The Worst Boxing Movies Ever Made

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Boxing movies have been among the most acclaimed sports films. And they can also sometimes be among the lowest-rated – the worst.

To determine the worst boxing movies of all time according to both audiences and critics, 24/7 Tempo developed an index using average ratings on IMDb, an online movie database owned by Amazon, and a combination of audience scores and Tomatometer scores on Rotten Tomatoes, an online movie and TV review aggregator, as of March 2023, weighting all ratings equally. Only movies in which boxing played a prominent part and that had at least 1,000 audience votes on IMDb or Rotten Tomatoes were considered. Cast credits are from IMDb.

Highly regarded actors such as Kirk Douglas, John Garfield, Samuel L. Jackson, Willem Dafoe, and Woody Harrelson have all ended up in lamentable movies with a boxing theme. Four performers who appeared in these forgettable flicks – Halle Berry, Robert De Niro, Barbra Streisand, and George C. Scott – were actually Oscar winners, though not for these particular efforts. 

Any list of boxing movies has to start with Sylvester Stallone, who muscled his way into movie stardom with the film “Rocky” in 1976. The story about a club fighter who gets his shot at the world title spawned seven sequels (counting two “Creed” spinoffs). Two of the series – “Rocky IV” and “Rocky V” – appear on our list. (Stallone is now on our list of the 50 most famous actors over 70.)

De Niro, who starred in what is considered to be the greatest boxing film, “Raging Bull,” was in two movies that did not scale those heights – “Night and the City” and “Grudge Match,” the latter of which also starred Stallone. (Besides “Raging Bull,” see the other best boxing movies of all time.)

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