- 1 hr 23 min
Fighter is a 1952 movie that follows the journey of the protagonist, Johnny Bradfield, played by Richard Conte. Johnny is a celebrated boxer who has tasted success in the ring but has recently fallen from grace due to a string of personal setbacks. He is now trying to redeem himself by starting afresh in a small town and leaving behind all of his vices.
Vanessa Brown plays Peggy, a young lady who is a big fan of Johnny's and is eager to support him in any way possible even after learning about his troubled past. Lee J. Cobb portrays the role of boxing promoter Nick Benko, who sees a potential fortune in Johnny and is willing to go to any lengths to make him the champion he always wanted.
The movie begins with an exciting boxing match where Johnny is a clear winner. However, things go downhill from there when he gets involved with criminal conspiracies after a drunken night out. Johnny ends up killing a man in a hit-and-run accident, but the blame is put on Peggy, who was driving the car. Johnny decides to flee the scene and lay low in the small town. However, his turbulent past catches up with him, and he is forced to confront it.
Despite his wish to leave behind his old life, Johnny's fighting spirit remains intact. This is evident when he starts training again and begins to regain his previous form. Peggy is there to support him every step of the way, and soon they fall in love. This newfound joy is short-lived as Benko reaches out to Johnny with an attractive offer that could potentially make him a world champion. The offer comes with a price, which Johnny is hesitant to pay. He must decide what is more important to him- his personal code of ethics or fame and fortune.
One of the most striking aspects of the movie is how it depicts the boxing world. Fighter reveals the darker side of the sport, where bookies, gangsters, and promoters are ready to exploit young boxers for their own gain. Johnny is constantly surrounded by people who do not have his best interests at heart, and he must navigate this treacherous terrain to succeed.
Richard Conte delivers a remarkable performance as Johnny. He captures the contradictions in the character's personality, making him both vulnerable and strong. Conte's charisma is evident throughout the movie, and he conveys Johnny's inner turmoil with ease. Vanessa Brown is also remarkable as Peggy, providing a counterpoint to Johnny's tough exterior with her kindness and support.
Lee J. Cobb delivers a powerhouse performance as Nick Benko. His character is one of the most compelling in the movie, and he brings a sense of ruthlessness to the role that is hard to ignore. His interactions with Johnny are some of the most memorable scenes in the movie.
The movie's direction by Mark Robson is stellar. He keeps the pacing tight, and there is hardly a dull moment. Robson's use of close-up shots during the boxing matches brings the audience closer to the characters and makes us feel invested in the outcome.
Fighter is a must-watch for anyone who is a fan of boxing movies or loves a good underdog story. The movie's themes of redemption, personal sacrifice, and loyalty make it especially relevant today. It is a testament to the timeless quality of this movie that it is still relevant more than 60 years after it was released.
Fighter is a 1952 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 23 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 5.9.