REVIEWED VERSION: 2014 Warner Bros. 10th Anniversary Edition US Blu-Ray (Region Free)
Director: Clint Eastwood
Cast: Clint Eastwood, Hilary Swank, Morgan Freeman, Jay Baruchel, Mike Colter, Lucia Rijker, Brían F. O'Byrne, Riki Lindhome, Michael Peña, Benito Martinez, Joe D'Angerio
Production: USA 2004
Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood) has trained and managed some of the best boxers. His only friend is Scrap (Morgan Freeman), who takes care of Frankie's gym. When Maggie Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank), a waitress, asks him if he would train her, he declines at first. Persistence pays, and Frankie, while rough on the outside, eventually gives in...
THE PROS & CONS
BEWARE! This is NOT another light-hearted "THE NEXT KARATE KID" or "GIRLFIGHT". MILLION DOLLAR BABY is devastating.
MILLION DOLLAR BABY was deservedly nominated for 7 Academy Awards of which it won 4 (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor) - other nominations were: Best Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Film Editing.
It was made on a budget of $30 million and grossed a total of $216,763,646 worldwide.
The film was directed, co-produced, and scored by Clint Eastwood, it was the 25th film he directed, the 57th film in which he has acted, and the 21st he has produced. Amazingly, Eastwood's films get better and better the older he gets. I consider MILLION DOLLAR BABY one of the "Eastwood Essentials", along with UNFORGIVEN, GRAN TORINO and AMERICAN SNIPER and a few of his earlier works.
Eastwood did not want to make "just another boxing movie", the film also deals with darker themes such as euthanasia. This and Eastwood's unique style make MILLION DOLLAR BABY a masterpiece - and one of the very few sports films I ever watched. Eastwood's surely outdone himself with this film!
It's always a delight to see Eastwood on screen - this film's no different. I like the way he plays Frankie, reminiscent of his character in DIRTY HARRY in many ways.
Morgan Freeman is his usual best. Eastwood and Freeman work well together, their chemistry ist just outstanding, as it was in UNFORGIVEN. He also narrates the film excellently.
Anyways, it's Hilary Swank who just blows one away with her awesome performance as Maggie. The character grows on you, it's a character that anyone can relate to, a down-to-earth girl in pursuit of her dream, who does not give up. She truly deserved the Oscar!
MILLION DOLLAR BABY is one of the best films ever made, I can only highly recommend it, however, don't watch this melancholic film if you are depressed.
ON A SIDE NOTE
- Lucia Rijker, Dutch boxing and kick-boxing champion, who plays the part of Billie in the film, was Hilary Swank's boxing coach
- Hilary Swank underwent a serious training schedule to prepare for the film, gaining nearly 20 pounds of muscle
- Sandra Bullock was the first actress considered to play Maggie, Ashley Judd was also considered
- Clint Eastwood based his character's voice on producer Albert S. Ruddy
- based on "Rope Burns: Stories from the Corner" by F.X. Toole
- writer Paul Haggis was originally supposed to direct MILLION DOLLAR BABY
Feature running time: 132:32 mins. (uncut)
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (violence, some disturbing images, thematic material and language)
BBFC Rating: 12 (one use of strong language, moderate violence and mature theme)
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Spanish: Dolby Digital 2.0
Subtitles: English HoH, French, Spanish
Extras: Audio commentary with producer Albert Ruddy, "Million Dollar Baby: On the Ropes" Featurette (26:04), "James Lipton Takes on Three" Interviews with Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman and Hilary Swank (24:40), "Born to Fight" Featurette (19:11),
"Producer's Round 15" Featurette (13:00), Theatrical Trailer (2:25)
Picture quality: 3/5
Audio quality: 3/5
Even in its 10th Anniversary Edition, MILLION DOLLAR BABY does not shine on Blu-Ray. The extras got bumped up a wee bit, this edition now has an audio commentary with producer Albert Ruddy.
The picture quality is average at best - there is not much detail or "depth". The audio quality is average as well.
The blu-ray is an improvement over the DVD version, but if you already own a blu-ray version of the film, don't bother with the 10th Anniversary Edition.