Cinderella Man

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Cinderella Man
Cinderella Man poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRon Howard
Screenplay by
Story byCliff Hollingsworth
Based onLife of James J. Braddock
Produced by
Starring
CinematographySalvatore Totino
Edited by
Music byThomas Newman
Production
companies
Distributed by
Release date
  • June 3, 2005 (2005-06-03)
Running time
144 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$88 million[2]
Box office$108.5 million[2]

Cinderella Man is a 2005 American biographical sports drama film directed by Ron Howard, titled after the nickname of world heavyweight boxing champion James J. Braddock and inspired by his life story. The film was produced by Howard, Penny Marshall, and Brian Grazer. Damon Runyon is credited for giving Braddock this nickname. Russell Crowe, Renée Zellweger and Paul Giamatti star. This is the second collaboration for Howard and Crowe following 2001's A Beautiful Mind.

The film received generally positive reviews and grossed $108 million against a budget of $88 million. It received three Academy Award nominations, including Best Supporting Actor for Giamatti.

Plot[edit]

James J. Braddock is an Irish-American boxer from New Jersey, formerly a light heavyweight contender, who is forced to give up boxing after breaking his hand in the ring. This is both a relief and a burden to his wife, Mae. She cannot bring herself to watch the violence of his chosen profession, yet she knows they will not have enough income without his boxing.

As the United States enters the Great Depression, Braddock does manual labor as a longshoreman to support his family, even with his injured hand. Unfortunately, he cannot get work every day. Thanks to a last-minute cancellation by another boxer, Braddock's longtime manager and friend, Joe Gould, offers him a chance to fill in for just one night and earn cash. The fight is against the number-two contender in the world, Corn Griffin.

Braddock stuns the boxing experts and fans with a third-round knockout of his formidable opponent. He believes that while his right hand was broken, he became more proficient with his left hand, improving his in-ring ability. Despite Mae's objections, Braddock takes up Gould's offer to return to the ring. Mae resents this attempt by Gould to profit from her husband's dangerous livelihood, until she discovers that Gould and his wife also have been devastated by hard times.

With a shot at the heavyweight championship held by Max Baer a possibility, Braddock continues to win. Out of a sense of pride, he uses a portion of his prize money to pay back money to the government given to him while unemployed. When his rags to riches story gets out, the sportswriter Damon Runyon dubs him "The Cinderella Man", and before long Braddock comes to represent the hopes and aspirations of the American public struggling with the Depression.

After wins against John Henry Lewis and Art Lasky, a title fight against Baer comes his way. Braddock is a 10-to-1 underdog. Baer is so destructive that the fight's promoter, James Johnston, forces both Braddock and Gould to watch a film of Baer in action, just so he can maintain later that he warned them what Braddock was up against.

Braddock demonstrates no fear. The arrogant Baer attempts to intimidate him, even taunting Mae in public that her man might not survive. When he says this, she becomes so angry that she throws a drink at him. She is unable to attend the fight at the Madison Square Garden Bowl or even to listen to it on the radio.

On June 13, 1935, in one of the greatest upsets in boxing history, Braddock defeats the seemingly invincible Baer to become the heavyweight champion of the world.

An epilogue reveals that Braddock would lose his title to Joe Louis and later worked on the building of the Verrazano Bridge, owning and operating heavy machinery on the docks where he worked during the Depression, and that he and Mae used his boxing income to buy a house, where they spent the rest of their lives.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

During filming in Toronto, several areas were redressed to resemble 1930s New York. The Richmond Street side of The Bay's Queen Street store was redressed as Madison Square Garden, complete with fake store fronts and period stop lights. A stretch of Queen Street East between Broadview and Carlaw was also made up to appear to be from the 1930s and dozens of period cars were parked along the road. Maple Leaf Gardens was used for all the fight scenes, and many scenes were filmed in the Distillery District. Filming also took place in Hamilton, Ontario at the harbour for the dock workers' scene.[3] The main apartment was shot north of St. Clair Avenue on Lauder Avenue on the west side. An awning was put up for a dress shop, later turned into a real coffee shop.

The Toronto Transit Commission's historic Peter Witt streetcar and two more cars from the nearby Halton County Radial Railway were used for the filming, travelling on Toronto's existing streetcar tracks.

Release[edit]

In a campaign to boost ticket sales after the film's low opening, AMC Theatres advertised on June 24, 2005, that in 30 markets (about 150 theaters nationwide), it would offer a refund to any ticket-buyer dissatisfied with the film.[4] The advertisement, published in The New York Times and other papers and on internet film sites, read, "AMC believes Cinderella Man is one of the finest motion pictures of the year! We believe so strongly that you'll enjoy Cinderella Man we're offering a Money Back Guarantee." The promotion moderately increased box office revenue for a short period, while at least 50 patrons demanded refunds. Following suit, Cinemark Theatres also offered a money-back guarantee in 25 markets that did not compete with AMC Theaters. AMC had last employed such a strategy (in limited markets) for the 1988 release of Mystic Pizza,[5] while 20th Century Fox had unsuccessfully tried a similar ploy for its 1994 remake of Miracle on 34th Street.

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

Rotten Tomatoes reported an approval rating of 80% based on 215 reviews, with an average rating of 7.4/10. The website's critics consensus reads: "With grittiness and an evocative sense of time and place, Cinderella Man is a powerful underdog story. And Ron Howard and Russell Crowe prove to be a solid combination."[6] Metacritic assigned the film a weighted average score of 69 out of 100, based on 40 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[7] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film a rare average grade of "A+".[8]

The film earned $61 million at the US box office and $108 million worldwide.[2]

Accolades[edit]

Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result Ref.
Academy Awards March 5, 2006 Best Supporting Actor Paul Giamatti Nominated [9][10]
Best Film Editing Mike Hill and Daniel P. Hanley Nominated
Best Makeup David LeRoy Anderson and Lance Anderson Nominated
Australian Film Institute Awards November 26, 2005 AFI International Award for Best Actor Russell Crowe Won [11][12]
Boston Society of Film Critics December 11, 2005 Best Supporting Actor Paul Giamatti Won [13]
British Academy Film Awards February 19, 2006 Best Original Screenplay Akiva Goldsman and Cliff Hollingsworth Nominated [14][15]
Chicago Film Critics Association January 9, 2006 Best Supporting Actor Paul Giamatti Nominated [16]
Critics' Choice Awards January 9, 2006 Best Picture Cinderella Man Nominated [17][18][19]
Best Director Ron Howard Nominated
Best Actor Russell Crowe Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Paul Giamatti Won
Dallas–Fort Worth Film Critics Association December 19, 2005 Top 10 Films Cinderella Man 5th place [20][21]
Best Actor Russell Crowe 5th place
Best Supporting Actor Paul Giamatti Runner-up
Empire Awards March 13, 2006 Best Director Ron Howard Nominated [22]
Best Actress Renée Zellweger Nominated
ESPY Awards July 13, 2005 Best Sports Movie Cinderella Man Nominated [23]
Florida Film Critics Circle December 24, 2005 Best Supporting Actor Paul Giamatti Won [24][25]
Golden Globe Awards January 16, 2006 Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama Russell Crowe Nominated [26][27]
Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture Paul Giamatti Nominated
Golden Trailer Awards May 26, 2005 Summer 2005 Blockbuster Cinderella Man Nominated [28]
Hochi Film Awards December 19, 2005 Best International Picture Cinderella Man Won [29][30]
Hollywood Film Awards October 24, 2005 Hollywood Screenwriter Award Akiva Goldsman and Cliff Hollingsworth Won [31][32][33]
Japan Academy Film Prize March 3, 2006 Outstanding Foreign Language Film Cinderella Man Nominated [34]
London Film Critics' Circle February 8, 2006 British Supporting Actor of the Year Paddy Considine Nominated [35]
Motion Picture Sound Editors Golden Reel Awards March 4, 2006 Best Sound Editing in Feature Film – Dialogue & ADR Anthony J. Ciccolini, Deborah Wallach, Stan Bochner, Dan Korintus, and Kenna Doeringer Nominated [36][37][38]
Nastro d'Argento February 7, 2006 Best Director of a Foreign Film Ron Howard Nominated [39][40]
Online Film Critics Society January 16, 2006 Best Supporting Actor Paul Giamatti Nominated [41][42]
Sant Jordi Awards April 25, 2006 Best Foreign Actor Paul Giamatti Won [43]
Satellite Awards December 17, 2005 Best Motion Picture, Drama Cinderella Man Nominated [44]
Best Overall DVD Cinderella Man Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Awards January 29, 2006 Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role Russell Crowe Nominated [45][46][47]
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role Paul Giamatti Won
St. Louis Film Critics Association Best Picture Cinderella Man Nominated
Best Actor Russell Crowe Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Paul Giamatti Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Renée Zellweger Nominated
Toronto Film Critics Association December 21, 2005 Best Supporting Actress Paul Giamatti Won [48]
Vancouver Film Critics Circle February 7, 2006 Best Supporting Actor Paul Giamatti Nominated
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association December 13, 2005 Best Director Ron Howard Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Paul Giamatti Won [49][50]
Women Film Critics Circle December 28, 2005 Best Title, In Recognition of the Hopefully Inner Female in Every Macho Guy Cinderella Man Won [51]
Writers Guild of America Awards February 4, 2006 Best Original Screenplay Akiva Goldsman and Cliff Hollingsworth Nominated [52]
Young Artist Awards March 25, 2006 Best Family Feature Film – Drama Cinderella Man Nominated [53]

Legacy[edit]

In April 2018, Crowe auctioned off as part of his "divorce auction" a number of props he owned which were used by him in his various films, including a jockstrap, pair of shorts and robe which were worn by Crowe in Cinderella Man. The items from the film as well as the other items on auction were bought by the HBO television show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, with the jockstrap having sold for $7,000. The items purchased were then donated to the last operating Blockbuster Video store in Alaska.[54] The jockstrap was reported missing; however, in the final episode of season 5 of Last Week Tonight, John Oliver revealed that it had been taken back and showed a short heist parody filmed with it.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ a b c "Cinderella Man (2005)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 5, 2010.
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  5. ^ Johannes, Amy (July 5, 2006). "AMC Offers Refund for Cinderella Man". PROMO Xtra. Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved December 12, 2006.
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External links[edit]