Million Dollar Baby (2004)

8.12 h 12 min2004X-RayPG-13
"I DON'T TRAIN GIRLS", trainer Frankie Dunn growls. But something's different about the spirited boxing hopeful who shows up daily at Dunn's gym. All she wants is a fighting chance.
Clint Eastwood
Clint EastwoodHilary SwankMorgan Freeman
ActionDramaAdventureSpecial Interest
English [CC]
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Supporting actors
Jay BaruchelMike ColterLucia RijkerBrian F. O'ByrneAnthony MackieMargo MartindaleRiki LindhomeMichael Peña
Clint EastwoodAlbert S. RuddyTom RosenbergPaul Haggis
PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
Content advisory
Alcohol usesexual contentviolence
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4.7 out of 5 stars

3807 global ratings

  1. 83% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 10% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 3% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 1% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 2% of reviews have 1 stars
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joel wingReviewed in the United States on October 9, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Brings out the humanity of the characters who are involved a very brutal sport
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In 2000 the independent film Girl Fight was released about women getting into boxing. In 2004 Clint Eastwood topped that with the big budget Million Dollar Baby which became a huge success. The story focuses upon Hillary Swank as Maggie Fitzgerald who wants to become a boxer, Eastwood as Frankie Dunn who first says he refuses to train women but then is won over by Maggie, and Morgan Freeman as Eddie Dupris who runs Dunn’s gym and is also the narrator of the film. What was so effective about the story was that it brought real humanity to the characters in a very brutal sport.

Eastwood plays the curmudgeon which he’s done a lot of late in his career because he does it so well. As Durpis notes in a voice over Maggie was white trash and had absolutely nothing and she knew it. Boxing was the one thing that she had that made her feel like somebody. It’s Dupris who first sees the drive in Maggie and tries helping her out. Dunn on the other hand becomes even more bitter when his prize fighter leaves him for another manager and becomes a champion. The reason was because he was too cautious and treated his fighters like they were his children. That sets up the two themes of the film. One is Maggie’s attempt to become a fighter despite all the odds. The second is Dunn overcoming his trepidations about his fighters.

The movie then moves into the boxing and those are done very well. In fact there’s even some comedy in how Maggie dispatches her foes.

It’s impossible to describe what happens to Maggie without spoiling the movie but it really showed the writing chops of F.X. Toole who did the story and Paul Haggis who wrote the screenplay. It really brings up the relationship between Dunn and Maggie which went far beyond the ring.

There’s a reason why Million Dollar Baby received such praise when it was released. It is an outstanding film with great performances by Eastwood, Swank and Freeman.
4 people found this helpful
PrahaladReviewed in the United States on February 6, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
Can there be a more beautiful film than this?!
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Can there be a more beautiful film than "Million Dollar Baby"?! Very inspirational, very moving and an excellent rendition of the art of acting and directing. If you haven't watched this movie, please do for your heart will warm, run along to Maggie to chase her dreams and twist and turn along the way. No one could have better performed the cast's respective roles: Hillary Swank with her lovable hillbilly accent, Eastwood with a grim toughness to everything that he comes across and Morgan Freeman with an intense passion in his role as Scrap telling us the tale of one boxer who believed in her dreams and bent hearts and wills when setting about achieving it! Maggie utters some powerful words at the end and if you don't jerk a tear, try hitting your heart with a chisel.
18 people found this helpful
Luke22Reviewed in the United States on November 16, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
Worth every penny I spend on this baby
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This movie surpassed the art form, it moved me, and I haven't recovered yet.

First off the performances, the plot and directing, the videography all of it was stellar. It's never wrong to have Morgan Freeman as the narrator but to then get him in a key supporting role and use the narration in such a moving twist at the end was beautiful. The part of a grumpy old man, haunted by past decisions only to be melted by a persistent diamond in the rough seems almost purpose built for Clint Eastwood. He still put his art form into the part, giving it just the right amount of sandy grit mixed with an overwhelming fatherly affection just waiting to spill out. I must confess that I had not followed Hillary Swank much up to this movie but I'm a fan now. She gradually transforms throughout the movie into the different roles. The transitions seem natural, unforced, and subtle enough that we are not left wondering where that came from. Part of that is helped by the amazing directing and plot that set up the story so beautifully.


The plot starts by building the landscape for the story setting up the boxing gym where Eastwood's character trains champions yet he still looks after his friends in a gruff, unyielding manner. We are given glimpses of his indirect kindness which ends up being his weakness as he can't stand to see his friends get hurt and blames himself when they are. Because of his hesitance to set up higher level fights his star fighter leaves for a manager who will take him places.
It's on the back of this upsetting revaluation that we meet a girl from the Midwest who sees him and decides he needs to be her fighting coach. She hasn't much but her own stubbornness to recommend herself and he flatly turns her down in a way that lets her know he would be embarrassed to train a woman. It was irritating, overtly obvious, offensive, and sad all at once. Swank shrugs off the insult and to her characters credit pushes on training herself at that very same gym paying 6 months dues ahead and working as a waitress at a dinner to get by. She is seen collecting scraps of food left by patrons doing whatever she needs to in order to get by.
She befriends Morgan Freeman the gyms janitor an close friend to Eastwood's character who owns the place where he coaches his other fighters. Eastwood's character is eventually goaded into coaching her by the sheer pain of watching her do it wrong over and over, he can't stand it any longer and agrees to coach her until she's good enough to fight then she would be handed off to a manager so he could be rid of her and his name wouldn't be associated with her. It doesn't go as planned because on her first fight it's clear she was set up by the manager to fail and boost the ratings of the other fighter. Eastwood couldn't just stand by and watch it happen, his tender caring instincts take over and he ends up coaching her and managing her through the rest of the movie.
My favorite seen was actually when Freeman sees that Swank is ready for the big leagues and warns her that Eastwood is holding her back. Freeman even sets it up for Swank to meet the very manager who took on Eastwood's last protégé but she decides to remain loyal to Eastwood and sticks with him.
We learn that Eastwood has a daughter that he is estranged from and that he is actually writing her many letters that are all returned to sender. This heart break is the obvious cause of his fatherly affection for Swank that keeps becoming more and more obvious as the movie goes on. Eastwood even gives her a Gaelic fighting name "Mo Chuisle" which supposedly stands for "My Darling, My Blood". Swank doesn't know the meaning of it at the time and though she asks Eastwood what it means, he refuses to tell her and she honors him by not asking anyone else. That blind loyalty on her part and his affectionate fathering is what marks their relationship and touches the hearts of all who watch it. Few stories feature this type of familiar love, this deep feeling, this blind loyalty that we see here between two people who have unofficially adopted each other for lack of anyone other family that truly cared.

Swank is eventually injured by a dirty swing by a stronger opponent after the bell, an injury that leaves her quadriplegic. Eastwood sticks with her through it all but she is left on a ventilator bedridden and eventually the bead sores get so bad she loses a leg to them. Her family show up only to get her to sign papers giving her estate to her mother. She is left in a rehab center unable to do anything for herself with only Eastwood there for her. The idea of living like that after having ridden a wave of fame throughout the world of boxing tormented her to the point that she begs Eastwood to end it for her. When he refuses she tries to take her own life by biting her tong. Eastwood feels responsible for her current state as it is and can't bare to see her like that but he knows he will also not be able to bare the burden of ending her life either. He wrestles with the decision before giving in. His last words to her was him telling her the meaning of the Gaelic and reassuring her that he would do as she asked.
The moral dilemma was heavy, powerful and just long enough for the audience to connect with it and feel the pain of the decision. It is not a decision I believe was right, it is not something I think we should applaud, but it was what happened in this story and at least we see that the character isn't unaffected by it. He bears the full weight of the decision and never recovers.
The narrator then dampens the blow to the viewers by lending us a shred of hope that there may be some ending that did turn out ok for Eastwood but it's left to our imagination. We are left to ponder the value of human life, the importance of loving family, the power of loyalty and perseverance, and the beauty of love and the tragedy of loss.

Let me just say to all involved, thank you. This work was powerful, beautiful, and moving; well done and congratulations!
Paul S. PersonReviewed in the United States on November 30, 2020
3.0 out of 5 stars
Eastwood Does Rocky! Not.
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This is, for me, yet another Eastwood misfire. I hate to be down on a director who has done some really good films, but he has also done some less good films.
As usual, it is done quite well in terms of sets, etc.
But the story ... I really don't know how much to say about the story.
Young woman insists on getting into boxing (women's boxing, apparently) and eventually (of course) our hero goes along.
Well, you can figure the rest out for yourself.
Still, unlike some of these things, this one /is/ more interesting to watch than watching paint dry or grass grow. It is, sadly, very much a downer. If you like films that depress you, this may be right up your alley.
One person found this helpful
Shelly TReviewed in the United States on March 16, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
A Must See Movie
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This movie was excellent!!! Amazing actors and actresses. This movie has lots of things that go on in our daily lives where we can relate to some of these moments. It's truly inspiring and sad to know that there are bad people out there in the world, but there are also good people too. The scenery was great with the lighting and sound affects. Very well written and performed!

I would recommend this to anyone to think about the things that are happening in each scene and to know that there is more to life than to just go around moping. I wouldn't recommend this for parents to show their children just because there is a lot of dark things and a lot to do with morality and critical thinking that some children just have not developed the skills for. When they get older, it would be better for them to see it.

I just wish the ending had a different outcome... But no spoilers here XD
6 people found this helpful
david bythewayReviewed in the United States on January 2, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
youll like this one
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This is a rare film where Eastwood directed and acted in the film.Having studied Martial arts in my youth,I was always interested in boxing movies.Raging Bull,The Rocky series,Cinderella Man.Clint Eastwood plays a trainer,who owns a failing gym,when he notices a Maggie(Hillary Swank) is training in his gym,His long time buddy Scrappy (Morgan Freeman) convinces him to train her to fight,and the rest is a very interesting movie.Whether your a boxing fan or an Eastwood fan,youll like this one.BTW
7 people found this helpful
John SutherlandReviewed in the United States on August 29, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
Million Dollars
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I didn't quite know what to expect from this movie, but there are good reasons why it was awarded academy awards. The ending was, of course, quite thought provoking. The movie was fairly priced and arrived in a timely fashion and in good condition. Couldn't ask for more.
J. ThomasReviewed in the United States on July 12, 2013
5.0 out of 5 stars
Great Movie- Million Dollar Baby
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I could watch this movie every day. It is a very emotional journey that you go through alongside this older female boxer and her trainer. The two of them make a very odd pair, which at times is a bit comical to see their interactions. As the story continues their relationship becomes more of a father-daughter relationship. The ending is very sad, and the first time I watched this movie I honestly was surprised by the outcome. Yet, it seemed almost better that way, more real I guess. I would definitely recommend this movie to just about anyone, except maybe kids because of the fighting. But it is definitely not a chick flick, at least it did not seem that way to me. It is emotional because the director does an incredible job of connecting with the characters so much that you begin to find yourself being mad at who they are mad at and laughing at what they laugh at. If you have not seen this movie, just give it a chance. You will not be disappointed.
One person found this helpful
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