Before seeing Mickey Rourke’s triumph return, recommends the following titles to whet your appetite.

It’s Oscar time for Mickey Rourke in what may be the Hollywood comeback of the 2009. The former bad boy gives a blistering performance as the former champion wrestler Randy “The Ram” Robinson who finds himself at the end of the line. Too many steroids and too much partying have taken their toll on the middle-aged wrestler, whose health is failing faster than his self-esteem. In his own way, Randy is just trying to salvage what’s left of his life. Trouble is, he doesn’t know how, and after retiring from wrestling he discovers that the ring is the only place he’s ever found of dignity self-satisfaction, and undertakes a comeback that is perhaps unwise but nevertheless inevitable. It’s all he knows.

Before checking out Rourke’s triumph return, recommends the following titles to whet your appetite!


Robert De Niro, in a career-defining performance, plays middleweight champ Jake LaMotta from the height of his fame through his self-destructive decline. Beautifully shot in Black and White, Scorsese’s brutal fight scenes remain definitive, especially with the manipulation of sound and time-lapse from the boxer’s point-of-view. An altogether classic American film.


Directed by John G. Avildsen and starring Sylvester Stalone, ‘Rocky’ is where “The Italian Stallion” was born. Rocky Balboa is a aspiring boxer in downtown Philadelphia. His one chance to make a better life for himself is through his boxing. Through a publicity stunt, Rocky is set up to fight Apollo Creed, the current heavyweight champion who is already set to win. Bravery, courage and some stupidity for good measure, ‘Rocky’ remains the ultimate underdog story.


This classic film tells the story of ex-prize fighter Terry “coulda been a contender” Malloy (Marlon Brando) and his struggle against union corruption along the New York waterfront. The film went on to win eight Academy Awards: Best Picture, Director, Actor (Marlon Brando), Supporting Actress, Story & Screenplay, Cinematography, Art Direction-Set Decoration and Editing.


Based on Rod Serling’s landmark television drama, this is the story an aging boxer whose controlling manager leads him to consider throwing fights instead of retiring. Packing a wallop, primarily as an in-depth character study, this drama is packed with real-life boxers and star power. Julie Harris is undaunted as Grace Miller, a stern yet gentle employment counselor, who hopes to ease the heavy weight’s transition. Anthony Quinn is huge in both soul and stature as Mountain Rivera, and Jackie Gleason proves to be an equal match for him as his manager Maish Renick. Renick is both weak and crafty which adequately bolsters our sympathies for Quinn’s inarticulate giant fighter. Mickey Rooney tugs heartstrings as Army, Quinn’s trainer, and has a particularly memorable moment in a card-playing scene. Full of authenticity and atmosphere, with cameos by Muhammad Ali and Jack Dempsey, and supported with a great script by Rod Serling, this is one of the most moving boxing films ever made.




“The Wrestler” is in Irish cinemas from Friday, Jan 16th