The general setting of a boxing ring features a limited series of actions, with each key player in a specific location at the start – the audience must know where the fighters are, as well as who is responsible. corner men too, and sometimes ring announcers. Even certain members of the audience, for the most part. And throughout American cinema, these action sequences and blocking options facilitate the fantastic cinematography inside the boxing ring.

Of course, constant editing can play a big part in the overall air off a given movie’s cinematography. Many of these projects have been honored for Best Film Editing at the Academy Awards, be it a nomination or an actual win. But for the most part, this list will focus on individual angles and camera movements themselves.

Some of these scenes feature some really iconic cinematic set pieces. Related projects are helmed by some of the biggest filmmakers of their decades and eras. You should undoubtedly familiarize yourself with most of the projects on this list, but if not, you will soon be familiar with them. With all that said, though: these are the most successful fights I’ve ever had boxing movie date.

8 Boxer – Flynn vs. Celtic Tiger

Universal Pictures

Here in this attractive scene from boxer (1997) by Jim Sheridan, we get camera shots through the ropes, and other slow-motion situations that get up close and personal as fighters trade blows in the pocket. But there are also camera angles from the top of the arena, almost from a bird’s eye view, giving the audience multiple perspectives on the fight – not just a front row seat.

As Danny Flynn (played by Daniel Day-Lewis to the point of being nominated for a Golden Globe) staggers, swings, slides, and strikes combinations with mean intent, the camera follows his actions with a fluidity and speed that mirrors those of the strikes themselves. This is among the lesser known films of its kind, to be honest, but it’s vastly underrated in that regard. Filming from this fight scene would confirm this fact.

7 Rocky – Balboa vs. Creed

United Artists

Given the absolute name value it holds rocky (1976) and its many high-grossing sequels, this may be the most famous fight scene on the list. Maybe save for the number one choice, that is. And in the scene at hand, the fight goes the distance and leads to a decision victory for Apollo Creed that many think should have gone the other way.

There aren’t a lot of glamorous shots here, but a few creative shots of the two boxers grappling against the ropes. Plus, this is the longest fight scene on the entire list – so, the camera basically had to implement a certain degree of originality in order to keep the audience’s attention. And he undoubtedly did so to some extent, particularly with his quick snippets of footage and other new ideas as to the general continuity of editing. That’s what’s really worth mentioning here: the fact that it’s the first movie on the list to be nominated for Best Editing at the Academy Awards. In the end, though, that famous scene was mostly iconic for its own narrative purposes, eventually making it to seventh place.

6 Cinderella Man – Braddock vs. Bayer

Cinderella man
Touchstone Pictures

This is one of the aforementioned boxing movies that really excels at everything it sets out to do – from the fantastic cinematography and cleverness of its screenplay to Ron Howard’s fantastic direction and many indelible performances from the star-studded cast. It was nominated at its Academy Awards for many of these filmmaking elements as well, including the award for Best Film Editing.

And that really showed itself in the current boxing match alongside the iconic superstar as Jimmy “The Cinderella Man” Braddock taking on Max Baer for the heavyweight championship. In it, cinematographer Salvatore Totino used slow-motion footage on several different occasions to tremendous effect. in general , Cinderella man (2006) fared better due to the brilliance of his photography work.

Related: Top 10 Ultra-Recent Boxing Movies

5 The Hurricane – Carter vs. Cooper

Universal Pictures

despite of Cyclone (1999) by Norman Jewison is more of a character study than a deep dive into the beautiful science of boxing, there’s a defining bout undeniably worth writing about from a cinematic perspective. In the scene at hand, Robin “Hurricane” Carter goes up against undefeated champ Joey Cooper. The challenger puts an elaborate lesson against the hero, and the scene itself features great camerawork to boot.

We get an up close and personal look at the smashing chin-up uppers and the calculated hooks on the body. But we also bring pots of whip to the audience to document their reaction between blows from the respective fighters. It’s a truly amazing sequence, and it finally lands here at #5.

Related: Top 10 Performances in American Boxing Movies

4 The Million Dollar Baby – Fitzgerald v. Osterman

Million dollar baby
Pictures Warner Bros

Directed by Clint Eastwood, this popular boxing drama also stars one of the main roles – Maggie Fitzgerald, played by Hilary Swank. Eastwood’s character Frankie Dunn works as a trainer who is initially reluctant to train her in boxing because she is a woman. But he eventually comes around, and the two develop a meaningful relationship that comes to a head when Maggie steps into the ring to confront Billy “The Blue Bear” Osterman.

In one second in this fight scene from Million dollar baby (2004), a camera would be placed inside the ring and Clint Eastwood’s character would be shown looking through the ropes. Then, the next moment, the shot would flip into perspective, peer through the ropes into the ring, and watch the fight like a boss for just a second before diving into the action the next. It’s some really well shot stuff.

3 Fighter – Ward vs. Neri

the fighter
Paramount Pictures

Here with Mark Wahlberg playing Micky Ward in the first featured match of… the fighter (2010) where he faces Shea Neary, the welterweight champion from London. As the match progresses, the camera follows the fighters closely, switching between cinematic and documentary modes. But he also changes angles from Dickie Eklund (the same former boxer, played by Christian Bale) into his brother’s corner, and also appears in the audience from time to time.

Mickey’s family is on one side of the ring, the commentator on the other, and the fighters in between, baring their hearts out to thousands of screaming fans. With Micky’s wickedly fast uppercuts and charming footwork, the in-ring fluidity mirrors the camera movements themselves. And this reversal was made abundantly clear in the next selection, perhaps to an even more impressive degree.

2 Creed – Donnie vs. Lion

Pictures Warner Bros

as an honorary figure in creed (2015) Leo “The Lion” Takes Spinks Audiences were given one of the most exciting scenes from any boxing movie, regardless of whether that sequence took place inside a ring. Here, Donnie and Leo fought their hearts out for a round and a half, but what’s really worth writing about is that it was shot in just one take.

It took three months of choreography for the cast to get to a tee, but the process was sped up thanks to the man who played Spinks: real-life professional boxer Gabriel Rosado. The two men rehearsed the scene for those months in order to get the choreography as close to perfection as possible. And the end result was just that. The camera snapped in one shot, approaching the scene from several different angles. As the match intensifies and reaches its climax, the camera is in the dark until the final bell rings.

1 Raging Bull – LaMotta vs. Robinson

Raging Bull
United Artists

The opening fight scene Raging Bull (1980) puts you in the ring like never before or since. Director Martin Scorsese orchestrated one of the most impactful sequences in film history in terms of general camerawork as his most frequent collaborator Robert De Niro portrayed real-life boxer Jake LaMotta. And frankly, the current landscape has been studied ad nauseam by fans, critics, film students, and more, with articles and articles pouring in every two weeks since the release of the movie itself.

And a lot of that can be attributed to De Niro’s legendary performance along with his one-man camera movements throughout almost the entire movie. But when LaMotta faced off against Sugar Ray Robinson in the aforementioned bout, the camera work in the subgenre was taken to a whole new level, and an echo reverberated through the medium as a whole. In the end, it’s one of the most legendary scenes ever filmed throughout Scorsese’s illustrious career, and ultimately tops the list.


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