The Crowd Roars (1938 film)

The Crowd Roars is a 1938 film starring Robert Taylor as a boxer who gets entangled in the seamier side of the sport. It was remade in 1947 as Killer McCoy, featuring Mickey Rooney in the title role. This film was not a remake of the 1932 film of the same name starring James Cagney.

The Crowd Roars
Lobby card
Directed byRichard Thorpe
Produced bySam Zimbalist
Written byGeorge Bruce (story and screenplay)
Thomas Lennon
George Oppenheimer
StarringRobert Taylor
Edward Arnold
Frank Morgan
Maureen O'Sullivan
Music byEdward Ward
CinematographyJohn F. Seitz
Oliver T. Marsh (uncredited)
Edited byConrad A. Nervig
Distributed byLoew's Inc.
Release date
  • August 5, 1938 (1938-08-05)
Running time
87-92 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$2,032,000[1]


Tommy McCoy (Robert Taylor) becomes a boxer, not for love of the sport but for the money. He has to put up with his alcoholic, gambling father Brian (Frank Morgan). Just before his first major fight, Tommy learns that his opponent has been injured and has been replaced at the last minute by Tommy's good friend, former world champion Johnny (William Gargan), trying to make a comeback. During the bout, Tommy kills Johnny and is named "Killer McCoy" in the newspapers. He then comes under the control of powerful bookmaker Jim Cain (Edward Arnold).

While training, Tommy meets and falls in love with Cain's daughter Sheila (Maureen O'Sullivan). Cain has been very careful to keep his daughter from learning about his profession. Cain tries to break up their romance, but without success.

Tommy wins fight after fight, becoming a contender. If he wins his next bout, he will get a shot at the world championship title. However, "Pug" Walsh (Nat Pendleton), a traitorous associate of Cain's, has both Sheila and Brian kidnapped. He orders Tommy to lose the fight in the eighth round, or else. Tommy has no choice; he endures a merciless pounding for round after round, not even daring to hit his foe for fear a lucky punch could end the match and his loved ones' lives. Brian pretends to collapse, then manages to grab a gangster's gun. He sends Sheila to the fight, while he holds their two former captors at gunpoint. However, while he is distracted by the radio broadcast of the fight, one of the men shoots him; he fires back, and all three are killed. Sheila arrives just before the start of the eighth round. Tommy proceeds to knock out his opponent, then announces he is giving up boxing. Cain also retires. Afterward, Tommy and Sheila get married.



According to MGM records the film earned $1,369,000 in the US and Canada and $663,000 elsewhere, resulting in a profit of $761,000.[1]


  1. The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
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