Cinderella Man

Cinderella Man

4.7 15
Director: Ron Howard

Cast: Ron Howard, Russell Crowe, Renée Zellweger, Paul Giamatti


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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… See more details below


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.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Despite exemplary reviews and more-than-ample media coverage, this Depression-era drama failed to achieve the box-office success predicted for it -- an inexplicable circumstance, because Cinderella Man stands head and shoulders above most of 2005's films. It’s the inspiring story of New Jersey-born boxer James J. Braddock (Russell Crowe in yet another Oscar-worthy performance), a once promising heavyweight reduced to working as a dockhand after a broken hand takes him out of contention for the title. Down but never out, Braddock and his loyal wife, Mae (Renée Zellweger), manage to keep their family intact. With help from his manager (Paul Giamatti), Braddock eventually gets back in the ring -- and starts winning. His unlikely ascent captures the attention of the newspapers and the fans, and it soon becomes apparent that this family man is headed for a title match with reigning champ Max Baer (Craig Bierko), a formidable fighter whose punching power has already caused the death of one opponent. Braddock’s rags-to-riches story teems with the kind of incidents that would appear to be the invention of studio screenwriters, but in this case they actually happened. When Braddock began winning again, for example, he did repay government welfare funds he had earlier accepted. However, there’s at least one unfortunate deviation from reality: director Ron Howard and writer Cliff Hollingsworth's portrayal of Baer as a bloodthirsty brute. Baer’s heirs justifiably protested the demonization; but it works to the film’s advantage, enhancing the suspense surrounding the Big Fight, which is one of the most technically convincing and emotionally satisfying bouts ever committed to celluloid. Boasting exemplary work from all involved, Cinderella Man is Hollywood entertainment in the best possible sense of the term.
All Movie Guide - Perry Seibert
Cinderella Man probably isn't Ron Howard's best film, but it might be his most quintessential one. A man whose talents have always rested on getting audiences to like and root for characters, Howard uses every weapon -- acting, casting, lighting, editing, art direction, music -- at a filmmaker's disposal to win viewers over. He won more than half the battle to make Braddock likable as soon as he cast Russell Crowe. Braddock offers the kind of role he does better than anybody -- a man with a maelstrom of emotions swelling under the surface who, when given the opportunity, is able to exorcise those feelings in physical activity. He allows Braddock to lose much of his dignity without making him pathetic. Howard's ability to get good performances, his judicious lack of a saccharine score, and the detailed but never showy period details add up to a very Howardesque quality that might be called melodramatic realism. There are almost always interesting supporting performances in Howard's films, and Cinderella Man is no exception. Paul Giamatti, an actor simply unable to do anything out of character no matter who the character is, serves up yet another award-caliber performance. Set in a world that would not seem to reward intelligence, Giamatti's character thrives on that very attribute. He knows how to manipulate those around him, but never does so in a harmful way. His scenes with ace character actor Bruce McGill are textbook examples of great no-frills acting. The film has moments where it overreaches for the melodrama, and the drive of the film stalls slightly during the extended third act, where the audience is left waiting for too long for the final fight to start, but Cinderella Man is at its heart old-fashioned, crowd-pleasing entertainment made and performed without cynicism.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Universal Studios
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Closed Caption; Deleted scenes with commentary by director Ron Howard; Ringside Seats - the filmmakers give a blow-by-blow commentary on the original Baer-Braddock fight; The Man, the Movie, the Legend: A Filmmaking Journey - director Ron Howard and actor Russell Crowe discuss the intricate process of transforming Russell Crowe into Jim Braddock; Jim Braddock: The Friends & Family Behind the Legend - Braddock's greatest fans comment on the man and the myth behind this American hero; The Fight Card: Casting Cinderella Man - uncover the process that resulted in one of the finest all-star casts; For the Record: A History in Boxing - go back in boxing history with legendary trainer Angelo Dundee; Cinderella Man Gallery presented by Kodak

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Russell Crowe Jim Braddock
Renée Zellweger Mae Braddock
Paul Giamatti Joe Gould
Craig Bierko Max Baer
Bruce McGill Jimmy Johnston
Paddy Considine Mike Wilson
Ron Canada Joe Jeanette
David Huband Ford Bond
Connor Price Jay Braddock
Ariel Waller Rosemarie Braddock
Patrick Louis Howard Braddock
Rosemarie DeWitt Sara
Linda Kash Lucille Gould
Nicholas Campbell Sporty Lewis
Gene Pyrz Jake
Alicia Johnston Actor
Troy Amos-Ross Actor
Mark Simmons Actor
Art Binkowski Actor
David Litziinger Actor
Rance Howard Actor
Angelo Dundee Actor

Technical Credits
Ron Howard Director,Producer
Lance Anderson Makeup
David Leroy Anderson Makeup Special Effects
Ann Brodie Makeup
William M. Connor Asst. Director
Mike DeLisa Consultant/advisor
Angelo Dundee Consultant/advisor
Akiva Goldsman Screenwriter
Brian Grazer Producer
Peter Grundy Art Director
Todd Hallowell Executive Producer
Dan Hanley Editor
Peter Heller Consultant/advisor
Mike Hill Editor
Michael Hill Editor
David Hirschfield Set Decoration/Design
Janet Hirshenson Casting
Cliff Hollingsworth Original Story,Screenwriter
Jane Jenkins Casting
Steve Lucescu Consultant/advisor
Michael Madden Set Decoration/Design
Penny Marshall Producer
Kathleen McGill Associate Producer
Jack Newfield Consultant/advisor
Thomas Newman Score Composer
Daniel Orlandi Costumes/Costume Designer
Nicholas Powell Choreography
Russell Moore Set Decoration/Design
Wynn P. Thomas Production Designer
John J. Thomson Sound/Sound Designer
Salvatore Totino Cinematographer
Louisa Velis Associate Producer
Suzanne Wasserman Consultant/advisor
Gordon White Set Decoration/Design
Dan Yarhi Art Director

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Scene Index

Disc #1, Side A -- Cinderella Man
1. The Next Champ [7:58]
2. Past Due [8:23]
3. Washed-Up [6:59]
4. Decommissioned [5:14]
5. Cut Off [10:14]
6. Emergency Relief [5:07]
7. One Last Chance [5:00]
8. Going Hungry [9:42]
9. Sizing Up the Champ [4:09]
10. Back to Even [7:47]
11. Getting Serious [1:23]
12. Don't Back Down [2:43]
13. Count Your Blessings [8:03]
14. Know What You're Fighting For [5:25]
15. Giving Hope [8:00]
16. Find a Way Out [4:25]
17. Tremendous Underdog [3:39]
18. The Main Event [10:10]
19. Championship Round [10:06]
20. End Titles [13:00]


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