Monkey on My Back (1957)

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The true story of Barney Ross, a World War II hero and champion professional boxer, who became addicted to morphine.



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This movie is based on a true story as written in A.P. Scotland's autobiography "The London Cage". The plot has greatly exaggerated the actual events of A.P. Scotland's experiences, including the addition of a fictional love interest.

Director: André De Toth
Stars: Jack Hawkins, Gia Scala, Erik Schumann


Cast overview:
Barney Ross
Dianne Foster ...
Cathy Holland
Rico (as Paul E. Richards)
Sam Pian
Lisa Golm ...
Barney's Mother
Barry Kelley ...
Big Ralph
Dayton Lummis ...
J.L. McAvoy
Lewis Charles ...
Lew Surati
Raymond Greenleaf ...
Dr. A.J. Latham
Richard Benedict ...
Art Winch
Brad Harris ...
Spike McAvoy
Robert Holton ...
Dr. Sullivan


The true story of Barney Ross, a World War II hero and champion professional boxer, who became addicted to morphine.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


SHOCK by SHOCK...It Jabs Like a Hopped-Up Needle!


Biography | Drama


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Release Date:

6 March 1958 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Monkey on My Back: The Story of Barney Ross  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In August 1957, this film was being being shown on a double bill with Island in the Sun (1957). See more »


(at around 33 mins) At the motel, a boom mic can be seen at the top of the screen while Barney and Cathy are hugging just seconds before the scene ends. See more »


Barney Ross: Look Rico. I only got eight bucks.
Rico, Drug Pusher: Start scrathin'. You see, you don't seem to understand. I'm risking ten years of my life with every move I make. I wanna get paid for it. And if I don't, my friends will break your wrists.
Barney Ross: Let me up Rico. Let me up!
Rico, Drug Pusher: You don't understand champ. The real torture hasn't started yet. The monkey will be on your back tomorrow.
See more »

Crazy Credits

"The Beginning" is shown in the closing credits. See more »


Edited into Dusk to Dawn Drive-In Trash-o-Rama Show Vol. 9 (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

Great Movies
5 October 2006 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

I saw this movie when I was a little Boy I'm now a pensioner and this movie has stayed with me my whole life As I was so young it set me on course with my life.

I promised myself that I would never go near drugs as it kind of scared the hell out of me being so young it left a big impression on me. I came across your site and just for fun typed Monkey On My Back And there it was wow memories ........How great but so sad they are.

It was a long time ago. Only one other movie made such a impression On me called Home Of the Brave it taught me to see a person for who he is And not the color of their skin I lived by this and it was because I was so young that these two movies made me the way I am I will take them to my final resting place

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