- Rated: PG
- Run Time: 2 hours, 1 minutes
- Video: Color
- Released: July 9, 2002
- Originally Released: 1979
- Label: Warner Home Video
- Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
- Packaging: Snap Case
- Single Side - Dual Layer
- Aspect Ratio: Anamorphic Widescreen - 1.85
- Aspect Ratio: Full Frame - 1.33
- Additional Release Material:
- Featurette: Behind the Scenes
- Film Highlights: Cast
- Audio Commentary: Jon Voight - Star, Ricky Schroder - Star
Performers, Cast and Crew:
Variety - 03/28/1979
"...With Ricky Schroder, THE CHAMP has the most irresistible moppet seen on the screen in decades..."
This solid tearjerker fits into the pantheon of 1970s cinema as sort of a ROCKY meets KRAMER VS. KRAMER. John Voight plays Billy, an ex-champ boxer who now works at the Hialeah racetrack in Florida with his idolizing son, T.J. (Ricky Schroder). Billy has drinking and gambling problems, but still manages to be a loving single father until the boy's long lost mother (Faye Dunaway) shows up wanting her son back, and the emotional showdown begins. It all leads up to a thrilling comeback fight, and lots of tears for all concerned. This was director Franco Zeffirelli's first feature filmed in America, and he put his Florida locations to inspired use. The supporting cast is filled with lots of familiar faces, including Elija Cook, Jack Warden and Joan Blondell. Still, this is basically a three-character piece, and they are each amazing: Voight is fearlessly raw and vulnerable as Billy; Schroder--only nine at the time--projects incredible emotion and charm, and Dunaway brings a great blend of glamour and insecurity to her role as the deadbeat mother who, just like Billy, wants a second chance at redemption.
John Voight plays Billy, a former champion boxer who walks horses at a Miami racetrack. His son T.J. (Ricky Schroeder) calls him "Champ" and dreams of a big comeback, but Billy's too fond of drinking and gambling to get back into shape--that is until T.J.'s mom (Faye Dunaway) reappears, now successful, married, and wanting her son back. Italian director Franco Zeffirelli brings a wide palette of colors and emotions to this film, and gets strong performances from his leads, especially nine year old Ricky Schroeder.
- THE CHAMP was filmed in Miami and Hialeah, Florida.
- This is a remake of the 1931 film of the same name, for which Wallace Beery won an Oscar.
- THE CHAMP was the first American film for Italian director Franco Zeffirelli.