One of the most memorable sports dramas because of its strong character development, Requiem for a Heavyweight is carried by Anthony Quinn as the washed-up boxer Mountain Rivera, and Jackie Gleason as his sleazy manager, Maish Rennick. In the opening scenes, Cassius Clay -- before he became Muhammad Ali -- knocks out Rivera in a stunning fight sequence. Rivera's career is over, and although his trainer Army (Mickey Rooney) and a social worker (Julie Harris) encourage him with vain hopes for an alternate career, the boxer's courage is stronger than his addled senses, a serious barrier to getting any job. Then Rivera's manager Rennick breaks down and tells him he has lost a gambling bet against the fighter and needs him to bail him out -- by becoming a wrestler. The question is, will Rivera take this humiliating path just to save his unethical manager, or will he stick to his scruples and reject the idea? ~ Eleanor Mannikka, Rovi
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Anthony Quinn gives a stand-out performance as a boxer at the end of his career. Based on the real life fall of Joe Lewis, the picture paints a realistic view of the lives of early boxers. Mickey Rooney phones in his performance and the big hearted social worker was a bit much but Quinn's performance alone is worth the price of admission.