7.4/10
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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:

Fighting or loving, he was the... CHAMPION 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

Show more on IMDbPro »

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

Shot in 23 days for $600,000. 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

Emma: It's funny.
Midge: What?
Emma: You know, I didn't like you at first. Well, you know, you never smile. I mean really smile. Not just on the outside.
Midge: Got to be happy to smile that way.
Emma: Aren't you happy?
Midge: Well, right now I am.
Emma: Then why don't you smile?
Emma: [he laughs] Midge, why aren't you happy?
Midge: Happy? It's hard to be happy when you're poor. I've been poor all my life. Real poor. You know what it is to be real poor? Cold poor? Hungry poor?
See more »

Alternate Versions

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

Connections

Referenced in Kirk Douglas: Before I Forget (2009) 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

 
Best boxing movie I've ever seen
19 August 2003 | by mercury4See all my reviews

This is a great movie. I rented it from the video store and expected an average boxing film, but instead I got a masterpiece. This movie is better than any boxing movie I've ever seen. The character is also very well constructed. Kirk Douglas really looks like he knows what he's doing in the training and boxing scenes. His acting in this is great and he doesn't overact. He is one of my all time favorite actors. Arthur Kennedy, another favorite of mine, is very good in this movie. Like in the part were he's yelling at Kirk Douglas telling him how his blood's gone cold. He tells Douglas he's worse than a murderer, he's a grave robber.

Midge Kelly does do a lot of wrong in this picture. He starts out as an o.k. guy and when he becomes a famous prizefighter and then champ he really changes. The money and fame goes to his head. He gets mixed up with a blonde too and steps on people to get to the top. He even gets rid of his manager Tommy, wonderfully played by Paul Stewart. He is always good in his supporting roles. The ones that come to mind are; The Bad and the Beautiful, King Creole and The Joe Louis Story. The actresses are good in this movie too and I think all three of them go good with Kirk Douglas. John Day is good as Johnny Dunne. He's always playing some tough guy or boxer. In Abbott and Costello Meet The Invisible Man he played fighter Rocky Hanlon. In Jailhouse Rock he played a tough guy that gets in to a brawl with Elvis Presley. In the Captain America serial he fist fights with Captain America.

My favorite parts in the movie are the opening scene when the fight announcer is introducing us to the champion. The announcer is played by Sam Balter. Balter seems to always be playing an announcer or commentator. In Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man he plays the commentator for the fight. Sam Balter was a great choice for Champion. As you see Kirk Douglas walking into view you can tell just by looking at him that he's a champion. My second favorite part is the thrilling climax. I love every boxing scene in the movie too. If you want to see one of the greatest movies ever made see this movie.


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