Because boxing is a considered an illegal and disreputable enterprise in 1880's San Francisco, wealthy and influential members of the prestigious Olympic Club vow to make the sport a "gentlemanly" one. They sponsor a brash, extroverted young bank clerk named Jim Corbett, who quickly becomes an accomplished fighter under the new Marquis of Queensbury Rules. Despite his success, the young Irish-American's social pretensions and boastful manner soon estrange him from his benefactors, who plot to give their conceited former protégé a well-deserved comeuppance. Despite this, his dazzlingly innovative footwork helps him to beat a succession of bigger and stronger men, and he finally finds himself fighting for the world's championship against his childhood idol, John L. Sullivan.
The grandest story of the Naughty "Nineties" becomes the gayest picture of the Fighting "Forties!"
Did You Know?
Mike Mazurki, Wee Willie Davis, and Ed 'Strangler' Lewis started their careers as professional wrestlers. See more
As the referee counts one of Sullivan's knockdowns, the soundtracks says, "One, two, three, four..." while his lips obviously count, "...four, five, six, seven." See more
James J. Corbett aka Gentleman Jim
I've seen you around San Francisco a few times but from a long distance, of course.
John L. Sullivan
Well, seein' me from a long distance is a smart idea, young fella.
Kunstlerleben (Artist's Life), Op. 316
Music by Johann Strauss
Played by the band at the ball See more