Bruised is a dark sports drama that follows disgraced MMA fighter Jackie Justice after a crushing defeat. As she struggles to get her life and fighting career back on track, her estranged son unexpectedly re-enters her life. Jackie battles a fearsome opponent, undergoing grueling training while trying to be there for her son – a fight that is as emotional as it is physical.
If you enjoyed the heartbreaking, but ultimately inspiring, story of perseverance, we have a few more recommendations that are just as bold and motivating. Most of these Bruised-like movies can be seen on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.
7. Southpaw (2015)
Southpaw follows a boxer whose life begins to spiral downward after his wife is murdered. As a result, he becomes addicted to drugs, loses his house and, above all, his daughter to the youth welfare office. Bruised fans will love this movie starring Jake Gyllenhaal, and if you’ve enjoyed Jackie’s Way of Salvation, Gyllenhaal’s Billy The Great Hope will take you on an equally tumultuous and inspiring roller coaster ride.
6. Ali (2001)
Will Smith stars in one of his best roles in this biographical sports drama based on the life of the legendary boxer of the same name. The film follows a ten-year period in the life of boxer Muhammad Ali and portrays some of the most famous moments in his life when Smith’s character is banned from boxing and then returns to regain the title. Although this film also has a distinct political bias, the persistence of the main character and the internal struggles it goes through are reminiscent of Bruised.
5. Rocky Balboa (2006)
The return of the Rocky franchise, in which a now older Robert Rocky Balboa unexpectedly competes against the reigning but infamous heavyweight champion. More than just a fight, however, this film shows a darker side of the boxer who sinks into emotional turmoil after the death of his wife. Similar to Bruised, there are parallel stories here too, with the return of the main character to the state of battle symbolizing the overcoming of their inner demons. In addition, both films show in an inspiring way what a true victory actually is.
4. Warrior (2011)
Warrior follows the dramatic journey of two estranged brothers who compete in the same MMA tournament. With both of them grappling with their pasts that keep catching up with them, reconciliation seems impossible and the only way to end things is to fight brutally against each other in the ring. Despite the explosive fight scenes, the film also manages to incorporate a heartfelt family drama. Like Bruised, this is one of the best MMA movies out there and it manages to rise above just another fight movie.
3. Creed (2015)
As the successor to the aforementioned Rocky Balboa, this film retains the best elements of its predecessor while masterfully updating other aspects of the plot. The aging Rocky is now training the son of his once legendary opponent and teaching him valuable lessons along the way. The film divides its duties well, with young fighter Donnie Creed showing off some incredible fighting sequences, while Rocky’s darkly emotional storyline gives the film a good dose of motivational drama. If you liked the ending of Bruised, you’re going to like Creed too.
2. Million Dollar Baby (2004)
One of the greatest, most heartbreaking boxing stories to hit the silver screen, the multi-award winning film Million Dollar Baby will leave you devastated (in the best possible way). A waitress is tenaciously trying to get a late-night boxing career going along with her grumpy trainer and his longtime friend and assistant. We’re not going to tell you how it turns out, but with a cast that includes Clint Eastwood (who also directed), Morgan Freeman and Hilary Swank, you can be sure that this film is a more than worthy follow-up to Halle Berry’s Bruised .
1. The fighter (2010)
The biographical sports drama tells the story of boxer Micky Ward, who lives in the shadow of his once famous, now drug-addicted older half-brother, Dicky Eklund. The family drama, the motivational story, the fight scenes and the devastating defeats are perfectly interwoven, making this one of the most compelling boxing films ever to see on screen.
Christian Bale and Melissa Leo both received an Oscar for their supporting roles, and the theme of redemption is so masterfully worked into the story that it almost disappears, only to reappear at the end and blow you away. This film has much of what makes Bruised such a balanced film, and is a definite must-see, not just for fans of sports drama but for cinema lovers in general.