Cinderella Man  is the heart-warming story about James J. Braddock , a prizefighter, and his struggle to survive through the financial woes of the Great Depression. The movie starts with him winning a bout that would put him in contention for the light heavyweight title and then fast-forwards five years into the heart of the Great Depression. Regarded as a common-man’s hero, Braddock suffered the same financial problems as much of America and by 1933 he found himself unable to pay the bills and unable to support his family, the one thing he holds most dear. Driven by his character and determination, Braddock perseveres and returns to the ring and starts winning again. And again. And again… and soon he finds himself up against the heavyweight champion of the world, Max Baer.
Certainly, the writers of the film took some liberties to make this a more compelling story but the salient facts are still very very powerful. Midway through the movie, after his children had fallen ill and left to live with relatives (something he promised his son he would never do, send them away), Braddock is forced to go Public Relief (welfare) and even to the boxing commission to ask for handouts. A powerful moment in the movie is when, after he has gotten back on his feet, he returns to Public Relief to return every cent he was given in his time of need.
Another moment in the story is when Braddock’s dockworker friend learns of his broken hand, he helps him mask his injury from their superiors. In the Depression era, dozens of dock workers lined up outside the gates for the supervisor to pick them for a shift – a broken hand would make finding work impossible. However, a complete stranger was willing to lend his fellow man a hand, even if it meant he was at risk as well.
This movie reminded me of one thing… no matter how little or how much money you have, your friends and your family should be the most important thing in your life because without them you have nothing. If you haven’t seen this movie, I highly recommend it. (thanks to my girlfriend who gave this to me as part of my Christmas gifts!)