Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Million Dollar Baby (2004)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Million Dollar Baby (2004)

In the poignant Best Picture-winning film from actor/director Clint Eastwood:

  • the characters of headstrong, willful, Ozark white trash, 31 year-old uneducated waitress-turned-boxer Margaret "Maggie" Fitzgerald (Oscar-winning Hilary Swank), and crusty, overprotective, veteran boxing manager/mentor and former cut-man Frankie Dunn (Oscar-nominated Clint Eastwood, and winner of the Best Director award) at LA's The Hit Pit - estranged from his biological daughter, and his gym janitor and sympathetic ex-boxer Eddie "Scrap Iron" Dupris (Oscar-winner Morgan Freeman)
  • the scene of Maggie's first entreaties toward Frankie - explaining her love of boxing as they walked down a hallway, and asking for him to train her: ("Thought you might be interested in training me"); he replied that he wasn't impressed by female boxers: ("I don't train girls...Girlie, tough ain't enough!");
  • later in the LA gym on opposite sides of a boxing bag, Maggie came up to Frankie and confessed: "This is the only thing I ever felt good doing" - she was finally able to convince Frankie to take her on: ("Because I know if you train me right, I'm gonna be a champ...I want a trainer. I don't want charity, and I don't want favors. If you're not interested, then I got more celebrating to do"), and Frankie's frustrated response to her continual interruptions, when he set the rules about their association - that he would give her the basics and then find another manager for her: ("OK, If I'm gonna take you on...Look, just listen to me....God, this is a mistake already...If I take you on, you don't say anything, you don't question me. You don't ask why, you don't say anything except maybe: "Yes, Frankie." And I'm gonna try to forget the fact that you're a girl....And don't come cryin' to me if you get hurt...I'm gonna teach ya how to fight, then we'll get you a manager, and I'm off down the road....Don't argue with me, that's the only way we're doin' it. I teach you all you need to know, and then you go off and make a million dollars. I don't care. You get your teeth knocked out, I don't care. I don't wanna hear about it either way. That's just the way it's gonna be. It's the only way I'll do it")
  • the sequences of realistic boxing matches
  • the inspiring match against the British champion, in which Maggie wore a green silk boxing robe emblazoned with the Gaelic phrase "Mo chuisle" ("Pulse of my heart") given to her by Frankie
  • the dramatic and devastating scene in which Maggie's self-centered and critical trailer park mother Earline (Margo Martindale) rejected her generous gift of a house: ("It's all yours, Mama. For you and Mardell and the kids. Yeah, all yours, free and clear"), because her mother claimed it endangered her welfare status: ("You shouldn't have done it. You should've asked me first. Government's gonna find out about this, they're gonna stop my welfare..") - and then she insulted her daughter: ("I know you didn't mean nothing hurtful but sometimes you just don't think things through...Find a man, Mary M. Live proper. People hear about what you're doin' and they laugh. Hurts me to tell you, but they laugh at you")
  • the crowd-pleasing scene in which Eddie taught a crass, abusive, hot-shot young boxer Shawrelle Berry (Anthony Mackie) a lesson
  • the dirty tactics used by world champion Billie the Blue Bear (real-life boxer Lucia Rijker) that left Maggie a quadriplegic in the ring during a welterweight championship title bout in Las Vegas when she was sabotaged by foul play; her East German opponent struck her with an illegal blow on the left side of her face when the referee wasn't looking - the dirty punch sent her into a red corner stool and broke her neck; she was left with a spinal neck injury that made her a quadriplegic; she was bedridden and had to have a leg amputated due to muscle atrophy and bed sores
  • the bedside scene when an incapacitated Maggie refused to sign her family's legal papers to will everything to them - to sign away her assets so that they wouldn't be liable for their confiscation to pay for her exorbitant care costs; her family had just blithely spent a week visiting Disneyland and other tourist destinations; her insensitive mother pressured her: ("You been a good daughter, Mary M. You sign that paper. It'll take care of your family - the way your daddy would've wanted you to. Uh, how do you make your mark? Can you hold a pen?... (about her last bout and devastating injury) You lost, Mary M. Ain't your fault, the way I heard it, but you lost. Don't wanna lose the rest of what you got left"); Maggie sent her family on their way, without signing, accusing them of 'welfare fraud': ("What happened to you?...Mama, you take Mardell and J.D. and get home before I tell that lawyer that you were so worried about your welfare you never signed those house papers like you were supposed to. So any time I feel like it, I can sell that house from under your fat, lazy, hillbilly asses. And if you ever come back, that's exactly what I'll do")
  • Maggie's insistence on dying (and at one point trying to commit suicide by biting off her own tongue), and her emotional request of Frankie to end her life: ("I can't be like this, Frankie. Not after what I done. I seen the world. People chanted my name. Well, not my name, some damn name you gave me. But they were chantin' for me. I was in magazines. You think I ever dreamed that'd happen? I was born at two pounds, one and a half ounces, Daddy used to tell me I fought to get into this world, and I'd fight my way out. That's all I wanna do, Frankie. I just don't wanna fight you to do it. I got what I needed. I got it all. Don't let 'em keep takin' it away from me. Don't let me lie here till I can't hear those people chantin' no more"); he responded simply: ("I can't. Please. Please, don't ask me....I can't")
  • the reassurance scene, when Eddie responded to Frankie (who guiltily stated: "I killed her") that Maggie's fate wasn't his fault: ("I found you a fighter and you made her the best fighter she could be...Maggie walked through that door with nothin' but guts. No chance in the world of bein' what she needed to be. A year and a half later, she's fightin' for the championship of the world. You did that. People die every day, Frankie. Moppin' floors, washin' dishes. And you know what their last thought is? 'I never got my shot.' Because of you, Maggie got her shot. If she dies today, you know what her last thought will be? 'I think I did all right.' I know I could rest with that")
  • the controversial, emotionally-draining ending with Frankie's final, pained acquiescence to her wishes - he entered her room and told her the meaning of the Gaelic phrase on her green fight robe: "Mo chuisle" ("Pulse of my heart" or "My pulse") that cheering crowds had chanted; after kissing her, he turned off her life-support breathing machine, removed her breathing tube and injected her with a fatal dose of adrenaline to cause her instant death
  • the silhouetted shot of Frankie walking away forever from boxing - down the hospital corridor, accompanied by Eddie's voice-over in the shadows (revealed to be the contents of a letter written by Eddie to Frankie's daughter) to end the film: ("Then he walked out. I don't think he had anything left...Frankie never came back at all. Frankie didn't leave a note, and nobody knew where he went. I'd hoped he'd gone to find you and ask you one more time to forgive him. But maybe he didn't have anything left in his heart. I just hope he found someplace where he could find a little peace. A place set in the cedars and oak trees. Somewhere between nowhere and goodbye. But that's probably wishful thinking. No matter where he is I thought you should know what kind of man your father really was")

Frankie to Maggie: "Girlie, Tough Ain't Enough!"

Tough Trainer Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood)

"Maggie" Fitzgerald
(Hilary Swank)

"Mo chuisle" ("Pulse of my heart" or "My pulse") on the Back of Maggie's Green Fight Robe

Maggie's Mother - Rejecting Offer of House

Bedside Signing Scene

Maggie on Life Support

Frankie's Tough Decision to End Maggie's Life

Eddie's Reassurance Scene

Frankie's Exit


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