Review Of The Film Cinderella Man By Ron Howard

This film is titled as “Cinderella Man”. It was produced in the year of 2005. It was directed by Ron Howard and is a biography and drama film. The main cast includes Russell Crowe playing as Jim, Renée Zellweger playing as Mae, Paul Giamatti playing as Joe, and Craig Bierko playing as Max. It successfully won sixteen awards and was nominated for forty one awards. Some of the most notable awards the film was nominated for three Oscars as well as two Golden Globe awards.

To summarize, Cinderella Man took place in the 1930’s in New Jersey during the Great Depression. Him, who is a successful lightweight boxer suddenly broke his hand. This unfortunate injury had led him to retire from boxing. His wife Mae was pleased with his retirement from boxing as she feared that her husband continuing in the sport would leave him permanently injured. Since the Great Depression was occurring at this time, unemployment was at an all-time high.

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Jim could rarely find work or provide for his family. Occasionally, he would unload goods at a dock but even then, that money wasn’t enough to pay for his family’s heat and electricity bills. Eventually his wife Mae was forced to send their kids to a family member’s house in the meantime while they gathered up the money to pay their bills. Jim ended up getting the money through a relief fund as well as begging boxing managers he knew for money and was able to return his kids home.

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However, he wasn’t pleased as he still had a dream of fighting again. His former boxing manager arranged for him to fight the second-ranked world contender as their opponent backed out on the fight at late notice. Jim agreed and ended up winning the fight and several other fights his manager planned. He had a successful comeback and earned money for his family. However, the next fight his manager Joe planned for him would be a turning point in his career. He was set to fight Max for the heavyweight championship. Max previously killed two men in the ring before, so everyone, even Mae believed Jim might be the third. Triumphantly, Jim won the fight and was the new heavyweight championship. In the end, he brought a new house for his family with the money he won from it.

The real story behind Cinderella Man is about the life of James J. Braddock. James was born in NYC and began as an amateur fighter. He turned into a professional fighter in 1926. Three years later he fought Tommy Laughren for his heavyweight championship but unfortunately lost. That same year, the stock market crashed fueling the Great Depression. This made it very difficult for James to provide for his family. A couple of years later, he won fights with both Corn Griffin and John Henry Lewis. This allowed him to play against Max Baer for his heavyweight championship. James ended up winning, which was a shock to everyone and will be remembered as one of courageous boxers of all time.

This movie is somewhat accurate to the real story. James (who was Jim in the movie) was depicted as a hardworking, courageous man who provided for his family. In both real life and the film, the Great Depression left him with a trail of bad luck. It became very hard for him to provide for his family as he broke his hand which forced him to give up fighting for a while. However, Max Baer’s depiction in the movie was wrong. In the movie, Max Baer was seen as an extremely disrespectful man who killed two men in the ring which he had even bragged about. This is simply incorrect. Max Baer only killed one man in the ring, who was Frankie Campbell. He was extremely sorry about the incident, so much that he was consumed with guilt and provided Campbell’s wife and children financial support.

Cinderella Man was a good movie as it portrayed James Braddock, the life he lived, and his family in a beautiful and accurate way. Many biography movies tend to not educate us much on the life these people lived and are a misinterpretation of how they really were like. However, this is not one of the movies. By watching the film, the viewer is able to empathize with him as well as learn more about how James Braddock was. With that said, the film could be more accurate when depicting Max Baer. Although what he did was horrible, it was accidental, and he had shown nothing but guilt about the incident. For the film to turn this around and to put this antagonist narrative on him and have him even brag about killing two men, is disrespectful for Campbell, his family, and especially Max. This is spreading a false narrative of what Max is like, and if a viewer of the film doesn’t know the true story, they will end up believing Max is an evil person. Besides this inaccurate depiction, Cinderella Man is a very good film. It was inspiring and heartwarming.

Works cited

  1. Ron Howard (Director). (2005). Cinderella Man [Motion picture]. United States: Universal Pictures.
  2. Cinderella Man (2005) - Awards." IMDb,,
  3. Crowe, R., Zellweger, R., Giamatti, P., & Bierko, C. (Actors). (2005). Cinderella Man [DVD].
  4. Lewis, J. (2005). Cinderella Man: James Braddock, Max Baer, and the Greatest Upset in Boxing History. Chicago: Chicago Review Press.
  5. Nash, J. (2005, May 28). A Boxer to Bet On. The New York Times.
  6. Steinberg, D. (2005, June 5). The $80m Cinderella Man. The Guardian.
  7. James J. Braddock Biography.", A&E Television Networks, LLC., 14 Mar. 2021,
  8. Max Baer Biography.", A&E Television Networks, LLC., 14 Mar. 2021,
  9. James J. Braddock vs. Max Baer." BoxRec,,
  10. Rouse, R. (2005, May 25). Cinderella Man.
Updated: Feb 02, 2024
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Review Of The Film Cinderella Man By Ron Howard. (2024, Feb 05). Retrieved from

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