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Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956 film)

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Somebody Up There Likes Me
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRobert Wise
Screenplay byErnest Lehman
Based onSomebody Up There Likes Me
1955 autobiography
by Rocky Graziano with Rowland Barber
Produced byCharles Schnee
StarringPaul Newman
Pier Angeli
Everett Sloane
CinematographyJoseph Ruttenberg
Edited byAlbert Akst
Music byBronislau Kaper
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • July 3, 1956 (1956-07-03)
Running time
114 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$3,360,000[1][2]

Somebody Up There Likes Me is a 1956 American drama film directed by Robert Wise and starring Paul Newman and Pier Angeli, based on the life of middleweight boxing legend Rocky Graziano.[3][4] The supporting cast features Everett Sloane, Eileen Heckart, Harold J. Stone, and Sal Mineo.

The film was nominated for three Academy Awards, and won two: Best Cinematography (Black and White) (Joseph Ruttenberg) and Best Art Direction (Black and White) (Cedric Gibbons, Malcolm Brown, Edwin B. Willis, F. Keogh Gleason).[5] It lost its nomination for Best Film Editing to Around the World in 80 Days.


Rocky Graziano has a difficult childhood and is beaten by his father. He joins a street gang, and undergoes a long history of criminal activities. He is sent to prison, where he is rebellious to all authority figures. After his release, he is drafted by the U.S. Army, but runs away. Needing money, he becomes a boxer, and finds that he has natural talent and wins six fights in a row before the Army finds him and dishonorably discharges him. He serves a year in a United States Disciplinary Barracks, and resumes his career as a boxer as a result.

While working his way to the title, he is introduced to his sister's friend Norma, whom he falls in love with and later marries. Starting a new, clean life, he rises to the top, but loses a title fight with Tony Zale. A person he knew in prison finds him and blackmails him into throwing a fight over his dishonorable discharge. Rocky fakes an injury and avoids the fight altogether. When he is interrogated by the district attorney, he refuses to name the blackmailer and has his license suspended. His manager gets him a fight in Chicago to fight Zale the middleweight champion, once more. Rocky wins the fight.



The role of Rocky Graziano was originally to be played by James Dean, but he died before filming began, and Paul Newman was asked to take the part.[6] Australian actor Rod Taylor was also considered for the part; although unsuccessful, his screen test impressed MGM enough for them to offer him a long term contract.[7]

The film was also notable for being one of Paul Newman's first starring roles.


Perry Como's version of the title song is played over the opening and closing credits.[8]

Box office[edit]

According to MGM records, the film earned $1,915,000 in the US and Canada and $1,445,000 elsewhere, resulting in a profit of $609,000.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
  2. ^ Domestic take - see 'The Top Box-Office Hits of 1956', Variety Weekly, January 2, 1957
  3. ^ Variety film review; July 4, 1956, page 6.
  4. ^ Harrison's Reports film review; July 7, 1956, page 106.
  5. ^ "NY Times: Somebody Up There Likes Me". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. 2009. Archived from the original on 2009-09-11. Retrieved 2008-12-22.
  6. ^ Wise, Robert, (2006). - Somebody Up There Likes Me Commentary. - Turner Entertainment.
  7. ^ Stephen Vagg, Rod Taylor: An Aussie in Hollywood, Bear Manor Media, 2010 p 51
  8. ^ "Somebody up There Likes Me (1956) - IMDb". IMDb.

External links[edit]