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The History of Movie Training Montages

Recapping the best and worst training montages throughout film history.

The Fighter

(2010) Christian Bale makes another appearance in The Fighter, this time as a drug-addicted lowlife. But this isn't about his transformation. The film is based in part of the boxing career of “Irish” Micky Ward in the mid-1980s—a real-life inspiring boxing story that occurred while so many fictional ones were going up on the big screen. This scene is a more realistic portrayal of what tough training looks like—getting up and out the door earlier than you’d like to, working hard to recover from lingering injuries and struggling to continue to get fitter and stronger. Training scenes like this and in other films like Million Dollar Baby show us that the pure fitness montage isn't dead, but has only evolved to become more down-to-earth and realistic in comparison to the ridiculousness of montages in action and sports movies throughout the 1980s. Perhaps that’s sad in a way, but overall, it’s probably a good thing.

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