Million Dollar Baby

January 28th, 2005

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Million Dollar Baby

Still of Hilary Swank in Million Dollar BabyStill of Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman and Hilary Swank in Million Dollar BabyStill of Hilary Swank in Million Dollar BabyStill of Hilary Swank in Million Dollar BabyStill of Hilary Swank in Million Dollar BabyStill of Clint Eastwood and Hilary Swank in Million Dollar Baby

A hardened trainer/manager works with a determined woman in her attempt to establish herself as a boxer.

Release Year: 2004

Rating: 8.2/10 (206,433 voted)

Critic's Score: 86/100

Director: Clint Eastwood

Stars: Hilary Swank, Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman

Frankie Dunn has trained and managed some incredible fighters during a lifetime spent in the ring. The most important lesson he teaches his boxers is the one that rules life: above all, always protect yourself. In the wake of a painful estrangement from his daughter, Frankie has been unwilling to let himself get close to anyone for a very long time. His only friend, Scrap, an ex-boxer who looks after Frankie's gym, knows that beneath his gruff exterior is a man who has been seeking, for the past 25 years, the forgiveness that somehow continues to elude him. Then Maggie Fitzgerald walks into his gym...

Writers: Paul Haggis, F.X. Toole

Clint Eastwood - Frankie Dunn
Hilary Swank - Maggie Fitzgerald
Morgan Freeman - Eddie Scrap-Iron Dupris
Jay Baruchel - Danger Barch
Mike Colter - Big Willie Little
Lucia Rijker - Billie 'The Blue Bear'
Brían F. O'Byrne - Father Horvak (as Brían O'Byrne)
Anthony Mackie - Shawrelle Berry
Margo Martindale - Earline Fitzgerald
Riki Lindhome - Mardell Fitzgerald
Michael Peña - Omar
Benito Martinez - Billie's Manager
Bruce MacVittie - Mickey Mack
David Powledge - Counterman at Diner
Joe D'Angerio - Cut Man (as Joe d'Angerio)

Taglines: Beyond his silence, there is a past. Beyond her dreams, there is a feeling. Beyond hope, there is a memory. Beyond their journey, there is a love.


Official Website: Filmax [Spain] | Warner Bros. [United States] |

Release Date: 28 January 2005

Filming Locations: Hollywood Athletic Club - 6525 W. Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $179,953 (USA) (19 December 2004) (8 Screens)

Gross: $100,422,786 (USA) (5 June 2005)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

Ashley Judd was also considered for the part of Maggie.

Crew or equipment visible: When Frankie introduces Maggie to one of the managers at the gym, movie lights can be seen reflected in the sunglasses hanging on his shirt.

[first lines]
Eddie Scrap-Iron Dupris: [Narrating] Only ever met one man I wouldn't wanna fight. When I met him he was already the best cut man in the business. Started training and managing in the sixties, but never lost his gift.

User Review

A movie that will last


"Million Dollar Baby" has great characters, but it doesn't glorify them. It has a wonderful story, but it never tries to impress you. The photography, score and direction is superb, but never distracting. What this movie is, if I have to call it something, is passion. Passion for film-making, passion for storytelling, passion for its characters, passion for its actors, and passion for its story and the means at which it will go to tell it. Amazing.

Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood) owns a messy boxing gym which is populated, mostly, by downbeat losers who he spends some time training. He runs it with his friend and former student Eddie Scrap-Iron Dupris (Morgan Freeman), who now lives contently at a room in the gym. One day a young woman named Maggie (Hilary Swank) walks in, looking for a manager and trainer. Frankie shafts her immediately ("girly, tough ain't enough"). Frankie has bigger things on his hands. He's managing a fighter who has a shot at a title bout.

But Frankie is old and weathered and not an appealing manager, so the fighter leaves him. Frankie is broken by this; it is another in a long line of rejections and separations. We can tell that, at this time in his life, he only gets really close with those he's training (Scrap is the only exception). We can tell that his loneliness – and a bit of persuasion from Scrap – cause him to agree to teach Maggie. Teach, that is the agreement, not manage. But, by the end of the film he will have devoted his life to her.

So the rest of the story follows these two people. There is no real 'plot' that you could describe in a trailer because it is constantly changing…it is not the inspiring underdog story you may think of it as. No, what it's 'about' is these characters, and how they react to the circumstances around them, which change with each scene.

Narrating the story is Scrap, speaking like he's looking back to a time long ago when everything has passed. His voice seems flat, deadpan, but there is a working of subtle sorrow in it. Scrap is a sad human being, he sees himself as the result of missed opportunities in the past, and so he spends his time helping the others, offering them his wise advice, with a tone of deadpan humor and even cockiness. Scrap knows what should be done, and what will happen regardless, and he is sort of okay with everything, in a sort of passive way. But the man also knows what's right and he has a deep, inner strength which is displayed in one scene in particular where you just have to cheer. It is an intriguing character, and personally I think it's Freeman's best performance.

And Eastwood's best too. He is an elderly man; some might say too elderly to still be working. After all, most people are retired by his age. But if you had to guess when you're watching this film, you would never, ever say the man is seventy-four. You would say something closer to the sixties, because the man has such amazing energy and dedication, and above all, he has talent. It's been forty long years since "A Fist Full of Dollars" and film has come a long way, and so has this man. At seventy-four, passed all those years as an action hero, nearing what's could be the end of his career, Eastwood has made his best movie. I really, really hope he has time to make many more.

As for Swank, well, she must have found something big that she shared with her character, because this is not acting, it is existing. Swank is Maggie. That's all there is too it. This could be the movie she will be remembered for.

So, "Million Dollar Baby" is a masterpiece. I saw it last night when it opened in my city, and everyone else was seeing "White Noise", and I was shaking my head. Everyone who is even remotely interested in movies should see this one, just so they can know how movies are supposed to be made. I'm trying to think, and there is not a single thing here where Eastwood went wrong. The acting, directing, writing, score, cinematography…they all accomplish precisely what they're supposed to with sublime perfection. Many of these aspects will certainly receive Oscars and all of them should.

You may cry through this film, you may cheer. Whatever the case, you will love it.


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