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Dempsey (1983)

Not Rated | | Biography, Drama, Sport | TV Movie 28 September 1983
True story about Jack Dempsey, one of the most famous professional US boxers who made his name in the 1920's as the world heavyweight champion and media sensation.


Gus Trikonis


Barbara Piatelli Dempsey (book), Jack Dempsey (book) | 1 more credit »

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Nominated for 2 Primetime Emmys. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Treat Williams ... Jack Dempsey
Sam Waterston ... Doc Kearns
Sally Kellerman ... Maxine Cates
Victoria Tennant ... Estelle Taylor
Peter Mark Richman ... Tex Rickard
Jesse Vint ... Bernie Dempsey
Robert Harper ... Damon Runyon
John McLiam ... Hyrum Dempsey
Bonnie Bartlett ... Celia Dempsey
James Noble ... Gavin McNab
John Lehne John Lehne ... Gene Normile
Cliff Emmich ... Otto
Michael McManus ... Babe Ruth
Mark L. Taylor ... Price (as Mark Taylor)
Jimmy Nickerson Jimmy Nickerson ... Gene Tunney


True story about Jack Dempsey, one of the most famous professional US boxers who made his name in the 1920's as the world heavyweight champion and media sensation.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Biography | Drama | Sport


Not Rated | See all certifications »






Release Date:

28 September 1983 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A világbajnok See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (video)

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The African-American fighter named "Johnson" who injures Dempsey was in real life John Lester Johnson, who would later go on to do bit part acting roles, most notably "Bumbo" ("Uncle George") in the "Our Gang" short "The Kid from Borneo." See more »


[After Dempsey loses a fight.]
Estelle Taylor: What happened?
Jack Dempsey: Honey, I forgot to duck.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Videotape version is cut from longer original. See more »

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User Reviews

Typical 80s TV movie
17 October 2017 | by HotToastyRagSee all my reviews

In this biopic of boxer Jack Dempsey, Treat Williams plays the title role. Starting from humble beginnings, he's taught how to fight by his older brother Jesse Vint. He bids goodbye to his family and sets out for New York, where he's determined to become World Champion. Along the way, he meets the older, experienced nightclub singer, Sally Kellerman, and some shady characters who don't exactly have his best interest at heart.

Even to laypeople like me who know nothing of the world of boxing, Jack Dempsey is a well-known name. So, when Sam Waterston shows up and tells Treat Williams he can turn his career around and really get him some good fights, the audience can tell he'll be a great manager. But, if there's anyone out there who doesn't know Jack Dempsey's career—don't worry, I didn't either—I won't spoil anything else about the plot.

While there's nothing particularly wrong with this made-for-TV biopic, there's nothing particularly noteworthy about it, either. The script is painfully cheesy, the music is just a little too cheerful, and the acting is a touch over-the-top—the three elements of a classic TV movie out of the 80s! If Dempsey is your favorite fighter, or if your guilty pleasure is watching bad TV movies, go ahead and rent this one. Everyone else can probably skip it.

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