The fascinating life story of Sonny Liston, the controversial heavyweight boxing champion of the world.




Watch Now

From $1.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Undisputed (2002)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

When heavyweight champion George 'Iceman' Chambers lands in prison, the resident gangster arranges a boxing match with the reigning prison champ.

Director: Walter Hill
Stars: Wesley Snipes, Ving Rhames, Peter Falk
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Sequel to the 2002 film. This time, Heavyweight Champ George "Iceman" Chambers is sent to a Russian Jail on trumped-up drug charges.

Director: Isaac Florentine
Stars: Michael Jai White, Scott Adkins, Ben Cross
Sweet Evil (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

This suspense film is the tale of a yuppie couple (Matsuda, Cohen) unable to conceive and desperate for a child. They enlist the services of Jennifer (Wilson) to act as surrogate mother. ... See full summary »

Director: René Eram
Stars: Seiko Matsuda, Bridgette Wilson-Sampras, Peter Boyle
Animal 2 (2008)
Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

Years after being shot by his eldest son Darius and taking the fall for his crimes, former gangster James "Animal" Allen serves a life sentence at Folsom Prison. When a riot breaks out ... See full summary »

Director: Ryan Combs
Stars: Ving Rhames, Vicellous Shannon, Richard Waugh
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A high school basketball coach tries to turn his team around.

Directors: Robert Townsend, Elijah Nathaniel Wells
Stars: Esai Morales, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Jenifer Lewis
Extreme Ops (2002)
Action | Adventure | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.5/10 X  

While filming an advertisement, some extreme sports enthusiasts unwittingly stop a group of terrorists.

Director: Christian Duguay
Stars: Rufus Sewell, Devon Sawa, Bridgette Wilson-Sampras
Billy Madison (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

In order to inherit his fed up father's hotel empire, an immature and lazy man must repeat grades 1-12 all over again.

Director: Tamra Davis
Stars: Adam Sandler, Darren McGavin, Bridgette Wilson-Sampras
Evil Angel (2009)
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

When the young woman Emma Carillo is stabbed five times, paramedic Marcus Galan feels a great empathy for her and unsuccessfully tries to save her life in the Mercy Hospital. Meanwhile the ... See full summary »

Director: Richard Dutcher
Stars: Ving Rhames, Ava Gaudet, Kristopher Shepard
In the Hive (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Sixteen-year-old Xtra Keys hopes to raise his son better than his boozy, razor-edged mother raised him, and he just might get his wish when he's thrust into an unorthodox alternative school full of underprivileged boys.

Director: Robert Townsend
Stars: Michael Clarke Duncan, Loretta Devine, Vivica A. Fox
A Broken Life (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

Tortured by his own mediocrity, Max decides to commit suicide and recruits his only friend Bud, a struggling filmmaker, to record his last day on earth. Bent on exacting revenge, Max tracks... See full summary »

Director: Neil Coombs
Stars: Tom Sizemore, Corey Sevier, Grace Kosaka
House Arrest I (2012)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3/10 X  

Chanel is living the high life until one day while out shopping with her boyfriend, DeAndre they are arrested.

Director: William Washington
Stars: Aki Aleong, Chico Benymon, Cory Blevins
Money Fight (2012)
Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.5/10 X  

This full-contact action drama, loaded with authentic mixed martial arts, is a transcending inspirational story of redemption.

Directors: Adam Boster, Kenneth Chamitoff
Stars: Maria Conchita Alonso, Ving Rhames, George Takei


Cast overview, first billed only:
Geraldine Liston
Ceasar Novak
Father Alios
Nico Orso
Bobby Zazo
Andrew Hinkson ...
Troy Amos-Ross ...
Police Chief Greensburg
Bill Macky
Phillip Jarrett ...
Bishop Knight
Brian Frank ...
Officer Mellow
Philip Williams ...
St. Louis Cop


The story of World heavyweight champion boxer Charles L. "Sonny" Liston, who was knocked down 2 minutes into a championship fight by a seemingly harmless right hook from Muhammad Ali. It would forever be known as the "Phantom Punch". Liston later died under mysterious circumstances. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


"Before Tyson, there was Liston".


Biography | Drama | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive language, sexual content and some violence involving a sexual assault | See all certifications »


Official Sites:




Release Date:

September 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El gancho fantasma  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The film was first titled 'Finding Sonny' and full production of the entire movie was to take place in Canton, Ohio. See more »


If You Want My Love
Music by Stacey Hersh
Lyrics by Robert Townsend
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Impressive job if you like fiction
14 April 2013 | by See all my reviews

I've seen several movies about Muhammad Ali but I have forgotten everything I knew about Sonny Liston from those movies. Reading some of the IMDb comments tells me this movie might not be telling the whole story. In fact, the comments suggest this movie may be wrong about a lot of historical facts about a real person.

But forgetting all this, I thought this was quite a good movie. Ving Rhames gave an Oscar-worthy performance and made me believe there was more to Sonny Liston than the angry man the world believed he was. I actually didn't know anything about Liston, but once he became famous, it appeared the world hated him for defeating Floyd Patterson and being such a bad boy. But he really wasn't so bad, at least not here. Plenty of scenes show him as a gentle man trying to make a better life for himself. And as hard as mobsters try to get him to throw fights, he doesn't appear to want to.

True, he is shown getting violent because someone accuses Geraldine, a woman he genuinely loves, of being a mere hooker.

And he is unfaithful to Geraldine. But he really tries to make it up to her. And he doesn't hit her.

And Rhames doesn't give the only good performance. Stacey Dash shows intelligence and determination as the woman Liston loves. Rick Roberts is great as the prison priest who discovers Liston's tendency to get into fights could be used constructively. And the good father follows Liston's career on the outside as well, as he takes a regular church job. Nicholas Turturro does a great job as the man who seems to be in charge of Liston's career, but has to answer to higher authorities.

There is quite a lot of violence and threats of violence, and I don't mean just in the ring.

One very effective scene makes use of slow motion as well as sound editing (that's what I'll call it) that suggests Liston has been hit one too many times and things don't seem real.

Most of the music here is great, and why not? It was set in an era when music was music. Toward the end, rock and roll was taking over, and there are some signs of that here. But it's Vegas, baby! And Bridgette Wilson-Sampras is quite a singer. Very good-looking too. No wonder Liston was tempted.

The movie is not without its weaknesses. I never speculated on what was real and what wasn't, but Cassius Clay doesn't even look like Cassius Clay (though neither did Will Smith), and he hardly says a word. Clay was known for his mouth, and off in the distance we do get to hear "I am the greatest!". But Clay doesn't brag or use his colorful words. Not in this movie.

And I saw a 50-star flag. I've never seen a 48-star flag where the stars weren't in neat rows and columns, so that must be what I saw. It was still the 50s at the time.

Overall, this was a worthy effort. Unless you want to tell the truth.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Does this film really exist? lazur-2
4 biggest problems with this oliverfennell
Who's playing Ali? richeysj
Why is this movie so hard to find? greyfox28
How is Stacey Dash's performance? morrisjd
The boxing in the movie ghubbz36
Discuss Phantom Punch (2008) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: