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Champion [Blu-ray]

49 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

An unscrupulous boxer fights his way to the top, but eventually alienates all of the people who helped him on the way up. Unlike Charlie (John Garfield) in Body and Soul, Midge (Kirk Douglas) is not the basic good guy corrupted by the sweet science and led astray by evil managers and promoters, his arrogance and stubbornness make him at once a villain and a hero. Considered by most as one of the greatest boxing films ever made - nominated for six Academy Awardsr including Best Actor (Douglas) and winner of the Best Film Editing Oscarr. The stellar cast includes Arthur Kennedy in his Oscarr nominated performance, Marilyn Maxwell, Paul Stewart and Ruth Roman. Two of the film's best features are the terrific black-and-white Oscarr nominated cinematography by Franz Planer and the Oscarr nominated score by the legendary Dimitri Tiomkin. Written by the great Carl Forman (High Noon) and directed by Mark Robson (The Harder They Fall).


Product Details

  • Actors: Kirk Douglas, Marilyn Maxwell, Arthur Kennedy, Paul Stewart, Ruth Roman
  • Directors: Mark Robson
  • Writers: Carl Foreman
  • Producers: Stanley Kramer
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Black & White, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Olive Films
  • DVD Release Date: April 23, 2013
  • Run Time: 99 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00BFWKE5I
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #85,534 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By LGwriter on September 20, 2003
Format: DVD
Interesting that right around the same time--the late 40s--three different films were all released with basically the same theme and plot: The Set-Up (w. Robert Ryan); Champion (w. Kirk Douglas); and Body and Soul (w. John Garfield). Ryan's film is a very good piece of work while the Garfield film is, by today's standards, heavy-handed, thus dated. But the Kirk Douglas film is, in fact, the Champion.
The boxing scenes are realistic--in spite of Douglas' recent nose job, made during filming, preventing any of his sparring partners to hit anywhere near his schnozz. But more than anything else, it's Douglas' tremendous charisma and energy that raise this film above the norm. Douglas, as did Garfield in the earlier Body and Soul, plays a guy mired in poverty who sees boxing as a quick way out of the hole and, once initially successful, wants nothing but more: both money and success. And nothing standing in his way will prevent him from getting what he wants. But while Garfield's portrayal of selfishness is forced and, as well, entrenched in cliched dialogue, both Douglas' acting and the far more intelligent script make Midge Kelly's (Douglas) relentless quest for power tremendously believable.
Arthur Kennedy is Connie, Midge's brother whose leg was busted when he was a kid and now walks with a cane. The three--yep, count 'em, three--women in Midge's life add a lot of juice to the film and a nice touch is the casting of a brunette who's Midge's girl when he's poor and two blondes when he's rich and successful. Back in them days, blondes were IT. (Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield carried on the tradition).
Champion gives you a great view of life in the late 40s as well.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By The Queen of Noirs on January 31, 2005
Format: DVD
Kirk Douglas as the classic greek tragic figure: a hero with a fatal flaw.

Arthur Kennedy and Kirk Douglas play down-on-their-luck brothers (Connie and Midge Kelly, respectively) travelling west to take possession of their part ownership of a restaurant. When they arrive they discover that they had been scammed. Along the way out to the restaurant, Midge made a little money at a boxing exhibition where he caught the eye of a promotor. Midge and Connie work for a while at the restaurant, but Midge's single-minded pursuit of a better life and the respect he feels he deserves causes him to abandon his newly minted wife and head out to seek his fortune in the boxing ring. Midge is a single-minded character like none you've ever seen. This single-mindedness drags him down, extinguishing his humanity as he climbs his way upward. As with most tragic heroes, he finally sacrifices himself when he allows his misdeeds to finally engulf him.

Kirk is fabulous. The fight scenes are convincing and well filmed. The story hops along. This movie represents Arthur Kennedy's most accessible performance as the humane, crippled brother representing the greek chorus reminding the main character of his morality. This is an excellent movie.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Rosemary West (amazon@rosemarywest.com) on December 22, 1998
Format: VHS Tape
Kirk Douglas plays an emotionally bankrupt man driven by poverty and anger to become a champion prizefighter. His energy and confidence attract love and loyalty from people who contribute to his success but become hurt and disillusioned by his ingratitude and betrayal. The plot is fairly simple, but the film holds interest through its portrayal of a man devoid of self-understanding, whose ambition can never truly be satisfied despite his apparent success. The most intense scenes are in the boxing ring, where no amount of punishment can stop him.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By nodice on August 26, 2007
Format: DVD
4.5 stars. I heard so much about this film for so long, so I finally sat down and watched it. At first I didn't think I was going to like it, because the lighting bothered me. But as the film progressed, the lighting fit. Douglas plays an ambitious boxer in the 1940s who like most celebrities get caught up and those around him are the first to get burned. I agree with the assessment that this film is like a Greek tragedy. i kept wanting for Kelly to snap out of it, but alas...
This movie a classic for a reason and if you haven't seen it, you need to do yourself a favor and check it out.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Cory D. Slipman on November 8, 2005
Format: DVD
Kirk Douglas was marvelous in creating a signature role in his portrayal of boxer and eventual champion Midge Kelly in the hard hitting, gritty 1949 flick "Champion". Based on a story by the revered author Ring Lardner, the movie chronicles the rise and inevitable fall of Kelly.

Hitchhiking to the west coast with his crippled brother Connie played poignantly by Arthur Kennedy, Douglas gets briefly introduced to the world of boxing but rejects it. The brothers are headed to California to take over a diner in which they purchased a share. Realizing they'd been swindled by the rightful owner Lew Bryce played by Harry Shannon when they arrive there, they take a job in the place.

Douglas and Shannon's daughter Emma played by Ruth Roman fall in love, but a hastily arranged shotgun wedding spoils things and Douglas runs out. He seeks out boxing trainer Tommy Haley played by Paul Stewart who he'd met previously. Stewart takes Douglas under his wing and under his tutelage and supported by his brother Douglas becomes a seasoned and tough boxing contender.

Unable to get a deserved title shot he dumps his trainer and signs on with a high rolling and connected trainer Jerry Harris after being seduced by bad girl Grace Diamond played by platinum tressed Marilyn Maxwell.

Douglas commences to foresake all those who care for him as he climbs his way to the top eschewing his brother, manager, mother and estranged but still caring wife. His whole personna becomes altered to mimic the beast he becomes inside the ring. He begins to see the error of his ways on the eve of an important title fight, bringing his closest allies back into his life. The seeds of tragedy have already been planted however and Douglas faces an ignoble future.
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