Because boxing is a considered an illegal and disreputable enterprise in 1880's San Francisco, wealthy and influential members of the prestigious Olympic Club vow to make the sport a "gentlemanly" one. They sponsor a brash, extroverted young bank clerk named Jim Corbett, who quickly becomes an accomplished fighter under the new Marquis of Queensbury Rules. Despite his success, the young Irish-American's social pretensions and boastful manner soon estrange him from his benefactors, who plot to give their conceited former protégé a well-deserved comeuppance. Despite this, his dazzlingly innovative footwork helps him to beat a succession of bigger and stronger men, and he finally finds himself fighting for the world's championship against his childhood idol, John L. Sullivan. Written by
The grandest story of the Naughty "Nineties" becomes the gayest picture of the Fighting "Forties!"
Did You Know?
In the fight scene at the beginning of the movie, when the police swarm in and begin beating the two fighters with their night sticks, you can clearly see several of them flexing as they are being swung. This is particularly evident with the officer on the left as he repeatedly hits "The Mauler". It's obvious they are made of rubber. See more
You're thinking about Sullivan?
James J. Corbett aka Gentleman Jim
Yeah. I can see him now walking back to his room, alone, lying there all night and thinking, 'What's the use of ever getting up again?' John L! He'll never thump another bar and shout, 'I can lick any man in the world.' He must be lost.
Auld Lang Syne
Traditional Scottish 17th century music
In the score during the opening credits and in scenes after the Sullivan fight See more