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Plot:

The abuse Rocky Barbella endures at the hand of his father and subsequent run-ins with the law lead him in and out of detention centers and prisons. When it seems he has it together, Rocky is drafted but, refusing to adhere to Army rules, goes AWOL. He takes up boxing to earn quick money, but when he discovers he has a natural talent in the ring, he builds the confidence to pursue his love interest, Norma, and fulfill his potential as a fighter.

Also Known As: Yukarıda Biri, El estigma del arroyo, Neko tamo gore me voli, Valaki odafönt, Някой там горе ме обича, Cineva acolo sus mă iubeşte, Lige på - og knaldhårdt, Kadun kuningas, Utskuddet, Die Hölle ist in mir West, Kampen mod fortiden, Marqué par la haine, Marcado por el odio, Emeis oi zontanoi, Marcado pela Sarjeta, Кто-то там наверху любит меня Soviet, Gatans kung, Marcado Pelo Ódio, Miedzy linami ringu, Eine Handvoll Dreck West, Somebody Up There Likes Me, Lassù qualcuno mi ama, Kizu darake no eikô

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  • denkel-soylu
    denkel soylu

    This film is top of the heap. I am telling you right now this was Sly’s muse for a few of the Rocky films. He had to have drawn not only from the story line but from PN’s walk and talk of this character. This film is above and beyond. It was ground breaking in so many ways. Watch it, love it, remember it! The next time you watch Rocky think about this movie. The fighter who came fro the streets and had a bumbling but cheerful chatter, the shy girl who supports her man. If only Sly had added the broken father and wise mother who learned the lesson not to try and change someone you love. This movie is set bar for today’s action romance. It never got any better than this!

  • alise-bite
    alise bite

    I rented this film knowing that it was made in the mid-50’s, so I didn’t expect it to be as good as it turned out to be. The acting is good, Newman is terrific, he never stops moving, and the movie itself never slows down. For a biopic, it presents its hero as flawed from the outset; the script is good, the dialogue is fresh, and the boxing scenes are, for a 1950’s film, pre-Raging Bull, pre-Rocky, surprisingly convincing. Rocky Graziano wasn’t a particularly refined technician in the ring; he was a grim, determined street fighter. He had no style, and that’s how Paul Newman plays him. The big match at the climax of the film is presented in enough detail to show one boxer just beginning to tire as the other gets his second wind. Paul Newman is great as the main character, but the other actors, the writing and direction and the production itself rise to the level of his performance.

  • jonathan-taylor
    jonathan taylor

    My low mark is based on two things:The film, as I say in my summary, gives a very incomplete account of Graziano’s boxing career. It appears to suggest that, after winning the world middle-weight championship, he lived “happy ever after”. whereas in reality he was beaten by Zale in the return contest as well as by Sugar Ray Robinson (by which time he was past his best). He was never a great boxer but an extremely courageous one and well deserved to be champ.Secondly, Paul Newman is dreadful all the way through. His performance is just an imitation of Brando (facial tics and all) to the extent that the film becomes boring for long stretches. His character seems to have been lifted from “I was a fugitive from a chain gang” (scenes of hard labour, etc) and resemble sparring sessions rather more than prison terms.PS Pier Angeli, as the wife, is just an animated cliché of the bad guy’s soulmate, rescuing him from himself. Her own performance is alas unrescuable

  • whitney-ramirez
    whitney ramirez

    I do not go much for boxing,but when a great director (Wise) ,a first-class actor (Newman) and a superlative cast (Everett Sloane,Pier Angeli,and more) do a good job, I ‘m really very interested in it.Robert Wise had already tackled boxing world in “the set-up” and the two works are as different as they may be;”Somebody up there likes me” spans thirty years ,being adapted from a boxer’s biography whereas “the set-up” was filmed in “real time” ,barely 75 minutes.Wise ‘s absolute mastery of the camera is stunning ,particularly in the first sequences when Newman escapes on the roofs in an urban jungle which we meet in other works such as “odds against tomorrow” or “West Side Story”.The movie opens with a wonderful NYC shot.Editing (Wise edited “Citizen Kane” ) is tight and there’s never a dull moment; so many things happen that Graziano’s life seems like a novel.One should notice that the fights are kept to the minimum except for the last one. Newman is perhaps too intellectual too “actor’s studio” ,but it’s a workmanlike job.On the other hand,Sal Mineo is wasted ,the low point of the movie.His scenes do not hang well with the others.Now,the young generation knows -or should- where SS stole his 1977 blockbuster.Even Adrian’s and Paulie’s characters resemble Pier Angeli’s Mrs Graziano and Everett Sloane’s Cohen.This Rocky is the one and only one,even if Newman would later be surpassed, not by another Rocky ,but by Robert De Niro ‘s “raging bull”.

  • annikki-kivinen
    annikki kivinen

    Remember, before you judge this film harshly, it was a biopic, and that meant there were limits as to where the story could go. Unlike for example Rocky, where the only limits to what he could do or whom he could fight were self-imposed by Stallone himself. Late his career, Newman became known for his “H” series (Hud, Harper, Hombre) and tended to play every part the same way. But in this biopic, we see a very unique character emerge — a guy with a natural knockout punch that will do whatever he has to do to avoid authority figures — and right off the top of the film, the audience relates to the character and enjoys the exposition. Especially endearing are the courting scenes with Pier Angeli. Newman is so subtle in these that you almost feel like he would rather be in the ring with a brawler than trying to tell his girl how he feels. Not perfect but very few fight movies are. Well worth watching.

  • baeseoyeong
    baeseoyeong

    Paul Newman as Rocky Graziano, the fighter who couldn’t seem to get it right, starred in the 1956 biography “Somebody Up there Likes Me.”According to all our sociologists, Rocky Barbella was doomed before he started. Coming from a dysfunctional family and viewing the poverty and gangs of the local tough streets, Rocky is a hardened guy. He is full of anger. Newman is terrific displaying this anger in and out of the ring.Involved in stealing and going AWOL while in the army, Newman received a dishonorable discharge and served one year at Leavenworth. It is there that he got good boxing training and when out, he begins to fight his way to the top. In the interim, he marries a Jewish girl, Pier Angeli, who is as much Jewish as Mama Leone. I still can’t figure out what kind of accent she had. Yet, Angeli does convey the kind of plain girl who would stick by her man.Veteran actor Everett Sloane portrayed his manager Irving Cohen. He is feisty and has the right temperament for the role.Just as things are going well, Rocky is trapped into trying to throw a fight. When he loses his boxing license in N.Y.C., the papers print about his dishonorable discharge. So, it’s off to fight for the championship in Chicago.The ring scenes are quite authentic and provide plenty of punch. Newman does well playing a punchy fighter in a very common, yet effective performance.Harold J. Stone, who died recently at 92, is effective, although briefly, as Rocky’s alcoholic father-a man who could have fought to the title but did not. Eileen Heckart, a great supporting actress, is given little material to work with, but her facial expressions best depict the desperation faced by a downtrodden family.The film does provide a knock out punch and it’s well worth the effort.

  • raajiiv-gaaykvaadd
    raajiiv gaaykvaadd

    This film really hits the spot to me as a portent of just what a great career Paul Newman was to have, not only that but it stands up as one of the better sports biographies i have seen. Fine story as we follow Rocky Graziano from his wild youth into a man on the verge of destroying his life and then on to becoming the World Middleweight Champion. It’s weird because during Graziano’s wild antics i can’t help but like the guy because i think Newman makes the character so charming, the time he spent with the real Graziano pays off in spades as he captures his mannerisms and style impressively . I really do dread to think what original choice James Dean would of done with the role . A big shout up to Pier Angeli as the main Female lead as she turns in a wonderful performance in view of Newman’s barn storming show .9/10

  • aneta-nistor
    aneta nistor

    Picture is more about the people than the sport.At first you don’t like the main character and this is not a good thing.That begins to change in the latter part of the film and by the end you are happy to see things finally work out for him.I wouldn’t be surprised if Stallone used this as an inspiration for his”Rocky” movie.Non-stop plot changes culminate in Graziano’s (Newman’s) change of character.Angeli provides a great presence;reminds me of an Italian Audrey Hepburn.

  • gerd-tveit
    gerd tveit

    Robert Wise directs probably one of the best boxing movies ever. Paul Newman is combustible as Rocky Graziano, who is considered by many as one of the greatest knockout artists in the history of boxing. His rough youth in the back streets of New York and brushes with crime made Graziano a fearsome force to reckon with. A world champion known for that “one punch knockout” ability and matched with Tony Zale in one of the ring’s most storied rivalries ever; somebody up there really liked the volatile undisciplined fighter. Newman is electrifying and faultless. Also starring are: Pier Angeli, Everette Sloan, Eileen Heckart, Harold J. Stone, Sammy White and Sal Mineo.

  • jonas-vsiliauskas
    jonas vsiliauskas

    The “Hollywood” version of boxer Rocky Graziano’s autobiographical life story has Paul Newman (as Mr. Graziano, née Barbella) beaten by an abusive father, growing into criminal gangland activity, and rising up to succeed in the sport of boxing. This is, of course, the inspirational plot of the “boxing picture”; and, it was very much a part of the “American Dream”. Graziano was one of the biggest boxing stars of his time – according to my grandfather, the era feathered several Muhammad Ali-caliber boxers (which must have been quite exciting). Grandfather saw Mr. Newman as a good casting choice; better, in fact, than the originally cast James Dean.Mainly, “Somebody Up There Likes Me” falters under its increasingly implausible “based-on-fact” storyline. Director Robert Wise starts off well, foreshadowing his own “West Side Story” (1961). Soon, the stylization becomes hard to stomach; and, the movie, obviously, compares unfavorably with more realistic boxing films. The “love story” between Newman and Pier Angeli (as Norma) is particularly unrealistic; romantically, they act like a couple of 12-year-olds.Sal Mineo (as Romolo) heads up an enjoyable supporting cast, as Newman’s friend from childhood. Certainly the film’s “Best Supporting Actor”, Mr. Mineo provides Newman with a warm bed, and cheers on his career. Pool-hustling Steve McQueen (as Fidel) and Michael Dante (as Shorty) are two other interesting members of Mineo’s gang. Mr. McQueen is quite charismatic; and, Mr. Dante’s enviable prowess with women is depicted very effectively. A slew of other notables appear; including impressionable Everett Sloane (as Irving Cohen). Eileen Heckart and Harold J. Stone are a little strange, as Rocky’s parents.The photography (Joseph Ruttenberg) and writing (Ernest Lehman) are strengths. Listen up for Newman telling a smiling Mineo, “I need to get some shut-eye before the bed cools”; and, wisecracking Sloane’s observation, “I should have never left the lingerie business; I was the happiest man in ladies underwear.” You will have no problem reading the credit identifying PERRY COMO as the mawkish title song singer; at the time, he was probably the biggest name associated with the film. ****** Somebody Up There Likes Me (7/3/56) Robert Wise ~ Paul Newman, Pier Angeli, Sal Mineo, Everett Sloane

  • megan-bauer
    megan bauer

    I really enjoyed this movie and every performance was amazing. Pier Angeli really showed range in this motion picture. Her performance was moving. I realized after seeing this film that Paul Newman was a gifted actor. I had a hard time taking my eyes of him in each scene he was in but was able to do so when Pier Angeli appeared. I didn’t like his lack of effort in the Warner Brothers’ motion picture The Silver Chalice but this helped change my mind about him as an actor.Both Pier Angeli and Paul Newman should have been nominated for Academy Awards for their tremendous performances.I know that James Dean was first chosen to portray Rocky Graziano but tragically he was killed in a devastating car accident. I know this from reading several of his biographies as well as the only biography that was written about Pier Angeli. I am sure Pier Angeli was thinking about James Dean in the role as she and Paul Newman were filming.

  • sara-van-evelingen-henric-van-den-nuwenh
    sara van evelingen henric van den nuwenh

    This is Paul Newman at his best. It’s also Sal Mineo at his best (although pitifully under-used) and the rest of the supporting cast are on top form too. It’s a beautifully shot movie, intense and moody but with sudden bursts of humour that catch you off guard. Although there is no doubt a certain schmaltz factor in the Hollywood re-telling of Graziano’s true story, there’s no attempt to put a gloss on the proceedings or over-play the undeniable bleakness of the New York slums in which the young Rocco Barbella was raised.Those who are familiar with the ins and outs of boxing will appreciate this picture on so many levels but if, like me, you’ve always been a bit warey of the “noble” art of pugilism, please don’t be put off by the violent subject matter. This is a story about a man who grew up with nothing and, like so many others before and since, had no other way of succeeding other than through the speed and ferocity he could put behind a right hook. It’s about human emotions, a man’s basic fragility but unbreakable spirit (and goodness knows, those in authority did everything possible to break Rocky’s). It’s also about the people who love him, his mother, wife, manager, even his brutal father, and the tough but waif-like street urchin Romolo.A word or two on Romolo (and a possible minor spoiler). He’s a kid who’s never had the opportunity to be anything but be bad but in Sal Mineo’s beautiful and sensitive portrayal you can’t help but grow fond of him and care about what happens to him. He doesn’t feature at all in a large chunk of the film and I found myself fretting about what had happened to him. It’s a credit to Mineo’s performance that I found myself smiling with relief when I spotted him in the closing scene.If you’re not familiar with Graziano’s story then the brilliantly choreographed climactic fight scene will prove all the more exciting. If it was pure fiction you could be certain that Rocky would win against all the odds but as it’s based on fact you can never be sure. I found myself willing him on, sitting on the edge of my seat, the fact that I was watching actors go through the motions of a fight completely lost on me.This is a movie that everyone involved with can be thoroughly proud of, especially Paul Newman. Why he or the film were never even nominated for Oscars is beyond me. But at least Joseph Ruttenberg’s Academy award for best cinematography is some consolation.I haven’t got “Somebody Up There Likes Me” on video yet but I’m hoping that, to quote Romolo, that’s just a “temporary situation”.

  • aurelia-kijas
    aurelia kijas

    Rocky Graziano was a very, very flawed guy to say the least. To be more blunt, until he settled into a career in boxing, he was an antisocial jerk–a blight on society. However, as was the case with most older bio-pics (such as “The Birdman of Alcatraz” and “The Sound of Music”), in order to make a more marketable flick, the truth was often very, very malleable–as the writers took such huge liberties with the facts that the original of the film was hardly recognizable. And, since Rocky was not a very likable guy, I expected a whitewash with this film. Fortunately, the writers stuck reasonably close to the truth and Paul Newman puts in his first excellent performance (after his disaster in “The Silver Chalice”).The film begins with a lovely man (Harold Stone) forcing his young boy to fight. He slaps the little kid around horribly–and it was obvious the father was a complete jerk. From this sort of upbringing, it’s understandable why the kid grew up angry (in reality, the father would bit his two sons against each other in boxing matches for his friends to watch–and Rocky’s older brother usually beat the snot out of him). This portion of the film shows the many stupid and self-defeating things Rocky did before switching to a life in boxing. Stealing, violence, prison and a stint in military prison–all make up this sordid portion of the movie. To see just how Rocky manages to pull it all together, watch the film.Overall, well-written and with a very likable performance from Newman. This isn’t exactly “Raging Bull” but it is well worth seeing.

  • marcos-suarez-sedano
    marcos suarez sedano

    I am a Paul Newman’s fan I think he is one of the best actors of the last four decades This movie reflects the life of a great boxer as no other. The fact that the movie has been filmed in black and white captures the essence of a decade where the values were more than money for the American society. All the performances are excellent, and the Perry Como’s song Somebody up there likes me is a plus. I want to mention Everett Sloane and Sal Mineo performances because they really help to show the boxer’s life. Although there are many good Paul Newman’s movies this is a masterpiece to me.To summarize,this is one of the best movies about boxing that you can find and is also a biography

  • robert-hill
    robert hill

    Question: Is there such a thing as a boxing movie that isn’t just a total cliché from start to finish? ‘Cause if there is, then I’d sure like to know about it. I really would.With that said, you have my personal guarantee that 1956’s Somebody Up There Likes Me is such a predictable cliché-of-a-boxing-movie that, at times, it’s almost too painful to endure.On top of having this one major strike against it, this film also lost itself some significant points for its gross miscasting of Paul Newman in the lead role.Not only did Newman never, ever come anywhere near to being at all convincing as a full-blooded American/Italian, but his goofy performance as boxing champ, Rocky Graziano, was, by far, one of the most absurd and annoying examples of copy-catting Marlon Brando’s quirky mannerisms that I’ve ever seen.Believe me, Newman’s ridiculous portrayal was absolutely laughable to watch at times.Filmed in stark b&w, Somebody Up There Likes Me’s story (which was set in NYC during the 1930s & 40s) was based on the autobiography written by real-life, middleweight, boxing champ, Rocky Graziano (whose birth-name was Rocco Barbella).Of all the many boxing films that I’ve seen over the years this dud has certainly proved to be one of the weakest and most unsatisfactory, by far.By the end of the movie I literally loathed Newman’s Graziano character right to the very bone. My only wish was to see one of his opponents really clean his clock, but good. But, unfortunately, this never happened. So I was left totally unsatisfied.

  • errikos-euaggelatos
    errikos euaggelatos

    Probably the director Robert Wise wanted to emphasize more on the behavior of young Graziano, his problems with his father, the time he spent in jail and his misdoing in the army, but some aspects of his final life as a boxer were not shown at all in the film, which ends with the rematch between Graziano and Tony Zale in Chicago in 1947, where Graziano did his best to knock out Zale. With this victory Graziano became world champion, something that did not last for long. Zale and Graziano met once again in 1948, and this time Zale finished his adversary with a knock out in the third round. Graziano wanted to come back in 1952 fighting against the famous Ray “Sugar” Robinson. In that fight, Graziano knocked down Robinson in the third round, but he recovered and finished with Graziano in the same third round. In any case, Graziano was a good boxer, and this bloody -violent sport put his life on the right track. Interesting to note that this was the first film (uncredited) in the career of the actor Steve McQueen. Sal Mineo again acted as a wrong young boy in New York. The actress Pier Angeli did a good work as Graziano’s wife.

  • benthe-dubois-post
    benthe dubois post

    After the critical and commercial fiasco of THE SILVER CHALICE, Paul Newman decided that the move to Hollywood had been a mistake, and returned to Broadway, to star in “The Desperate Hours” (later filmed with Humphrey Bogart in Newman’s role). Warner Brothers, not amused by Newman’s departure, tacked an additional two years onto his film contract, and brought the young actor back for a so-so war drama on loan to MGM, THE RACK. Then lightning struck!Boxer/Entrepreneur Rocky Graziano’s entertaining autobiography, SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME (ghosted by Rowland Barber) had been planned with James Dean in the lead, but the 24-year old star’s untimely death, after completing GIANT, left the WB without a loan-out actor for the MGM production. The studio decided to use Newman, and at last the young actor had a role he could really “sink his teeth into”.Masterfully directed by the legendary Robert Wise, the fast-paced, gritty comedy/drama follows young Rocco Barbella (Newman), from his early gang days (with Sal Mineo in a small role, and young Steve McQueen and Robert Loggia, unbilled, as other gang members), resulting in a prison stint, finally released just in time to be inducted into the service! His quick temper and natural boxing skills catch the attention of an Army boxing coach, but the undisciplined Barbella decides to go AWOL, using boxing (under the name Rocky Graziano) to pick up quick cash. Eventually, Graziano/Barbella gets his life straightened out, aided by the love of a good woman (Pier Angeli, James Dean’s real-life girlfriend, and Newman’s costar in THE SILVER CHALICE), and a sympathetic manager (Everett Sloane, in another of his many masterful performances), and Rocky begins a long, hard drive to become a champion.The role of Graziano would be a showcase for any actor, and the Method-trained Newman plays it with an explosive physicality and intensity that is occasionally too theatrical, but is still mesmerizing. His performance foreshadows, to some extent, Robert De Niro’s Jake La Motta, in RAGING BULL, without the abusiveness and ultimately self-destructive qualities. Just as La Motta, even in defeat to Sugar Ray Robinson, would proclaim “I never went down!”, Graziano would not allow himself to accept defeat gracefully, resulting in a constant physical pummeling that would leave his face so battered that he’d even frighten his child!SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME would influence a generation of young actors and film makers (including Sylvester Stallone, who would ‘lift’ characters and some story elements in his script for ROCKY). For Paul Newman, it opened doors, and although his next two projects would be a standard Warner Brothers musical biopic (THE HELEN MORGAN STORY) and soap opera (UNTIL THEY SAIL), MUCH better films would soon be on their way. A new star had been born!

  • gary-johnson
    gary johnson

    It’s interesting to note the career relationship of James Dean and Paul Newman. Both were leading contenders for the starring role in “East of Eden.” Dean’s moving screen test landed him the part over Newman.Then, upon Dean’s sudden demise, Newman was awarded the role Dean was to play in “Somebody Up There Likes Me.” Fortunately, Newman was up to the task.His Rocky was most effectively limned, with Newman in top physical form as well as in the acting department. He assumed a “New York hood” accent, which enhanced his portrayal, and executed the challenging fight scenes with conviction.Perhaps young Newman’s burning ambition at the time to greatly succeed in his craft provided extra stamina to smash through this meaty part for a “knockout punch.” Fresh from Actors Studio training, Mr. Newman was fortunate to be surrounded by a quartet of fine “method” artists. Eileen Heckart was particularly fine as Mrs. Barbella, Everett Sloane as a concerned Manager, Sal Mineo as dependable pal Romolo, and Pier Angeli as sensitive Norma Graziano. Rocky’s hard-hitting life was given a realistic black and white production, doing justice to the middle weight champ’s biography. Robert Wise directed with his usual skill and confidence.

  • darrell-martin
    darrell martin

    Up until now I’ve only seen Paul Newman in 1990’s and later movies – but he’s never been the actor that called me into a movie theater or made me change the channel. He always seemed to play the same type of part: easy going, calm, aware, well contained. Or maybe that’s the way he made each part seem.After seeing this movie, now I know why he’s considered such a great actor. I only watched boxing when it was part of the Olympics – just don’t enjoy the sport itself that much – and only know about Rocky Graziano from the newspapers. But Paul Newman was riveting. He made this character of a complete underdog, who apparently had no hope, no charm, and nothing to live for, into someone I cared about enough to stick with the movie for two hours.I don’t know how true-to-life the story was; Hollywood generally creates composite characters, cleans up reality and changes or outright ignores major events. Certainly the many fights Graziano had were a bit of a blur in the film and I’m sure several critical steps in his advancement towards middleweight championship were neglected. The reason for the violent relationship between Rocky and his father was unexplained. And his mother’s mental state (the film alludes to her time in the hospital) is not fully developed.These gaps do not overshadow in any way Paul Newman’s performance. I always thought it was longevity, charitable works, and a long-lasting marriage to another actor (not to mention darn good spaghetti sauce) that gave him the aura he has – now I understand.

  • daniel-welch
    daniel welch

    The film follows Graziano’s impoverished childhood in New York’s East Side slums, where he grows up in the streets, among hoodlums and gangs… His father (Harold Stone), a disappointed, third-rate ex-boxer, takes out his frustrations by drinking and by beating up Rocky; his mother (Eileen Heckart), is an unhappy, nervous wreck… As a result, Rocky becomes a brutal delinquent, spending most of his youth in reformatories and prisons… Defiant, impulsive, striking out with his fists at anyone, he is seemingly incorrigible… Even the Army can’t tame him—he punches an officer, goes AWOL and is sentenced to hard labor—but in prison he learns that he can turn his hatred into a living: instead of fighting the world he can punch one man at a time in the ring… He becomes a successful fighter, marries a devoted woman, Norma (Pier Angeli), and eventually makes it in the world, becoming middleweight champion… The story is in the tradition of a number of fifties movies about delinquency and rebellion… Newman’s portrayal of Rocky as an inarticulate teenager is similar to Brando’s motorcyclist in “The Wild One,” who also rebels against anything convenient and practical… But unlike the Brando character, Rocky develops from a causeless rebel into someone with a clear goal—to become a respected member of society—and this strong ambition allies him with many of Newman’s subsequent characters… In “The Rack,” Newman says he’s “half my father’s disappointment—half’ my mother’s hope,” and the situation here is the same… Alienated from his vicious father, he runs out “to be something,” and strikes back at the world… Their final confrontation, in which each recognizes his responsibility toward, and need for, the other, is a powerful moment; and the two reaching awkwardly for each other recalls the car scene in “The Rack.” Newman effectively portrays Rocky’s sincere but clumsy attempts at tenderness with Norma; in subsequent films he would play many men who have difficulty being tender… Rocky is made even more sympathetic by his genuine concern for a fellow hoodlum (Sal Mineo), whose idolatry of Rocky as a father-figure evokes the similar relationship between Mineo and James Dean in “Rebel Without a Cause.”

  • nagyne-orsos-judit-monika
    nagyne orsos judit monika

    Way back in the day when I was a lad, I read Rocky Graziano’s memoirs Somebody Up There Likes Me and enjoyed the book. Someone at MGM must have liked it even more than I did because a really fine film was made from it and a star was born.Paul Newman’s debut picture, The Silver Chalice, was a bomb. Had he not made good in this it’s possible he might never have had a film career. But he perfectly captures Rocky Graziano’s character and it certainly is the character I remember Rocky talking about in his memoirs.Thomas Rocco Barbella grew up on the Lower East Side of New York City and his teen years were during The Great Depression. The bleak poverty of the period ground the soul out of many a family as you can see in the portrayals of Graziano’s parents by Harold J. Stone and Eileen Heckart. There were no jobs period. I have an uncle who told me that he spent the late thirties after graduating high school doing absolutely nothing, looking for jobs when there were none to be had. What probably saved him from being a Graziano was a strong family structure which Rocky didn’t have.But he sure had dynamite in those fists. In between all kinds of crooked mayhem he was causing with friends, Rocky discovers boxing as a way out of the slums. It was a long process, it involved a few stretches in various penal institutions, including a year term in Leavenworth for going AWOL from the army.Barbella was his given name, but he took the name Graziano which happened to be his mother’s maiden name while fighting when he was AWOL. The year stretch didn’t corrupt his fighting skills any.Somebody Up There Likes Me saw some interesting people in bit roles. Steve McQueen is one of Rocky’s punk friends, George C. Scott has a walk-on as a prisoner. And Robert Loggia makes an unforgettable film debut as a wiseguy who nearly derails Graziano’s career. Dean Jones also makes his screen debut as well.Boxing fans know Rocky best from those three classic fights with Tony Zale for the middleweight championship. Tony Zale won the first one in New York. And then Graziano was offered a bribe to throw a tune-up fight and backed out of the bout altogether. The rules of the New York State Athletic Commission say bribes have to be reported, taken or not. But Rocky’s code of the street didn’t allow for that. He lost his license in New York, but was allowed to fight in Chicago in a rematch with Zale. Of course he won it and while he lost the championship back to Zale the following year, he’s in the books as a champion and one of the most popular.Pier Angeli is Norma Unger the Jewish girl he falls for and marries and she radiates the positive goodness he needs in his life. One of Everett Sloane’s finest roles is Irving Cohen, former garment worker and now fight manager. My parents met Irving Cohen years ago, they almost bought a house from him way back when I was a toddler. Sloane’s portrayal rings very true.Finally Sal Mineo as Romolo is very good and having read the book, I can say that Romolo was a real person and Mineo plays him as described in Graziano’s memoirs. The last scene with Mineo and Newman together before the second Zale fight is very dramatic as Rocky sees exactly the turn his life could have taken.Paul Newman fans have this as required viewing. For me it is one of the best boxing films ever made and one of the best inspirational films ever made as well.

  • zenon-pikros
    zenon pikros

    Robert Wise was a film editor before he became a director. Having edited some of Orson Welles films when he was starting out, made him a natural director. After all, Mr. Wise knows how to move his camera and how to capture great moments in film. “Somebody Up There Likes Me” is a rarity these days, in that it’s seldom seen.This is also a film that has a rich texture. The story, photographed using New York as a backdrop offers a rare view of how it looked in those years. We are taken to Brooklyn, downtown Manhattan and other natural locations that were an asset in the film. It helps that Mr. Wise had the inspiration to engage Joseph Ruttenberg as his cinematographer because of the excellence of his work in the films he photographed.This is a story of Rocky Graziano, a boxing champion, who came from a poor family. The father, Nick Barbella, is seen at the beginning trying to show young Rocco to box. When he doesn’t get the response he wants, he punches the boy squarely on his nose, making him bleed. Rocco would grow up to become a hoodlum doing petty crime and being sent to jail.Rocco’s story could have ended in tragedy, but didn’t. It helped to have met good friends along the way like Irving Cohen who helped him with his boxing career. The love of Nora is another of the blessings this man was blessed with. In fact, yes, somebody up there must have liked Rocco Barbella, a man who is a legend in boxing circles.The young Paul Newman was lucky to land this part. James Dean had been selected to play the role, but it went to Mr. Newman who took it and ran away with the film. This was his big break through in films. Paul Newman was formed at the famous Actor Studio. His technique is in sharp contrast with other, formally trained actors, but in a way, by making Rocky’s character so complex, we get a detailed account of the man by an inspired young actor that went to become a legend in his own right.The supporting cast was excellent. Eileen Heckart is the suffering Ida Barbella, a woman who has been cheated out of everything by a husband that is a brute. Harold Stone is also good as Nick Barbella. Pier Angeli is sweet as Norma and Sal Mineo makes the best out of Romolo, the childhood friend. Everett Sloan plays the pivotal role of Irving Cohen.In the film we see a lot of interesting young actors who went to have their own distinguished careers later on. Steve McQueen, Robert Loggia, George C. Scott, Frank Campanella, and other New York based theater actors are seen in the background without any credit.This is a boxing film that was way ahead of the others because of the tight direction of Robert Wise.

  • robert-frank
    robert frank

    Paul Newman stars as Rocky Graziano in the middleweight champion’s life story, “Somebody Up There Likes Me,” directed with spirit by Robert Wise. The film covers Rocky Barbella’s young life on the mean streets of New York, made all the meaner by his juvenile delinquent presence and that of his friends. Totally out of control, Barbella steals, runs, and punches his way through his home life, reform school, and prison, including his army stint where he knocks out a corporal and goes AWOL, then assuming the name Graziano. It’s not long before his talent is put to good use in the ring. The respectability and success he gains is short-lived, however, when he refuses to take a dive but then fails to report it to the boxing commission or identify the criminals.The film covers Graziano’s marriage to his wife of 47 years, Norma, and his historic fight with Tony Zale. Pier Angeli plays the petite but tough Norma, who knows just how to handle her husband; Eileen Heckert is marvelous as Rocky’s mother. Harold Stone, as Rocky’s disillusioned father, is very good in the difficult role of an unlikeable man with an uneasy relationship with his son. Sal Mineo is effective as Romolo, Rocky’s friend from the neighborhood.James Dean was to play Graziano but after his death, the role went to Paul Newman. Words are not really adequate to describe the young Newman’s work in this film. He totally inhabits the character of Graziano and loses what one thinks of as “Paul Newman” in the bargain. One of the hardest accents to do without making it sound phony is a New York one, yet Newman pulls it off with no problem. Though Dean would have been excellent, Newman’s portrayal is a treasure. He’s angry, sympathetic, scrappy, vulnerable and caring – in short, a flawed human being. It’s one of the finest performances on film.

  • lakatosne-dr-szucs-terezia-eva
    lakatosne dr szucs terezia eva

    This was excellent! I think it is one of the most underrated and under-discussed movies of the 1950s. It was interesting from start-to-finish and had drama, humor, suspense, action, romance…..and it’s all true. The story was approved by the man it was about: boxer Rocky Graziano. Thus, you know it’s not “based on a true story” in which 90 percent of it turns out to be fiction, just for dramatic purposes. No, this was Graziano’s story and Paul Newman – despite not looking Italian – did a superb job playing him. This movie put Newman “on the map” as an actor. He was fascinating in here and dominated most of the scenes.The film’s direction by Robert Wise and the cinematography also took center stage. Apparently, the “powers that be” agreed as this film won an Oscar for its photography.Newfane’s portrayal of the juvenile delinquent-turned-championship boxer may have dominated the story but all the characters left strong impressions, beginning with this parents played by the great character actors Harold Stone and Eileen Heckart . Pier Angeli is well- cast as Graziano’s sweetheart-turned wife. Her Italian accent fits in perfectly as does her character as the soft and frail–but tough female complement to Rocky. Too bad we didn’t see much of this actress in the USA.The rest of the supporting cast is top-notch, from Everett Sloane as the fight manager to ’50s star/teen idol Sal Mineo as a neighborhood pal to Graziano. Also good was Robert Loggia as the bad- influence hood. This was Loggia’s first role on screen. Speaking of first roles, did anyone catch Steve McQueen in here?? I did a double-take when they had a quick gang-fight rumble on top of a roof and there’s McQueen! The camera put a closeup shot on him and there was no doubt it was him! He had no lines, unfortunately, but that apparently was his film debut.This movie is finally going to be released on DVD sometime in November of 2006. I hope more people get the opportunity to discover this fantastic movie which, by the way, reminded me quite a bit of another fantastic film in this era: On The Waterfront.

  • euthumios-mpaltagiannes
    euthumios mpaltagiannes

    This is the movie that made Paul Newman a star. And with good reason. Although James Dean was signed to play the great Rocky Graziano, his death in a car crash made the role available for Paul Newman to step into. Newman who up to this point had made only a handful of forgettable pictures,turns in a marvelous portrayal of a man who is so filled with rage that everything he touches turns into trouble.Newman’s performance is layered with anger, humor, and fear. Rocky Graziano was by means the brightest guy in the world, and Newman to his credit does not try to make this an endearing quality of Rocky’s.The story does a nice job of not glossing over Rocky’s troublesome youth. It shows a lot of the trouble and bad decision’s that he made that led to being thrown out of schools, reformatories, and later into prison. This is not a sanitized bio-style film that you would have seen in the thirties or forties.The rest of the acting is also first rate. Especially from Eileen Heckart and Everett Sloane as his mother and trainer, respectively. Lots of actors making their film debuts in this movie also. Look for Robert Loggia, Steve McQueen, George C. Scott and Dean Jones.Robert Wise has done a wonderful job of bringing NYC to life in this picture. Watching Newman walk down the street with all of the people jeering him at first, and then rooting for him as he starts to gain some fame is the work of a top notch director. Wise would later exploit the scenery of New York to better use a few years later in “West Side Story”. He also did an excellent job with the fight sequences.It’s easy to see where Sylvester Stallone got his inspiration for his “Rocky”. In fact, you might say that he not only borrowed the development of his character, but that of Adrian, as well.”Somebody Up There Likes Me” is well worth a look.9 out of 10