59 user 73 critic

Play It to the Bone (1999)

Two best friends and former middleweight contenders travel to Las Vegas to fight each other for the first time.



Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video




Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Tin Cup (1996)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A washed up golf pro working at a driving range tries to qualify for the US Open in order to win the heart of his succesful rival's girlfriend.

Director: Ron Shelton
Stars: Kevin Costner, Rene Russo, Don Johnson
Money Train (1995)
Action | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

A vengeful New York transit cop decides to steal a trainload of subway fares; his foster brother, a fellow cop, tries to protect him.

Director: Joseph Ruben
Stars: Wesley Snipes, Woody Harrelson, Jennifer Lopez
Action | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A gang of ex-cons rob a casino during Elvis convention week.

Director: Demian Lichtenstein
Stars: Kurt Russell, Kevin Costner, Courteney Cox
Drama | Romance | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A washed up pitcher flashes through his career.

Director: Sam Raimi
Stars: Kevin Costner, Kelly Preston, John C. Reilly
The Postman (1997)
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A nameless drifter dons a postman's uniform and bag of mail as he begins a quest to inspire hope to the survivors living in post-apocalyptic America.

Director: Kevin Costner
Stars: Kevin Costner, Will Patton, Larenz Tate
Comedy | Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Black and white basketball hustlers join forces to double their chances.

Director: Ron Shelton
Stars: Wesley Snipes, Woody Harrelson, Rosie Perez
Dragonfly (2002)
Drama | Fantasy | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A grieving doctor is being contacted by his late wife through his patients near death experiences.

Director: Tom Shadyac
Stars: Kevin Costner, Susanna Thompson, Joe Morton
Bull Durham (1988)
Comedy | Romance | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A fan who has an affair with one minor-league baseball player each season meets an up-and-coming pitcher and the experienced catcher assigned to him.

Director: Ron Shelton
Stars: Kevin Costner, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins
Action | Adventure | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Shaw is an operative for the United Nations' covert dirty-tricks squad, using espionage and quasi-ethical tactics to secure peace and cooperation. When a shipping container full of dead ... See full summary »

Director: Christian Duguay
Stars: Wesley Snipes, Anne Archer, Maury Chaykin
The Guardian I (2006)
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A high school swim champion with a troubled past enrolls in the U.S. Coast Guard's "A" School, where legendary rescue swimmer Ben Randall teaches him some hard lessons about loss, love, and self-sacrifice.

Director: Andrew Davis
Stars: Kevin Costner, Ashton Kutcher, Sela Ward
Swing Vote (2008)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

In a remarkable turn-of-events, the result of the presidential election comes down to one man's vote.

Director: Joshua Michael Stern
Stars: Kevin Costner, Paula Patton, Kelsey Grammer
Thirteen Days (2000)
Drama | History | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A dramatization of the Kennedy administration's struggle to contain the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962.

Director: Roger Donaldson
Stars: Kevin Costner, Bruce Greenwood, Shawn Driscoll


Cast overview, first billed only:
Joe Domino
Hank Goody
Cappie Caplan
Cylk Cozart ...
Dante Solomon
Mad Greek Waitress
Freddy Green
Slade Barnett ...
Vegas Cop
Cameron Milzer ...
Vegas Paramedic
Julio García ...
Chiquito Rosario


Two aging fighters in LA, friends, get a call from a Vegas promoter because his undercard fighters for a Mike Tyson bout that night are suddenly unavailable. He wants them to box each other. They agree as long as the winner gets a shot at the middleweight title. They enlist Grace, Cesar's current and Vinnie's ex girlfriend, to drive them to Vegas. On the trip, we see flashbacks to their previous title shots, their competitive friendship, and Grace's motivational wiles. (She has her own entrepreneurial dreams.) The fight itself is historic: ten rounds of savagery and courage. Who will win, who'll get the title shot, who gets Grace, and where will she find venture capital? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Two best friends take a shot at hitting it big. See more »


Comedy | Drama | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for brutal ring violence, strong sexuality including dialogue, nudity, pervasive language and some drug content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

21 January 2000 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Play It  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$24,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$3,366 (USA) (24 December 1999)


$8,427,204 (USA) (10 March 2000)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


As well as Mike Tyson, a number of famous faces from the world of boxing make cameo appearances in this movie - former champion George Foreman, commentators Jim Lamply and Larry Merchant, and trainer Teddy Atlas. See more »


When driving to Las Vegas, Grace is constantly driving the car over the double yellow line and across it as if she is being towed by the camera truck. See more »


Hank Goody: Who's my date for the fight tonight, Rudy? I can't keep track of these things.
Rudy: Your wife.
Hank Goody: [Looks slightly confused] My wife?
Rudy: Yeah. You know, there's a lot of cameras there tonight. I figured your wife would be a good call.
Hank Goody: [Gives it some thought] My wife... You're right. Good call.
See more »


Referenced in The Cinema Snob Movie (2012) See more »


Boom Boom
Written & Performed by John Lee Hooker
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Disappointing effort from master of sports movies
27 January 2000 | by (Brooklyn, NY) – See all my reviews

The story goes that Ron Shelton wanted to make a biopic of Bob Marley, but the financing fell through, and in a few weeks time, he wrote this boxing film. "That's okay," you think. "This is Ron Shelton. Sure, he co-wrote THE GREAT WHITE HYPE, which was disappointing, but he didn't direct that one. He did write and direct BULL DURHAM, WHITE MEN CAN'T JUMP, COBB, and TIN CUP(well, he co-wrote the last one, but let's not split hairs), all great sports movies, so he could probably do a boxing movie in his sleep." Well, unfortunately, that's what he seems to have done in this disappointing movie.

Shelton was reportedly inspired by a true-life fight where the preliminary match also turned out to be much more compelling than the featured attraction, which would seem tailor-made for him. And like the other Shelton heroes, the characters of Vince(Harrelson) and Cesar(Banderas) aren't among the great ones, though they've flirted with greatness. Finally, certainly the idea is right in place, that the point is not who of these best friends wins the fight(without revealing the ending, I will say it's not only logical, but feels right), but the fact they each got this last shot and put on a good show. The problem, until the fight scenes, is the execution.

Shelton usually has a gift for dialogue and character, especially when romantic comedy is concerned, but he seems to have mislaid it here. Vince and Cesar are pretty much ciphers from the beginning, despite the obvious chemistry Harrelson and Banderas have between them. There are traits which are mildly funny(like the fact that a boxer would watch soaps), but nothing that adds up. Even the fact that Vince is a "Jesus" freak seems incoherent rather than part of the character. And the dialogue between them, except in the scenes when they're talking at the same time, seems lame, relying on easy homophobia and vulgarity rather than being funny(compare that to the clever trash talk in WHITE MEN CAN'T JUMP). And even when Davidovich enters the picture, though she gamely tries, she's got nothing to work with, and seems oddly mismatched with Banderas. Harrelson at least she seems comfortable with, but they don't have enough scenes together.

The fight scenes are where Shelton finally comes alive. The behind-the-scenes details of how the fight gets into place and such are familiar, but well-handled. And the fight is compelling to us, so it's believable that the rest of the arena would find it so as well. We see the fighters being given advice, but since they think they know each other, they sometimes ignore it to do their own thing. And you really believe at the end they're both fighting on pure adrenaline. Even Davidovich becomes believable here as she realizes she loves both of them, and while she understands they need this, can't bear to watch them hurt each other. Yet even here, Shelton messes up. There are too many T&A shots, which are supposed to reflect how the fighters' minds are fogged up, but are more likely there to get people to hoot. Ultimately, I hope this is a blip on Shelton's career, rather than a sign he's losing it.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Golden Age of Movies donnak_17f
favourite scene sonicboomx
song? ebrady88
ending monlavingia
'Crown' on cornerman or cutman's head? redbolter
Wesley tha_savage1
Discuss Play It to the Bone (1999) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: