Some of the best, most inspiring sports movies of all time have been boxing movies. Boxing’s fast paced, high energy, and tough dynamic makes it perfect for the big screen. If you are a boxer looking for inspiration, or just a film fanatic looking for a great movie, here are the top five must see boxing movies for your viewing pleasure:

Cinderella Man – Set during the Great Depression, this film follows washed-up boxer James Braddock (Russell Crowe) on his journey back into the ring to provide for his family. A quintessential American rags to riches story, Cinderella Man is buoyed by a great performance by Russell Crowe and a great directing job by Ron Howard.

The Fighter – A gritty boxing movie set in Lowell, Massachusetts, this movie follows a talented Irish boxer (Micky Ward) whose problem-ridden, but well-intentioned, family is holding back his career. Christian Bale, who won an Oscar for his role as Micky’s drug addict brother, carries the movie, despite playing only a supporting role. The newest movie on this list, The Fighter is destined to become a classic.

Million Dollar Baby – Directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Hilary Swank, this is the first great boxing movie to feature a woman in the lead role. Battling stereotypes and prejudice along the way, Maggie Fitzgerald (Swank) proves that she has what it takes in the ring, despite her aging coach’s doubts. Winning the Oscar for Best Picture, this movie is Academy approved and definitely lives up to the hype.

Raging Bull – Directed by Martin Scorsese and starring a young Robert DeNiro, Raging Bull is a critically acclaimed masterpiece that follows a disturbed boxer, Jake LaMotta, through the many ups and downs of his career. Not your everyday feel-good movie, Raging Bull shows LaMotta for the deeply flawed man he truly is.

Rocky – No other movie in history has brought as much attention to the sport of boxing as this boxing classic. Rocky, the film that started the boxing genre, is an amazing underdog movie with a whole lot of heart. Featuring some of the most iconic scenes and lines in movie history, if you haven’t seen this film by now, do not wait any longer!

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