Whether you loved or hated it, Clint Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby is the most celebrated boxing film of the last 25 years (since Raging Bull). Winner of Best Picture, Best Director for Eastwood, Best Actress for Hilary Swank, and Best Supporting Actor for Morgan Freeman, the 3-disc DVD of Million Dollar Baby goes on sale this Tuesday. The special box set includes the movie, supplementary material and commentary, and Eastwood’s score for his Academy Award-winning effort.
Based on a series of short stories called Rope Burns by F.X. Toole and adapted for the screen by Paul Haggis, Million Dollar Baby tells the story of Maggie Fitzgerald (Swank), a 31-year-old waitress from Missouri who travels to California to pursue her dream of being a boxer. She encounters Frankie Dunn (Eastwood), a hardnosed fight manager/gym owner, and Scamp (Freeman), his loyal aide-de-camp, and they tutor Maggie on the fundamentals as they navigate her pro career for better or worse for better and worse.
Although there are factual inaccuracies in the film, which were sloughed off on grounds that it was a work of fiction, and a surprise ending that sent many viewers running for their hankies and the theater exits, Million Dollar Baby captured something essential about the fight game, and has the sort of integrity and depth of feeling so lacking, for example, in this year’s drab, clich, unwatchable Cinderella Man.
For those who want to revisit the most feted boxing film of our era an elegiac chamber meditation on boxing, life, and the illusion of redemption or for those who missed it the first time around and want to see for themselves what the hullabaloo was all about, check out the new DVD set of Clint Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby.