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Million Dollar Baby (2004)

PG-13 | | Drama, Sport | 28 January 2005 (USA)
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A determined woman works with a hardened boxing trainer to become a professional.

Director:

Clint Eastwood

Writers:

Paul Haggis (screenplay), F.X. Toole (stories)
Popularity
1,425 ( 283)
Top Rated Movies #201 | Won 4 Oscars. Another 64 wins & 83 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Clint Eastwood ... Frankie Dunn
Hilary Swank ... Maggie Fitzgerald
Morgan Freeman ... Eddie Scrap-Iron Dupris
Jay Baruchel ... Danger Barch
Mike Colter ... Big Willie Little
Lucia Rijker Lucia Rijker ... Billie 'The Blue Bear'
Brían F. O'Byrne ... Father Horvak (as Brían O'Byrne)
Anthony Mackie ... Shawrelle Berry
Margo Martindale ... Earline Fitzgerald
Riki Lindhome ... Mardell Fitzgerald
Michael Peña ... Omar
Benito Martinez ... Billie's Manager
Bruce MacVittie ... Mickey Mack
David Powledge David Powledge ... Counterman at Diner
Joe D'Angerio ... Cut Man (as Joe d'Angerio)
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Storyline

Wanting to learn from the best, aspiring boxer Maggie Fitzgerald wants Frankie Dunn to train her. At the outset he flatly refuses saying he has no interest in training a girl. Frankie leads a lonely existence, alienated from his only daughter and having few friends. Maggie's rough around the edges but shows a lot of grit in the ring and he eventually relents. Maggie not only proves to be the boxer he always dreamed of having under his wing but a friend who fills the great void he's had in his life. Maggie's career skyrockets but an accident in the ring leads her to ask Frankie for one last favor. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Beyond his silence, there is a past. Beyond her dreams, there is a feeling. Beyond hope, there is a memory. Beyond their journey, there is a love.

Genres:

Drama | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for violence, some disturbing images, thematic material and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Irish

Release Date:

28 January 2005 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Rope Burns See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$179,953, 19 December 2004, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$100,492,203

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$216,763,646
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Released in December to qualify for the Academy Awards. Remarkably, the film hadn't even begun shooting in July that year. See more »

Goofs

When Frankie introduces Maggie to one of the managers at the gym, movie lights can be seen reflected in the sunglasses hanging on his shirt. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Eddie Scrap-Iron Dupris: [Narrating] Only ever met one man I wouldn't wanna fight. When I met him he was already the best cut man in the business. Started training and managing in the sixties, but never lost his gift.
See more »

Crazy Credits

There are no opening credits after the title is shown. See more »

Connections

Referenced in EastEnders: Into the Woods (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Solferino
Written by Kyle Eastwood, Michael Stevens and David Potaux-Razel
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
One of the Great Love Stories Trapped Within a Flawed Film
11 January 2006 | by twm-2See all my reviews

There is both much to admire, and to despise, within this film. I believe the positives far outweigh the negatives, yet the negatives are so odious, so blatant, that they amount to a major defacement--all the more so because they could have so easily been corrected--marring what otherwise might have been a masterpiece of film making. As a drama about two lonely people who find each other and fall in love (though not in a romantic sense), this film is in a class few others share. As a drama about the sport of boxing, it veers wildly between insightful and ridiculous, and the film as a whole too often embraces caricature and melodrama, crippling our suspension of disbelief and leaving it floundering.

The film revolves about Maggie Fitzgerald--a 30 year old woman who attempts to escape a difficult upbringing in a single-minded pursuit of a boxing career--and Frankie Dunn, a down-on-his-luck manager/trainer and owner of a rundown boxing gym. She basically takes up residence in his gym, working out and trying to persuade him to take her under his wing. He wants no part of managing a "girl"--especially one virtually over the hill--and puts her off with one caustic rebuff after another. She persists, and over time, stubbornly refusing to take no for an answer, finally persuades him to train her. Before long, reluctantly, a bond begins to grow between the crusty old trainer, permanently estranged from his only daughter, and this fiercely determined woman whose father, the only person who ever loved her, died long ago. It is this growing relationship that is the heart of the film, and it is magnificently played out between these fine actors. Hilary Swank is mesmerizing, every gesture, every expression is convincing. The fact that her character is so sweet-natured, so adorable (in an early fight, she shrugs her shoulders to Frankie's mock disgust in such a way that it had to have melted the hearts of anyone with a heart) that it might give us pause later after the lights go on when we might ask, "How could this immensely genial character have been so alone?" but Swank is so compelling that as we watch her, we never doubt her or her situation for a moment. Clint Eastwood is almost as good, and his brusque, brooding, deeply wounded old gym-rat provides an excellent foil to Swank's more hopeful character. We become ensnared in their emotional dynamics, much more than their pursuit of a boxing title. As we watch their love for each other grow (the love between surrogate father and daughter), our love for each of their characters grows as well, so that the ultimate tragedy that befalls them is almost unbearable to watch.

Or at least, it would be if you can ignore the intruding absurdities. First among them are some of the fight sequences. Most of these play well, though there are occasional moments when a punch clearly lands upon air, half a meter from the opponent's face, and yet we hear an accompanying sound effect as if there had been a solidly landed blow. But the principle problem concerns the fights involving a character called "The Blue Bear"--a figure so ludicrous her appearance in a comic book would be jarringly idiotic. We see her perform acts of deranged mayhem in the ring that make the biting off of an ear seem pacifist. A Nazi Storm Trooper would find her embarrassing. Anyone displaying these traits in real life would be barred from prize-fighting years before reaching a title fight. To suggest that such a one could become champion is light years beyond far-fetched. Apparently, every one of her referees, and the two judges at court-side, are carefully selected for their inability to open their eyes. {Brief Spoilers Ahead} In the climatic showdown, we are told the "Bear" wins in spite of egregious violations, including the knock-out punch which occurs 10 seconds after the bell has sounded. {Spoilers End} I thought "Cinderella Man's" depiction of the fighter Max Baer was a bit over the top--but not compared to this. In a hundred other boxing films I have seen nothing to approach the outlandishness of this depiction.

There were other problems. Maggie's surviving family were overwrought, cardboard caricatures. Morgan Freeman, who plays Frankie's closest friend, provides the film's narration, and though he does his usual excellent job, his comments weren't as finely written (or were perhaps over written) as those he voiced in "Shawshank Redemption." Two or three times we hear him talk about being "somewhere between nowhere and good-bye," which was two or three times too many.

In spite of the drawbacks, which are far from incidental, I found myself spellbound by Maggie and Frankie's relationship. There are other nice things about the film, not least of which is a crowd-pleasing "interchange" between Freeman and a bully/would-be fighter, and Eastwood's direction which, in spite of contributing to the lapses noted above, does a fabulous job of getting the most from his cast and providing a wonderfully paced movie--but it is the strength of the central relationship which buoys the film, keeping it afloat in the midst of its sea of weakness. I cannot help but mourn the loss of what could have been. A more realistic villain, a fine-tuning of the script, and this might have been both the greatest boxing movie of all time, and one of the great love stories. I'd like to shake Haggis (the writer) and Eastwood for failing to fully capitalize on their opportunity.


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