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Ring of Fire - The Emile Griffith Story (2005)

Don Dunphy , Benny Paret , Dan Klores , Ron Berger  |  NR |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Don Dunphy, Benny Paret, Emile Griffith, Pete Hamill, Juan Gonzalez
  • Directors: Dan Klores, Ron Berger
  • Producers: Dan Klores, Adam Schiff, Jack Newfield, Jake Bandman, Larry Burday
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Starz / Anchor Bay
  • DVD Release Date: September 20, 2005
  • Run Time: 87 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0009UC7NE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #168,999 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Ring of Fire - The Emile Griffith Story" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Commentary by the director and producer
  • 12 interviews

Editorial Reviews

New York City, March 24, 1962: Rival boxing champions Emile Griffith and Benny "Kid" Paret entered the ring for their feverishly anticipated world title bout. Earlier, Paret had taunted his allegedly homosexual opponent with a shocking slur. That night, as millions of fans watched the fight on live television, Griffith brutally beat Paret to death. The sport of boxing, the life of Emile Griffith, and the innocence of America would be changed forever. In this haunting documentary, filmmakers Dan Klores and Ron Berger capture a provocative saga of love, violence and redemption that transcends the ring. Through startling archival footage and revealing new interviews with jounalists, historians, champion boxers, Paret's widow, and Griffith himself, experience the Sundance sensation that begins with one tragic night nearly 45 years ago and ends with the heartbreaking modern day meeting between Emile Griffith and Benny Paret's now-grown son.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
100 of 101 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb documentary, powerfully told July 26, 2005
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I was eight years old the night I saw the third and final fight between Emile Griffith and Benny (Kid) Paret on national television. My father, who learned how to fight in rural mid-Michigan shortly after its lumbering years, was a fight fan who appreciated skilled fighters and a good, fair fight. That night, my eight-year-old eyes witnessed perhaps the most spectacular knockout I had ever seen; my father saw something else.

My mother was away that night --- rare for us --- and my father climbed into bed with me after the fight, and held my hand. Both these events were unheard-of. At the time I thought he was trying to comfort me, and maybe he was, but looking back on it, I am quite sure now that he was trying to comfort himself, to hold on through my hand to a young life that was precious and could be snuffed out with almost no warning.

"Ring of Fire" follows the surviving fighter, Emile Griffith, into and through his fight career and into a career as a trainer, and then picks him up in the present as a prison guard (or is he retired?) living a simple and modest life in Queens, New York. He was beaten nearly to death in the mid-1990's, apparently by a gang of homophobes, from which he suffered some mild but discernible cognitive damage. He takes public transportation "like everybody else," he says, instead of the limousine he used during the height of his boxing career.

We see no hint of regret over Griffith's present, modest, circumstances. His comments and demeanor throughout the film --- he is charmingly candid and unassuming --- suggest that he need never have been a fighter at all. Like Ferdinand the Bull, he would have been content to continue working in the fashion industry creating something beautiful.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Primal Plate Tectonics in a Good Man's Soul September 4, 2007
Ring of Fire
Reviewed by Richard Arlin (Dick) Stull

JULY 9, 2007 archive - Arete, Sport Literature Association
Primal Plate Tectonics in a Good Man's Soul

[Ring of Fire]

On March 24, 1962, I sat in the living room with my dad to watch Gillette's Friday Night at the Fights on an old eighteen-inch Zenith black and white TV. It was a regular ritual. My dad would drink Falstaff beer, we'd discuss the newest rankings in Ring Magazine and look forward to watching Carlos Ortiz, Kid Gavilan, Jose Torres, Floyd Patterson and Emile Griffith. At a time before instant replay, my father, in his quest for reception perfection, habitually got up during the fights to adjust the long rabbit ears antennae. It drove me crazy because he'd invariably cause a blizzard right at the critical knock-down or knockout. That night, Emile Griffith, an artful, powerful boxer, fought Benny "Kid"" Paret, a tough Cuban counter-puncher for the welterweight championship live from Madison Square Garden in New York City. In the twelfth round, Griffith pinned Paret in the corner and unleashed a barrage of punches that left Paret helpless along the ropes. As Griffith continued to pound away with straight right hands and tremendous uppercuts, Paret slumped along the ropes slowly to the canvas. According to one observer, Griffith threw seventeen unanswered punches. My dad never moved to adjust the antennae. The picture was crystal clear this time. Paret never regained consciousness and died ten days later.

Ring of Fire: The Emile Griffith Story is a documentary of uncommon power, a modern day Greek tragedy with individual and cultural twists and contexts that make unforgettable viewing.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ring of Fire July 23, 2007
Superb feature recreates a forgotten, life-transforming moment in time with admirable balance, insight, and sensitivity. Particularly intriguing is that Griffith was in fact a closeted gay, and that Paret's thoughtless taunting (and outing) of him before their final fight fueled a volcanic rage in Griffith. Years later, it's clear Emile paid a steep psychological price for those fateful punches, and the closure the film facilitates between Griffith and Paret's son is incredibly moving. A must-see.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW! February 8, 2006
I asked my mom if she was aware of the Emile Griffith controversy, and if she knew of the documentary that was made. I watched this documentary, and I was sobbing at the end of it. 1st, I am a gay male. 2nd, I am a sport fanatic. I used to go to all the Eagles games when I grew up in Philly. I now go to Ohio State and enjoy every football and basketball game I go to.

So this story hit a little close to home. I can't imagine what Griffith went through being a gay male, in the boxing profession, and being called a "faggot" by another fighter.

What happened was tragic. I have to ask this question though. What if Griffith had died? Would the outrage have been as great. Anyone who says it would, is being completely dishonest.

Still. Watch this film. It is well worth the time.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A powerful must-see November 27, 2005
Having not yet been born when this tragedy happened, and never having been a fan of boxing, I was nonetheless very moved and touched by this well-done documentary. The filmmakers explore the impact of this accidental death on the lives of Emile Griffith, Benny Paret's widow and son, the referee, trainers, promoters and sportswriters who witnessed the event, and the millions of Americans who watched it on TV. This is a very balanced film that does not shy away from, and does not let its subjects shy away from, the gritty details of this tragedy and its aftermath. It's clear that no one was really to blame, but neither is anyone really let off the hook by the filmmakers. The film's message is still relevant to fans of sports, reality television and news programs of today. Have a box of tissues handy for the ending--it's a heartbreaker. A must-see for any fans of boxing, sports, or general fans of documentaries and quality films.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great story about a mostly unknown boxer
Published 17 days ago by SamIam
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 22 days ago by maria gaines
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 3 months ago by Bob
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
Good boxing video....lots of historic video. I had not heard of Emile Griffith until he passed away recently. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Jan Cameron
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Champion and documentary
I first watched this 2005 documentary on television on the USA cable channel. It aired commercial free. I have it recorded on a VHS tape. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Jose Villamil
5.0 out of 5 stars Ring of Fire
I received my dvd promptly and as described. This was a well done biography for all present and future pugilists to have in their collection.
Published 14 months ago by Kathleen Powers
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful story for our days and times
Have just seen the world premiere of the jazz opera "Champion" by Terrence Blanchard based upon the story of Emile Griffith at Opera Theatre of St. Louis. Read more
Published 14 months ago by R. Wagoner
5.0 out of 5 stars An essential film on many levels
I do not follow professional boxing, yet I was riveted to this documentary. The literati "who's who" of sports writers add commentary throughout, and this helps, of course. Read more
Published 14 months ago by The Raven
4.0 out of 5 stars Emile Griffith
Though I was growing up though out the period that Griffith was fighting and though I was a big boxing fan during those years, I remember little about his career. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Theodore J. Jackson Sr.
2.0 out of 5 stars Ring of Fire
Badly done. I only watched it to the end because I met the 'champ' back in the 1960s in NYC.
Published 20 months ago by Valiant
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