Million Dollar Baby

Million Dollar Baby

3.9 34

Cast: Clint Eastwood, Hilary Swank, Morgan Freeman, Anthony Mackie

     
 

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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… See more details below

Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
The Academy Award winner for Best Picture of 2004 represents yet another triumph for Clint Eastwood, the former western star who has become one of Hollywood’s most talented and celebrated filmmakers. We can’t really do justice to Million Dollar Baby with a brief synopsis because, frankly, on paper it doesn’t seem particularly unique or innovative. Eastwood plays the grizzled owner of a rundown gym and the trainer of an up-and-coming boxer who has just abandoned him in favor of more aggressive management. Along comes Hilary Swank, a trailer-trash waitress determined to become a fighter. She hasn’t got a thing going for her except a burning desire, but that’s enough to make Clint believe the girl might be worth handling. You might think this has the making of a fairly routine rags-to-riches story, and to an extent you’d be right. But Eastwood the director -- prompted, of course, by Paul Haggis' superb script adapted from F. X. Toole’s short-story collection Rope Burns -- throws his viewers a surprise roundhouse punch in the movie’s second half, turning a seemingly predictable ring yarn into an intensely gripping drama. The carefully limned relationship between this gravel-voiced old trainer and his hardworking protégée carries the story over some pretty rugged, melodramatic terrain, but it remains firmly rooted in the expertly crafted characterizations of Eastwood, Swank, and Morgan Freeman (quietly effective as a washed-up fighter who toils in the gym). The dialogue is terse, and hardly a line is spoken that isn’t necessary. Eastwood’s lean and unpretentious direction advances the story without calling attention to its improbabilities; he richly deserves the additional Oscar he won for wielding the megaphone. The same can be said of Swank, whose own modest upbringing informed her portrayal of the ambitious young wannabe who chooses a sweaty old gymnasium to home and hearth because she wants nothing as much as success in the ring. Very much deserving of all the honors heaped upon it, Million Dollar Baby is one of those rare movies that will crawl inside your head and burrow its way into your memory.
All Movie Guide - Perry Seibert
The best decision made by director Clint Eastwood in Million Dollar Baby is to allow Clint Eastwood the performer to drop his screen persona and actually act. As the weathered boxing trainer Frankie Dunn, Eastwood does not seem larger than life, he seems beaten down by it. His banter with Morgan Freeman, as a boxer he used to train, occasionally plays like a brilliantly written Seinfeld episode featuring senior citizens. But often those conversations suddenly hint at great pain and regret, adding an unexpected gravity. Hilary Swank provides the necessary drive and spunk to make the audience believe she would eventually win the emotionally closed-off Frankie over. The first half of the film, an excellently observed boxing drama, allows the audience to meet the characters and understand where they are in their lives. However, a big event happens (one that would be inappropriate to reveal in this review) and the second half of the film becomes an old-fashioned melodrama. Eastwood's directorial style can be described as low-key, even when the emotions in the film are practically operatic. This decision will either draw audiences in to the characters' struggles, or it will distance viewers who feel the film is not allowing them to feel the emotions as fully as possible. At worst, people will be interested in rather than involved with the characters, but those who respond to Eastwood's style will probably be emotionally devastated. What one is left with is a memory of Eastwood's face, that leathery mask of taciturn male pride, cracking with the recognition of where his own life choices have left him. He has directed better films, but he has never given a better performance.

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Product Details

Release Date:
02/02/2010
UPC:
0883929113347
Original Release:
2004
Rating:
PG13
Source:
Warner Home Video
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Time:
2:12:00
Sales rank:
54,914

Special Features

James Lipton takes on three: roundtable with Clint Eastwood, Hilary Swank, Morgan Freeman and moderator James Lipton; Born to fight: a discussion with real-life boxer/actress Lucia Rijker; Producers round 15: behind the scenes

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Clint Eastwood Frankie Dunn
Hilary Swank Maggie Fitzgerald
Morgan Freeman Eddie Scrap-Iron Dupris
Anthony Mackie Shawrelle Berry
Jay Baruchel Danger Barch
Mike Colter Big Willie Little
Lucia Rijker Billie "The Blue Bear"
Brian F. O'Byrne Father Horvak
Margo Martindale Earline Fitzgerald
Riki Lindhome Mardell Fitzgerald
Bruce Forman Guitarist
Michael Peña Omar
Benito Martinez Billie's Manager
Bruce MacVittie Mickey Mack
Dave A. Powledge Counterman at Diner
Joe D'Angerio Cut Man
Mark Chait J.D. Fitzgerald
Tom McCleister Lawyer
Erica Grant Nurse
Naveen Pakistani
Morgan Eastwood Little Girl in Truck
Jamison Yang Paramedic
Dean Familton Ref #1
Louis Moret Ref #2
V.J. Foster Ref #3
Jon D. Scholore Ref #4
Marty Sammon Ref #5
Steven M. Porter Ref #6
Ray Corona Ref #7
Ming Lo Rehab Doctor
Miguel Perez Restaurant Owner
Jim Cantafio Ring Doctor #1
Ted Grossman Ring Doctor #2
Ned Eisenberg Sally Mendoza
Marco Rodriguez Second (at Vegas Fight)
Roy Nugent Fan in Vegas
Don Familton Ring Announcer
Mark Thomason Radio Commentator
Brian Finney Irish Fan #1
Spice Williams Irish Fan #2
Kim Strauss Irish Fan #3
Rob Maron Irish Fan #4
Kirsten Berman Irish Fan #5
Susan Krebs Rehab Nurse
Sunshine Chantal Parkman Rehab Nurse #2
Kim Dannenberg Rehab Nurse #3
Eddie Bates Rehab Resident

Technical Credits
Clint Eastwood Director,Score Composer,Producer
Henry Bumstead Production Designer
Joel Cox Editor
Paul Haggis Producer,Screenwriter
Deborah Hopper Costumes/Costume Designer
Phyllis Huffman Casting
Gary A. Lee Set Decoration/Design
Robert Lorenz Asst. Director,Executive Producer
Gary Lucchesi Executive Producer
Walt Martin Sound/Sound Designer
Bobby Moresco Co-producer
Joseph G. Pacelli Set Decoration/Design
Tom Rosenberg Producer
Albert S. Ruddy Producer
Tom Stern Cinematographer
Jack G. Taylor Art Director

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