51 user 26 critic

Champion (1949)

Approved | | Drama, Film-Noir, Sport | 9 April 1949 (USA)
Boxer Midge Kelly rises to fame...mainly by stepping on other people.



(screenplay), (story "Champion")

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 9 nominations. See more awards »
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Complete credited cast:
Luis Van Rooten ...
Harry Shannon ...
John Daheim ...
Dunne (as John Day)
Esther Howard ...
Mrs. Kelly


Midge Kelly, hitchhiking west with lame brother Connie, is hustled unprepared into a pro boxing match. Though he's severely beaten, manager Tommy Haley finds him promising. Arrived in California, Midge and Connie find nothing but a menial job from which Midge gets relief by seducing Emma, a lovely young waitress. One shotgun marriage later, ambitious Midge falls back on the only option he knows: boxing. Seduced by cheering crowds, money, and a succession of blondes, Midge becomes more and more of a hero in public...and a heel in private. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Every woman goes for a Champion. See more »


Drama | Film-Noir | Sport


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

9 April 1949 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

De kampioen  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


$600,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


"Screen Director's Playhouse" broadcast a 30 minute radio adaptation of the movie on March 17, 1950 with Kirk Douglas reprising his film role. See more »


Midge mangles the sculpture that Palmer has made of him, twisting the head out of alignment. In next shot, the head of statue is back in its original location. See more »


Connie Kelly: [Taking the high road to a reporter about Midge] He went out like a champion. He was a credit to the fight game until the very end.
See more »


Referenced in The Colgate Comedy Hour: Episode #2.21 (1952) See more »


Never Be It Said
By Dimitri Tiomkin and Goldie Goldmark (as "Goldie" Goldmark)
Sung by Polly Bergen (uncredited)
See more »

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User Reviews

Best boxing movie I've ever seen
19 August 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is a great movie. I rented it from the video store and expected an average boxing film, but instead I got a masterpiece. This movie is better than any boxing movie I've ever seen. The character is also very well constructed. Kirk Douglas really looks like he knows what he's doing in the training and boxing scenes. His acting in this is great and he doesn't overact. He is one of my all time favorite actors. Arthur Kennedy, another favorite of mine, is very good in this movie. Like in the part were he's yelling at Kirk Douglas telling him how his blood's gone cold. He tells Douglas he's worse than a murderer, he's a grave robber.

Midge Kelly does do a lot of wrong in this picture. He starts out as an o.k. guy and when he becomes a famous prizefighter and then champ he really changes. The money and fame goes to his head. He gets mixed up with a blonde too and steps on people to get to the top. He even gets rid of his manager Tommy, wonderfully played by Paul Stewart. He is always good in his supporting roles. The ones that come to mind are; The Bad and the Beautiful, King Creole and The Joe Louis Story. The actresses are good in this movie too and I think all three of them go good with Kirk Douglas. John Day is good as Johnny Dunne. He's always playing some tough guy or boxer. In Abbott and Costello Meet The Invisible Man he played fighter Rocky Hanlon. In Jailhouse Rock he played a tough guy that gets in to a brawl with Elvis Presley. In the Captain America serial he fist fights with Captain America.

My favorite parts in the movie are the opening scene when the fight announcer is introducing us to the champion. The announcer is played by Sam Balter. Balter seems to always be playing an announcer or commentator. In Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man he plays the commentator for the fight. Sam Balter was a great choice for Champion. As you see Kirk Douglas walking into view you can tell just by looking at him that he's a champion. My second favorite part is the thrilling climax. I love every boxing scene in the movie too. If you want to see one of the greatest movies ever made see this movie.

22 of 24 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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