Bleed for This

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Bleed for This Movie Poster Image
Mature boxing drama is absorbing, if not original.
  • R
  • 2016
  • 116 minutes

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Few things are unreachable if you believe in yourself, persevere, and work for what you want. Also, never underestimate the power of the human will. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Vinny is rough around the edges, but he loves his family, is loyal to his coach, and has a steely determination that won't let anything -- even a debilitating injury -- get in his way on the path to greatness. Rooney believes in him so much that it gives Vinny strength.


The fight scenes are pretty brutal, with boxers punching each other, taunting each other, and pushing each other to the limit, both physically and mentally. A tragic car accident is shown, including from the point of view of the car being hit, which makes it viscerally disturbing.


A couple is shown in bed, the woman's breasts bare. At a weigh-in, a boxer grabs his private parts, as a way to intimidate his opponent. Boxer shown in skimpy underwear. Several scenes take place in a strip club.


Frequent use of strong language, including "f--k," "motherf-----r," "s--t," "d--k," "t-ts," "ass," "a--hole," "hell," "bitch," and "oh my god" as an exclamation.


Many labels/products seen, including Caesar's Palace, Coors, Newport cigarettes, Porsche, Coca-Cola, and more. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Rooney is an alcoholic. Social drinking at family events. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Bleed for This is a sometimes brutal, often riveting, but not entirely original drama based on the life of boxer scrappy, ambitious Vinny Pazienza (Miles Teller). His love for boxing is re-ignited by a tragic accident that's shown in a pretty disturbing way. There are also plenty of hard-hitting, bloody fight scenes in the ring that may be too intense for younger viewers. Strong language is frequent and includes "f--k," "t-ts," and more. Expect some social drinking and a character who's an alcoholic. Scenes take place in a strip club, and there's partial nudity: A woman's breasts are shown in the middle of an intimate scene. Still, the movie conveys the importance of believing in yourself and working hard.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byAmanda K. April 17, 2020

Heavy on the language and sexual objectification of women.

Constant uses of curse words, most of them the F word. Several nude scenes, main character celebrates wins with visits to strip clubs. Shows this several times,... Continue reading
Adult Written byRoy C. January 30, 2017

Best inspirational movie I have ever seen.

F this doesn't make you laugh cry and feel inspired then yor not human
Teen, 13 years old Written byYoung Rocker October 24, 2019
Teen, 14 years old Written byNicosB12 April 14, 2018

Very well done but a little bit violent

Movie is well done but there are some very violent scenes during boxing matches. There are also some light sexual references. Other than that. It is an all arou... Continue reading

What's the story?

In BLEED FOR THIS, boxer Vinny Pazienza (Miles Teller) is the pride of Rhode Island, making a name for himself by winning a number of messy bouts. He's got a lot of heart but is sometimes sloppy and complacent, willing to box within the proverbial box he's been placed in. A switch to a new trainer, Kevin Rooney (Aaron Eckhart) -- an alcoholic who once coached Mike Tyson -- helps Vinny forge a path back to the sport that's fueled with passion and discipline. But when a terrible accident causes an injury that threatens Vinny's ability to function, let alone fight, Vinny and Rooney must find a way for him to get back in the ring. The only other option is for Vinny to lose his purpose, and that's not an option he's willing to take.

Is it any good?

This boxing drama isn't particularly groundbreaking, but it's still absorbing, thanks to strong performances from its two leads. In Whiplash, we saw Teller flex his admirable dramatic muscles, and they're on full display here, albeit with a little less nuance (though he still turns in an affecting performance). His Vinny is, like most big-screen fighters, mercurial and striving and magnetic, if still a little opaque.

And Aaron Eckhart -- wow! Almost unrecognizable in Bleed for This, his Rooney is a flawed and loyal and committed; he's a mess, even as he works to help Vinny pick up the pieces of his banged-up life and body. Though his character is still limited by boxing-movie cliches, Eckhart more than makes up for it, turning in a knock-out performance that captures the joy of of pursuit, the fear of being forgotten, and the total devotion to someone -- or something -- bigger than yourself.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Bleed for This compares to other boxing movies. Is it a film about redemption, the human spirit, or something else? What do movies about this sport tend to have in common? Why do you think that is?

  • Is Vinny a role model? Is his trainer? Do people -- either in real life and in the movies -- have to be perfect to be considered role models?

  • How does the movie convey the theme of perseverance? Why is that an important character strength?

  • Did you find the fight scenes upsetting/hard to watch? How does that kind of violence compare to big, explosive, action movie-style scenes? Which has more impact?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love sports

Character Strengths

Find more movies that help kids build character.

Themes & Topics

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