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Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956)

Passed | | Biography, Drama, Sport | 19 November 1956 (UK)
Boxer Rocky Graziano's biopic, based on his autobiography, from childhood to his World Middleweight Championship title win at age 28 in 1947.

Director:

Robert Wise

Writers:

Ernest Lehman (screenplay), Rocky Graziano (autobiography) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Won 2 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Paul Newman ... Rocky
Pier Angeli ... Norma
Everett Sloane ... Irving Cohen
Eileen Heckart ... Ma Barbella
Sal Mineo ... Romolo
Harold J. Stone ... Nick Barbella
Joseph Buloff ... Benny
Sammy White Sammy White ... Whitey Bimstein
Arch Johnson ... Heldon
Robert P. Lieb Robert P. Lieb ... District Attorney Hogan (as Robert Lieb)
Theodore Newton ... Athletic Commissioner Edward Eagan
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Storyline

The abuse Rocky Barbella endures at the hand of his father and subsequent run-ins with the law lead him in and out of detention centers and prisons. When it seems he has it together, Rocky is drafted but, refusing to adhere to Army rules, goes AWOL. He takes up boxing to earn quick money, but when he discovers he has a natural talent in the ring, he builds the confidence to pursue his love interest, Norma, and fulfill his potential as a fighter. Written by Jwelch5742

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

M.G.M presents a most important motion picture See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Sport

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 November 1956 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Somebody Up There Likes Me See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,920,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(copyright time)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System) (Perspecta Sound)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Film debut of Frank Campanella. See more »

Goofs

Much of the location shoots in New York show the tenement where Rocky grew up next to the Manhattan Bridge, but his address on East 10th Street is over a mile north of the bridge. See more »

Quotes

Irving Cohen: I never should have left the lingerie business. I was the happiest man in women's underwear.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The film opens with the following on-screen quote before the title and opening credits: This is the way I remember it... _definitely_. -Rocky Graziano. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Sound of Music: From Fact to Phenomenon (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

Somebody Up There Likes Me
(1956)
Music by Bronislau Kaper
Lyrics By Sammy Cahn
Sung by Perry Como during the opening and closing credits
See more »

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User Reviews

Fast-Paced, Excellent Wise/Newman Biopic...
21 March 2004 | by cariartSee all my reviews

After the critical and commercial fiasco of THE SILVER CHALICE, Paul Newman decided that the move to Hollywood had been a mistake, and returned to Broadway, to star in "The Desperate Hours" (later filmed with Humphrey Bogart in Newman's role). Warner Brothers, not amused by Newman's departure, tacked an additional two years onto his film contract, and brought the young actor back for a so-so war drama on loan to MGM, THE RACK. Then lightning struck!

Boxer/Entrepreneur Rocky Graziano's entertaining autobiography, SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME (ghosted by Rowland Barber) had been planned with James Dean in the lead, but the 24-year old star's untimely death, after completing GIANT, left the WB without a loan-out actor for the MGM production. The studio decided to use Newman, and at last the young actor had a role he could really "sink his teeth into".

Masterfully directed by the legendary Robert Wise, the fast-paced, gritty comedy/drama follows young Rocco Barbella (Newman), from his early gang days (with Sal Mineo in a small role, and young Steve McQueen and Robert Loggia, unbilled, as other gang members), resulting in a prison stint, finally released just in time to be inducted into the service! His quick temper and natural boxing skills catch the attention of an Army boxing coach, but the undisciplined Barbella decides to go AWOL, using boxing (under the name Rocky Graziano) to pick up quick cash. Eventually, Graziano/Barbella gets his life straightened out, aided by the love of a good woman (Pier Angeli, James Dean's real-life girlfriend, and Newman's costar in THE SILVER CHALICE), and a sympathetic manager (Everett Sloane, in another of his many masterful performances), and Rocky begins a long, hard drive to become a champion.

The role of Graziano would be a showcase for any actor, and the Method-trained Newman plays it with an explosive physicality and intensity that is occasionally too theatrical, but is still mesmerizing. His performance foreshadows, to some extent, Robert De Niro's Jake La Motta, in RAGING BULL, without the abusiveness and ultimately self-destructive qualities. Just as La Motta, even in defeat to Sugar Ray Robinson, would proclaim "I never went down!", Graziano would not allow himself to accept defeat gracefully, resulting in a constant physical pummeling that would leave his face so battered that he'd even frighten his child!

SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME would influence a generation of young actors and film makers (including Sylvester Stallone, who would 'lift' characters and some story elements in his script for ROCKY). For Paul Newman, it opened doors, and although his next two projects would be a standard Warner Brothers musical biopic (THE HELEN MORGAN STORY) and soap opera (UNTIL THEY SAIL), MUCH better films would soon be on their way.

A new star had been born!


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