The 2015 sports film Southpaw tells the story of boxer Billy Hope as he copes with the loss of his family. In a tragic incident, his wife dies and his daughter is taken away from him. After losing everything in life, he learns to get back up and fight for his daughter. He is inspired by a former boxer who ignites the fight in him and helps him get back up. Directed by Antoine Fuqua, Southpaw is inspired by the life story of rapper Eminem. The singer has experienced numerous ups and downs in his life, and Billy Hope’s journey parallels Eminem’s.
Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rachel McAdams, Forest Whitaker, Oona Laurence and 50 Cent, the film reflects the lives of athletes and the strength it takes to overcome loss and keep coming back. The film is also a testament to human willpower as Hope will do anything to get his daughter back. If you want to see more movies dealing with the life of boxers and their fights then you need to watch the following movies now! You can watch most of these Southpaw-like movies on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.
10. Here Comes Mr Jordan (1941)
In the 1941 romantic fantasy comedy Here Comes Mr. Jordan, boxer Joe Pendleton is unintentionally sent to heaven before being given a second chance at life on earth. Directed by Alexander Hall, the film features everything from ghosts, angels and heaven to boxers, training and greedy bankers. As in Southpaw, Joe’s trainer in his reincarnated life makes him believe in himself and trains him to become a champion. The film also demonstrates the sense of loyalty and honesty that athletes bring to the sport without smearing its name with bets or bribery.
Gavin O’Connor’s 2011 sports-action film Warrior tells the story of two estranged brothers who enter a mixed martial arts competition, forcing them to reconcile their differences and relationship. One brother is a US Marine, Tommy Riordan, the other is Brendan, a high school physics teacher. Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton star as the two brothers. Similar to Southpaw, this film also explores the downfall in life caused by drugs and alcohol as the brothers’ father is an abusive alcoholic. However, Hope in Southpaw falls into this trap after losing his family.
8. The Hurricane (1999)
Norman Jewison’s sports drama The Hurricane is inspired by the life of Rubin The Hurricane Carter and his 1974 autobiography The Sixteenth Round: From Number One Contender to 45472. Carter was wrongly convicted of the murders of three people. The film tells the story of Carter’s arrest, his time in prison, and his eventual release thanks to the kindness and dedication of a Brooklyn youth named Lesra Martin and his Canadian foster family.
Carter is punished for a crime he did not commit and spends time away from loved ones; similarly, Hope is karmically punished when his wife dies right in front of him, and after her death, his life becomes dangerously lopsided.
7. Creed (2015)
‘Creed’ is a spin-off of one of the most famous boxing films, ‘Rocky’. Rocky Balboa, Apollo Creed’s father’s father-turned-boyfriend, trains and mentores amateur boxer Adonis Creed in the film. Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson and Graham McTavish star in the sports drama directed by Ryan Coogler.
The film follows the rise of Adonis or Donnie (his nickname) as he trains and overcomes obstacles to achieve his dream of becoming a professional boxer like his father. Creed shows the love and power of family when Donnie’s stepmother takes him in and Hope in Southpaw wants to return to boxing just for his family.
6. Hands of Stone (2016)
Inspired by the life of former Panamanian professional boxer Roberto Durán, Hands of Stone is a biographical sports drama. He follows the boxing career of Durán, who receives training and lessons from another former boxer. Written and directed by Jonathan Jakubowicz, the film stars Édgar Ramírez, Robert De Niro, Usher and Ana de Armas. Much like Hope’s fight and life in Southpaw, Durán receives coaching and training from a former boxer, Ray Arcel, who appreciates his talents. In both films, a former boxer-turned-trainer guides the main characters and encourages them to do their best.
5. Million Dollar Baby (2004)
Maggie, an aspiring boxer, is reluctant to be coached by Frankie, a quirky old trainer. He is touched by her talent and tenacity and helps her to improve. The two quickly become closer. Maggie works as a waitress but always dreamed of boxing professionally. The film is inspired by the 2000 collection Rope Burns: Tales from the Corner written by FX Toole. Clint Eastwood directed and co-produced the film, which co-stars Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman. A determination to be the best and to keep rising are qualities shared by both Hope and Maggie.
4. Cinderella Man (2005)
After giving up boxing and living a normal life, James Braddock returns to boxing after the Great Depression hit the US. The 2005 biographical sports drama, directed by Ron Howard, is based on the life journey of world heavyweight boxing champion James J. Braddock. The title Cindrella Man is inspired by his boxing nickname, given to him by sports writer Damon Runyon.
The film, starring Russell Crowe, Renée Zellweger and Paul Giamatti, explores the dangers and violence of boxing and how boxers’ families witness their loved ones being beaten up in the ring. Similar themes are also taken up in Southpaw.
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 film The Fighter. The film follows the lives of professional boxer Micky Ward and his older half-brother Dicky Eklund, a former boxer. The film High on Crack Street: Lost Lives in Lowell, a 1995 documentary starring the Eklund-Ward family, served as the basis for the story.
The depiction of a boxer’s drug addiction and demise from it is common in ‘The Fighter’ and ‘Southpaw’. The family aspect, given that the story is about two brothers and Hope’s life after the loss of his family, is also predominant in both films.
2. Raging Bull (1980)
Jake LaMotta’s 1970 memoir ‘Raging Bull: My Story’ is the original account from which Raging Bull was adapted. They tell of the destruction of Jake’s marriage to his wife Vikki amidst his self-destructive and fanatical anger, jealousy and animalistic desires. Directed by Martin Scorsese, the main character Jake is an Italian-American middleweight boxer struggling with his inner demons. Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Cathy Moriarty and Nicholas Colasanto make up the cast of the film. Just as Hope falls into the shackles of depression and gives up his will to live, Jake battles his inner demons outside of the ring.
Michael Mann directed 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, his struggles in life, and his comeback struggles to regain his place at the top. The major social and political upheavals following the murders of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. are also addressed.
Will Smith’s portrayal of Ali was widely acclaimed and even earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Actor. The importance of making a comeback and bouncing back from numerous hurdles is evident in both Ali and Southpaw.