I Am Durán (2019) - Plot Summary Poster



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  • A one man wrecking-ball who took on the world, transcended his sport and helped inspire a nation to rise up against its CIA funded dictator to achieve independence.

  • The story of four-time World Champion Panamanian boxer Roberto Durán. A one man wrecking-ball who took on the world, transcended his sport and helped inspire a nation to rise up against its CIA funded dictator to achieve independence. From his days shining shoes on the street, to packing out arenas across the world, this is the story of modern Panama and its most celebrated child.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Contributors together with Duran tell of his tough formation and childhood in addition to the difficult situation politically in Panama at the time. We go on to see what a boxing phenomenon he was at a young age through archive. Duran's trainer Ray Arcel is introduced by Robert De Niro. We then cut to New York where Duran defeats Ken Buchanan, who we also hear from. Duran goes 8 years unbeaten as champion, and in doing so we hear from contributors such as Mauricio Suliaman (WBC President), Mike Tyson, Stallone, Ray Leonard, Bob Arum (promoter) all describing his boxing skills. Former President of Panama, Ernesto Balladares, expands on the notion that the people of Panama identified with him and how important his fights became to the nation. We are then given a backdrop politically and understanding of Omar Torrijos, who was leading the nation at the time into a brighter future. Our story next focuses on the Promotors of the time and how they changed the sport of Boxing. It leads us into the Sugar Ray Leonard fight. We learn of the build up to the fight and its toxic nature, then to action in the ring where Duran and Leonard tell the story of the fight, culminating in victory for Duran. Back in Panama we see Duran get a hero's return before seeing him in his neighbourhood in present day. Duran's excesses are described before we hear the story on how the re-match with Leonard came about. The fight develops with Sugar Ray goading Duran who eventually quits to everyone's dismay. In present day interview Duran looks embarrassed still. Our narrative takes a downward spiral, Duran admits feeling lost during that time and we learn his leader Torrijos also dies then, which brings about the emergence of Manuel Noriega. We see and hear from Noriega in present day. Duran rouses himself to comeback and ends up beating Davey Moore to win the title again. His country embrace him and welcome him back. Duran sums up the situation powerfully: 'Noriega had the power.. I had the people'. We learn of how Duran was one of the era's 'Four Kings' and he next takes on Marvin Hagler, who he to losses valiantly, and then Tommy Hearns. We seed into the Hearns fight that Duran was mentally distracted by the situation of his country politically and the instability Noriega was causing. He is knocked out brutally in footage that is intertwined with news reports. We cut to imagery of his people, where his wife explains Duran felt a duty to them during these dark days. We head to one last title fight. Duran looks old and tired. His opponent, Iran Barkley, is a huge, former gang member from the streets. We hear from Barkley, who gives his side of the story. Imagery of the fight is intercut with archive we have seen previously - Duran's memories and motivations are playing out right in front of us. Barkley explains how Duran wouldn't fall. We are embedded into Duran's subconscious here and understand what it was and why. Duran is fighting now for his people, who are subject to a US invasion. The scene crescendos on his knockdown of Barkley. The film ends on title cards which explain the aftermath both for Duran's career and Panama post, the US invasion.

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