The Info List - Million Dollar Baby

Million Dollar Baby is a 2004 American sports drama film directed, co-produced, and scored by Clint Eastwood, and starring Eastwood, Hilary Swank, and Morgan Freeman. This film is about an underappreciated boxing trainer, the mistakes that haunt him from his past, and his quest for atonement by helping an underdog amateur boxer achieve her dream of becoming a professional. Million Dollar Baby opened to wide acclaim from critics, and won four Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Its screenplay was written by Paul Haggis, based on short stories by F.X. Toole, the pen name of fight manager and "cutman" Jerry Boyd. Originally published under the title Rope Burns, the stories have since been republished under the film's title.


1 Plot 2 Cast 3 Development and production 4 Box office 5 Critical reception 6 Accolades 7 Home media 8 See also 9 References 10 External links

Plot[edit] Margaret "Maggie" Fitzgerald, a waitress from a Missouri
town in the Ozarks, shows up in the Hit Pit, a run-down Los Angeles
Los Angeles
gym owned and operated by Frankie Dunn, an old, cantankerous boxing trainer. Maggie asks Frankie to train her, but he initially refuses. Maggie works out tirelessly each day in his gym, even after Frankie tells her she's "too old" to begin a boxing career at her age. Eddie "Scrap-Iron" Dupris, Frankie's friend and employee—and the film's narrator—encourages and helps her. Frankie's prize prospect, "Big" Willie Little, signs with successful manager Mickey Mack after becoming impatient with Frankie rejecting offers for a championship bout. With prodding from Scrap and impressed with her persistence, Frankie reluctantly agrees to train Maggie. He warns her that he will teach her only the basics and then find her a manager. Other than Maggie and his employees, the only person Frankie has contact with is a local priest, with whom he spars verbally at daily Mass. Before her first fight, Frankie leaves Maggie with a random manager in his gym, much to her dismay; upon being told by Scrap that said manager deliberately put her up against his best girl (coaching the novice to lose) to give her an easy win, Frankie rejoins Maggie in the middle of the bout and coaches her instead to an unforeseen victory. A natural, she fights her way up in the women's amateur boxing division with Frankie's coaching, winning many of her lightweight bouts with first-round knockouts. Earning a reputation for her KOs, Frankie must resort to bribery to get other managers to put their trainee fighters up against her. Eventually, Frankie takes a risk by putting her in the junior welterweight class, where her nose is broken in her first match. Frankie comes to establish a paternal bond with Maggie, who substitutes for his estranged daughter. Scrap, concerned when Frankie rejects several offers for big fights, arranges a meeting for her with Mickey Mack at a diner on her 33rd birthday. Out of loyalty, she declines. Frankie begrudgingly accepts a fight for her against a top-ranked opponent in the UK, where he bestows a Gaelic nickname on her. The two travel to Europe as she continues to win; Maggie eventually saves up enough of her winnings to buy her mother a house, but she berates Maggie for endangering her government aid, claiming that everyone back home is laughing at her. Frankie is finally willing to arrange a title fight. He secures Maggie a $1 million match in Las Vegas, Nevada
against the WBA women's welterweight champion, Billie "The Blue Bear", a German ex-prostitute who has a reputation as a dirty fighter. Overcoming a shaky start, Maggie begins to dominate the fight, but after a round has ended, Billie knocks her out with an illegal sucker punch from behind after the bell has sounded to indicate the end of the round. Before Frankie can pull the corner stool out of the way which was inappropriately placed on its side by Frankie's assistant, Maggie lands hard on it, breaking her neck and leaving her a ventilator-dependent quadriplegic. Frankie is shown experiencing the first three of the five stages of grief: first seeking multiple doctors' opinions in denial, then blaming Scrap in anger and later trying to bargain with God through prayer. In a medical rehabilitation facility, Maggie looks forward to a visit from her family, but they arrive accompanied by an attorney and only after having first visited Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood; their only concern is to transfer Maggie's assets to them. She orders them to leave, threatening to sell the house and inform the IRS
of her mother's welfare fraud if they ever show their faces again. As the days pass, Maggie develops bedsores and undergoes an amputation for an infected leg. She asks a favor of Frankie: to help her die, declaring that she got everything she wanted out of life. A horrified Frankie refuses, and Maggie later bites her tongue repeatedly in an attempt to bleed to death, but the medical staff saves her and takes measures to prevent further suicide attempts. The priest Frankie has harassed for 23 years, Father Horvak, warns him that he would never find himself again if he were to go through with Maggie's wishes. Frankie sneaks in one night, unaware that Scrap is watching from the shadows. Just before administering a fatal injection of adrenaline, he finally tells Maggie the meaning of a nickname he gave her, Mo Chuisle (spelled incorrectly in the film as "mo cuishle"): Irish for "my darling, and my blood" (literally, "my pulse"). He never returns to the gym. Scrap's narration is revealed to be a letter to Frankie's daughter, informing her of her father's true character. The last shot of the film shows Frankie sitting at the counter of a diner where Maggie once took him, and after having a homemade lemon meringue pie with her, said "Now I can die and go to heaven". Cast[edit]

Clint Eastwood
Clint Eastwood
as Frankie Dunn, a gruff but well-meaning elderly boxing trainer. Hilary Swank
Hilary Swank
as Mary Margaret "Maggie" Fitzgerald, a determined, aspiring boxer trained up by Frankie Dunn. Morgan Freeman
Morgan Freeman
as Eddie "Scrap-Iron" Dupris, Dunn's gym assistant; an elderly former boxer, he was blinded in one eye in his 109th, and last, fight. Jay Baruchel
Jay Baruchel
as Dangerous Dillard Fighting Flippo Bam-Bam Barch or "Danger", a simple-minded would-be boxer. Mike Colter
Mike Colter
as "Big" Willie Little, a boxer whom Dunn has trained for years. Lucia Rijker
Lucia Rijker
as Billie "The Blue Bear" Osterman, a vicious, ex-prostitute boxer. Brían F. O'Byrne as Father Horvak, the priest of the church which Dunn attends, who cannot stand Dunn. Anthony Mackie
Anthony Mackie
as Shawrelle Berry, an overzealous boxer and frequent tenant of Dunn's gym. Margo Martindale
Margo Martindale
as Earline Fitzgerald, Maggie's selfish mother. Riki Lindhome
Riki Lindhome
as Mardell Fitzgerald, Maggie's welfare-cheating sister. Michael Peña
Michael Peña
as Omar, a boxer and Shawrelle's best friend. Benito Martinez as Billie's manager Grant L. Roberts as Billie's cut man, (trainer) trained Hilary Swank off screen for her Academy Award-winning role Bruce MacVittie as Mickey Mack, a rival of Dunn. David Powledge as Counterman at Diner Joe D'Angerio as Cut Man Aaron Stretch as Himself Don Familton as Ring Announcer

Development and production[edit] The film was stuck in so-called "development hell" for years before it was shot. Several studios rejected the project even when Eastwood signed on as actor and director. Even Warner Bros., Eastwood's longtime home base, would not agree to a US$30 million budget. Eastwood persuaded Lakeshore Entertainment's Tom Rosenberg to put up half the budget (as well as handle foreign distribution), with Warner Bros. contributing the rest ($15 million). Eastwood shot the film in less than 40 days between June and July 2004.[1][2] Filming took place in Los Angeles
Los Angeles
and film sets at Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.
Studios.[2] The term 'Million Dollar Baby' was from the nose art of a World War II Consolidated B-24 Liberator
Consolidated B-24 Liberator
heavy bomber. Eastwood had his daughter Morgan Colette appear in a brief role as a girl who waves to Swank's character at a gas station.[4][5] Eastwood had confidence in Swank's acting background, but upon seeing Swank's small physique, he had concerns, "I just thought, 'Yeah, this gal would be great. If we can get her trained up. If we can get a little bit more bulk on her, to make her look like a fighter'...She was like a feather. But what happened is, she had this great work ethic."[6] Consequently, to prepare for her role, Swank underwent extensive training in the ring and weight room gaining 19 pounds of muscle, aided by professional trainer Grant L Roberts. She trained for nearly five hours every day, winding up with a potentially life-threatening staphylococcus infection. She did not tell Eastwood about the infection because she thought it would be out of character for Maggie.[6] Box office[edit] Million Dollar Baby initially had a limited release, opening in eight theaters in December 2004.[7] In its later wide release opening, the film earned $12,265,482 in North America and quickly became a box-office hit both domestically and internationally. It grossed $216,763,646 in theaters; $100,492,203 in the United States, and $116,271,443 overseas. The film played in theaters for six and a half months.[3] Critical reception[edit] The film received critical acclaim. It holds a 91% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 261 reviews, with an average rating of 8.4/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Clint Eastwood's assured direction - combined with knockout performances from Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman
Morgan Freeman
- help Million Dollar Baby to transcend its clichés, and the result is deeply heartfelt and moving."[8] It also has a score of 86 out of 100 on Metacritic, based on 39 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[9] Roger Ebert
Roger Ebert
of the Chicago Sun Times gave the film four stars and stated that "Clint Eastwood's Million Dollar Baby is a masterpiece, pure and simple," listing it as the best film of 2004.[10] Michael Medved
Michael Medved
stated: "My main objection to Million Dollar Baby always centered on its misleading marketing, and effort by Warner Brothers to sell it as a movie about a female Rocky, with barely a hint of the pitch-dark substance that led Andrew Sarris of the New York Observer
New York Observer
... to declare that 'no movie in my memory has depressed me more than Million Dollar Baby.'"[11] In early 2005, the film sparked controversy when some disability rights activists protested the ending. Wesley J. Smith in The Weekly Standard also criticized the film for its ending and for missed opportunities; Smith said, "The movie could have ended with Maggie triumphing once again, perhaps having obtained an education and becoming a teacher; or, opening a business managing boxers; or perhaps, receiving a standing ovation as an inspirational speaker."[12] Eastwood responded to the criticism by saying the film was about the American dream.[13] In an interview with the Los Angeles
Los Angeles
Times, Eastwood distanced himself from the actions of characters in his films, noting, "I've gone around in movies blowing people away with a .44 Magnum. But that doesn't mean I think that's a proper thing to do". Roger Ebert
Roger Ebert
stated that "a movie is not good or bad because of its content, but because of how it handles its content. Million Dollar Baby is classical in the clean, clear, strong lines of its story and characters, and had an enormous emotional impact".[14] Some commentators[who?] criticized the fact that the phrase mo chuisle, a term of endearment meaning literally "my pulse", and generally "my darling", was misspelled in the film as Mo Cuishle, as shown on the back of Maggie's robe. It is translated in the film as "my darling, my blood", although an Irish Gaelic translation site states that it is always translated as "pulse", not as "blood".[15] The original phrase is short for a chuisle mo chroí, meaning "O pulse of my heart".[16] The film has been praised, however, for stirring renewed interest in the Irish language
Irish language
in the U.S.[16] Accolades[edit] Million Dollar Baby received the award for Best Picture of 2004 at the 77th Academy Awards. Clint Eastwood
Clint Eastwood
was awarded his second Best Director Oscar for the film, and also received a Best Actor in a Leading Role nomination. Hilary Swank
Hilary Swank
and Morgan Freeman
Morgan Freeman
received Best Actress in a Leading Role and Best Actor in a Supporting Role Oscars, respectively. Joel Cox, Eastwood's editor for many years, was nominated for Best Film Editing, and Paul Haggis
Paul Haggis
was nominated for the Best Adapted Screenplay award. The film was named the third "Best Film of the 21st Century So Far" in 2017 by The New York Times.[17]

Award Category Subject Result

Academy Award Best Picture Clint Eastwood, Albert S. Ruddy and Tom Rosenberg Won

Best Director Clint Eastwood Won

Best Actress Hilary Swank Won

Best Supporting Actor Morgan Freeman Won

Best Actor Clint Eastwood Nominated

Best Adapted Screenplay Paul Haggis Nominated

Best Film Editing Joel Cox Nominated

ACE Eddie Best Editing Nominated

Amanda Award Best Foreign Feature Film Clint Eastwood Nominated

American Screenwriters Association Discover Screenwriting Award Paul Haggis Won

Art Directors Guild
Art Directors Guild
Award Best Contemporary Feature Film Henry Bumstead Jack G. Taylor Jr. Nominated

Billie Award Best Film Clint Eastwood Albert S. Ruddy Tom Rosenberg Paul Haggis Nominated

Black Reel Award Best Supporting Actor Morgan Freeman Nominated

Broadcast Film Critics Association Award Best Actress Hilary Swank Won

Best Supporting Actor Morgan Freeman Nominated

Best Director Clint Eastwood Nominated

Best Film Clint Eastwood Albert S. Ruddy Tom Rosenberg Paul Haggis Nominated

Casting Society of America Award Best Casting for Feature Film: Drama Phyllis Huffman Nominated

César Award Best Foreign Film Clint Eastwood Albert S. Ruddy Tom Rosenberg Paul Haggis Won

Chicago Film Critics Association Award Best Director Clint Eastwood Won

Directors Guild of America Award Outstanding Directing Won

Director's Guild of Great Britain Outstanding Director Nominated

ESPY Award Best Sports Movie Clint Eastwood Albert S. Ruddy Tom Rosenberg Paul Haggis Nominated

Florida Film Critics Circle Award Best Actress Hilary Swank Won

Golden Globe Award Best Actress Won

Best Director Clint Eastwood Won

Best Supporting Actor Morgan Freeman Nominated

Best Motion Picture - Drama Clint Eastwood Albert S. Ruddy Tom Rosenberg Paul Haggis Nominated

Best Original Score Clint Eastwood Nominated

Grammy Award Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media Nominated

Motion Picture Sound Editors Award Best Sound Editing Alar Robert Murray Bub Asman David Grimaldi Jason King Nominated

MTV Movie Award Best Female Performance Hilary Swank Nominated

NAACP Image Award Outstanding Supporting Actor Morgan Freeman Won

National Board of Review Award Best Film Clint Eastwood Albert S. Ruddy Tom Rosenberg Paul Haggis Nominated

Best Director Clint Eastwood Nominated

Best Actor Nominated

New York Film Critics Circle Award Best Director Won

Producers Guild of America
Producers Guild of America
Award Best Theatrical Motion Picture Clint Eastwood Albert S. Ruddy Tom Rosenberg Paul Haggis Nominated

Phoenix Film Critics Society Award Best Actress Hilary Swank Won

Best Actor Clint Eastwood Nominated

Best Director Nominated

Best Supporting Actor Morgan Freeman Nominated

Best Film Clint Eastwood Albert S. Ruddy Tom Rosenberg Paul Haggis Nominated

Satellite Award Best Actress Hilary Swank Won

Best Adapted Screenplay Paul Haggis Won

Screen Actors Guild Award Best Actress Hilary Swank Won

Best Supporting Actor Morgan Freeman Won

Best Cast Nominated

Home media[edit] The film was released on VHS
and DVD
on July 12, 2005, and all editions of the Region 1 DVD, except for the "Deluxe Edition", came with a paperback copy of the book Rope Burns: Stories from the Corner. An HD DVD
release was issued on April 18, 2006.[18] The Blu-ray Disc version was released on November 14, 2006.[19] It was the first Best Picture winner released on either high-definition optical disc format in the U.S.; it and Unforgiven
were the only ones released in the U.S. on HD DVD
prior to the first one released in the U.S. on Blu-ray, Crash.[18][19] See also[edit]

Film portal

Cinema of the United States List of American films of 2004


^ a b Eliot (2009), p. 309 ^ a b c Hughes, p. 156 ^ a b " Million Dollar Baby (2004)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 6 January 2010.  ^ Hughes, p. 157 ^ Fold 3 WWII Crew photos ^ a b Rebecca Leung (March 2, 2005). "Hilary Swank: Oscar Gold – 60 Minutes". CBS News. Retrieved September 9, 2010.  ^ Hughes, p. 160 ^ " Million Dollar Baby (2004)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 1 March 2018.  ^ " Million Dollar Baby Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 27 February 2018.  ^ Ebert, Roger (7 January 2005). "Million Dollar Baby". rogerebert.com. Retrieved 26 November 2007.  ^ Medved, Michael. "My 'Million Dollar' Answer," OpinionJournal/Dow Jones & Company, Inc. (17 February 2005). Archived at TownHall.com. ^ "Million Dollar Missed Opportunity". weeklystandard.com.  ^ The New York Times
The New York Times
> Arts > Frank Rich: How Dirty Harry Turned Commie ^ Roger Ebert
Roger Ebert
(29 January 2005). "Critics have no right to play spoiler". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 27 November 2007.  ^ IrishGaelicTranslator.com. Million Dollar Baby movie ^ a b Wes Davis Fighting Words. New York Times, 26 February 2005 ^ Dargis, Manohla; Scott, A.O. "The 25 Best Films of the 21st Century...So Far". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 July 2017.  ^ a b Historical HD DVD
Release Dates, High-Def Digest, accessed 12 March 2012 ^ a b Historical Blu-ray Release Dates, High-Def Digest, accessed 12 March 2012


Eliot, Marc (2009). American Rebel: The Life of Clint Eastwood. Harmony Books. ISBN 978-0-307-33688-0.  Hughes, Howard (2009). Aim for the Heart. London: I.B. Tauris. ISBN 978-1-84511-902-7. 

External links[edit]

Wikiquote has quotations related to: Million Dollar Baby

Million Dollar Baby on IMDb Million Dollar Baby at the TCM Movie Database Million Dollar Baby at AllMovie Million Dollar Baby at Box Office Mojo Million Dollar Baby at Rotten Tomatoes Million Dollar Baby at Metacritic US News article: Million Dollar Maybe, A real-life version of Maggie Fitzgerald Another possible real-life Maggie Fitzgerald Million Dollar Baby at the Sports Movie Database

v t e

Academy Award
Academy Award
for Best Picture


Wings (1927/28) The Broadway Melody
The Broadway Melody
(1928/29) All Quiet on the Western Front (1929/30) Cimarron (1930/31) Grand Hotel (1931/32) Cavalcade (1932/33) It Happened One Night
It Happened One Night
(1934) Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) The Great Ziegfeld
The Great Ziegfeld
(1936) The Life of Emile Zola
The Life of Emile Zola
(1937) You Can't Take It with You (1938) Gone with the Wind (1939) Rebecca (1940) How Green Was My Valley (1941) Mrs. Miniver
Mrs. Miniver
(1942) Casablanca (1943) Going My Way
Going My Way
(1944) The Lost Weekend (1945) The Best Years of Our Lives
The Best Years of Our Lives
(1946) Gentleman's Agreement (1947) Hamlet (1948) All the King's Men (1949) All About Eve
All About Eve


An American in Paris (1951) The Greatest Show on Earth (1952) From Here to Eternity
From Here to Eternity
(1953) On the Waterfront
On the Waterfront
(1954) Marty (1955) Around the World in 80 Days (1956) The Bridge on the River Kwai
The Bridge on the River Kwai
(1957) Gigi (1958) Ben-Hur (1959) The Apartment
The Apartment
(1960) West Side Story (1961) Lawrence of Arabia (1962) Tom Jones (1963) My Fair Lady (1964) The Sound of Music (1965) A Man for All Seasons (1966) In the Heat of the Night (1967) Oliver! (1968) Midnight Cowboy
Midnight Cowboy
(1969) Patton (1970) The French Connection (1971) The Godfather
The Godfather
(1972) The Sting
The Sting
(1973) The Godfather
The Godfather
Part II (1974) One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)


(1976) Annie Hall
Annie Hall
(1977) The Deer Hunter
The Deer Hunter
(1978) Kramer vs. Kramer
Kramer vs. Kramer
(1979) Ordinary People
Ordinary People
(1980) Chariots of Fire
Chariots of Fire
(1981) Gandhi (1982) Terms of Endearment
Terms of Endearment
(1983) Amadeus (1984) Out of Africa (1985) Platoon (1986) The Last Emperor
The Last Emperor
(1987) Rain Man
Rain Man
(1988) Driving Miss Daisy
Driving Miss Daisy
(1989) Dances with Wolves
Dances with Wolves
(1990) The Silence of the Lambs (1991) Unforgiven
(1992) Schindler's List
Schindler's List
(1993) Forrest Gump
Forrest Gump
(1994) Braveheart
(1995) The English Patient (1996) Titanic (1997) Shakespeare in Love
Shakespeare in Love
(1998) American Beauty (1999) Gladiator (2000)


A Beautiful Mind (2001) Chicago (2002) The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) Million Dollar Baby (2004) Crash (2005) The Departed (2006) No Country for Old Men (2007) Slumdog Millionaire
Slumdog Millionaire
(2008) The Hurt Locker
The Hurt Locker
(2009) The King's Speech
The King's Speech
(2010) The Artist (2011) Argo (2012) 12 Years a Slave (2013) Birdman or: (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014) Spotlight (2015) Moonlight (2016) The Shape of Water
The Shape of Water

v t e

César Award
César Award
for Best Foreign Film

Scent of a Woman (1976) We All Loved Each Other So Much
We All Loved Each Other So Much
(1977) A Special
Day (1978) The Tree of Wooden Clogs
The Tree of Wooden Clogs
(1979) Manhattan (1980) Kagemusha
(1981) The Elephant Man (1982) Victor/Victoria (1983) Fanny and Alexander
Fanny and Alexander
(1984) Amadeus (1985) The Purple Rose of Cairo
The Purple Rose of Cairo
(1986) The Name of the Rose (1987) The Last Emperor
The Last Emperor
(1988) Bagdad Café
Bagdad Café
(1989) Dangerous Liaisons
Dangerous Liaisons
(1990) Dead Poets Society
Dead Poets Society
(1991) Toto the Hero
Toto the Hero
(1992) High Heels (1993) The Piano
The Piano
(1994) Four Weddings and a Funeral
Four Weddings and a Funeral
(1995) Land and Freedom
Land and Freedom
(1996) Breaking the Waves (1997) Brassed Off
Brassed Off
(1998) Life Is Beautiful
Life Is Beautiful
(1999) All About My Mother
All About My Mother
(2000) In the Mood for Love
In the Mood for Love
(2001) Mulholland Drive (2002) Bowling for Columbine
Bowling for Columbine
(2003) Mystic River (2004) Lost in Translation (2005) Million Dollar Baby (2006) Little Miss Sunshine
Little Miss Sunshine
(2007) The Lives of Others
The Lives of Others
(2008) Waltz with Bashir
Waltz with Bashir
(2009) Gran Torino
Gran Torino
(2010) The Social Network
The Social Network
(2011) A Separation (2012) Argo (2013) The Broken Circle Breakdown
The Broken Circle Breakdown
(2014) Mommy (2015) Birdman (2016) I, Daniel Blake (2017) Loveless (2018)

v t e

Films directed by Clint Eastwood

Play Misty for Me
Play Misty for Me
(1971) High Plains Drifter
High Plains Drifter
(1973) Breezy
(1973) The Eiger Sanction (1975) The Outlaw Josey Wales
The Outlaw Josey Wales
(1976) The Gauntlet (1977) Bronco Billy
Bronco Billy
(1980) Firefox (1982) Honkytonk Man
Honkytonk Man
(1982) Sudden Impact (1983) Pale Rider
Pale Rider
(1985) Heartbreak Ridge
Heartbreak Ridge
(1986) Bird (1988) White Hunter Black Heart
White Hunter Black Heart
(1990) The Rookie (1990) Unforgiven
(1992) A Perfect World
A Perfect World
(1993) The Bridges of Madison County (1995) Absolute Power (1997) Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997) True Crime (1999) Space Cowboys
Space Cowboys
(2000) Blood Work (2002) Piano Blues (2003) Mystic River (2003) Million Dollar Baby (2004) Flags of Our Fathers (2006) Letters from Iwo Jima
Letters from Iwo Jima
(2006) Changeling (2008) Gran Torino
Gran Torino
(2008) Invictus (2009) Hereafter (2010) J. Edgar
J. Edgar
(2011) Jersey Boys (2014) American Sniper
American Sniper
(2014) Sully (2016) The 15:17 to

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