Requiem for a Heavyweight

Requiem for a Heavyweight is an American film that was adapted from a teleplay of the same name. Released in 1962, the film follows the story of a heavyweight boxer who sees the end of his professional career when a young, up and coming boxer knocks him out in a fight.

This film featured 85 minutes of gripping sport drama, well-received cinematography and a set composed of a talented cast and crew.

Cast and Crew

Requiem for a Heavyweight was directed by Ralph Nelson, an American director, producer, writer, and actor who was most famously known for his work in Charly, Lilies of the Field and the television series Starsky and Hutch.

The film was produced by David Susskind, while the writer was the well known Rod Serling, who wrote the original teleplay. The cast in Requiem for a Heavyweight is one of an impressive nature with two-time Academy Award winning actor Anthony Quinn, the very talented Jackie Gleason and award-winning actor, Mickey Rooney.

Anthony Quinn plays the role of the heavyweight Luis ‘Mountain’ Rivera, while Jackie Gleason plays his manager Maish Rennick and Mickey Rooney as his trainer, Army. Other featured actors include Julie Harris playing a social worker by the name of Grace Miller, Stanley Adams as Perelli, Madame Spivy as Ma Greeny, Cassius Clay as Himself and more.

Requiem for a Heavyweight Plot

Luis ‘Mountain’ Rivera is a heavyweight prizefighter whose career literally comes crashing to the ground after the 7th round of a brutal fight against Cassius Clay. In fact, Mountain takes such a beating that his doctor is worried he may become blind, leading him to make the decision to quit and end his professional career.

His trainer, Army, as well as his manager, Maish, are both distressed about the fighters long-time career ending, however more so Maish, who has to repay the money that Ma Greeny lost after he assured the frequent gambler that his own client wouldn’t last further than the early rounds.

Mountain, now desperate for work, pays a visit to an unemployment agency, where he first meets Grace Miller. Grace helps Mountain with an interview for an athletic directing position at an elderly couple’s summer camp, however a manipulative and desperate Maish deliberately sabotages the interview and gets him drunk just before.

With little options with regards to finding work, Maish proposes that Mountain become a wrestler and commercialise on his American Indian history. The drama unfolds in a gripping performance with Mountain facing tough decisions and copious amounts of action-packed drama.

Release and Reception

Requiem for Heavyweight was released in January in 1962, while the New York opening was on the 17th of October. Over the years the film has been incredibly well-received and has been given a rating of 90% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 7,9 out of 10 on IMDb.


Requiem for a Heavyweight is based on the teleplay of the same name, by Rod Serling, produced for the live TV show, Playhouse 90 before it was adapted into a film. The location scenes were filmed in New York City.