The Set-Up (1949)

Approved  |   |  Film-Noir, Sport  |  2 April 1949 (USA)
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Reviews: 67 user | 36 critic

Over-the-hill boxer Bill 'Stoker' Thompson insists he can still win, though his sexy wife Julie pleads with him to quit. But his manager Tiny is so confident he will lose, he takes money ... See full summary »



(screenplay), (from the poem by)
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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Complete credited cast:
Audrey Totter ...
Alan Baxter ...
Percy Helton ...
Hal Baylor ...
Tiger Nelson (as Hal Fieberling)
Kenny O'Morrison ...
James Edwards ...
Luther Hawkins
Gunboat Johnson
Phillip Pine ...
Edwin Max ...


Over-the-hill boxer Bill 'Stoker' Thompson insists he can still win, though his sexy wife Julie pleads with him to quit. But his manager Tiny is so confident he will lose, he takes money for a "dive" from tough gambler Little Boy...without bothering to tell Stoker. Tension builds as Stoker hopes to "take" Tiger Nelson, unaware of what will happen to him if he does. Written by Rod Crawford <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Sensational Picture You've Been Hearing and Reading About! See more »


Film-Noir | Sport


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

2 April 1949 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El luchador  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


With this film, his ninth for RKO, Robert Wise fulfilled his contract with the studio and was able to go off and freelance for other studios. See more »


When Julie Thompson takes her walk from the gymnasium, she watches Pacific Electric interurban cars as they enter a subway tunnel. Car No. 707 is shown passing twice in a row. See more »


Red: I tell you, Tiny, you gotta let him in on it.
Tiny: How many times I gotta say it? There's no percentage in smartenin' up a chump.
See more »


Referenced in L.A. Noire (2011) See more »


"Paradise (1931) (uncredited)
Music by Nacio Herb Brown
Played in the score
See more »

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User Reviews

Forgotten gem
25 June 2004 | by (Toronto, Ontario) – See all my reviews

Robert Wise was one of Hollywood's most versatile and talented directors, but amidst all the classic films he made, this one was purportedly his personal favourite. It's easy to see why. Seedy, gritty, and stark, it's about as subtle as a hard right to the jaw. Ryan - one of the most underrated actors in American cinema - delivers a superb performance as Stoker, an aging boxer looking to salvage his dignity if not his career. It's a moral choice that could cost him his friends, his marriage and his future. Among the many interesting facets of the film is the use of other boxers on the night's ticket to reflect and reveal aspects of Stoker's own character - the loss of his youthful dreams, the fear of pain and permanent damage. Wise reserves such subtle devices for Stoker alone - every other character is rather one-dimensional, though this came across to me as a conscious choice to better fit the story into the 'real time' format, and to keep us focused solely on Stoker's story. The camera work and visuals are as stark and as potent as the story, carefully chosen to reflect the emotional beats of the story. Overall, an archetypal example of film noir not to be missed. Don't consider yourself a true film buff until you've seen this movie!

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Remake of The Set-Up in the works carehart
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DVD of The Set-Up out now in UK! mr-dan-hunter
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