The Harder They Fall (1956)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama, Film-Noir, Sport  |  8 May 1956 (Japan)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 4,850 users  
Reviews: 64 user | 30 critic

Down-on-his-luck ex-sportswriter Eddie Willis is hired by shady fight promoter Nick Benko to promote his latest find, an unknown but easily exploitable phenom from Argentina.



(screen play), (based on a novel by)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Mike Lane ...
Jersey Joe Walcott ...
Carlos Montalbán ...
Luís Agrandi (as Carlos Montalban)
Felice Orlandi ...
Herbie Faye ...
Rusty Lane ...


After 17 years as a recognized and respected sports journalist in New York City, Eddie Willis finds himself out of a job when his newspaper folds. He's approached by a major fight promoter, Nick Benko, to act as a public relations man for his new heavyweight fighter Toro Moreno. Eddie knows the how the fight game works and after watching Toro in the ring, realizes Toro is nothing but a stiff who has no hope of succeeding. Benko offers him a sizable salary and an unlimited expense account and given his financial situation, he agrees. Benko's strategy to make money is one that has been used time again. Starting in California and moving east, they arrange a series of fights for Toro with stiffs and has-beens. All of the fights are rigged to build up his record and get him a fight with the heavyweight champion, Buddy Brannen, where they will make a sizable profit at the gate. Along the way, one boxer gets killed in the ring and Eddie begins to have serious doubts about what he is doing. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


No Punches Pulled! If you thought "On The Waterfront" hit hard... wait till you see this one!


Not Rated | See all certifications »





Release Date:

8 May 1956 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

La caída de un ídolo  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Toro Moreno's manager, Luis Agrandi, is said to be from Argentina, but his accent in speaking Spanish to his fighter is obviously Mexican, not Argentine. See more »


In the opening when Eddie hires a cab, initially it's a '55 Plymouth, in the next scene as they're driving off it's a '54 Ford. See more »


Nick Benko: The people, Eddie, the people! Don't tell me about the people, Eddie. The people sit in front of their little TVs with their bellies full of beer and fall asleep. What do the people know, Eddie? Don't tell me about the people, Eddie!
See more »


Referenced in Jeopardy!: Episode #22.206 (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

Bogart goes out with a bang
23 August 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

What a wonderful way to end one of the all-time great careers. Bogart's last film, "The Harder They Fall" is a tough, uncompromising, cynical look at the fight world, and Bogart is magnificent as a down and out reporter who sells out to crooked boxing promoters.

One of the things so excellent about the film is that Bogie is surrounded by fantastic performances, particularly that of Rod Steiger as a vicious, greedy promoter, Mike Lane as the big dumb lug Steiger uses to accomplish his goals, and Max Baer as an egomaniacal champion.

"The Harder They Fall" spares us nothing - not the violence in the ring, the treatment of individuals like merchandise, the preying on the downtrodden. And it doesn't spare us Bogart's haggard looks, either. However, his energy is great and his characterization of a writer turned press rep, a man who looks the other way, is a powerful one.

There's a story often told about Bogart in his last days. Friends would come over to visit in the afternoon, and Bogart would climb into a dumbwaiter in order to get down to the first floor. He was that small (80 pounds) and that weak. But there was never anything weak about the mind, the will, or the persona.

24 of 34 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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