Beat to Death

The Champ might be the greatest sports drama ever shot in Miami-Dade County. But watching it in your living room is one thing. Catching it in the courtyard of Miami’s most famous mansion, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, is a whole different experience. That’s what you’ll get at this Thursday’s 7 p.m. screening as part of Vizcaya’s film series. The 1979 flick stars Jon Voight as washed-up boxer Billy Flynn, an alcoholic gambling-junkie who works at Hialeah Park Race Track. He smashes some fool with his fists in a rage, then later slaps his adoring kid and tells him he doesn’t want him around. Ricky Schroeder (famous later for roles in Silver Spoons and NYPD Blue) steals the show in his big-screen debut. He plays heartstring-tugging T.J., the champ’s son. Faye Dunaway plays Annie, T.J.’s mom who walks back into his life seven years after abandoning the family. The flick gets going when a rock-bottom Flynn decides to get his life together and pursue boxing glory at the age of 37 as a means to provide for his son. The film is directed by Franco Zeferrelli and builds to an emotionally wrenching climax that includes fist-pounding action and a tragic ending. Check out scenes shot in Miami Beach, Coconut Grove, and Hialeah before cocaine took the streets by storm.
Thu., Jan. 27, 7 p.m., 2011
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Jacob Katel
Contact: Jacob Katel

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