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Cinderella Man [HD DVD]
Cinderella Man
Actors: Russell Crowe, Renée Zellweger, Craig Bierko, Paul Giamatti, Paddy Considine
Director: Ron Howard
Genres: Drama
PG-13     2006     2hr 24min

Academy Award winners Russell Crowe and Renée Zellweger star in this triumphant, powerfully inspiring true story. In a time when America needed a champion, an unlikely hero would arise, proving how hard a man would fight t...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Russell Crowe, Renée Zellweger, Craig Bierko, Paul Giamatti, Paddy Considine
Director: Ron Howard
Creators: Brian Grazer, James Whitaker, Kathleen McGill, Louisa Velis, Penny Marshall, Akiva Goldsman, Cliff Hollingsworth
Genres: Drama
Sub-Genres: Period Piece
Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Format: HD DVD - Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 05/09/2006
Original Release Date: 06/03/2005
Theatrical Release Date: 06/03/2005
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 2hr 24min
Screens: Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: English, Spanish, French, French, Spanish
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
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Movie Reviews

Riveting Humanity
Robert Morris | Dallas, Texas | 06/18/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Friends had warned me that much of the first part of this film was slow and they had made the same observation of Angela's Ashes. I disagree with them about both. In Cinderella Man (a phrase attributed to Damon Runyon), it is imperative that James Braddock's circumstances and those of his family are carefully, unhurriedly established to create an appropriate context for the process by which he resumed his career as a professional fighter in 1934 and then faced Max Baer on June 13th, 1935, in Long Island City, N.Y. Although a 10-1 underdog, Braddock won the heavyweight championship of the world. (The film takes us to this point.) He would lose his heavyweight title two years later in an 8 round KO to Joe Louis, "The Brown Bomber." Braddock retired after a final win over Tommy Farr in 1938.

Other reviewers have shared their own reasons for thinking so highly of this film. Here are mine. First, perhaps only in Raging Bull is the physicality of boxing so compellingly portrayed. Also, I admire the skills of those who recreated a period more than 70 years ago, one during which the Braddocks and millions of others struggled to overcome hunger and illness as well as poverty and especially terror and humiliation. Under Ron Howard's direction, the quality of acting is outstanding, notably Paul Giamatti as Braddock's manager and trainer, Joe Gould. (I still think that Giamatti should have at least been nominated for an Academy Award in recognition of his performance as Miles Raymond in Sideways.) With regard to Renée Zellweger (as Braddock's wife Mae) and Craig Bierko (as Max Baer) as well as Paddy Considine, Bruce McGill, Ron Canada, David Huband, Linda Kash, and Nicholas Campbell, they had to work within quite specific limitations in their supporting roles. I thought they were all just fine.

Finally, I wish to single out Russell Crowe for special praise. Whatever his public persona may be, he demonstrates exceptional self-discipline as well as nuanced talent in the lead role of the courageous heavyweight champion boxer. Braddock fought for "milk," to be sure, but in doing so became a symbol of hope for other victims of the Great Depression. Crowe brilliantly portrays Braddock's fundamental decency and integrity as well as his total devotion to the welfare of his wife and their three children. To me, this is Crowe's finest performance thus far."
Crowe Superb in Extraordinary Film Bio...
Benjamin J Burgraff | Las Vegas | 12/11/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

""Cinderella Man", Ron Howard's heart-felt film biography of boxing legend James J. Braddock, never received the recognition it deserved when first released, due, in large part, to Russell Crowe's bad press following a telephone-throwing incident. Overzealous critics tended to lump the incident and film together, and despite Crowe's public apology, many moviegoers skipped it. Now that the film is available on DVD, it's time to acknowledge the film for what it always HAS been; director Howard and star Crowe's FINEST film, together!

Braddock's story is so amazing and inspirational, that it is astonishing that it's taken seventy years to tell it. Sylvester Stallone 'borrowed' from it, extensively, in creating "Rocky", and in viewing the film, the parallels between fact and fiction are obvious; Braddock had been an 'up and comer' in the twenties, but broken bones and ill-advised matches had cost him a championship shot. Then the Depression struck, Braddock was wiped out, financially, and he struggled to support his wife and family through the most harrowing period in American history. Considered 'washed up' and too old for a comeback, all the boxer had going for him was his wife's love, his manager's faith, and his personal integrity, which refused to allow him to give up. He tenaciously climbed back up the ranks of younger title contenders, earning the adoration of a country trying to rebuild their own lives, as well, until, finally, he had his championship match, against ruthless 'killing machine' Max Baer. Their match would become the stuff of legends!

To director Howard's credit, he never 'over-sentimentalizes' the story, or tries to turn it into a soft-focus 'fairy tale'. His vision of the Depression is the most accurate and heartbreaking since the documentaries of the '30s, and will come as a revelation to those whose only knowledge of the period is a paragraph in a history book. Jim Braddock is not a 'Superman', but a hard-working, decent man with no higher vision than to provide his family a better life, and as magnificently portrayed by Crowe, he embodies qualities of honesty and dignity that many of us dream of, but seldom achieve. In any other year, he'd be a shoo-in for an Oscar for his performance, it's that good!

Matching Crowe's portrayal are Renée Zellweger, as his loyal wife, Mae, who perfectly channels a '30s 'style', as well as a gutsiness that is timeless, and the wonderful Paul Giamatti, as manager Joe Gould, who would sell everything he owned, rather than see Braddock give up. Giamatti, a veteran character actor who finally saw his 'breakthrough' in last year's "Sideways", should finally get his long-deserved Oscar, for this role.

"Cinderella Man" is a film that will continue to be cherished long after the filmmakers are gone, a tale rooted in an earlier era, but still timeless.

Movies just don't get better than this!"
You can have Rocky, I'll take Cinderella Man.
Charlotte Proctor | Birmingham, AL United States | 08/19/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"If you see only one movie this year, see Cinderella Man, starring Russell Crowe and Renee Zellweger, directed by Ron Howard. You will be glad you did. Well-written, acted and directed, it will deserve any laurels it takes this coming award season. This review contains "spoilers". The movie is based on a real life--knowing how the story ends does not in any way detract from one's appreciation of it.

Cinderella Man is the story of James J. Braddock, a boxer in the 1930s who after suffering injury and a losing streak, came back to win the heavy-weight Championship. It is a mesmerizing story with indelible imagery of The Great Depression. The blood and violent behavior was appropriate to the story-confined as it was to the boxing ring.

Ron Howard makes movies about real people and real events-Apollo 13 and A Beautiful Mind, for instance. He sometimes glosses over, or skips entirely, unpleasant or unsavory events in the lives he translates to the visual medium. Nothing I have read or heard indicates that Jim Braddock was not the fine, fair, good man that we see onscreen. An example: After returning to the ring, Braddock (portrayed by Russell Crowe with jug ears) returned all the money he had drawn the past couple of years to the Relief Office. Not that you could do that today-there's no form for it. Nor would modern man see the reason for it.

The movie begins with the young Braddock, winning every fight, never being knocked out, providing a comfortable life for his wife and children. He was a family man, a virtuous man who loved and took care of his family. Then comes his family's grim financial decline in the early 1930s, after he was hurt in the ring, was out of work and on Relief-much to his shame. His little family lived in a succession of small, dark, cold rooms and his wife took in sewing. It ends with his victory over Max Baer in 1935.

At the depth of the Depression a last-minute cancellation afforded Braddock the chance to fight John "Corn" Griffin-a chance to earn a few dollars he so sorely needed. Braddock's third round KO amazed everyone. His subsequent defeat of Art Lasky set him up for the championship fight with Max Baer. When asked in an interview just what gave him his renewed drive, he replied that he knew what he was fighting for.

"What are you fighting for?" the reporter asked.

"Milk", said Braddock.

Max Baer was portrayed as a high-living mean son-of-a-bitch who fought dirty when he could. He was tall and his longer reach and powerful right mercilessly took out his opponents. He had killed two men in the ring-Jim Braddock looked like being the third. (Max Baer's son, Buddy Baer of "Beverly Hillbillies" fame, takes exception to this portrayal. No one denies two men died fighting Baer.)

Braddock and his manager studied films of Baer's fights. They looked for ways to avoid that murderous right. Braddock went the full fifteen rounds with Baer, in spite of Baer's low blows. He got in some good hits of his own and left Baer a bloody and disappointed man when the unanimous decision made Braddock Champion.

Braddock lost the title to Joe Lewis in 1937, and after defeating Tommy Farr in 1938 he retired from the ring. Braddock used his earnings to buy a family home and invest in business he knew: loading dock machinery. He lived happily ever after.

(This review is based on the theatrical release.)
"Cinderella Man" makes dreams come true
Arthur Blenheim | Boston | 05/13/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"What excellent words I read by other reviewers here! I could not write a better one. But, I cannot live without adding my own two cents in agreement to those kind yet well-deserved words.

The cast is excellent and on-point in this film. Renee Zellweger is great. This is one of my favorite Russell Crowe performances, matching his previous movie with director Ron Howard, "A Beautiful Mind", matching "L.A. Confidential", and matching "The Insider". In fact, this film is so well put together and high quality that all of the cast fits. Everything about this movie is beautiful and top-notch. This is Ron Howard's best movie yet, including regards to "A Beautiful Mind" which received the Best Picture Academy Award only a few years ago.

Even if viewers in their natural variety of tastes do not consider "Cinderella Man" as the best picture of the year, it is certainly still among the top few. It has every quality a film should have, including a very useful story. If any American has not yet seen this film, then go out and find it immediately. This film will not disappoint anyone. It is a complete boxing picture and much better than its previous year's Oscar winner."