Playhouse 90: Season 1, Episode 2

Requiem for a Heavyweight (11 Oct. 1956)

TV Episode  |   |  Comedy, Crime, Drama
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 8.8/10 from 160 users  
Reviews: 6 user | 9 critic

An over-the-hill heavyweight boxing champion who suffers from the ravages of years of head trauma is exploited by his manager, despite the efforts of a compassionate young woman who tries to help him recover his self-respect.



0Check in

Fall TV: 15 Returning TV Shows Worth Binge Watching

Which returning shows do we recommend binging on? We've picked out 15 great options for you. Read this and more lists in our Fall TV section.

Read our list

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 8397 titles
created 13 Aug 2011
a list of 21 titles
created 23 Aug 2011
a list of 696 titles
created 28 Jan 2012
a list of 53 titles
created 08 Jun 2012
a list of 88 titles
created 2 months ago

Related Items

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Requiem for a Heavyweight (11 Oct 1956)

Requiem for a Heavyweight (11 Oct 1956) on IMDb 8.8/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Playhouse 90.

User Polls

« Previous Episode | 2 of 134 Episodes | Next Episode »


Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Maxie Rosenbloom ...
Steve (as Max 'Slapsie Maxie' Rosenbloom)
Edgar Stehli ...
Harry Landers ...
Charles Herbert ...
Frank Richards ...
Fighter in Bar
Lyn Osborn ...
Joe Abdullah ...
Fight Announcer
Ivan Rasputin ...


An over-the-hill heavyweight boxing champion who suffers from the ravages of years of head trauma is exploited by his manager, despite the efforts of a compassionate young woman who tries to help him recover his self-respect.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

boxing | boxer | See All (2) »





Release Date:

11 October 1956 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Original air date 11 October 1956. The first original 90-minute drama ever shown live on TV. See more »


Remade as Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

As good as television got in the 1950s.
27 August 2010 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

The 1950s was an amazing time for television. There was a proliferation of live teleplays--movies written for television. Some of these productions were actually better than the material coming out in theaters. And, in the case of "Requiem for a Heavyweight", the normal 50 minutes was stretched to 72--allowing for great depth and character development. Fortunately, Criterion has released a set of three DVDs packed with some of the most memorable teleplays.

"Requiem for a Heavyweight" is a pretty ugly teleplay to see today, as it was filmed using the primitive Kinescope method. So, when you watch it, be patient and look past the fuzziness of the print.

This story helped to make Rod Serling famous. If it hadn't been for the success of this story (and the Emmy he won for writing it), he probably never would have gone on to create "The Twilight Zone". The cast is very capable and is made up of Jack Palance as the aging boxer and the father-son teaming of Ed and Keenan Wynn as his cut man and trainer.

The teleplay begins with Palance being taken to the dressing room following a loss. It's rather shocking to see him, as unlike what you'd normally see on TV, Palance is a man bloody and badly beaten--and the makeup job was incredibly good. The fight doctor examines him and announces that the guy is through--14 years of beatings have taken their toll and his career is over. Sadly, after these miserable years, you've got a punch-drunk guy who has less than $100 to his name and no job prospects. In essence, he's been used and is now ready to be tossed out like an old newspaper--and the show is a strong indictment of this dirty 'sport'. In fact, like the best boxing films, it is strongly anti-boxing in its message--and does so unflinchingly. The film really packs an emotional wallop and it tears your guts out watching Palance--who did an incredible job in the lead. It's probably the best thing he ever did--it was that good.

In addition to Palance, the teleplay features some great supporting actors. Keenan Wynn is great as the manager who is practically heartlesss. Ed Wynn is wonderful as the cut man who has trouble living with the guilt for having produced this washed out boxer. Kim Hunter is very nice as a well-meaning employment counselor who is touched by Palance's predicament. And I loved how they also got some real ex-boxers for color--Max Baer and Slapsie Maxie Rosenbloom--box ex-champs. Rosenbloom in particular was great, as he really was very punchy in real life--yet despite serious head injuries he had an amazing career in films and as a restaurant owner loved by his patrons for his colorful stories. Here, he tells tales and shows clearly the effects of all the head blows he'd endured.

The overall effect of brilliant writing and acting is probably the best or among the best television had to offer in the 1950s. Despite a few rough aspects (mostly the crappy Kinescope look), it is still an amazing film today because of its unflinching realism. Aside from this, perhaps the only other teleplays that reach this same level of excellent are "Marty" and "Days of Wine and Roses". And, like "Requiem", all three went on to be super-successful movies.

By the way, some other exceptional anti-boxing films that are well worth seeing include: "Champion", "The Harder They Fall" and "The Set-Up". But, of these, I still think "Requiem" is the best...and that's saying a lot.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
DVDs available? MEwing4444
Alas Babylon sldeveloper
Playhouse 90 - Portrait of a Murder 1958 Tab Hunter kathyanndavis
New Criterion DVD: Golden Age of Television luckard
Question for the trivia buffs? galileo_ii
The Ninth Day churei
Discuss Requiem for a Heavyweight (1956) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: