7.4/10
3,141
55 user 31 critic

Champion (1949)

Approved | | Drama, Film-Noir, Sport | 20 May 1949 (USA)
Boxer Midge Kelly rises to fame...mainly by stepping on other people.

Director:

Mark Robson

Writers:

Carl Foreman (screenplay), Ring Lardner (story "Champion")
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Kirk Douglas ... Midge
Marilyn Maxwell ... Grace
Arthur Kennedy ... Connie
Paul Stewart ... Haley
Ruth Roman ... Emma
Lola Albright ... Palmer
Luis Van Rooten Luis Van Rooten ... Harris
Harry Shannon ... Lew
John Daheim John Daheim ... Dunne (as John Day)
Ralph Sanford ... Hammond
Esther Howard ... Mrs. Kelly
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Storyline

Midge Kelly, hitchhiking west with lame brother Connie, is hustled unprepared into a pro boxing match. Though he's severely beaten, manager Tommy Haley finds him promising. Arrived in California, Midge and Connie find nothing but a menial job from which Midge gets relief by seducing Emma, a lovely young waitress. One shotgun marriage later, ambitious Midge falls back on the only option he knows: boxing. Seduced by cheering crowds, money, and a succession of blondes, Midge becomes more and more of a hero in public...and a heel in private. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

boxing | boxer | gym | waitress | promoter | See All (34) »

Taglines:

This is the only sport in the world where two guys get paid for doing something they'd be arrested for if they got drunk and did it for nothing. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Film-Noir | Sport

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 May 1949 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

De kampioen See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$600,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$2,500,000, 31 December 1949
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

"The Screen Guild Theater" broadcast a 30 minute radio adaptation of the movie on October 13, 1949 with Kirk Douglas and Marilyn Maxwell reprising their film roles. See more »

Goofs

Midge mangles the sculpture that Palmer has made of him, twisting the head out of alignment. In next shot, the head of statue is back in its original location. See more »

Quotes

Connie: [to Midge] Why did you do it? Because you were bored? Did you have to prove to yourself you're really the champion? You stink! You stink from corruption! You're worse than a murderer. You're a grave robber!
[Midge knocks him down]
See more »

Alternate Versions

Also available in a computer-colorized version. See more »


Soundtracks

Never Be It Said
By Dimitri Tiomkin and Goldie Goldmark (as "Goldie" Goldmark)
Sung by Polly Bergen (uncredited)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The best "anti-boxing" film ever made
29 January 2007 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

I liked this movie for many reasons--the acting, the writing and probably most of all because it strips away the clichés of most boxing films and exposes it for the ugly sport that it is. While there were several exceptional anti-boxing films (REQUIUM FOR A HEAVYWEIGHT, THE HARDER THEY FALL and THE SET-UP), this one is the most dramatic, unflinching in its violence and features the most amoral and dislikable lead you'll ever find. Kirk Douglas was just great as the smooth-talking but totally self-absorbed boxer who was "the Champion". While in some films his larger than life persona might not work so well, Douglas' talents were exactly what this film needed and this film rightfully made him famous. In addition to his acting, I really think the next biggest star of the film were the makeup artists who managed to make Douglas look as if he'd been pulverized. Following his final bout, in particular, he appears to have had his face beaten to a pulp--and it's not easy to achieve that sort of look. The third star was the unflinching and exceptional script--it didn't pull any punches and gives a wonderful portrait of a horrible person who makes it to the top of his game by walking on everyone who he comes across. This great film is best described as a Film Noir boxing film and is strongly recommended (unless you have a weak stomach). In addition, all the above mentioned movies would be excellent viewing. Unlike GOLDEN BOY and KID GALLAHAD, these films de-glamorize a sick and dangerous "sport" and seek to deconstruct the clichéd image of the boxing hero.


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