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Hands of Stone Film

Updated on September 9, 2016
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Pam is currently working on various Creative projects: Screenwriting, Film 'o the Moment column, Casting & Agenting.

Technical Specs

Running time of 111 mins. Rated R. Sound mix is Dolby Atmos. Shot using Arri Alexa, Hawk V-lite & V-plus anamorphic lenses. Cinematographic process is Hawk Scope.

Film Synopsis

This film shows the life of Roberto Duran and Ray Arcel, who was asked by Duran’s manager to help “bring the boxing legend to the World”. As you might recall, Mr. Duran became “hands of stone” in his country, before Mr. Arcel decided to tutor him in his retirement age. The backstory shows Mr. Duran’s beginnings (“You’re stealing food?” “No, I work for my food.”), his desire to become the Boxing Champion of the World, and how he got there.

This story is actually told from multiple POVs: Duran, Duran’s family, and Arcel, while the film explores the various cultural and political issues of the time (Panama Canal & its treaty, U.S. Presidents Carter and Reagan and the Mexican President’s death), as well as each man’s personal struggle inside and outside of the ring.

Great characterization

I loved the one scene appearance by John Turturro, as one of the Boxing managers, when Mr. Arcel tries to get a fight organized between Duran and Moore. Nicely done scene, lighting, dialogue, with Mr. DeNiro complementing Mr. Turturro.

Thank you to the Casting department for choosing Ana de Armas, to portray Duran’s wife. In addition to being pretty, she delivers her lines perfectly. For the Movie Viewers, she also appears in War Dogs, with Miles Teller and Jonah Hill, as Iz, David Packhous’ girlfriend. See my other Film Review for War Dogs.

Another good casting decision for Usher Raymond IV, who plays Sugar Ray Leonard. He brought some life into the character, within the story’s timeline. It was always a professional rivalry between Duran and Leonard, but in the end, they are friends to this day.

Mr. Arcel’s character portrayal by Mr. De Niro is a wonderful performance (as usual), is played quite strongly on the character’s homefront. Choosing Ellen Barkin to play Stephanie Arcel, delivers a strong older woman/wife performance. There is an appreciation for some of the seasoned actors and actresses in the business; thank you for not letting me forget! Mr. De Niro’s on-camera presence is long-lasting, as intense as he was in The Last Tycoon (1974).


Cast & Characters

Main Characters
Roberto Duran
Edgar Ramirez
Ray Arcel
Robert De Niro
Felicidad Iglesias
Ana de Armas
Stephanie Arcel
Ellen Barkin
Sugar Ray Leonard
Usher Raymond IV
Davey Moore
Israel Isaac Duffus
Pedro Perez
Carlos Eleta
Ruben Blades
Don King
Reg E. Cathey
Frankie Carbo
John Turturro
Kid Duran
David Arosemena
Oscar Jaenada
Juanita Leonard
Jurnee Smollett-Bell
Benny Huertas
Yancey Arias
Drena De Niro
Clara Samaniego
Ilza Rosario
Marine Molinari
Anthony Molinari
Gil Clancey
Rick Avery
Howard Cosell
Robb Skyler
Angelo Dundee
Joe Urla
Margarito Duran
Eliud Kauffman
Roger Leonard
Khalid Ghajji
Ken Buchanan
John Duddy
Eugenio Iglesias
Aaron Zebede
Sharon Leonard
Janelle Davidson
Head Commissioner
Leo Wiznitzer
Roberto "Chavo" Duran
Pototo Duran
Roberto "Robin" Duran
Latin Marine
Alexander Salazar
Matt Doherty
Robin Duran
Kevin Foster
US Marine
Max Cooper
Young Girl
Marcy Weisleder
Anthony Famulari
US Marine #2
David Roubik
Alfredo Popa Arias
Restaurant Customer
Ken Oefelein
Chivo Sanjur
Daniel Tamayo
Panamanian Journalist
Carlos Lopez
Kid Toti
Luis Alfonso Ceballos
Cop (Fish Stand)
Rony Quesada
Don Dunphy
Adrian Scott
John Condon
Michael Sager
Amateur Referee
Hector Affu
Johnny Lobianco
Gary Rosato
Octavio Meyran
Manuel Leiva
Tamar Gutman
Irichelle Duran
Ana Lucia Garcia de Paredes
Benito Tunun
Carlos Padilla
Abdiel Barragan
Rosa Lorenzo
Brambri Duran
Lorenzo Barletta
US Marine #3
Brian Burkhardt
Edgardo Tovares
Roberto Jr.
Fabian Herrera
Montreal Announcer
Phillip Dankiw
Plomo's Wife
Jael Kareline Baez Carvajal
Shana Stern
Francois White
Patrol Marine
Lorenzo Whartow
Jovanna Duran
Daniela Souza
Lorenzo Iglesias
Dora Garcia de Paredes
Ray Durbin
Kid Pototo
Alexander Burgos Jr.
Aimar Brands
Robert Gleichman
Lorenzo Stefanini
Blonde US Marine
Mackenze McAleer
2nd Marine
Jefrey Thompson
Freddie Brown
Hector Tarpiniani
Radio Announcer
Carl Legore
Kid from Chorrillo
Anderson Rosario
Security Guard
Damian Quiroga
Prison Guard
Larry Diaz
Luis Spade
Theodore Spiegel
Bob Arum
Alberto Dayan
Amateur Referee
Jorge Alce
Kid Fede
Carlos Quintanar
Keneth de Leon
Parkout #1 & Flag Boy
Edison A Baule
Parkout #2
Lus Diaz
Parkout #3
Everardo Garcia
Parkout #4
Edwin Moreno
Parkout #5
Deriel Garcia
Parkout #6
Miguel Cajar
Parkout #7
Bearky Foster
Parkout #8
Jaime Escobar
Parkout #9
Jean C Mendoza
Parkout #10
Andre Restrepo
New paper employee
Luis A Reyes
SRL Trainer
Jose Gonzalez
Wilfrido Benitez
Roberto de los Rios
Ernesto Magana
Uriel Aguilera
Midwife Fula
Felicidad Duran
Claudine's friend
Regina Francolini
Fighter final amateur kid
Arturo David
Kid that defeats Duran
Henovan Aguilar
Duran's sister #1
Mayveline Villanueva

Nicely done Film

Great dialogue between Mr. Arcel and Mr. Duran, while they are in the ring. Most of the dialogue was not overdone for this film.

Cinematography was right on. Not too much overdone lighting (“Darkness and shadows” is what my writer friends & I call it), but real.

I absolutely loved the costumes, makeup and various set designs. Thank you to these departments for making it show through on-screen!

If you’re asking the Q: why was this film done?

  • Mr. Arcel passed away, with the film being dedicated to Stephanie Arcel.
  • Mr. Duran and his wife “Blondie” are shown at the end of the movie. Still together after all these years.
  • Not once was it recorded that Mr. Duran said “No mas,” inside the ring.

Please remember to stay for the Ending Credit Roll. You know my feelings on this one!

Theatrical Distribution

Cannes Film Festival
Yede'y ha'even
Kamienne piesci
Ruke od kamena
Manos de Piedra

Some Production Notes

Directed by Jonathan Jakubowicz.

Produced by the Weinstein Company. Distributed by Golden Village Pictures (Singapore theatrical), the Weinstein Company (USA theatrical) and Pinema (Turkey all media).

Written by Jonathan Jakubowicz.

Edited by Ethan Maniquis (most excellently done).

Casting by Dilva Barriga (Panama), Amanda Mackey Johnson and Cathy Sandrich. Thank you ladies!

Production design by Thomas Voth (nice job). Art direction by Marcelo Del Rio, A.R. Brook Lynn (NY unit) and Lisa Vasconcellos. Set decoration by Denise Camargo and Amy Williams (NY). Costume design by Bina Daigeler.

Thank you to all departments for a sensational film – Makeup, Production management, Second Unit, Art, Sound, Sfx, Visual efx, Stunts, Camera & electrical, Casting, Costume & wardrobe, Editorial, Location management, Music, Transportation, and the infamous Other crew.

Production costs of $18.65 million.

There were a total of 19 producers involved in the filmmaking, across 11 production companies.

Shot on-location in Panama and New York City.

Please check out how it compares to Raging Bull

If you’re reminded of Mr. De Niro’s performance in what one publication calls the “Fourth greatest film of all time,” please see my other Film Analysis for how Hands of Stone compares to Raging Bull. Mr. De Niro, if you or one of your representatives are reading my Hub, please comment and let me know your thoughts.

Other films of interest within this Genre

  • Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull – starring Robert De Niro as Jake LaMotta.
  • Robert Rossen’s Body and Soul (1947)
  • King Vidor’s The Champ (1931)
  • Mark Robson’s The Harder They Fall (1956) – which was one of Humphrey Bogart’s last films. Adapted from a novel by Budd Schulberg, who had written another Iconic Academy Award winning screenplay for On the Waterfront (1954), starring Marlon Brando. Please view my Film Analysis for On the Waterfront.
  • Rocky series films, with Sylvester Stallone.
  • Ryan Coogler’s Creed (2015).
  • Southpaw (2015).
  • The Fighter (upcoming)
  • A Fighting Man (upcoming)
  • The Bronx Bull (2017).

Additional reading Titles

Please checkout other material, if you like this genre.

Knockout: The Boxer and Boxing in American Cinema. By Leger Grindon, University Press of Mississippi. 2011.

No Voting

There is no voting, like we do for our other films, as this is a serious performance with some serious performers.

The theatre I had viewed it in, was not full, but there was no clapping at the end of film. Most of the film-goers left, before the Ending Credit Roll. Perhaps they didn’t appreciate a good story.

Until the next one, take care and enjoy the movies, Pam


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