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Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962)

Not Rated | | Drama, Sport | 16 November 1962 (West Germany)
Mountain Rivera, a punchy has-been managed by the unprincipled Maish, is mauled in a fight and forced to quit boxing. Can his devoted cutman and a sympathetic social worker help him find a ... See full summary »

Director:

Ralph Nelson

Writers:

Rod Serling (teleplay), Rod Serling
Reviews
1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Anthony Quinn ... Louis 'Mountain' Rivera
Jackie Gleason ... Maish Rennick
Mickey Rooney ... Army
Julie Harris ... Grace Miller
Stanley Adams ... Perelli (as Stan Adams)
Madame Spivy Madame Spivy ... Ma Greeny
Val Avery ... Young fighter's promoter
Herbie Faye ... Charlie, the Bartender
Jack Dempsey ... Himself
Barney Ross Barney Ross
Alex Miteff Alex Miteff
Rory Calhoun Rory Calhoun ... Himself
Muhammad Ali ... Himself (as Cassius Clay)
Gus Lesnevich Gus Lesnevich
Willie Pep Willie Pep
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Storyline

Mountain Rivera, a punchy has-been managed by the unprincipled Maish, is mauled in a fight and forced to quit boxing. Can his devoted cutman and a sympathetic social worker help him find a life outside the ring, or will Maish find a way to exploit him one more time? Written by John Whorfin

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Unforgettable Four - From the fiery brilliance of four great stars comes a motion picture of guts and genius in the experience of a lifetime! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Sport

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 November 1962 (West Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Requiem for a Heavyweight See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Columbia Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Stanley Adams (Perelli) was the only actor to reprise his role from Playhouse 90: Requiem for a Heavyweight (1956), though the character's name was spelled Pirelli in the television version. See more »

Goofs

Gleason's character is beaten up by goons in the beginning of the movie, but in what is suppose to be the next day, doesn't have a mark on him and is uninjured in any way. See more »

Quotes

Louis 'Mountain' Rivera: In 1952 they ranked me number five!
See more »

Alternate Versions

The original theatrical release (@ 102 minutes) includes the following three segments which were removed from the VHS and DVD releases (both of which are approximately 86 minutes):
  • Following the fade on Ma Greeny's reaction shot as Maish is beaten in the boxing ring, there is a seven minute sequence in the hotel bar and adjacent alley: Maish asks Mountain if he has any money stashed away (to pay off Ma Greeny); Mountain recognizes and stops to help a bleeding, drunk fighter in the alley and gets into a fight with his scumbag promoter of illegal matches, which is broken up by Army and Maish, who rejects scumbag's idea of getting Mountain a wrestling career with Pirelli. Scene ends with Maish's clichés about the Three Musketeers and "Til death do us part" that reinforce the illusion that "Nobody jumps anybody in this group!"
  • A 1 minute 43 second transitional sequence after Mountain is rejected for the movie usher job shows him rejected as he tries to get a job on a moving van crew and as a sparring partner for a boxer who's training to fight Clay. Again he starts a fight after the boxer says, "I already got a punching bag!"
  • A 6 minute 27 second sequence after Maish's reaction shot in the stairway following his confrontation with Grace Miller. Pirelli is coaching Mountain in the gym to "make it look real!" Again Mountain starts punching his wrestling partner after his seriously injured eye is intentionally reinjured. Ma Greeny's goon squad warns Maish that he has till tomorrow to come up with the cash. And Ma Greeny tells Maish that "we're cutting out the middleman" and that Pirelli will pay her directly for Mountain's wrestling contract. Maish says, "I wish you weren't a woman," and Ma replies, "Maishy darling, that's the nicest thing anyone ever said to me!"
  • The VHS release adds an additional scene (@ 1 minute 11 seconds) which was cut from both the theatrical and DVD releases. [Since the DVD restores the original sequence at this point, and significantly changes the emotional focus of the ending, the DVD is preferable to the VHS release.] As Mountain ascends (both literally and figuratively) to the wrestling ring, the deleted scene has Maish warning the newbie who wants to sign a boxing contract replacing Mountain to "Go home!" instead of starting a career in which there are only eight champions and everybody else is a loser. The VHS also cuts medium shot in which the referree says, "Come on, Mountain, let's get this show on the road!" and, more significantly, the closeup in which Mountain makes the crucial decision to embrace his humiliation and starts his warwhoop dance around the ring.
See more »

Connections

References The Notorious Landlady (1962) See more »

Soundtracks

Home on the Range
(uncredited)
From poem written by Dr. Brewster M. Higley (1873)
Music by Daniel E. Kelley
Sung by Anthony Quinn
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Quinn Gives Knockout Performance in "Heavyweight"
19 November 2007 | by st-shotSee all my reviews

The sport of professional boxing takes another beating in this tragic and powerful re-make of the Rod Serling Playhouse 90 teleplay. The film opens from the viewpoint of Mountain Rivera, a once ranked heavyweight, being pummeled by a youthful Cassius Clay. Rivera loses the fight, beaten so senseless that when asked where he is (NYC) he responds "I'm in Pittsburgh and its raining". When the the fight doctor examines him he makes it clear this broken down pug is all washed up. This puts his manager Maish in a bind since he bet Mountain wouldn't get past the fourth round with some thugs who also lost money because of his guarantee. Maish needs cash fast and the only way he can get it is to get his washed up fighter to wrestle. Rivera considers it degrading (remember it's 1962) and refuses.

Requiem is top heavy with strong performances from its quartet of leads. Jackie Gleason as sleazy Maish is given more to work with here than his Oscar nominated Minnesota Fats. He's a desperate man, wracked with guilt but ready to sell out Mountain to stay breathing. Mickey Rooney gives probably his finest adult performance as Army, the trainer who has Mountain's best interest at heart. Julie Harris as the social worker assigned to find him employment seems incapable of giving anything less than solid performances in everything she does and she does not disappoint here. Then there is Anthony Quinn doing what he does best but this time with a battered machismo that's barely holding together. Body broken, dreams shattered, he is a combination of punchy and naive; a hulking gruesome monster, but still a child inside. His plight is uneasy to witness and Quinn in conveying it has never been better.

Also deserving mention is night club owner and performer Madame Spivy playing Ma, the hood owed money. Dressed in a man's trench coat and hat she displays an offbeat menace with a clipped sardonic delivery that makes more than clear she is a woman not to be trifled with.

Director Ralph Nelson keeps things claustrophobic and low lit to emphasize the grim existence of the characters far from the big paydays and glamor of pay per view in Vegas. Their futures seem about as bright as the dark rooms they live in and the empty deserted streets they walk.

While it may not rank as one of the great fight films of all time,(unrestored cuts from the original print hamper the film's rhythm) Heavyweight's combination of excellent acting and story make it worth going the distance.


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