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Million Dollar Baby

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Title: Million Dollar Baby  
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Subject: 77th Academy Awards, 2004 in film, 'Aviator,' 'Baby' dominate 2005 Academy Awards, List of actors who have appeared in multiple Best Picture Academy Award winners, 62nd Golden Globe Awards
Collection: 2000S Drama Films, 2000S Sports Films, 2004 Films, American Films, American Sports Films, Best Foreign Film César Award Winners, Best Picture Academy Award Winners, Boxing Films, English-Language Films, Films About Euthanasia, Films About Paraplegics or Quadriplegics, Films About Women's Sports, Films Based on Short Fiction, Films Directed by Clint Eastwood, Films Featuring a Best Actress Academy Award Winning Performance, Films Featuring a Best Drama Actress Golden Globe Winning Performance, Films Featuring a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award Winning Performance, Films Produced by Gary Lucchesi, Films Produced by Tom Rosenberg, Films Whose Director Won the Best Director Academy Award, Films Whose Director Won the Best Director Golden Globe, Lakeshore Entertainment Films, Malpaso Productions Films, Screenplays by Paul Haggis, Studiocanal Films, Warner Bros. Films
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Million Dollar Baby

Million Dollar Baby
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Clint Eastwood
Produced by Clint Eastwood
Albert S. Ruddy
Tom Rosenberg
Paul Haggis
Screenplay by Paul Haggis
Story by F.X. Toole
Based on Rope Burns: Stories from the Corner
by F.X. Toole
Starring Clint Eastwood
Hilary Swank
Morgan Freeman
Music by Clint Eastwood
Cinematography Tom Stern
Edited by Joel Cox
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release dates
  • December 15, 2004 (2004-12-15)
Running time
132 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $30 million[1][2]
Box office $216.8 million[3]

Million Dollar Baby is a 2004 American Morgan Freeman. This film is about an underappreciated boxing trainer, the mistakes that haunt him from his past, and his quest for atonement by helping an underdog amateur boxer achieve her dream of becoming a professional.

Million Dollar Baby opened to wide acclaim from critics, and won four Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Its screenplay was written by Paul Haggis, based on short stories by F.X. Toole, the pen name of fight manager and "cutman" Jerry Boyd. Originally published under the title Rope Burns, the stories have since been republished under the film's title.


  • Plot 1
  • Cast 2
  • Development and production 3
  • Box office 4
  • Critical reception 5
    • "Spoiler" debate 5.1
  • Accolades 6
  • Home media 7
  • See also 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10


Margaret "Maggie" Fitzgerald, a waitress from a Missouri town in the Ozarks, shows up in the Hit Pit, a run-down Los Angeles gym owned and operated by Frankie Dunn, an old, cantankerous boxing trainer. Maggie asks Frankie to train her, but he initially refuses. Maggie works out tirelessly each day in his gym, even after Frankie tells her she's "too old" to begin a boxing career at her age. Eddie "Scrap-Iron" Dupris, Frankie's friend and employee (as well as the film's narrator), encourages and helps her.

Frankie's prize prospect, "Big" Willie Little, signs with successful manager Mickey Mack after becoming impatient with Dunn's rejecting offers for a championship bout. With prodding from Scrap and impressed with her persistence, Frankie reluctantly agrees to train Maggie. He warns her that he will teach her only the basics and then find her a manager. Other than Maggie and his employees, the only person Frankie has contact with is a local pastor, with whom he spars verbally at daily Mass.

Before her first fight, Frankie leaves Maggie with a random manager in his gym, much to her dismay; upon being told by Scrap that said manager deliberately put her up against his best girl (coaching the novice to lose) to give her an easy win, Frankie rejoins Maggie in the middle of the bout and coaches her instead to an unforeseen victory. A natural, she fights her way up in the women's amateur boxing division with Frankie's coaching, winning many of her lightweight bouts with first-round knockouts. Earning a reputation for her KOs, Frankie must resort to bribery to get other managers to put their trainee fighters up against her.

Eventually, Frankie risks putting her in the junior welterweight class, where her nose is broken in her first match. Frankie comes to establish a paternal bond with Maggie, who substitutes for his estranged daughter. Scrap, concerned when Frankie rejects several offers for big fights, arranges a meeting for her with Mickey Mack at a diner on her 33rd birthday. Out of loyalty, she declines. Frankie begrudgingly accepts a fight for her against a top-ranked opponent in the UK, where he bestows a Gaelic nickname on her. The two travel Europe as she continues to win; Maggie eventually saves up enough of her winnings to buy her mother a house, but she berates Maggie for endangering her government aid, claiming that everyone back home is laughing at her.

Frankie is finally willing to arrange a title fight. He secures Maggie a $1 million match in Las Vegas, Nevada against the WBA women's welterweight champion, Billie "The Blue Bear", a German ex-prostitute who has a reputation as a dirty fighter. Overcoming a shaky start, Maggie begins to dominate the fight, but after a round has ended, Billie knocks her out with an illegal sucker punch from behind after the bell has sounded to indicate the end of the round. Before Frankie can pull the corner stool out of the way which was inappropriately placed on its side by Frankie's assistant, Maggie lands hard on it, breaking her neck and leaving her a ventilator-dependent quadriplegic.

Frankie is shown experiencing the first three of the five stages of grief: first seeking multiple doctors' opinions in denial, then blaming Scrap in anger and later trying to bargain with God through prayer.

In a medical rehabilitation facility, Maggie looks forward to a visit from her family, but they arrive accompanied by an attorney and only after having first visited Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood; their only concern is to transfer Maggie's assets to them. She orders them to leave, threatening to sell the house and inform the IRS of her mother's welfare fraud if they ever show their faces again.

As the days pass, however, Maggie develops bedsores and undergoes an amputation for an infected leg. She asks a favor of Frankie: to help her die, declaring that she got everything she wanted out of life. A horrified Frankie refuses, and Maggie later bites her tongue repeatedly in an attempt to bleed to death, but the medical staff saves her and takes measures to prevent further suicide attempts. The pastor Frankie has harassed for 23 years, Father Horvak, warns him that he would never find himself again if he were to go through with Maggie's wishes.

Frankie sneaks in one night, unaware that Scrap is watching from the shadows. Just before administering a fatal injection of adrenaline, he finally tells Maggie the meaning of a nickname he gave her, Mo Chuisle (spelled incorrectly in the film as "mo cuishle"): Irish for "my darling, and my blood" (literally, "my pulse"). He never returns to the gym. Scrap's narration is revealed to be a letter to Frankie's daughter, informing her of her father's true character. The last shot of the film shows Frankie sitting at the counter of a diner where Maggie once took him.


  • Clint Eastwood as Frankie Dunn, a gruff but well-meaning elderly boxing trainer.
  • Hilary Swank as Margaret "Maggie" Fitzgerald, a determined, aspiring boxer trained up by Frankie Dunn.
  • Jay Baruchel as Dangerous Dillan or "Danger", a simple-minded would-be boxer.
  • Mike Colter as "Big" Willie Little, a boxer whom Dunn has trained for years.
  • Lucia Rijker as Billie "The Blue Bear" Osterman, a vicious, ex-prostitute boxer.
  • Brían F. O'Byrne as Father Horvak, the priest of the church which Dunn attends, who cannot stand Dunn.
  • Anthony Mackie as Shawrelle Berry, an overzealous boxer and frequent tenant of Dunn's gym.
  • Margo Martindale as Earline Fitzgerald, Maggie's selfish mother.
  • Riki Lindhome as Mardell Fitzgerald, Maggie's sister.
  • Michael Peña as Omar, a boxer and Shawrelle's best friend.
  • Benito Martinez as Billie's manager
  • Grant L. Roberts as Billie's cut man, (trainer) trained Hilary Swank off screen for her Academy award winning role
  • Bruce MacVittie as Mickey Mack, a rival of Dunn.
  • David Powledge as Counterman at Diner
  • Joe D'Angerio as Cut Man
  • Aaron Stretch as Himself
  • Don Familton as Ring Announcer

Development and production

The film was stuck in so-called "

Preceded by
Terms of Endearment
Academy Award winner for
Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor
Succeeded by
No film has achieved this since

External links

  • Eliot, Marc (2009). American Rebel: The Life of Clint Eastwood.  
  • Hughes, Howard (2009). Aim for the Heart. London:  
  1. ^ a b Eliot (2009), p. 309
  2. ^ a b c Hughes, p. 156
  3. ^ a b "Million Dollar Baby (2004)".  
  4. ^ Hughes, p. 157
  5. ^ Fold 3 WWII Crew photos
  6. ^ a b Rebecca Leung (March 2, 2005). "Hilary Swank: Oscar Gold – 60 Minutes". CBS News. Retrieved September 9, 2010. 
  7. ^ Hughes, p. 160
  8. ^ "Million Dollar Baby". 15 December 2004. 
  9. ^ "Critic Reviews for Million Dollar Baby - Metacritic". Metacritic. 
  10. ^ Ebert, Roger (7 January 2005). "Million Dollar Baby". Retrieved 26 November 2007. 
  11. ^ Medved, Michael. "My 'Million Dollar' Answer," OpinionJournal/Dow Jones & Company, Inc. (17 February 2005). Archived at
  12. ^ "Million Dollar Missed Opportunity". 
  13. ^ The New York Times > Arts > Frank Rich: How Dirty Harry Turned Commie
  14. ^ "Movie & TV News @ - Studio Briefing - 27 January 2005".  
  15. ^ Roger Ebert (29 January 2005). "Critics have no right to play spoiler". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 27 November 2007. 
  16. ^ Million Dollar Baby movie
  17. ^ a b Wes Davis Fighting Words. New York Times, 26 February 2005
  18. ^ Eliot (2009), p. 311
  19. ^ Roger Ebert (14 December 2004). ":: :: Reviews :: Million Dollar Baby (xhtml)". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 24 November 2007. 
  20. ^ Susan Wloszczyna (23 January 2005). " - 'Million Dollar' mystery".  
  21. ^ Jeffrey Overstreet (7 January 2005). "Million Dollar Baby". Christianity Today. Archived from the original on 15 November 2007. Retrieved 24 November 2007. 
  22. ^ Mark Moring (18 January 2005). "Spoil the Ending?". Christianity Today. Archived from the original on 15 November 2007. Retrieved 24 November 2007. 
  23. ^ Michael Atkinson (13 December 2004). "Aging Bull". The Village Voice. Retrieved 24 November 2007. 
  24. ^ Ian Grey (12 January 2005). "Kid Gloves". Baltimore City Paper. Retrieved 24 November 2007. 
  25. ^ a b Historical HD DVD Release Dates, High-Def Digest, accessed 12 March 2012
  26. ^ a b Historical Blu-ray Release Dates, High-Def Digest, accessed 12 March 2012


See also

Michael Atkinson of [24]


Million Dollar Baby received the award for Best Actress in a Leading Role and Best Actor in a Supporting Role Oscars, respectively. Joel Cox, Eastwood's editor for many years, was nominated for Best Film Editing, and Paul Haggis was nominated for the Best Adapted Screenplay award.

Award Category Subject Result
Academy Award Best Picture Clint Eastwood
Albert S. Ruddy
Tom Rosenberg
Best Director Clint Eastwood Won
Best Actress Hilary Swank Won
Best Supporting Actor Morgan Freeman Won
Best Actor Clint Eastwood Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay Paul Haggis Nominated
Best Film Editing Joel Cox Nominated
ACE Eddie Best Editing Nominated
Amanda Award Best Foreign Feature Film Clint Eastwood Nominated
American Screenwriters Association Discover Screenwriting Award Paul Haggis Won
Art Directors Guild Award Best Contemporary Feature Film Henry Bumstead
Jack G. Taylor Jr.
Billie Award Best Film Clint Eastwood
Albert S. Ruddy
Tom Rosenberg
Paul Haggis
Black Reel Award Best Supporting Actor Morgan Freeman Nominated
Broadcast Film Critics Association Award Best Actress Hilary Swank Won
Best Supporting Actor Morgan Freeman Nominated
Best Director Clint Eastwood Nominated
Best Film Clint Eastwood
Albert S. Ruddy
Tom Rosenberg
Paul Haggis
Casting Society of America Award Best Casting for Feature Film: Drama Phyllis Huffman Nominated
César Award Best Foreign Film Clint Eastwood
Albert S. Ruddy
Tom Rosenberg
Paul Haggis
Chicago Film Critics Association Award Best Director Clint Eastwood Won
Directors Guild of America Award Outstanding Directing Won
Director's Guild of Great Britain Outstanding Director Nominated
ESPY Award Best Sports Movie Clint Eastwood
Albert S. Ruddy
Tom Rosenberg
Paul Haggis
Florida Film Critics Circle Award Best Actress Hilary Swank Won
Golden Globe Award Best Actress Won
Best Director Clint Eastwood Won
Best Supporting Actor Morgan Freeman Nominated
Best Motion Picture - Drama Clint Eastwood
Albert S. Ruddy
Tom Rosenberg
Paul Haggis
Best Original Score Clint Eastwood Nominated
Grammy Award Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media Nominated
Motion Picture Sound Editors Award Best Sound Editing Alar Robert Murray
Bub Asman
David Grimaldi
Jason King
MTV Movie Award Best Female Performance Hilary Swank Nominated
NAACP Image Award Outstanding Supporting Actor Morgan Freeman Won
National Board of Review Award Best Film Clint Eastwood
Albert S. Ruddy
Tom Rosenberg
Paul Haggis
Best Director Clint Eastwood Nominated
Best Actor Nominated
New York Film Critics Circle Award Best Director Won
Producers Guild of America Award Best Theatrical Motion Picture Clint Eastwood
Albert S. Ruddy
Tom Rosenberg
Paul Haggis
Phoenix Film Critics Society Award Best Actress Hilary Swank Won
Best Actor Clint Eastwood Nominated
Best Director Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Morgan Freeman Nominated
Best Film Clint Eastwood
Albert S. Ruddy
Tom Rosenberg
Paul Haggis
Satellite Award Best Actress Hilary Swank Won
Best Adapted Screenplay Paul Haggis Won
Screen Actors Guild Award Best Actress Hilary Swank Won
Best Supporting Actor Morgan Freeman Won
Best Cast Nominated

Home media

The film was released on Crash.[25][26]

Jeffrey Overstreet of Christianity Today avoided revealing plot details, stating that while knowing the nature of the third part would not ruin the film, it would alter the experience significantly.[21] Mark Moring of Christianity Today said, "Who wants to watch a movie when you know how it ends? We've actually had to wrestle with that question around here lately..." Moring said, "We wondered if our 'moral obligation' to warn Christians about the potentially disturbing subject matter somehow 'trumped' our professional commitment to avoid plot spoilers — especially the worst plot spoiler of all: divulging the end. After some discussion, we agreed that the right decision was to not give away the end to Million Dollar Baby."[22]

Multiple critics found a plot twist in the film to be particularly significant in discussion of the film's merits, and therefore wrote it was difficult to write proper reviews of the film. When describing the plot of the film, Ebert gave a spoiler warning.[18] He noted in his reviews the difficulty of discussing the film without discussing details of the plot, saying that even warning about spoilers would itself be a spoiler.[19] Susan Wloszczyna of USA Today said the film "packs a surprise plot twist" and said "spoilsports already have begun to leak details about this drama", saying "the urge to divulge the story's secrets will only grow worse when the film finally goes nationwide." Wloszczyna noted that David Thomson of The Independent "offered readers only a hint of the story basics" and said "most reviewers have coddled the sports saga with similar care..." Wloszczyna quoted Thomson as saying, "My great wish always, which is difficult to achieve, is to go in knowing nothing about a film."[20]

"Spoiler" debate

Some Irish commentators criticized the fact that the phrase Mo Chuisle, a term of endearment meaning My pulse, was misspelled in the film as Mo Cuishle, as shown on the back of Maggie's robe.[16] In Irish and other Goidelic languages, consonants soften when followed by an 'h', hence the "c" in "chuisle" turns into a guttural "ch". It is translated in the film as "My darling, my blood". The original phrase is short for A chuisle mo chroí, meaning "O pulse of my heart".[17] The film has also been praised for stirring interest in the Irish language in the U.S.[17]

Eastwood responded to the criticism by saying the film was about the American dream.[13] In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Eastwood distanced himself from the actions of characters in his films, noting, "I've gone around in movies blowing people away with a .44 Magnum. But that doesn't mean I think that's a proper thing to do".[14] Roger Ebert stated that "a movie is not good or bad because of its content, but because of how it handles its content. Million Dollar Baby is classical in the clean, clear, strong lines of its story and characters, and had an enormous emotional impact".[15]

In early 2005, the film sparked controversy when some disability rights activists protested the ending. Wesley J. Smith in The Weekly Standard also criticized the film for its ending and for missed opportunities; Smith said, "The movie could have ended with Maggie triumphing once again, perhaps having obtained an education and becoming a teacher; or, opening a business managing boxers; or perhaps, receiving a standing ovation as an inspirational speaker."[12]

The film received critical acclaim, with a 91% rating on Rotten Tomatoes[8] and an 86 out of 100 score on Metacritic, meaning "universal acclaim".[9] Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun Times gave the film four stars and stated that "Clint Eastwood's Million Dollar Baby is a masterpiece, pure and simple," listing it as the best film of 2004.[10] Michael Medved stated: "My main objection to Million Dollar Baby always centered on its misleading marketing, and effort by Warner Brothers to sell it as a movie about a female Rocky, with barely a hint of the pitch-dark substance that led Andrew Sarris of the New York Observer . . . to declare that 'no movie in my memory has depressed me more than Million Dollar Baby.'"[11]

Critical reception

Million Dollar Baby initially had a limited release, opening in eight theaters in December 2004.[7] In its later wide release opening, the film earned $12,265,482 in North America and quickly became a box-office hit both domestically and internationally. It grossed $216,763,646 in theaters; $100,492,203 in the United States, and $116,271,443 overseas. The film played in theaters for six and a half months.[3]

Box office

Consequently, to prepare for her role, Swank underwent extensive training in the ring and weight room gaining 19 pounds of muscle, aided by professional trainer Grant L Roberts. She trained for nearly five hours every day, winding up with potentially life-threatening staphylococcus infection. She did not tell Eastwood about the infection because she thought it would be out of character for Maggie.[6]

Eastwood had confidence in Swank's acting background, but upon seeing Swank's small physique, he had concerns, "I just thought, 'Yeah, this gal would be great. If we can get her trained up. If we can get a little bit more bulk on her, to make her look like a fighter'...She was like a feather. But what happened is, she had this great work ethic."[6]


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