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USA: Universal Studios
UK: Buena Vista International UK
Cast: Russell Crowe, Renee Zellweger, Paul Giamatti, Craig Bierko, Paddy Considine, Bruce McGill, David Huband, Connor Price, Ariel Waller, Patrick Louis, Rosemarie DeWitt, Linda Kash, Nicholas Campbell, Gene Pyrz, Chuck Shamata, Ron Canada, Alicia Johnston, Mark Simmons, Art Binkowski, Matthew G Taylor, Rance Howard , James Ritz, Fulvio Cecere, Clint Howard, Ray Marsh, Dave Dunbar, Ken James, Rufus Crawford, Angelo Dundee, Wayne Flemming, Nick Alachiotis, Christopher D Amos, Everton McEwan, Johnny Kalbhenn, David Georgieff, Paul Ryan, Sean Gilroy, Richard Sutton, Richard Lewis, Peter Wylie, Stuart Clark, Julian Lewis, Eric Fink, Sergio Di Zio, Gavin Grazer, Boyd Banks, Daniel Kash, Judah Katz, Angelo Tsarouchas, Robert Smith, Aaron Abrams, Duff MacDonald, Andrew Stelmack, Chris Crumb, Gerry Quigley, Darrin Brown, John Healy, James Kirchner, Magdalena Alexander, Nola Augustson , Gino Marrocco, Sharron Matthews, Alec Stockwell, Chick Roberts, Isabella Fink, Beau Starr, Philip Craig, Roman Podhora, R.D. Reid, Michael Dyson, Sam Malkin, Tony Munch, Conrad Bergschneider, Richard Binsley, Ramona Pringle, Alon Nashman, Neil Foster, Brian Jagersky, Tim Eddis, Dave Arkell, George Duff
Director: Ron Howard
USA & UK: 144 mins
USA Rated: PG-13 for intense boxing violence and some language
UK Certificate: 12A contains moderate sports violence
USA Release Date: 3 June 2005
UK Release Date: 9 September 2005
In the middle of the Great Depression, when an America in the grips of a devastating economic downturn was nearly brought to its knees, there came along a most unlikely hero who had crowds cheering on their feet—as he proved just how hard a man would fight to win a second chance for his family and himself.
That common-man hero was James J Braddock—a.k.a. the "Cinderella Man"—who was to become one of the most surprising and inspirational sports legends in history. By the early 1930s, the impoverished ex-prizefighter was seemingly as broken-down, beaten-up and out-of-luck as much of the rest of the American populace. Like so many others, Braddock had hit rock bottom. His career appeared to be finished, he was unable to pay the bills, the only thing that really mattered to him—his family—was in danger, and he was even forced to go on Public Relief. But deep inside, Jim Braddock never relinquished his determination. Driven by love, honor and an incredible dose of grit, he willed an impossible dream to come true.
With CINDERELLA MAN, an Academy Award®-winning team—comprised of producer Brian Grazer, director Ron Howard, screenwriter Akiva Goldsman and actors Russell Crowe and Renee Zellweger—comes together to tell the quintessentially American story of a man who was not so much a great boxer as a great man who boxed his way out of darkness and defeat and into the stuff of immortality.
Academy Award® winner Russell Crowe stars as Jim Braddock, whose single-minded devotion to family and dignity became just as famous as his tricky feints and killer left hook. The story begins when Braddock—once full of promise—is forced into retirement from boxing after a run of bad luck, just as America itself is sliding into the most frightening hard economic times the nation has ever known. Facing imminent poverty, Jim wants only to do right by the woman who has always been his source of strength—his feisty wife Mae, played by Oscar® winner Renee Zellweger. At first, he takes a string of dead-end dock jobs that only seem to leave him poorer. But soon, the tightly-wedded couple are drowning in debt and emotionally devastated to see their children shivering in an unheated apartment amid the dead of a Jersey winter.
Then, as a result of the efforts of Jim's indefatigable manager, Joe Gould (played by Golden Globe nominee Paul Giamatti), Jim gets an out-of-the-blue, last-ditch shot to fight in Madison Square Garden—and more importantly, a chance to put some food on the table for those he loves. Despite being too old, too hungry and too injured to be considered a real contender—and in direct opposition to Mae's strident fears for her husband's life—Braddock nevertheless steps back into the ring without any training. Stunning the crowd and the media, he knocks out his rising-star opponent...thanks in part to a powerful hook developed during countless hours of dock work. But it doesn't stop there. His career re-ignited, he starts to dig his family, victory by victory, out of their hole.
Suddenly, the ordinary working man who couldn't get a job became the mythic athlete who could not lose. And the more he wins, the more Jim Braddock unwittingly becomes a folk hero. Carrying the hopes and dreams of the disenfranchised on his shoulders, Braddock rockets through the ranks until it is as if every time he stands up to an opponent, he is standing up for the millions just like him battling to take care of their families and keep alive their sidelined dreams.
Then, finally, comes the match of Braddock's life, as he boldly agrees to face off against world heavyweight champ Max Baer, a cocky powerhouse of a fighter with a punch so lethal he has already killed two men in the ring. Some say that Braddock will never even survive the match. Indeed, the odds are ten to one in Baer's favor as Braddock steps into his corner. But Jim Braddock has a different view: that this time he knows in his heart the incredible stakes for which he is fighting.