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Body and Soul

Released Nov 9, 1947 1h 44m Drama List
92% Tomatometer 12 Reviews 88% Audience Score 500+ Ratings When amateur boxer Charley Davis (John Garfield) wins his first big match, he attracts the interest of small-time promoter Quinn (William Conrad). After Davis' father (Art Smith) is accidentally killed, Davis throws himself into his new career despite the protests of his mother (Anne Revere). A natural, Davis quickly climbs the boxing ladder where he eventually meets opportunistic promoter Roberts (Lloyd Gough), who introduces him to some unsavory elements. Read More Read Less

Critics Reviews

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Dave Kehr Chicago Reader Trite is hardly the word for the plot, which was already wheezy by the time this minor classic was made in 1947, but Abraham Polonsky's script brings such tight, painful focus to the moral choices that it seems fresh and real. Mar 25, 2008 Full Review Time Out Garfield's bullish performance saves the movie from its stagy moments and episodic script. Feb 9, 2006 Full Review Bosley Crowther New York Times Altogether this Enterprise picture rolls up a round-by-round triumph on points until it comes through with a climactic knockout that hits the all-time high in throat-catching fight films. Rated: 4/5 Jan 28, 2006 Full Review Yasser Medina Cinefilia Despite boasting a remarkable performance from John Garfield, I find the narrative to be a bit mechanical and lacks punching force like boxing film noir. [Full review in Spanish] Rated: 6/10 Jan 20, 2021 Full Review Tynan Yanaga Film Inquiry Body and Soul is a film not simply with gritty boxing scenes but also a fascinating character analysis indicative of the human condition. Jul 24, 2017 Full Review Jeffrey M. Anderson Combustible Celluloid If the movie works today, it's probably because of Abraham Polonsky's beautiful screenplay, a rich desert plate filled with glorious, lowdown street and sports prose. Aug 22, 2012 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

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nick s Good quality production with a capable cast. The story did feel a little boxed in as there weren't too many places it could go. But the delivery made up for it. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 04/28/24 Full Review Taylor L "You better buy a gun and shoot yourself." "You need money to buy a gun." Fresh off a viewing of the crowd-pleasing boxing film Somebody Up There Likes Me, the tougher nature of this more brutal take on the fighting world has aged far better by comparison. Body and Soul takes the standard approach of the boxing flick - a young upstart climbing the ranks - but takes cues from the noir films that were in vogue in the '40s. Instead of a tale of inspirational doggedness, this Robert Rossen film is a dark (if somewhat unsurprising) tale of ambition, corruption, and dishonesty in the face of personal gain. John Garfield's Charley Davis comes from a tough background, a young man who wants to make his fortune rather than keep his nose to the grindstone of a middle-class life, alienating himself from his conservative parents despite wanting the best for them. From there, he makes his way in the world but gradually attracts a crowd of hangers-on leeching off his success and coaxing him away from what was once a firm internal compass, until he no longer recognizes himself. On paper, the film sounds like a standard morality tale right at home in every family household, but there's more moral sludge than you might expect and the protagonist's failure to recognize himself in the mirror as the film goes on feels compelling. In addition, there are great pieces besides the screenplay (which got an Oscar nod), in particular the excellent cinematography from the legendary James Wong Howe and a brilliant and heart-wrenching supporting turn from pioneering actor Canada Lee. Flailing in the ring seeing visions of his past self, the betrayal and untimely demise of Lee's former champ hits harder than the actual finale. If you make a bulleted list of the plot points in this film, there's hardly anything that you won't find in other boxing flicks, but the script and tone are head and shoulders above most of the imitators. (3.5/5) Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 12/29/22 Full Review Ed M Hokey and melodramatic. You've seen it a million times. Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 12/05/21 Full Review Audience Member Every aspect of this film floored me. James Wong Howe visuals, John Garfield, Lilli Palmer and the rest if the cast's performances, and Abraham Polanski's script are all knockouts. Robert Rossen directed only ten pictures, this his second, might be his best. He also directed The Hustler and All The King's Men. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 02/13/23 Full Review steve d The story isn't great but the acting is fantastic. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 03/30/23 Full Review s r A moving boxing drama. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review Read all reviews
Body and Soul

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Cast & Crew

Golden Boy 83% 47% Golden Boy The Hucksters 60% 56% The Hucksters Gentleman's Agreement 82% 78% Gentleman's Agreement The Razor's Edge 56% 71% The Razor's Edge A Lion Is in the Streets 67% 25% A Lion Is in the Streets Discover more movies and TV shows. View More

Movie Info

Synopsis When amateur boxer Charley Davis (John Garfield) wins his first big match, he attracts the interest of small-time promoter Quinn (William Conrad). After Davis' father (Art Smith) is accidentally killed, Davis throws himself into his new career despite the protests of his mother (Anne Revere). A natural, Davis quickly climbs the boxing ladder where he eventually meets opportunistic promoter Roberts (Lloyd Gough), who introduces him to some unsavory elements.
Director
Robert Rossen
Distributor
United Artists
Production Co
Enterprise Films
Genre
Drama
Original Language
English
Release Date (Theaters)
Nov 9, 1947, Original
Release Date (DVD)
Aug 21, 2001
Runtime
1h 44m