The 2015 sports movie ‘Southpaw’ is the story of boxer Billy Hope as he deals with the loss of his family. A tragic incident takes the life of his wife, and his daughter is then taken away from him. After losing everything in life, he learns to stand back up and fight for his daughter. He gets inspired by a former boxer who ignites the fight in him and helps him stand back up. Directed by Antoine Fuqua, ‘Southpaw’ is inspired by the life story of rapper Eminem. The singer has faced numerous ups and downs in life, and the journey of Billy Hope parallels that of Eminem.
Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rachel McAdams, Forest Whitaker, Oona Laurence, and 50 Cent, the movie reflects on the life of athletes and the strength it takes for them to face loss but come back for more. The movie is also a testament to human willpower as Hope does everything to get his daughter back. If you want to watch more movies that focus on the lives of boxers and their struggles in life, then you need to watch the following movies right now! You can watch most of these movies similar to ‘Southpaw’ on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.
10. Here Comes Mr. Jordon (1941)
In the 1941 fantasy romantic comedy ‘Here Comes Mr. Jordan,’ a boxer, Joe Pendleton, is unintentionally sent to heaven before his time is given a second chance to live on Earth. Directed by Alexander Hall, the movie has everything from ghosts, angels, and heaven to boxers, training, and greedy bankers. Like ‘Southpaw,’ Joe’s trainer in his reincarnated life also makes him believe in himself and trains him to be a champion. The movie also displays a sense of loyalty and honesty that athletes show to the sport without smudging its name with bets or bribery.
9. Warrior (2011)
Gavin O’Connor’s 2011 sports action movie ‘Warrior’ narrates the tale of two estranged brothers who enter a mixed martial arts competition, forcing them to reconcile their differences and their relationship. One brother is a US Marine, Tommy Riordan, and the other is Brendan, a high school physics teacher. Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton headline the movie as the two brothers. Similar to ‘Southpaw,’ this movie explores the downfall in life caused by drugs and alcohol as the father of the two brothers is an abusive alcoholic. However, Hope in ‘Southpaw’ falls into that trap after losing his family.
8. The Hurricane (1999)
Norman Jewison’s sports drama film ‘The Hurricane’ is inspired by the life of Rubin “The Hurricane” Carter and his 1974 autobiography ‘The Sixteenth Round: From Number 1 Contender To 45472’. Carter was wrongfully convicted of the murder of three people. The movie tells the story of Carter’s imprisonment, his time in prison, and his eventual release, thanks to the kindness and devotion of a Brooklyn adolescent called Lesra Martin and his Canadian foster family.
Carter is punished for a crime he did not commit and spends time away from his loved ones; similarly, in some karmic way, Hope is punished as his wife dies right in front of him, and after her death, his life unravels into dangerous extents.
7. Creed (2015)
‘Creed’ is a spin-off of one of the most famous boxing movies, ‘Rocky’. Rocky Balboa, Apollo Creed’s father’s former foe turned buddy, trains and mentors amateur boxer Adonis Creed in the movie. Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, and Graham McTavish star in the sports drama film, directed by Ryan Coogler.
The movie follows the rise of Adonis or Donnie (his fight name) as he trains and surpasses obstacles to achieve his dream of being a professional boxer like his father. ‘Creed’ displays the love and power of family as Donnie’s stepmother takes him in, and Hope aspires to return to boxing only for his family in ‘Southpaw.’
6. Hands of Stone (2016)
Inspired by the life of Panamanian former professional boxer Roberto Durán, ‘Hands of Stone’ is a biographical sports drama film. It follows the boxing career of Durán as he gets training and lessons from another former boxer. Written and directed by Jonathan Jakubowicz, the movie features Édgar Ramírez, Robert De Niro, Usher, and Ana de Armas. Similar to Hope’s struggle and life in ‘Southpaw’ Durán also gets coaching and training from a former boxer Ray Arcel who appreciates his talents. In both films, a former boxer turned coach guides the main characters and encourages them to give their best.
5. Million Dollar Baby (2004)
Maggie, an ambitious boxer, is reluctantly given training by Frankie, a cranky old instructor. He is moved by her talent and tenacity and helps her improve. The two quickly become close. Maggie works as a waitress but has always dreamed of boxing professionally. The movie is inspired by the 2000 collection ‘Rope Burns: Stories from the Corner’ written by F.X. Toole. Clint Eastwood directed and co-produced the movie with co-stars Hilary Swank, and Morgan Freeman. The determination to be the best and to always get back up stronger are traits shared by both Hope and Maggie.
4. Cinderella Man (2005)
After giving up boxing and living a straight life, James Braddock gets back to boxing after the Great Depression hits the USA. The 2005 biographical sports drama film is directed by Ron Howard and is based on the journey of world heavyweight boxing champion James J. Braddock. The title ‘Cindrella Man’ is inspired by his boxing nickname, which was given to him by sportswriter Damon Runyon.
The movie starring Russell Crowe, Renée Zellweger, and Paul Giamatti focuses on the dangers and violence in the boxing profession and how the family members of the boxer have to face the brunt of seeing their loved ones get beaten up in the ring. Similar themes are explored in ‘Southpaw’ as well.
3. The Fighter (2010)
Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams, and Melissa Leo are among the cast members in David O. Russell‘s 2010 American biographical sports movie ‘The Fighter.’ It follows the life of professional boxer Micky Ward and his older half-brother, Dicky Eklund, a former boxer. ‘High on Crack Street: Lost Lives in Lowell,’ a 1995 documentary that includes the Eklund-Ward family, served as the basis of the story.
The portrayal of drug addiction and the downfall of a boxer due to the same is common in ‘The Fighter’ and ‘Southpaw’. The familial aspect, considering the story is of two brothers and Hope’s life after losing his family, is also prevalent in both flicks.
2. Raging Bull (1980)
Jake LaMotta’s 1970 memoir ‘Raging Bull: My Story’ is the original account from which ‘Raging Bull’ has been adapted. It recounts the destruction of Jake’s marriage to his wife, Vikki, in the midst of his self-destructive and fanatical fury, jealousy, and animalistic desire. Directed by Martin Scorsese, the movie’s lead, Jake, is an Italian-American middleweight boxer who struggles with his inner demons. Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Cathy Moriarty, and Nicholas Colasanto form the movie’s cast. Just as Hope falls into the shackles of depression and lets go of his will to live, Jake also fights his inner demons outside the ring.
1. Ali (2001)
Michael Mann made ‘Ali’ to tell the story of one of the greatest boxers who ever lived – Muhammad Ali. It narrates the events of Ali’s life from 1964 to 1974, including his religious conversions, struggles in life, and his comeback matches to regain his place at the top. It also discusses the huge social and political turmoil that occurred aftermath of the assassinations of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.
Will Smith’s portrayal of Ali was widely recognized and even gained him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. The significance of making a comeback and picking oneself up after numerous hurdles is no mean feat, as represented in both ‘Ali’ and ‘Southpaw.’