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Cinderella Man

Released

Latest Home Video

Dec 05, 2005

MPAA Rating:

PG-13


Run Time:

144

Cast

Russell Crowe

Renee Zellweger

Paul Giamatti

Studio

2005 Universal Studios

Still shot from the movie: Cinderella Man.

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Reviewed by

Overall A
ViolenceC+
SexB+
LanguageC
Drugs/AlcoholB-
Run Time144

Making the Grades

In Cinderella Man, Ron Howard puts on the directorial gloves and tempts actor Russell Crowe into the ring to play a 1930s boxing legend. James J. Braddock fought his way from the breadlines to the pinnacle of his sport and along the way inspired a generation of struggling Americans who felt sucker punched by the great stock market crash.

In the movie, the light heavyweight fighter has a string of successes tucked under his belt. Young and ambitious, he exudes confidence with every jab and punch he throws. Mentored by his manager Joe Gould (Paul Giamatti), Jim seems destined for a winning career.

However, a turn of bad luck costs the pugilist his boxing license and leaves him sitting outside the ropes. Unemployed, he joins the ranks of jobseekers that show up every morning at the dock, hoping for work. But the economy is reeling from a crushing blow inflicted by the Depression and jobs are few and far between.

Scraping together whatever they can, Jim and his wife, Mae (Renee Zellweger), do their best to eke out an existence for their three young children. Moving out of their cozy home on a quiet New Jersey street, they sell nearly everything and take up residence in the dark basement of a crowded apartment block. But as money grows scarcer and the pile of overdue bills grows more plentiful, the self-respecting father and breadwinner is battered by the challenge to keep his family together.

Scraping together whatever they can, Jim and his wife, Mae (Renee Zellweger), do their best to eke out an existence for their three young children. Moving out of their cozy home on a quiet New Jersey street, they sell nearly everything and take up residence in the dark basement of a crowded apartment block. But as money grows scarcer and the pile of overdue bills grows more plentiful, the self-respecting father and breadwinner is battered by the challenge to keep his family together.

Then Joe shows up with an unanticipated offer. An upcoming match between the second ranked contender in the world, Corn Griffin (Art Binkowski), and his sparring partner, is slated to be cancelled when the underdog bows out. After doing some slick negotiating with Corn's owner, Joe gets Jim a one-time opportunity to fill in at the ring. But this time, when Jim "The Bulldog" Braddock steps onto the canvas, he's a different man: A fighter who is hungry for a win and starving for a second chance.

Cigarette smoke, profanities and some graphic boxing scenes repeatedly waft their way onto the screen in this script where the stark realities of poverty are pitted against the prosperous proprietors of the boxing organization. The sharp contrast highlights the struggle many average Americans faced during that long and dusty decade.

But Ron Howard's film doesn't dwell unnecessarily on the negative. Instead he gives adults and older teens a genuine champion who believes he has the power to make the best of a bad situation. Committed to his wife and children, he tries to maintain his dignity and stays true to his moral beliefs. In an era when appearances are paramount to success, he prefers to be seen as the man he really is.

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Discussion Ideas After The Movie

Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Cinderella Man.

Why do the average citizens cheer for Jim over the top-rated boxers? What production devices are used to make Jim more appealing? Why do people often like to cheer for the underdog?

Many of the characters in this movie are keen about keeping up appearances. Why is it important for them to project a certain image? How much of a person’s ability to succeed is based on the way others view him or her? Do you think appearances are a necessary part of life?

Despite the hardships the Braddock family faces, what values do they maintain? How does Jim teach those to his children? What part does Jim and Mae’s marriage play in helping them survive?

Braddock fought in an incredible 15-round match for a world championship. Read more about his opponent Max Baer at http://www.ibhof.com/baer.htm and see how it compares with the film’s portrayal.

Canadian Movie Ratings

BC
SK
PG Violence; Coarse language
AB PG Coarse Language.
MB 14A Violence.Language Warning.-----
ON PG Mature Theme. Violence.
QC 13+ Violence.
NB
NS
NL
PE
PG

Canadian Home Video Rating: PG

Watch @ Home

Details on home video releases of Cinderella Man...

DVD Release: 6 December 2005

Get front row seats to Cinderella Man in your choice of widescreen, full screen or a 2-disc Collector’s Edition. The first two choices provide commentaries with director Ron Howard, writer Akiva Goldsman and writer Cliff Hollingsworth. Deleted Scenes with optional commentary by Ron Howard are also available. Featurettes include The Fight Card (casting Cinderella Man), The Man, The Movie, The Legend (a filmmaking journey), For the Record (a history in boxing), Ringside Seats and Jim Braddock (the friends and family behind the legend).

Those investing in the Collector’s Edition will also enjoy additional deleted scenes (with more optional commentary by director Ron Howard), a Video Diary (on the set with Russell Crowe), Pre-Fight Preparations, Lights, Camera, Action (the fight from every angle), The Sound of the Bell, Braddock VS. Baer (fight footage), a photo montage and a Cinderella Music Man featurette.

Audio tracks are available in English (Dolby Digital 5.1), with subtitles in English, Spanish and French.

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