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CINDERELLA MAN

Production Information
"In all the history of the boxing game, you'll find no human interest story to compare with the life narrative of James J. Braddock.” —Damon Runyon (1936)

In the middle of the Great Depression, when an America in the grips of a devastating economic downturn was nearly brought to its knees, there came along a most unlikely hero who had crowds cheering on their feet—as he proved just how hard a man would fight to win a second chance for his family and himself. That common-man hero was James J. Braddock—a.k.a. the "Cinderella Man”—who was to become one of the most surprising and inspirational sports legends in history. 

By the early 1930s, the impoverished ex-prizefighter was seemingly as broken-down, beaten-up and out-of-luck as much of the rest of the American populace. Like so many others, Braddock had hit rock bottom. His career appeared to be finished, he was unable to pay the bills, the only thing that really mattered to him—his family—was in danger, and he was even forced to go on Public Relief. But deep inside, Jim Braddock never relinquished his determination. 

Driven by love, honor and an incredible dose of grit, he willed an impossible dream to come true. In a last-chance bid to help his family, Braddock returned to the ring. No one thought he had a shot. In bout after bout, the talk was that poor Jim Braddock was criminally outmatched and perilously in over his head. Except that Braddock, fueled by something beyond mere competition, kept winning. Suddenly, the ordinary working man who couldn't get a job became the mythic athlete who could not lose. Carrying the hopes and dreams of the disenfranchised on his shoulders, Braddock rocketed through the ranks, until this underdog who defied all the odds chose to do the unthinkable: take on the heavyweight champ of the world, the unstoppable Max Baer, renowned for having killed two men in the ring.

With Cinderella Man, an Academy Award®-winning team—comprised of producer BRIAN GRAZER, director RON HOWARD, screenwriter AKIVA GOLDSMAN and actors RUSSELL CROWE and RENÉE ZELLWEGER—comes together to tell the quintessentially American story of a man who was not so much a great boxer as a great man who boxed his way out of darkness and defeat and into the stuff of immortality. Academy Award® winner Russell Crowe stars as Jim Braddock, whose single-minded devotion to family and dignity became just as famous as his tricky feints and killer left hook.

Says director Ron Howard: "The story of Jim Braddock continues to be so incredibly stirring because it is a tale that reminds us of just how remarkable human endurance and the power of love can be. Cinderella Man is a true American story about what it's like to cope in the moment, facing life's daily hardships, and to continue to passionately strive toward a goal— even a simple one like putting food on the table—no matter what the outcome turns out to be. It's that kind of story, that kind of cinematic journey that has always intrigued me as a filmmaker.”

Cinderella Man is a Universal Pictures/Miramax Films/Imagine Entertainment presentation of A Brian Grazer Production In Association with Parkway Productions of A Ron Howard Film. The film is directed by Ron Howard and is produced by Brian Grazer, Ron Howard and PENNY MARSHALL. The story is by CLIFF HOLLINGSWORTH and the screenplay is by Hollingsworth and Akiva Goldsman.

Joining Crowe and Zellweger in bringing the story of Braddock's triumph to the screen are Paul Giamatti (Sideways, American Splendor) as Joe Gould, the sharp-tongued trainer who managed one of the greatest comebacks of all time; CRAIG BIERKO (Broadway's The Music Man, The Long Kiss Goodnight) as Max Baer, the flamboyant heavyweight champion of the world; BRUCE McGILL (Collateral, Elizabethtown) as Jimmy Johnston, ‘30s boxing promoter who engineered bouts with the showmanship and control of a Roman emperor rul

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