49 user 16 critic

The Champ (1979)

A former boxer discovers that his biggest battle of all is going to be with his ex-wife, Annie, who returns after abandoning their young son seven years prior.


Franco Zeffirelli


Frances Marion (story), Walter Newman

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Jon Voight ... Billy
Faye Dunaway ... Annie
Ricky Schroder ... T.J.
Jack Warden ... Jackie
Arthur Hill ... Mike
Strother Martin ... Riley
Joan Blondell ... Dolly Kenyon
Mary Jo Catlett ... Josie
Elisha Cook Jr. ... Georgie (as Elisha Cook)
Stefan Gierasch ... Charlie Goodman
Allan Miller ... Whitey
Joe Tornatore ... Hesh
Shirlee Kong Shirlee Kong ... Donna Mae
Jeff Blum Jeff Blum ... Jeffie
Dana Elcar ... Hoffmaster


Billy Flynn, a former boxing champion, is now horse trainer in Hialeah. He makes just enough money to raise his little boy T.J., over whom he got custody after his wife Annie left him seven years ago. T.J. worships The Champ, who is now working on his comeback in order to give his boy a better future. But suddenly Annie shows up again. Written by Willy Vanhaelen <willy.vanhaelen@advalvas.be>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The most poignant love-triangle of all - a father, his son, and the woman who came between them. See more »


Drama | Sport


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

4 April 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El campeón See more »

Filming Locations:

Florida, USA See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,972,684, 8 April 1979, Limited Release

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Despite a vocal version ultimately not being used in the film, two vocal versions of the song "If You Remember Me" were recorded. The soundtrack album version was sung by Englishman Chris Thompson, and the version used in a music video-style trailer to promote the film was sung by Michael McDonald. The following year, McDonald and Thompson collaborated as co-writers of The Doobie Brothers song "No Stoppin' Us Now". See more »


When Champ is badly beaten up in the ring near the end of the movie, he is almost unconscious. To try to make sure he is okay, Jackie asks Champ, "What day is it today?" Champ says, "Thursday, May 23rd." The film takes place in 1979. May 23rd, 1979 was actually a Wednesday. See more »


[Billy and T.J. are playing in the ocean]
T.J.: Champ, did you love her?
Billy: Who?
T.J.: Annie.
Billy: Of course I loved her, that's why we had you.
See more »


Referenced in Gilmore Girls: The Breakup: Part 2 (2001) See more »

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User Reviews

One of the most heart-rending films in the history of films
14 July 2002 | by aj75See all my reviews

I first watched this film in 1980 as a five year old with my gran and we managed to distort the credits through our tears and sobbing. I received the video about four years ago, and as a twenty-two year old it had the same effect. Last night, I watched the Champ with my girlfriend and I am happy to say that the years haven't mellowed me and we were both in floods of tears before I switched the film off. I defy anybody who has an emotional bone in their body not to be touched by the story of Billy Flynn, and more importantly TJ. I won't give any of the storyline away as it will make it all the better for watching if you haven't seen it. As for me, I can't wait until the Champ get's it DVD release as I will be first in the queue.

"I want the Champ !"

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