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The Harder They Fall (1956)

Passed | | Drama, Film-Noir, Sport | 31 March 1956 (USA)
Down-on-his-luck ex-sportswriter Eddie Willis is hired by shady fight promoter Nick Benko to promote his latest find, an unknown but easily exploitable phenom from Argentina.

Director:

Mark Robson

Writers:

Philip Yordan (screen play), Budd Schulberg (based on a novel by)
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Humphrey Bogart ... Eddie Willis
Rod Steiger ... Nick Benko
Jan Sterling ... Beth Willis
Mike Lane ... Toro Moreno
Max Baer ... Buddy Brannen
Jersey Joe Walcott Jersey Joe Walcott ... George
Edward Andrews ... Jim Weyerhause
Harold J. Stone ... Art Leavitt
Carlos Montalbán Carlos Montalbán ... Luís Agrandi (as Carlos Montalban)
Nehemiah Persoff ... Leo
Felice Orlandi ... Vince Fawcett
Herbie Faye ... Max
Rusty Lane ... Danny McKeogh
Jack Albertson ... Pop
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Storyline

After 17 years as a recognized and respected sports journalist in New York City, Eddie Willis finds himself out of a job when his newspaper folds. He's approached by a major fight promoter, Nick Benko, to act as a public relations man for his new heavyweight fighter Toro Moreno. Eddie knows the how the fight game works and after watching Toro in the ring, realizes Toro is nothing but a stiff who has no hope of succeeding. Benko offers him a sizable salary and an unlimited expense account and given his financial situation, he agrees. Benko's strategy to make money is one that has been used time again. Starting in California and moving east, they arrange a series of fights for Toro with stiffs and has-beens. All of the fights are rigged to build up his record and get him a fight with the heavyweight champion, Buddy Brannen, where they will make a sizable profit at the gate. Along the way, one boxer gets killed in the ring and Eddie begins to have serious doubts about what he is doing. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Only Thing That's On The Square ...Is The Ring Itself... See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

31 March 1956 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La caída de un ídolo See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$1,350,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Columbia Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The DC-6B Pan-Am N4061K, which Toro boards to return home, had a long life in the air. It was delivered to Pan-Am in 1953 and flew 12 years in their fleet of international "Clippers". Then it had a long second life hauling cargo around the Caribbean with several airlines. It was scrapped in 1990 after 37 years of service. See more »

Goofs

When George, the sparring partner, is testing Torro in the ring for the first time, he is told to punch Torro in various places to test his ability to take a punch. "Once in the belly." he punches him in the belly. "In the kidneys." which would have been an illegal punch to test against a dirty fighter, George instead hits Torro in the shoulder, and never punches anywhere near the kidneys. See more »

Quotes

Reporter: What gives, Eddie? I looked up Toro in the book. There's no record of him in South America.
Eddie Willis: He knocked out thirty-eight guys in a row. None of them went over three rounds. You believe that one and I'll tell you another.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Porridge: The Harder They Fall (1975) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Bogart is truly brilliant in this.
15 February 2017 | by HarryLagsSee all my reviews

Humphrey Bogart is truly brilliant in this, his last film. "The Harder They Fall" (1956) is a stunning indictment of the boxing profession. The film also marks Humphrey Bogart's final performance as a former sports writer turned publicist — and he's in good company. Bogie's scenes with Rod Steiger, Jan Sterling and Mike Lane (as the giant Argentinian boxer) are truly memorable.

In addition to Bogart's fantastic performance, Rod Steiger chews the scenery nicely as a corrupt manager. Their scenes together are really well done, and very well written. I particularly enjoyed the scene after the big fight where Bogart presses to find out how much their fighter will ultimately wind up for getting so badly beaten in the ring.

There are probably a good dozen very, very good fight films, and this belongs to their number. The tension in the film derives from the ultimate conflict between Bogart's inherent decency and Steiger's unmitigated exploitativeness. The two had great on screen chemistry in their scenes together. They employed very different acting styles, Steiger being one of the first Method actors to enjoy success in the movies. Bogart was strictly old school, but he not only held his own, he dominated their scenes together.

Humphrey Bogart's last movie was a triumph! His acting was terrific! Excellent movie!


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