Charley Davis, against the wishes of his mother, becomes a boxer. As he becomes more successful the fighter becomes surrounded by shady characters, including an unethical promoter named Roberts, who tempt the man with a number of vices. Charley finds himself faced with increasingly difficult choices.
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Charley Davis wins an amateur boxing match and is taken on by promoter Quinn. Charley's mother doesn't want him to fight, but when Charley's father is accidentally killed, Charley sets up a fight for money. His career blooms as he wins fight after fight, but soon an unethical promoter named Roberts begins to show an interest in Charley, and Charley finds himself faced with increasingly difficult choices.
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When considering the factors that contributed to making this movie one of truly great cinema classics, such as the story, the direction, the dialogue, the pathos, the conflicts, the supporting cast, the one factor that most directly contributed to making this movie great was that of it's star, John Garfield. Here, Garfield plays Charlie Davis, a brooding, moody, cynical, angry young man traumatized by his father's untimely and violent death and determined to literally fight his way out of poverty, no matter what it takes. Yet, Charlie Davis is likable, for despite the hardened exterior, he is still fundamentally a good man who is struggling to do what is right despite the pressure to cave in to those who merely want to use him. And although Charlie weakens, he never breaks, and when put to the test, his basic honesty and strength shine through, which makes him a hero and which transforms this movie from just another boxing movie into a true cinematic classic.
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