Bleed For This

Film, Drama
3 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(4user reviews)
Bleed For This

Miles Teller impresses as real-life underdog fighter Vinny Paz in this slightly undercooked boxing tale

A troubled boxer. A committed coach. A horrifying accident. A whole lot of tears and yelling. Yes, if your problem with ‘Million Dollar Baby’ was the lead character’s lack of a penis, welcome to ‘Bleed For This’, in which Miles Teller takes the well-trodden shortcut to Oscar glory by playing a battered pugilist with a heart of gold. This time, the story’s (mostly) true: Vincent Pazienza, aka Vinny Paz, aka the PazManian Devil, was an Italian-American fighter from Rhode Island who built his reputation with a string of wins under the direction of Mike Tyson’s old coach Kevin Rooney. A spinal injury put Pazienza out of action, seemingly for life. But this kid had heart…

‘Bleed For This’ has awards-bait scrawled all over it, but it’s hard to imagine it scooping any major gongs: like Vinny himself, it’s more feisty scrapper than serious heavyweight champ. Teller is terrific as Pazienza before the accident, all wiseguy mouth and muscular confidence – you get the sense the character and the actor aren’t exactly worlds apart. He’s less convincing as the older, wiser Paz of the film’s second half, but that’s as much a scripting problem: we just never really get a sense of this guy’s pain. The supporting cast are solid: Ciaran Hinds is an odd choice to play Vinny’s long-suffering Pop, but Aaron Eckhart is superb as Rooney, and his gleaming Art Garfunkel bonce steals every scene it pops up in.

Overall, 'Bleed For This' is difficult to dislike: the story may be hokey but it’s real, and so is the sentiment behind it. The direction by ‘Boiler Room’ veteran Ben Younger is solid, and the story is undeniably compelling. But it just never quite scrapes the heights of bigger, better boxing movies, from ‘Raging Bull’ to ‘Creed’ – the ringside scenes never knock you back, and the script verges on complacency. ‘Bleed For This’ works up a good sweat, but it never quite lands that killer punch. 

By: Tom Huddleston


Release details

Rated: 15
Release date: Friday December 2 2016
Duration: 116 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Ben Younger
Screenwriter: Ben Younger
Cast: Miles Teller
Aaron Eckhart
Katey Sagal
Ted Levine
Ciarán Hinds

Average User Rating

4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:2
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:0
1 person listening

I hadn't studied up on this before going to see it, not even watching the trailer and I think that's probably the best way to experience it. Miles Teller and Aaron Eckhart's captivating performances and perfect coupling will keep you hooked (excuse the pun) even when the pace slows, and as ever with films based on a true story, there's a certain gravitas afforded by the fact it hasn't all been dreamt up. It's also been shot in a way to give it a very candid feel too, and so added to the standout performances, you do feel truly immersed in the story. There is more than enough here to entertain regardless of your enthusiasm for boxing, and overall I agree with the review below, it is also one of the best films I've seen in 2016, so well worth a watch!


Excellent movie, great direction and performances, kept me engaged until the last minute - and I am not a boxing fan. It is a "million dollar baby" with a more pleasant ending. It is on boxing so it is rough at times. The story of Vinny Pasienza has been turned into an excellent movie, a life that is fascinating and very motivating! Miles Teller, Aaron Eckhart and Ciaran Hinds are excellent. Certainly one of the best movies I've watched so far in 2016. Recommended!


Based on a true story (i.e. I guess some of it's true). This is a tale of the Middle weight champion of the world Vinnie Paz who has a horrific accident, & his struggle to re-enter the boxing arena.

Vinnie Paz says this film is an authentic look at the boxing world. My problem is I didn't find it very interesting, & although I have to admire his struggle it didn't really engage with me. If you are a boxing fan you will probably find it interesting.

My expectations of this movie were greatly surpassed – the posters in the tube stations seem to sell it solely as an adrenaline fuelled in-the-ring Rocky type movie and as a result I wasn’t actually looking forward to it (movies about sport are definitely not my thing).

In fact, it’s actually a very heartfelt and inspiring story with brilliant performances from the whole cast, but especially Miles Teller and Aaron Eckhart, who were stand-out.

The boxing scenes are very well done, right down to the patchy quality of the TV broadcasts. These scenes are never played for glory and are the more powerful for that.

Not being a boxing fan I didn't know about Vinnie Paz’s incredible comeback story and it’s testament to the direction and honesty of the performances that the film kept me engaged and entertained throughout.