FAMILY AND CLASS: Boxer Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg, right) begins to realize that his strongest supporters, including his former-boxer brother and trainer Dicky (Christian Bale, center), are the same people holding him back. © 2010 PARAMOUNT PICTURES. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

The Fighter

Directed by David O. Russell

Boxing movies are hardly ever about boxing. Instead, they use boxing as a vehicle to explore larger issues such as raw ambition (Champion), fading hope (The Set-Up), racism (The Great White Hope), institutional corruption (The Harder They Fall), fading pride (Requiem for a Heavy­weight), personal redemption (Rocky) and, in perhaps the greatest of all boxing films, Raging Bull, the inner workings of a damaged psyche. For decades, boxing in the movies has represented the chance for a young tough with limited opportunities to make something out of himself. This is articulated by Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront, portraying an ex-boxer who tells his crooked older brother that he should have watched out for him, that "I coulda been a contender, I coulda had class."

 

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