Skip to content
MUSEUM AND NWFC CLOSED: The Portland Art Museum and Northwest Film Center are closed in an effort to further stem the spread of COVID-19. All public programs, screenings, and events are canceled until further notice. Stay connected to art, film, and more by signing up for our newsletter.

Directed by John Huston

United States 1972 100 mins.

A Hollywood legend of outsized proportions, Huston returned to critical and commercial success with the late-career Fat City, which trades in the classically drunken crime and adventure noir (The Big Sleep, Treasure of the Sierra Madre) upon which he built a career for a more worldly—and world-weary—neo-noir milieu of amateur boxing. Stacy Keach is unforgettable here as Billy Tully, a washed-up fighter who, upon forming a friendship with the 18-year-old Ernie Munger (Jeff Bridges), decides to try his luck again at a career in the ring. Along the way he meets a career barfly (Susan Tyrrell), but this is not the kind of relationship upon which romantic movie dreams are normally built. Prismatic in its portrayal of a working class with few solid life options beyond menial labor, shabby bars, and the ring from which they cannot escape, Fat City “is a barbed, bitter pill that hurts like hell going down—especially if you aren’t expecting the pain. Once you’ve swallowed it, it’s impossible to watch fight films with a sense of escapism.”—Dante A. Ciampaglia, The Paris Review.

Read Roger Ebert’s review of Fat City (1/1/1972)