Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956)

Passed  |   |  Biography, Drama, Sport  |  12 December 1956 (Japan)
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Boxer Rocky Graziano's biopic, based on his autobiography, from childhood to his World Middleweight Championship title win at age 28 in 1947.



(screenplay), (autobiography), 1 more credit »
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Won 2 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Joseph Buloff ...
Sammy White ...
Arch Johnson ...
Robert P. Lieb ...
District Attorney Hogan (as Robert Lieb)
Theodore Newton ...
Athletic Commissioner Edward Eagan


Rocky Graziano is building a career in crime, when he's finally caught and arrested. In jail, he is undisciplined, always getting into trouble. When he gets out after many years he has decided to start a new life. However, he is immediately drafted to the army. But they can't keep him and he goes AWOL. Rocky discovers boxing as a way of earning quick money, and is discovered as a new talent. Written by Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Biography | Drama | Sport


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Release Date:

12 December 1956 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

El estigma del arroyo  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$1,920,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(copyright time)

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System) (Perspecta Sound)

Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Eileen Heckart who plays Rocky Graciano's mother was only 6 years older than Paul Newman. She was born in 1919 and he, in 1925. See more »


During the scene where the manager comes to the house, passing all the news crews, the door of the house has three small windows in descending order. Once inside the house with Rocky's wife the door in the background has an arched window instead of three small windows. See more »


Rocky Graziano: It's not my fault that she's pregnant!
See more »


Referenced in James Dean: Race with Destiny (1997) See more »


Played by a bugler
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User Reviews

Somebody up there liked Paul Newman
14 January 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Paul Newman stars as Rocky Graziano in the middleweight champion's life story, "Somebody Up There Likes Me," directed with spirit by Robert Wise. The film covers Rocky Barbella's young life on the mean streets of New York, made all the meaner by his juvenile delinquent presence and that of his friends. Totally out of control, Barbella steals, runs, and punches his way through his home life, reform school, and prison, including his army stint where he knocks out a corporal and goes AWOL, then assuming the name Graziano. It's not long before his talent is put to good use in the ring. The respectability and success he gains is short-lived, however, when he refuses to take a dive but then fails to report it to the boxing commission or identify the criminals.

The film covers Graziano's marriage to his wife of 47 years, Norma, and his historic fight with Tony Zale. Pier Angeli plays the petite but tough Norma, who knows just how to handle her husband; Eileen Heckert is marvelous as Rocky's mother. Harold Stone, as Rocky's disillusioned father, is very good in the difficult role of an unlikeable man with an uneasy relationship with his son. Sal Mineo is effective as Romolo, Rocky's friend from the neighborhood.

James Dean was to play Graziano but after his death, the role went to Paul Newman. Words are not really adequate to describe the young Newman's work in this film. He totally inhabits the character of Graziano and loses what one thinks of as "Paul Newman" in the bargain. One of the hardest accents to do without making it sound phony is a New York one, yet Newman pulls it off with no problem. Though Dean would have been excellent, Newman's portrayal is a treasure. He's angry, sympathetic, scrappy, vulnerable and caring - in short, a flawed human being. It's one of the finest performances on film.

34 of 49 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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