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Requiem for a heavyweight-A Great Movie!

Updated on September 22, 2013

Anthony Quinn as Mountain Rivera!


If you ever want to see a good boxing movie, check out Requiem for a Heavyweight! Muhammad Ali has a bit part in this movie filmed in 1962. It is the story of a Over-the-hill fighter named Mountain Rivera. In the beginning of the movie, we see Muhammad Ali pounding at the face of Mountain Rivera (Anthony Quinn). The camera shows us a blurred picture of Ali, giving the impression of what Rivera is going through. He falls and cannot get up. The ref counts him out and we see Mountain wheeled off to his quarters, where he is seen by a doctor.

The doctor gives Mountain the bad news-He cannot continue in the fight game! His eyes are, badly beaten, and he has no choice but to retire. Mickey Rooney and Jackie Gleason are his trainer and manager, providing an all star performance. Jackie Gleason has gotten into debt, losing a bet to a boxing match and he get roughed up by some hoodlums. Meanwhile, Mickey Rooney tries to encourage Mountain Rivera that there is life after boxing.


Mountain decides to take on a second career, but without much of an education-he is limited! He runs across a social worker by the name of Ms.Miller (Julie Harris), who tries to help him. She goes on a date with Mountain and, for once, he feels there is hope. She connects him with a job lead and now it seems that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Meanwhile, Maish Rennick (Jackie Gleason) wants to clear up his boxing debt with some gangsters, so he tries to persuade Mountain to be a wrestler. Agreeing to a practice match, Mountain gets hurt and loses his temper. He tells his manager that wrestling is not for him and pursues the job lead, but Maish does not give up.

The day when Mountain is supposed to go to his job lead, he takes him to Jack Dempsey's restaurant. There is a bit part where you can see the late great Jack Dempsey talking to Maish and Mountain. Maish manages to get Mountain drunk, but Army (Mickey Rooney) comes by the restaurant to remind Mountain of his appointment. He tries to persuade Mountain to call and postpone, but he doesn't listen. Going to his appointment at a hotel, he stumbles around and, finally finds the room. The social worker and prospective employers are shocked and Mountain, embarrassed goes home.


The social worker,concerned, goes to visit Mountain. She is, almost, in tears and asks him why did he leave and not stay for his appointment. Mountain, still half-drunk, tries to make a pass at her but she draws back. Disappointed, he tells her to go home. As she leaves the apartment, She runs into Maish, who is drunk and makes some snide remarks. Angered by his remarks, she slaps his face. Maish, then brought to a sober moment, proceeds to tell her to forget about Mountain and not play with his feelings.

Maish convinces Mountain to do a wrestling bout. He has to wear an Indian Wig or feathers (I don't remember!), but does not like it. He threatens to quit and throws away the wig. Maish, desperate, pleas with Mountain. In a fit of anger, the truth comes out when Maish blurts out why he is in this mess. The dirty little secret was that Maish had betted all he had against Mountain. He was sure that he would not be able to stand four rounds against Ali, and lost. Mountain got knocked out in the 7th round.

In the next scene, the gangsters comes to settle accounts. Mountains beats up the two gangsters, but it does little good. The gang leader by the name of Ma walks in and tells them that she has a Army of thugs waiting. Seeing this predicament, Mountain finds that he cannot fight a whole army and makes a decision.Coming to a painful conclusion, he decides to help Maish, who's life is on the line. Resigned, Mountain decides to do a couple of wrestling bouts to help his former manager and friend.

Points to consider!

To wrap up my movie review. I would give this a five star rating. In my opinion, this was the original "Rocky" movie, but with a tragic ending. The performances of Quinn, Rooney and Gleason are top of the line. Anthony Quinn is super in his role as a punch drunk fighter, who is caught in a helpless situation. I guess some of these scenes could remind you of a Rocky movie, but the difference is that Rocky at the end, had light at the end of the tunnel. This movie has a touch of reality, when we see this tragic figure trapped into doing something he does not want to do! You really feel for this guy and the ending is a real tearjerker. If you are a Boxing fan, this movie is a must see!

Requiem For A Heavyweight
Requiem For A Heavyweight

Requiem for a heavyweight. A story of an over-the-hill figher featuring Mickey Rooney and Jackie Gleason. Filmed in 1962!



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    • WayneDave profile image

      WayneDave 5 years ago from Leeds, England

      Really great review. I have never seen this before, but I am a boxing fan as well as a boxing movie fan. Think I'll be checking this film out at some point.

    • jonsswagger1978 profile image

      jonsswagger1978 5 years ago from Birmingham Alabama

      I am a boxing freak you should see I have about 80 on just boxing. Great film and great hub..Keep writing outstanding hubs. Voted up up and away.