wrenching and heart breaking film. A real punch of power, humor, personal triumph and devastating emotion. It's superb drama at it's very best. A towering achievement by a top artist in top form. Every scene is shot perfectly with great style. It makes you think dreams are worth fighting for. One of the finest movies ever made. A real classic that will stand with Director, Eastwood's best films like Unforgiven and Mystic River.

Al S
Al S

Super Reviewer

½

Eastwood's masterpiece, pure and simple, with guts and glory, respect, honor and love, and boxing (that venerable movie warhorse, trotted out again, this time with a woman as the fated underdog from nowhere), delivered humbly by Freeman, Swank and Eastwood himself.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

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