After breaking his hand in a minor bout, James J. Braddock (Russell Crowe) loses his boxing license. He and his wife Mae (Renee Zellweger) were hit hard during the stock market crash of '29, and now they and their three kids are just eeking by with what little he can make working periodically on the docks. His old trainer Joe Gould (Paul Giamatti) arranges for him to fight a contender for the heavyweight title after the contender's opponent drops out. Miraculously, with no time to prepare for the bout, Braddock wins the fight. Gould then arranges for Braddock to fight two more contenders, working their way to a match up with the current heavyweight title holder, Max Baer. Braddock wins both matches leading to a shot at the heavyweight title against Baer. Baer has killed two men in the ring, a fact that greatly distresses Braddock's wife, Mae. She begs Braddock to do anything (including break his hand again) to get out of the fight. Braddock refuses, knowing that giving in now would mean that he had no control over his family's destiny. Meanwhile, the entire country has rallied around Braddock, seeing his comeback as a symbol for a recovering nation in the midst of the depression. Mae, seeing how much Jim means to everyone, comes around to supporting Braddock and he goes on to win in a unanimous decision after a 15-round slugfest with Baer. The final frames of the movie tells us that Jim and Mae bought a house in New Jersey with his winnings from the Max Baer fight. He goes on to professionally fight for two more years before being defeated by Joe Louis, who called Braddock his toughest opponent ever. Braddock served honorably in World War II and eventually settles to work at his own equipment company back on the same docks that he worked during the depression.
Thanks, Brenda G!
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