×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The Champ

Walter Newman's script adroitly updates Frances Marion's original scenario, placing down-and-out boxer Jon Voight as a horse handler in Florida, accompanied by sprig Ricky Schroder. An inveterate gambler and drinker, Voight doesn't hit the comeback trail until ex-wife Faye Dunaway, now a society matron, reappears to threaten his and Schroder's buddy-buddy relationship.

With:
Jon Voight Faye Dunaway Ricky Schroder Jack Warden Strother Martin Joan Blondell

Walter Newman’s script adroitly updates Frances Marion’s original scenario, placing down-and-out boxer Jon Voight as a horse handler in Florida, accompanied by sprig Ricky Schroder. An inveterate gambler and drinker, Voight doesn’t hit the comeback trail until ex-wife Faye Dunaway, now a society matron, reappears to threaten his and Schroder’s buddy-buddy relationship.

Even those unfamiliar with the 1931 pic will feel resonances in the current Champ and in this edition Schroder projects a comparable emotional range and depth.

Most debatable, and in some respects unsettling, aspects of the update concern the Voight-Dunaway characters and relationships.

But Voight, under Italian director Franco Zeffirelli, has adopted an accent and outlook that seems at odds with the setting, and seriously weakens the credibility of a relationship between him and the elegant Dunaway.

1979: Nomination: Best Original Score

Popular on Variety

The Champ

Production: United Artists/M-G-M. Director Franco Zeffirelli; Producer Dyson Lovell; Screenplay Walter Newman; Camera Fred J. Koenekamp; Editor Michael J. Sheridan; Music Dave Grusin;; Art Director Theoni V. Aldredge

Crew: (Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1979. Running time: 121 MIN.

With: Jon Voight Faye Dunaway Ricky Schroder Jack Warden Strother Martin Joan Blondell

More Film

  • Climbing Blind

    ‘Climbing Blind’ Snares Kendal Mountain Festival Grand Prize

    KENDAL    “Climbing Blind,” from Alastair Lee, took the Grand Prize at the 2019 Kendal Mountain Festival on Saturday. Detailing the ascent of a vertical rock pillar, the film revealed how a blind mountaineer led the climb, assisted only by a sight-partner a rope length below. The film had particular significance for a British audience, [...]

  • Jon Voight'Maleficent: Mistress of Evil' film

    President Trump to Award Jon Voight the National Medal of Arts

    President Trump will present actor Jon Voight, musician Allison Krauss, and mystery writer James Patterson with the national medal of arts. Voight is one of few in Hollywood who has been vocal about his support of President Trump in the past, calling him “the greatest president of this century.” The White House announced four recipients [...]

  • Zack Snyder arrives at the 2018

    'Justice League': Gal Gadot, Ben Affleck, Zack Snyder Support Release of 'Snyder Cut'

    Zack Snyder, Gal Gadot, and Ben Affleck have taken to social media to request that Warner Bros. release the Snyder cut of “Justice League.” Snyder, who helmed “Man of Steel” and “Batman v Superman” and was “Justice League’s” original director, had to leave production on the film partway through after his daughter died, with Joss [...]

  • Whose Side Is 'Marriage Story' On?

    Whose Side Is 'Marriage Story' On? (Column)

    Do we choose sides when we watch “Marriage Story,” Noah Baumbach’s brilliant and wrenching drama of divorce? The question, on the face of it, sounds facile in a dozen ways the movie isn’t. Rarely are there winners in divorce, and there are two sides to every breakup. “Marriage Story” is a movie that reflects that [...]

  • The Letter

    IDFA: Kenyan Documentary ‘The Letter’ Debuts Trailer (EXCLUSIVE)

    Variety has been given access to the trailer for Kenyan documentary “The Letter,” by producer-director duo Christopher King and Maia Lekow, which world premieres Nov. 23 at IDFA. The film follows a young man who travels to his grandmother’s rural home when he learns she’s been accused of witchcraft. He soon discovers that the threatening letter she [...]

  • Warner Bros. Box Office

    With 'Good Liar' and 'Doctor Sleep,' Warner Bros.' Box Office Misfortunes Mount

    When Warner Bros. was crafting its 2019 slate, the studio took pains to offer more than just superhero movies. To be sure, there were lots of masked vigilantes too, but more than any of its big studio brethren, Warner Bros. was willing to take a risk on the kinds of thrillers, adult dramas, coming-of-age stories, [...]

  • Constance Wu

    Will Constance Wu Ever Watch 'Hustlers'?

    Despite her leading role, Constance Wu has never seen “Hustlers” and, spoiler alert, it’s very unlikely that she will. Wu explained why she doesn’t want to watch the film to Mindy Kaling (“Late Night”) during a conversation for “Variety Studio: Actors on Actors.” “This is crazy,” Kaling said in the beginning of the interview. “I [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content