Million Dollar Baby is a 2004 American sports drama film directed, co-produced, and scored by Clint Eastwood and starring Eastwood, Hilary Swank, and Morgan Freeman. It is the story of an under-appreciated boxing trainer, his elusive past, and his quest for atonement by helping an underdog amateur female boxer (the film's title character) achieve her dream of becoming a professional. The film won four Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
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Margaret Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank), a waitress from a Missouri town in the Ozarks, shows up in the Hit Pit, a run-down Los Angeles gym owned and operated by Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood), a brilliant but only marginally successful boxing trainer. Maggie asks Dunn to train her, but he angrily responds that he "doesn't train girls."
Maggie attempts to win Frankie over by working out tirelessly each day in his gym, even when others discourage her. Frankie's friend and employee, ex-boxer Eddie "Scrap Iron" Dupris (Morgan Freeman), encourages and helps her all he can. "Scrap" also narrates the story.
Frankie's prize prospect, "Big" Willie Little, reluctantly signs with successful manager Mickey Mack after becoming impatient with Dunn turning down offers for a championship bout. With prodding from Scrap and impressed with her persistence, Frankie reluctantly agrees to train Maggie. He warns her that he will teach her only the basics and then find her another trainer. His most important advice is to protect herself in the ring at all times.
Before her first fight, Frankie leaves her with another manager, much to her dismay, but rejoins her in the middle of the bout, and coaches her to victory. Maggie makes him promise not to abandon her again. Maggie turns out to be a natural. She fights her way up in the women's welterweight boxing division, winning many of her bouts with first-round knockouts. Estranged from his own daughter, who returns his letters unopened, Frankie comes to establish an almost paternal bond with Maggie. Dupris becomes concerned when Frankie rejects several offers for big fights, though, and arranges a meeting for her with Mickey Mack, but she is loyal to Frankie, and is rewarded for her loyalty when he begrudgingly accepts a fight for her against a top-ranked opponent in the UK. He bestows a Gaelic nickname on her, which energizes the crowd, and the two travel Europe as she continues to win.
Maggie's own white trash family cares little for her well-being. Maggie saves up enough of her winnings to buy her mother a house, but instead of being grateful, she berates Maggie for endangering her welfare payments and Medicaid benefits. She also belittles her daughter's success in the ring, saying that everyone back home is laughing at her.
Frankie is finally willing to arrange a title fight. He secures Maggie a $1 million match in Las Vegas against the WBA women's welterweight champion, Billie "The Blue Bear", a German ex-prostitute who has a reputation as a dirty fighter. Overcoming a shaky start, Maggie begins to dominate the fight, but after a round has ended, Billie knocks her out with a sucker punch from behind. Before Frankie can pull a stool out of the way, Maggie lands hard on it, breaking her neck and leaving her a quadriplegic.
At first, Frankie refuses to accept the bleak prognosis, but dozens of other medical opinions unanimously confirm there is no hope of recovery. He half-heartedly places the responsibility on Scrap for convincing him to train Maggie, but in the end blames himself.
In a medical rehabilitation facility, Maggie looks forward to a visit from her family, though Frankie repeatedly calls them with no success. Eventually, the family arrives -- but only after first visiting Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood -- and with an attorney in tow. Their lone concern is to arrange the transfer of Maggie's assets to them. She sees through their transparent scheme and orders them to leave, threatening to sell the house, which they have not claimed in their name to continue receiving welfare payments, out from under th
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