Ring of Fire - The Emile Griffith Story
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- Commentary by the director and producer
- 12 interviews
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Intelligent, interesting and sometimes moving, this tells the story of boxer Emile Griffith, a gentle warrior, who accidentally killed a man in the ring, and who may have been gay... Read morePublished 6 months ago by K. Gordon
Poignant tale with as happy an ending as one could ask considering the story. Very well done!Published 11 months ago by Kevin M. Donohue
I believe that when two boxers step into the ring they are professional athletes trying to do their jobs and win a purse. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Sugafoot