Hands of Stone

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Hands of Stone
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJonathan Jakubowicz
Written byJonathan Jakubowicz
Produced by
  • Jay Weisleder
  • Carlos García de Paredes
  • Claudine Jakubowicz
  • Jonathan Jakubowicz
CinematographyMiguel Ioann Littin
Edited byEthan Maniquis
Music byAngelo Milli
  • Fuego Films
  • Vertical Media
  • Panama Film Commission
  • Epicentral Studios
Distributed byThe Weinstein Company
Release dates
  • May 16, 2016 (2016-05-16) (Cannes)
  • August 26, 2016 (2016-08-26) (United States)
Running time
111 minutes
  • United States
  • Panama
  • English
  • Spanish
Budget$20 million[1]
Box office$5 million[1][2]

Hands of Stone is a 2016 American biographical sports film about the career of Panamanian former professional boxer Roberto Durán. It is directed and written by Jonathan Jakubowicz. It stars Édgar Ramírez, Robert De Niro, Usher, Ruben Blades, Pedro "Budu" Pérez, Ellen Barkin, Ana de Armas, Oscar Jaenada and John Turturro. The film premiered at Cannes on May 16, 2016 and was released on August 26, 2016, by The Weinstein Company.[3]


Growing up in Panama, Durán is homeschooled by Chaflan, who teaches young Roberto some vital life lessons. Later, Duran joins a boxing club with Nestor "Plomo" Quiñones as his coach.

As he reaches 20, an American legendary boxing trainer Ray Arcel, who nearly lost his life after being attacked by an unknown assailant in 1953 in New York City and is now living with his wife Stephanie, notices Roberto's raw talent and punching power and takes the young fighter under his wing, becoming his coach. Not long after, Durán meets Felicidad, a student, with whom he later has five children.

After his fights through the 70s and 80s, rising through the divisions with phenomenal success (just one loss) he challenges Sugar Ray Leonard, dubbed as the "Fighter of the Year." However, Durán is disrespectful to Leonard, describing him as a "clown" and confidently predicts a knockout win for himself.

One night, Durán insults Leonard in front of his wife by calling him a "homosexual". The incident angers Leonard. Durán's hard feelings for Leonard seem to stem from his resentment of Americans in general, because he recalls the ill-treatment meted out by the Americans to the nation of Panama, remembering how American troops took over the country by owning the Panama Canal—leading to conflict between the sides in 1964.

In June 1980 in Montreal, the day of the fight between Durán and Leonard, Durán wins the welterweight championship via unanimous decision (148–147, 145–144, 146–144). After the fight, Leonard states that being insulted is a strategy and calls for a rematch with an $8 million purse. At the house party, Durán is made aware of Leonard's challenge by his manager Carlos Eleta, and he reluctantly agrees to the rematch. Chaflan is killed after being run over by a truck.

In November 1980, Durán and Leonard face in the ring for the second time, this time the venue is in New Orleans. But in the eighth round, Durán gives up by saying "No más" (English: "No more") to the referee, angering the entire Panamanian community, thus Leonard wins via technical knockout (68–66, 68–66, and 67–66).

Upon returning home to Panama, he faces angry protests. Durán tells his wife that he regrets letting them down and needs to go back in the ring in order to regain his popularity and the forgiveness of his fans. Due to this incident, Arcel is retired from his training and tells Durán that Plomo will be his coach. In June 1983, New York City, the day of his fight against Davey Moore, Leonard gratefully meets Durán for the first time since the rematch, saying that he forgives Durán. He tells Leonard that he gives his apology to his wife. As the fight with Moore goes up to the eighth round, in which Leonard is the commentator, Durán wins the fight via technical knockout and eventually restores his popularity and dignity with the people of Panama.

In the film's epilogue, it states that Plomo was at Durán's side for every fight until Plomo's death in 2012; Leonard and Durán remained friends; Ray Arcel was the first boxing trainer to be inducted into both the World Boxing Hall of Fame (WBHF) as the International Boxing Hall of Fame (IBHF). He died on March 7, 1994, at the age of 94 after a six-year battle with leukemia.



Production on the film began in December 2013 in Panama.[10] Principal photography was completed in March 2014. The film was dedicated in memory of Stephanie Arcel "your legacy is love".


Cast and crew, with the real Roberto Durán, before the film's screening at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.

In May 2015, The Weinstein Company acquired distribution rights to the film, with a 2,000 screen commitment.[11] The film was scheduled to be released on August 26, 2016 in 800 theaters before expanding to 2,500 theaters on Wednesday August 31.[3][12]


Box office[edit]

Hands of Stone was released on August 26, 2016 and was projected to gross around $2–3 million from 810 theaters in its opening weekend.[12] In its limited opening weekend the film grossed $1.7 million, finishing 16th at the box office.[13] In its second weekend, despite being added to 1,201 theaters, the film grossed just $1.3 million, finishing 20th at the box office.[14]

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 44% based on 106 reviews, with an average rating of 5.34/10. The website's critics consensus reads: "Hands of Stone's strong cast and fascinating real-life story aren't enough to compensate for a crowded narrative and formulaic script."[15] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 54 out of 100, based on 31 critic reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[16] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.[17]

Owen Gleiberman of Variety magazine wrote: "Gets the job done, but it's hard to escape the feeling that you're watching a routinely conceived, rather generic boxing flick. It's utterly competent, yet it makes Duran's story seem a little so-what?"[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Hands of Stone (2016)". The Numbers. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  2. ^ "Hands of Stone". Box Office Mojo.
  3. ^ a b D'Alessandro, Anthony (February 23, 2016). "Weinstein Co. Dates 'Sing Street' & Roberto Duran Boxing Title 'Hands Of Stone'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 23, 2016.
  4. ^ "Robert De Niro, Edgar Ramirez Team For Roberto Duran Pic 'Hands Of Stone'". deadline.com. 8 April 2013. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
  5. ^ "Usher won't rule out Oscar for Sugar Ray Leonard 'Hands of Stone' role". digitalspy.co.uk. 11 June 2012. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
  6. ^ "Ellen Barkin Lands Female Lead in Robert De Niro Pic 'Hands of Stone'". variety.com. 1 November 2013. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
  7. ^ "Blades Joins Duran Biopic "Hands of Stone"". Rubén Blades Official Page. 30 May 2014. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 5 July 2014.
  8. ^ "Budú se abre camino en Hollywood (in Spanish)". venevision.net. 24 March 2014. Retrieved 5 July 2014.
  9. ^ Ecksel, Robert (22 December 2014). "John Duddy Nails It". Boxing.com.
  10. ^ "Usher shows off afro, fit physique as Sugar Ray Leonard in newly released photos from 'Hands of Stone' film". nydailynews.com. 2 December 2013. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
  11. ^ Khatachatourian, Maane (May 14, 2015). "Cannes: Robert De Niro Boxing Movie 'Hands of Stone' Bought by Weinstein Co". Variety.com. Retrieved February 23, 2016.
  12. ^ a b "'Don't Breathe' Could Suffocate 'Suicide Squad' During Sluggish Summer Weekend: Box Office Preview". Deadline Hollywood. 24 August 2016.
  13. ^ Anthony D'Alessandro (28 August 2016). "'Don't Breathe' Screams $26M+ Opening, Gives Sony 3rd Summer Cash Cow After 'Sausage Party', 'Shallows': Early Sunday Update". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 28, 2016.
  14. ^ "he' Still Has Oxygen, 'Suicide Squad' Seizes $300M+, 'Morgan' D.O.A. : Labor Day Weekend B.O." Deadline Hollywood. 7 September 2016.
  15. ^ "Hands of Stone (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 3, 2020.
  16. ^ "Hands of Stone reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved September 4, 2016.
  17. ^ Anthony D'Alessandro (28 August 2016). "'Don't Breathe' Screams $26M+, Gives Sony 3rd Summer Cash Cow After 'Sausage Party', 'Shallows': Sunday Update". Deadline Hollywood.
  18. ^ Gleiberman, Owen (17 May 2016). "Cannes Film Review: 'Hands of Stone'". Variety.

External links[edit]