Documentary focusing on heavyweight boxing champions from 1882 to 1929.



Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »


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Credited cast:
Norman Rose ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Georges Carpentier ...
Himself (archive footage)
Himself (archive footage)
Wyatt Earp ...
Himself - Referee of Bob Fitzsimmon-Tom Sharkey Bout (archive footage)
James J. Jeffries ...
Himself (archive footage)
Himself (archive footage)
Jack Sharkey ...
Himself (archive footage)
Jess Willard ...
Himself (archive footage)


Documentary focusing on heavyweight boxing champions from 1882 to 1929.

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Release Date:

28 October 1968 (USA)  »

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References Edison Kinetoscopic Record of a Sneeze (1894) See more »

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User Reviews

Superb documentary is available in a longer version
31 May 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I bought a VHS tape of this film at a library sale in the early 1990s. I had repeatedly checked the video out when it was in circulation, so I was thrilled to see that it was available for purchase. It covers the early years of professional boxing in America, the period from 1882 to 1929. I was first attracted to this documentary by the name of its writer/director: Harry Chapin, who is one of my favorite singers from the 1970s. This is Chapin's only directorial effort, and it was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Documentary. The boxing footage and the narration (spoken by Norman Rose) are so entertaining, I never tire of watching this film. Tom Chapin's musical score is fun, too, even if his theme song is rather dated. The oddest thing about the print that I bought from that library is that it runs 101 minutes. I've come across a couple of other VHS tapes of this film over the years, and they were both 77 minutes in length, as both the IMDb and Amazon have listed as the running time. . .I'm not sure why there is such a disparity in the running times of "The Legendary Champions," but I strongly recommend seeking out the longer version of this excellent documentary. It's just a shame that Chapin never directed a followup.

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