With the upcoming release of Creed III, the Bitesize crew has stepped into the ring and put their brains together to compile Bitesize Breakdown's consensus Top Five Fight Films.
Each writer ranks his or her top 15 films in the category. Those lists are then weighted on a reverse point system. After all the points are tallied up, the entries with the most total points make up the Bitesize Top Five.
5. RAGING BULL
To me, Raging Bull is the definitive fighting movie, and Jake La Motta, played by a never better Robert De Niro, is one of cinema's most captivating characters, a tragic figure that you can’t look away from for the entire two hour runtime. Once he enters the ring, it’s a brutal and emotionally devastating series of events that make it one of, if not the absolute best film Martin Scorsese has ever made. This is the bar that any fight film, or sports film in general, should aspire to reach. - Adriano
If you feel like you’ve seen Warrior before, that’s because you probably have. I’m not talking specifically about Gavin Hood’s 2011 MMA drama starring Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton, and Nick Nolte. I’m talking about every other underdog film with the same exact story: mild-mannered guy needs money so he does something crazy, estranged brothers enter a tournament and fight in the final round, dead-beat dad tries to reconnect with the children that have moved on. Do you know the difference, though? Warrior has Hardy, Edgerton, and Nick-Oscar-Nominated-Nolte to tell that story. Hood’s 2011 CLASSIC sports drama is that damn great because of their performances, and once you watch it, you’ll feel like you could last three rounds. - Amarú
Gladiator is not a traditional sports movie, but it is about competitive fighting, and Maximus' (Russell Crowe) fight through the Colosseum games to avenge his family is well worth the investment. Buoyed by an ever-excellent Joaquin Phoenix and one of Hans Zimmer's most underrated scores, Ridley Scott's swords-and-sandals epic provides the audience not only the spectacle of gladiator combat in all its glory, but the tragedy of its participants in all their dooms. - Jacob
2. THE FIGHTER
The Fighter is, gloves down, one of the best boxing films ever made. Yah, I’m from Massachusetts so I may be a little biased about this Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) biopic, but with captivating performances from Wahlberg, Christian Bale, and Amy Adams, there’s no denying that this flick is something special. Truthfully, this gem is just as much about family as it is about boxing, and while the complexity of the family drama adds an intriguing angle, it’s much more than that because it leans towards the internal dilemmas a boxer may face before stepping into the ring. This is not your formulaic fighting film. - Paige
1. THE ROCKY FRANCHISE
Some may view Rocky and Creed as two separate film series, but they couldn’t be more wrong. In fact, I’d argue that Creed only works as well as it does because it had six Rocky movies and nearly 40 years of character development to build upon. Over the franchise’s eight (soon to be nine) films, it is the base of comparison for all boxing movies despite not really being about boxing. To paraphrase Rocky (Sylvester Stallone), Rocky and Creed are “not about how hard you hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward,” and it explores that idea through stories of family, legacy, underdogs, comebacks, friendship, and politics infused with drama, humor, emotion, iconic music, and dozens of memorable moments. - Quentin
THE KARATE KID
ENTER THE DRAGON
MILLION DOLLAR BABY
Photo Credits: Photo 1 - United Artists; Photo 2 - Lionsgate; Photo 3 - Dreamworks Pictures; Photo 4 - Paramount Pictures; Photo 5 - Warner Bros.